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Keeping it Simple for Stupid


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#1 of 20 OFFLINE   Trekchick

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Posted July 06 2009 - 02:03 AM

Or as I should call it, the KISS method of Home Theater hook ups that even my husband can operate.

Shortest story I can have on this topic...
My husband has had a big screen tv every since he had a place of his own.
Back in the 80's when a 37 inch was big, then a 48" and now a 62" dlp(or is it dpl?)

I'm really dumb about this stuff so bear with me...
As we got new TV's to replace old ones, it seem that the remote control(s) got more complicated.
Then we went from a big dish to Dish TV which seemed to simplify, but......here is the big B U T...
Every since we got away from VCR's and went to DVD players, we have not figured out how to hook the DVD player up to the TV without having to have it turned on to watch basic TV.

Is there an easy way to hook the DVD player up to the TV so it only needs to be powered up when you are actually using the DVD player?
If/When we get a Blue Ray will it be the same?

Oh, and another side note......My husband was not blessed by the Patience Fairy.
Thank you in advance for your patience.


#2 of 20 OFFLINE   David Willow

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Posted July 06 2009 - 02:13 AM

Hi Tricia,

Please list the brand/model of your devices. I'm guessing you have a Home Theater in a Box (HTiB) that has everything packaged together - speakers, receiver, and dvd.


#3 of 20 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted July 06 2009 - 02:44 AM

Get a Harmony remote.  Choose the model that best fits your budget.  Harmony remotes allow you to go from "Do I need the TV on Video 3, the cable box turned off, and the receiver on AUX to watch my DVD?" to pressing the "Watch DVD" button and the remote does the rest.  Truly a revolution in remote design that even the most technophobic anti-nerd can use.

#4 of 20 OFFLINE   douglas-b

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Posted July 06 2009 - 02:50 AM

I bought one of these and all you do is install the software on your PC and put model #'s of all the equipment you want to operate. It is by far the best remote I have ever owned. I don't care what equipment you have, they have it in their database. When you watch TV, with your surround sound, it turns it all on. Then you want to watch a DVD, it turns off what you don't need and turns on the stuff you do. I picked it up on Amazon for like $65.

www.amazon.com/Logitech-Harmony-Advanced-Universal-Control/dp/B0003QER82

ooops, just like Jeff said.

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted July 06 2009 - 05:12 AM

+++ on the Harmony remote.

As for hookups, DVD having to be on ----
Do you mean "DVD recorder" instead of "DVD player"?  As that would be the only thing that makes sense, with having the satellite output going through a DVD recorder first.  Which is probably bad because not only does the DVD have to be on, but the worst part is you probably aren't getting high-definition this way!  Do you have an HD satellite receiver or only an old SD one?

If you do not have a home theater system/receiver, generally you want the satellite receiver hooked up directly to the TV using HDMI or component video (green/blue/red RCA).  With the AV outputs (yellow/red/white) optionally going to the DVD-recorder.  If you only have an older SD receiver, it won't have the HDMI/component, so you have to use AV to the TV.  Preferrably it has 2 sets of outputs; if only one, that may explain why it had to be routed through the DVD.  You can get around this by using the RF threaded coaxial output on channel 3, however that gives somewhat worse video quality and often loses the stereo audio (becomes mono).

List the exact model #s of your equipment if you need detailed help.

I highly recommend getting an HD-DVR from your satellite provider if you don't have one.

Blu-ray would be totally separate connection from everything else, it wouldn't have to be on for watching satellite.



#6 of 20 OFFLINE   Trekchick

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Posted July 06 2009 - 05:18 AM

Thanks for the replies. A couple of things before we proceed.....
First, Calling our set up a Home Theater is being generous, extremely generous.

Second, my husband doesn't want a universal remote.
He wants a simple remote, and is willing(even eager) to have several remotes with individual purposes so he doesn't have to search over a massive remote for "the right button"

Beyond that, the real purpose for this question is this:
I want to hook the DVD player up so that it can be on when we want to watch DVD's but does not have to be on if we're not using it.

While my husband has no patience with anything electronic, he is brilliant at his job and works hard.  I just want to help him enjoy his TV/DVD/VCR time as simply as possible.

Oh, and ...he won't use anything that requires that he install a program on the PC.  He can barely turn on the PC.

Our TV is a Samsung Model HL-T6156W
DVD is Toshiba SDV295
Here are a few pics of our basic set up, with ports that are not used.

Posted Image


Posted Image


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#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Trekchick

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Posted July 06 2009 - 05:22 AM

 Will the Harmony Remote be simple enough to satisfy the impatient?

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted July 06 2009 - 05:51 AM

What's the model # of your satellite receiver?  You do realize that you've paid for an HDTV but aren't actually getting HD now, right?  The "antenna in" on the TV (coax threaded), what is on the other end of that now?

Also, you are using s-video for the DVD which isn't the best option.  You should be using one of the two columns of green/blue/red connectors on the right side of the TV input panel.

