Can you suggest a good universal remote?

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Justin Beck, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. Justin Beck

    Justin Beck Auditioning

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    There are plenty out there but I need to be sure I get something specific:

    I need to be able to operate my Sony equipment (all pretty new) and my Panasonic 50" plasma screen (also pretty new).

    Okay, I think finding something to do this will not be all that hard. The tricky piece is this: I want to be sure that this remote can change the aspect ratio of the TV when I switch sources.

    Can anyone suggest any particular model? Does anyone know of a remote that does what I'm looking for?

    Any help appreciated...
     
  2. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Price range? I like Home Theater Master's remotes (MX-500 up through the MX-800). Another popular option is the Phillips Pronto. http://www.remotecentral.com is a great resource for remote control reviews and questions.
     
  3. Kevin Stewart

    Kevin Stewart Second Unit

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    If you like hard buttons I would also recommend the MX-500, if you like soft buttons (touch screen) then I would go with the Sony Remote Commander (AV3000). Both have multiple component capability and are capable of macros (push one button and it will do several steps - like changing the aspect ratio). The Remote Commander should work with all of your Sony components right out of the box.





    Stew
     
  4. Justin Beck

    Justin Beck Auditioning

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    I was thinking under $100... I'll check out the suggestions above...

    Thanks.
     
  5. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    The Sony RM-AV3000 ($119.95 with $10 coupon) will likely be the most convenient due to your numerous Sony components. Though the question of Hard buttons vs touch screen is up to you.

    Let me throw out another suggestion. The ProntoNeo by Philips. It is a bit above your price range, but in my opinion is worth it. You can get it for $155 at AVsmarts.com and there is a $10 off coupon which brings it to $145. This remote is based of the popular Pronto remote. It is touch screen and totally customizeable. I purchased the Sony remote at one point but returned it in favor of the Neo. It is so much more versatile. Both units offer "macros" which allow you to press one button and have the remote perform several functions. The advantages of the Sony are its controls over Sony products. The ProntoNeo will have most Sony codes but will likely require more programming to set up. The Neo allows you to create your own graphics and buttons. One of the nice things about the Neo's total customization is that ANYONE can walk into my HT and operate everything. By pressing "Watch TV", the Neo turns on my TV and Receiver, sets the TV to cable input, natural stretch mode, sets the receiver to "TV" mode, and jumps me to the Cable TV control screen. There is nothing for my guests to figure out.

    The Sony has a "fixed LCD screen" which locks you in to one size rectangular buttons (see pic) only whose names you can change. Also, I found the sony to not be friendly to one hand usage due to its width.

    SONY screenshots
    [​IMG]

    NEO screenshots
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There is alot of good info, and reviews on remotes at www.remotecentral.com . There are forums for both remotes, and you can download codes, buttons and graphics for the Neo. Either way, AVsmarts.com has a $10 off $125 purchase now that is good on both. I bought my Neo there and was pleased with their service.

    Sony Review
     
  6. Jason*H

    Jason*H Agent

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    OK Does the Pronto Neo have learning capabilities. Or is that what the programmable part means
     
  7. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    it has some pre-stored codes, it can also learn from your remote, and you can download code sets from remotecentral for all sorts of equipment.
     
  8. MikeSRC

    MikeSRC Second Unit

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    There are a number of options in the sub-$150 price range, so I'll try to hit on the high and low points of each, some of which have been mentioned:

    Sony RM-AV3000 - probably the best touchscreen remote in the $100+ price range. Will work well with other Sony components. Downside is it's size (definitely a two handed remote) and the inability to relable most of the touchscreen buttons (only the labels along the bottom of the touchscreen in the picture above can be changed).

    Pronto Neo - Nice, compact touchscreen remote with a good complement of hard buttons. Software is not the greatest and often has trouble learning, and there are some third party programs available that can remove some its limitations (like placing custom graphics on the "Main" page)

    Home Theater Master MX-500 - King of the moderate priced button remotes. Can duplicate every button on your existing remotes and have them properly labeled. Outsells the other remotes mentioned above 10:1. Downside is if you are looking for discrete commands (ie: separate On/Off or input commands), you must learn them from another remote that has them, which brings us to the next category . . .

    One for All 8811, 8910 or 9910/Radio Shack 15-2116, 2117 -
    With a huge code database available and the ability to program them with a PC using JP1 (see www.hifi-remote.com for more info) you can literally do anything with these remote for under $50. Their downside? All the buttons are hard labeled, so you'll have to either add some labels yourself, or remember which buttons perform functions other than what their label says.

    Hope that helps a little. [​IMG]
     
  9. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    Mike mentioned the One For All brand remotes. Something people may want to consider is what I did. Buy the cheapest OneForAll remote so you can program it with their discrete codes (on and off, etc) and then use it to "teach" these codes to a more advanced remote like the ProntoNeo.

    Personally, i love the Neo and think it has no limitations. I think the current firmware is solid, though the software is a little less than user friendly. As Mike mentioned, NeoHacker is nice for copying IR codes and other tweaks.
     
  10. Scott McVicker

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  11. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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  12. Scott McVicker

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    I recall that when it came out ( a little over a year ago?) The were some problems with the firmware. Maybe they got that ironed out. Also I seem to recall it would not use the same .ccf as the other pronto files so if you were changing over it was going to be more difficult. There may have been other issues, I just remember that it was not getting a lot of love over at remotecentral. Other than that you are right... I am just more of a pronto fan.
     
  13. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    I have the latest firmware and have never had a single problem with it. Yes, the early version of the firmware was full of problems but they have since been ironed out. Also, the configurations are stored as a different file type (pronto is ccf. neo is ncf.), but it shouldn't matter. Who is going to step down from a pronto anyway!!! Even though you could not transfer system files from pronto to neo, you can transfer stored IR codes, and you can use any custom buttons or graphics as they are all stored as bitmaps.

    The Neo is a solid performer for $139. I don't think it can be matched for its versatility at that price. That being said, if you are a "hard button remote" kinda guy, the Neo is not for you.
     
  14. Scott McVicker

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    I am glad you enjoy it.
     

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