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Keyspan Digital Remote: a brief review (1 Viewer)

JeremyErwin

Senior HTF Member
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Feb 11, 2001
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My home theatre is a tad strange, cobbled together from various sale pieces and bits of cool technology. For playing DVDs, I use a Apple iBook, output to a VGA monitor. For sound, I use an m-audio Sonica USB, a cheap but effective spdif interface. Probably not the best setup, but upgrading to a conventional TV would entail a bit of financial pain, as I'm already used to HDTV. Alas.

A few days ago, I noticed that Tiger was offering (through amazon) the Keyspan Digital Media Remote for 20 bucks. On a lark, I ordered one, and it arrived this afternoon.

Keyspan makes a couple of remotes for the presentation market. One is simply a wireless Mouse. The others are various models of conventional IR remotes. I ordered the cheapest (the Digital Media Remote), not needing to control a Airport Express wireless router. From what I can tell, all of these are subtle variations on a 2' x 3' 17-key remote and USB I-R receiver.

The model I received, URM-15A is actually discontinued, perhaps explaining the low price. There's also a URM-15T, and a URM-17A. The last can be plugged directly into an airport express router.

Software installation was fairly easy. I chose to install the latest software, available from keyspan.com. The installation did not require a reboot.

The main software included with the product was the "Keyspan DMR Map Editor", a fairly crude piece of software that enables one to assign various key codes, mouse clicks, and so on to each button. Most of the default keymaps are for various media applications-- DVD Player Windows Media, Real Player, Quicktime, iTunes, and so on.

A cluster of four arrow buttons arranged around a center "Select" button can be configured as a crude mouse, but it's far from ideal. In addition, there are buttons for cycle (normally bound to Cmd-Tab, for switching applications), volume up, volume down, mute, stop,, pause, play, previous track, next track, fast forward, reverse, and menu.

The IR reciever can also respond to certain models of JVC VCR remotes, and, of course, codes can be learned by ones favorite learning remote. As no button is fixed to any particular function, one may consider it a way of adding 17 arbitrary computer commands to one's universal remote.

On my mac, one can assign a button to "No action", "Text String" "System Volume" (the macs built in sound keys), "Applescript", or "Launch Program". Such Applescripts might be extremely useful if used in conjunction with activity based remote, although it should be noted that a computer, unlike a receiver, may enter into a variety of arbitrary states-- and keeping track might be far beyond the capabilities of a mere remote.

I use a Harmony 659, and by adding a Computer device: Keyspan URM-15A, one can incorporate it into an appropriate activity. As I have the cheaper Harmony, I did not enjoy better mouse control, although owners of remotes with joysticks and the like might enjoy better results.
 

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