As for Harmony -- once you get it setup, it's far easier to operate any system than with multiple remotes.  All you have to do is hit "watch movie" or "watch TV" and it does everything for you.  The standard buttons cover basic functions, and the LCD can be configured to show only the commands you actually use, hiding all the buttons that you never use for that activity.

The trick is getting it programmed.  *That* can require patience, if you want to get it *exactly* the way you want it.  The auto-setup itself is fast, but gets you 90% there only.  It'll take a bit to figure out exactly which commands you want on the LCD.  Maybe you can do the programming instead of your husband if he can't handle it.

Edited by Stephen Tu - 7/6/2009 at 06:02 pm GMT
Edited by Stephen Tu - 7/6/2009 at 06:05 pm GMT

#9 of 20 OFFLINE   Trekchick

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Posted July 06 2009 - 07:22 AM

Stephen, no I don't realize that I have HDTV and don't have it hooked to HDTV
I'll check the model of my satellite receiver when I go home tonight, as well as find out where the cables go and what they are supposed to do for me.....


My office has gotten a bit hectic so I can't do this justice right now, but...
This is definitely the place to find this stuff out.  Thanks.  I'll be back! 

#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted July 06 2009 - 07:42 AM

Note that in order to receive HDTV from satellite, you would need an HD satellite box, and an HDMI or component video connection from the box to the TV.  You seem to be connected via a coax input, which isn't going to get you HD.

As for the Harmony remote, it does require setup on a PC.  If you are comfortable with a PC, it would be easy for you to program the majority of functions.  As Stephen said, the basic setup gets you 90% there, whether that 90% is all you need is up to you.  Note the last 10% isn't really hard, it just requires you to know a little more about how your components interact.

As far as the Harmony being simple to operate, it was invented for technophobe fancy remote haters.  Here at the HTF, we say it has the ultimate SAF (Spouse Acceptance Factor).  Instead of you having to remember a bunch of settings on your TV and other components in order to switch activities, the remote itself stores the settings for an activity (i.e "Watch TV", "Watch DVD") and when you select that activity, the remote makes all the changes needed, by itself, with no more input from you than pressing the button.  

The Harmony even remembers the current state of the units; so if an activity requires the TV to be on, and you switch to that activity from another, it knows the TV is currently on, so it doesn't send the "On" command to the TV.  And if you ever get stuck in a state where something is messed up, you hit the "Help" key, and it asks a series of easy questions: "Is the TV on?", "Is the DVD on?" and depending on your answers, it sets every messed up component back to normal.

#11 of 20 OFFLINE   Trekchick

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Posted July 06 2009 - 07:48 AM

 I can do the pc set up of a remote, quite easily, but my husband would have a stroke if he attempted to.

Thank you so much.  I'll check some stuff out when I get home and post back later tonight or first thing in the morning.

BTW, you guys are as crazy about this stuff as the SkiGeeks are about ski gear on EpicSki.
THAT is a good thing!


#12 of 20 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted July 06 2009 - 08:53 AM

More on the Harmony:
The models are nearly identical in functionality, the more expensive ones add stuff like color LCD, Li-ion rechargeable battery + cradle.  Some of the cheapest models only handle 5 devices.  The models I recommend most are the "One" on the high-end, the 670/620 (maybe a refurbished one) on the low end.  Others may have different preferences based on shape of remote, size/shape of buttons.

Programming tips after you get it:
There are multiple programming options in the wizard based on how your TV behaves.  Sometimes the wizard may steer you in the wrong direction since they are catering to getting it in a working state with the most models for the most people, instead of the absolute best way for a specific model.

The most important thing to do is to use "discrete codes" whenever possible.  That means using a specific command to turn the TV or other equipment on, and a different command to turn it off.  As opposed to a "power toggle" which would flip something off if it was on, but "on" when it's off.  Separate discrete commands are more reliable.  Same for inputs.  Look for the option to use a single command to jump to a particular input on the TV, as opposed to one that brings up a menu & cycles between them.  Method 2 in the wizard even though it suggests Method 3 for Samsungs.  These discrete commands often work, even if the remote that came with your TV doesn't have buttons for them; the TV will recognize the commands.  Only if you can't get the discrete input selection method to work should you resort to the cycling method.

For the LCD buttons, try to get the most commonly used commands for a activity in the 1st LCD page.  Like for a DVD you might want to put the "subtitle" , "audio", commands there, as well as "aspect" for the TV.  Delete or move to a back page the ones that you hardly ever use, like "angle".


#13 of 20 OFFLINE   HomeTheaterDIYguy

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Posted July 06 2009 - 01:47 PM

Getting advice in these Forums is very pro-active of you. ;-)

Yes, be sure to use the HDMI ins/outs when you can for the easiest connections. HDMI Cables have really come down in price now. ;-)

To separate your DVD & TV Service(Dish/Cable) to your TV, you may need to get a Receiver unit. Some basic new models (and 2nd hand ones) are quite cheap. Most even come with a radio. :-)

Plug your DVD and TV Service both 'in' to your Receiver and then from your Receiver 'out' (hopefully HDMI) to your TV.

Then you can set up that Remote. ;-)




#14 of 20 OFFLINE   richiewrt

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Posted July 11 2009 - 04:25 PM

Since no one mentioned it, if you do upgrade your connections, do not buy cables from a big box store. They are always substantially cheaper online.


#15 of 20 OFFLINE   Trekchick

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Posted July 13 2009 - 12:46 AM

Sorry I dropped out of sight after you were so kind with assistance......
Live can get busy in a hurry, eh?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Tu View Post

(1) What's the model # of your satellite receiver?  You do realize that you've paid for an HDTV but aren't actually getting HD now, right? (2) The "antenna in" on the TV (coax threaded), what is on the other end of that now?

(3)Also, you are using s-video for the DVD which isn't the best option.  You should be using one of the two columns of green/blue/red connectors on the right side of the TV input panel.



 
  • 1-Dish DVR625
  • 2-The Antenna in has a digital Antenna at the other end but we don't use that since we have local programming on our Dish
  • 3-I don't have a DVD hooked up at all.(will do so after you've straightened me out)  I believe what you're seeing is the hook up for the ancient VCR which we rarely (if ever) use.
  • Richiewert, I rarely buy anything from big box stores.  I would likely go to my locally owned electronics store or check out Hometheaterforum.com friendly business'.  IMO people who put the time and effort into supporting sites like this and sell this type of product deserve to get first crack at my business.
*we still own a few video tapes that we'd like to watch from time to time, but that may change. 

Whew.....does this help you help me



#16 of 20 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted July 13 2009 - 01:23 AM

My 81 year old grandmother learned how to operate the Harmony remote in my house. They are very easy to use. I have also set them up for my parents, my aunt and uncle and a few of my technologically challenged clients (I'm a computer tech). I've also recommended them to several friends, and of course, the Harmonys get plenty of recommendations here on HTF.


#17 of 20 OFFLINE   noki123

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Posted July 13 2009 - 05:31 AM

nolesrule not all people have the same approach. Some people prefer using different remotes of their devices. Like my father is still using dish to watch CNN and other news channels he has got about 4 remotes on his bedside. Trekchick your equipment looks very good.


#18 of 20 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted July 13 2009 - 10:05 AM


Quote:
 I don't have a DVD hooked up at all.(will do so after you've straightened me out)  I believe what you're seeing is the hook up for the ancient VCR which we rarely (if ever) use.

So you have both a Toshiba DVD/VCR combo player, and another old VCR?   The DVD isn't hooked up right now, the old one is?

Anyway, you have two columns marked "AV1" and "AV2" that have s-video, yellow composite, white/red left/right audio.  You should connect the satellite DVR to "AV 1" using s-video/white/red.  You should connect the VCR side of the combo player to the "AV2" using yellow/white/red.

For the DVD, get green/blue/red component cables + audio red/white cables.  You can also get a combo 5-RCA component cable that has both the 3 for video and the 2 for audio.  (recommend monoprice.com)  .  Connect these to one of the "component in" columns on the far right.

Right now, you have a standard-definition satellite DVR.  So you are *not* getting high-definition from it.  You can get high-definition from your local over-the-air broadcasters, on your antenna input, if your signal is good enough (may require better antenna aiming, or a better antenna).  You'd have to do a digital channel scan on your TV when set to the antenna input, to figure out what you can get now.  In the long run, I highly recommend upgrading to the 722 model HD satellite DVR and changing to an HD + locals package, ask for Dish for details.  Don't know if you need additional dishes or not.  If you upgraded, you'd connect the 722 via HDMI, rather than to the AV1 plug.


Edited by Stephen Tu - 7/13/2009 at 10:20 pm GMT

#19 of 20 OFFLINE   Trekchick

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Posted July 13 2009 - 10:46 PM

My husband has an old POS VCR that he wants to keep hooked up just in case he wants to watch one of his old Videos.
He also has a new DVD player (the Toshiba I described) that is a DVD only, which he would also like to have hooked up.
IMHO the VCR is going to die soon and that will be a non issue.

The VCR/DVD combo has been moved to the TV in the Bedroom so that it doesn't complicate his life in the livingroom.
I use the VCR/DVD combo just fine when I want to watch something.  It takes some thought if you want to switch from VCR to DVD and it needs to be on the right "channel" on both the VCR/DVD modes, which was too much for DH to think about when he wanted to use it.

The purpose of this project is to create something ultra simple that doesn't disturb his day to day watching of Speed TV and ESPN, but will give him access to a DVD now and then.



Edited by Trekchick - 7/14/2009 at 11:18 am GMT

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted July 14 2009 - 05:26 AM

In the post with the picture you only gave the model # of the DVD/VCR combo, and didn't mention you had a DVD-only player & an old VCR, so I based the instruction on that.  

But it doesn't matter, since separate players connect in the exact same manner, VCR to AV2, DVD to the component in.

Quote:
It takes some thought if you want to switch from VCR to DVD and it needs to be on the right "channel" on both the VCR/DVD modes, which was too much for DH to think about when he wanted to use it

That's where the Harmony comes in.  Mine has a separate button for "watch a DVD" and another for "play VCR".  This would work equally well with separate components as with a combo player.