Please explain "macros" in remotes to me.

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Tim Holyoke, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    Looking at new remotes, macros is a term thrown around a lot. Is it simply the ability to push 1 button and do multiple tasks? I'd like to know exactly what they are and how they will benefit me. Thanks a lot!

    Tim
     
  2. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    It is hitting one button which does a bunch of other buttons for u. Say, u want to watch tv, specifically, Sat TV, channel 100, which we shall say is Cartoon Network. With a remote like a Pronto, u can program a button to like like the Cartoon Network logo and create a macro for it with the following sequence: Turns on TV, selects appropriate input (SatTV on video2), turns on sat receiver, selects channel 100, then the remote goes to ur assigned page with a layout of the TV's volume control, power on/off button, sat receiver's channel control, maybe the guide and the on/off button.
    Basically it all boils down to getting lazy and not having to use 2 or more remotes and also, hitting that one button for the whole action to occur.
     
  3. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    Thanks Eric. So I'm looking into the MX-500, which has macros. I could program it to turn on my TV and VCR and turn to a certain channel on satellite? Also, I'm looking into an IR light control to use w/the remote. Say I like watching Sportscenter when I wake up. Could I program the remote to turn on the TV and VCR, tune to ESPN, set the volume to a certain level, and turn on the light? That'd be nice [​IMG] . Thanks.
     
  4. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    Now that looks like a job for X-10 stuff. These RF devices can be used to turn on just about anything from a control station.Just visit their site X10.com.
     
  5. Jim Lenneman

    Jim Lenneman Stunt Coordinator

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    The volume control would be a bit tricky. A macro could be set to send volume up or down commands several times but it depends on what the volume was at to begin with. Some receivers have discrete codes for preset volume levels, Yamaha's better receivers for example, but most gear does not. You could send lots of volume down signals to turn the volume completely off, and then send as many "ups" as needed. This is obviously clunky and slow. Easiest thing to do would be set the volume before you nod off. Let the remote turn on the gear, switch the channel etc. You can control the lights with the remote if they are IR capable (such as a Lutron spacer) and you have line of sight from the remote.

    Yes a macro can do all this (except maybe volume). The only problem with the Mx-500 is the somewhat limited number of macros. Depending on how many other macros you'd want, the Mx-700 has nearly unlimited macros and MIGHT be a better choice.

    Jim L
    [​IMG]
     
  6. DavidLW

    DavidLW Stunt Coordinator

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    One problem with using macros is that most low and mid end gears don't have discrete on and off codes. So this happens.

    Lets say you have macro 1 to Turn on TV, Turn on AVR, Turn on DVD and Select DVD.

    Lets say you have macro2 to Turn on TV, Turn on AVR, Turn on Satilite, Select Satilite and Tune to Channel 100 (Cartoon Network).

    Now ley say that you're want to watch a DVD movie so you hit macro 1. Everything turns on and no problem, an hour later you remember that it's time to watch Futurama on Cartoon Network (Channel 100), so you hit macro 2. Now, what happens is that your TV will turn off, AVR will turn off, Satilite turns on and goes to Channel 100.

    Finding gear with discrete on and off codes can get expensive, if it even exist for the brand or gear you want.

    Another thing is that all your gear must be next to each other or within sight of the remote when you hit the macro. It can't turn on your overhead projector and your AVR in the front of you at the same time.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    If you own components without discreet codes, like in DavidLW's examples, then check out the Harmony remotes. They have a feature the company has labelled "smart state technology", which basically is a set of registers that keeps track of which components are on/off, and which inputs are currently selected. The Harmony's use "activities" instead of macros, but these activities are really just special purpose macros.

    For example, if your system is completely shut off and you select the activity called "Watch TV", the Harmony will turn on your television, receiver and cable box and select the proper inputs on your receiver and TV (if those are the devices you have defined to that activity). Now, you want to watch a DVD, so you select the activity "Watch a Movie" The Harmony "remembers" that it has already turned on the TV and the receiver, so it does not issue power commands for those devices, but instead turns on the DVD player, and then changes the receiver and TV inputs appropriately.
     
  8. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    I use a Pronto TSU2000 coupled with an X10 remote extender. I don't know why really but when I hit my watch DVD macro, it turns on the projector and all my stuff behind a door with the extender. The pj is in front of the seating area and I don't know if the signal just bounces off my DIY screen.
     
  9. DavidLW

    DavidLW Stunt Coordinator

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    Woz, of Apple Computer fame, started a company that made an IR amplifier (that you clipped in front of any IR remote) that enabled you to operate any device in the room without you having to point it directly at the device. Yes, it was powerful enough to bounce the IR signal off walls, floor and ceiling. It will even operate devices in the next room, providing there's an open passage way there.

    As for going through door, I assume you mean the "glass" door in front of an audio rack and not a "wooden" door in front of your closet. If you got an IR device that can go through a wooden door, then see if you can put another extender on it and turn it into a phaser. [​IMG]
     
  10. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    David...by door I mean a wooden one with the RF to IR tranceiver attached to it. U guys know what I mean, these things....I guess they call it Remote Sender.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jason Edgecombe

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    Even if your gear and standard remotes just have toggle switches, you can usually still find discrete codes for even the cheapest components. As long as you have a remote that will let you manually input IR codes from your computer (eg, the Pronto and its kin), the folks at Remote Central (www-DOT-remotecentral-DOT-com) have found IR codes for just about every piece of gear, regardless of whether its native remote has discrete codes. And if you don't have a capable remote but know someone who does, you could have that person get the code, then learn it through any learning remote.

    In fact, Toshiba is the only manufacturer that does not have discrete IR codes.
     
  12. DavidLW

    DavidLW Stunt Coordinator

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    My statement may not be all that clear but what I meant is that most gear do not have "different" discrete codes for power on and power off. With most gear, the same discrete code will power it on or off depending on what state (On/Off) the equipment is in at the time.

    As for Eric- Now it makes sense, as RF signal will go through wooden doors, as well as floors and walls.
     
  13. MikeSRC

    MikeSRC Second Unit

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    I tend to disagree. First, a discrete code is one that only performs a single action (ie: only turns something "On"). While it is true that some of the smaller TVs and low end receivers may not have discretes, most AV receivers, big screen TVs and many DVD players have discrete on and off commands available. The cheapest way to obtain them is with a One for All remote and the advanced codes on hifi-remote.com. Adding JP1 to the mix will give you access to any discretes that exist.

    All of the newer Toshiba RPTVs have discrete on/off and inputs available.
     
  14. Jason Edgecombe

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    I agree too. For example, my TV, DVD, and receiver remotes only have ON/OFF toggle buttons, and the receiver only has an "Input" button that, when pressed, cycles through the different inputs in a pre-set sequence. Nevertheless, I have set up macros so that one button will turn on the components of a particular system (eg, "DVD," "Watch TV," "Watch TiVo," etc.") and flip the receiver to the matching input. If I want to use another system, one button will change the receiver input and turn on any necessary component without turning anything off. When I'm done, an "All Off" button powers everything down.

    The only thing that I can't use is my Toshiba VCR which has no discrete ON or OFF codes, built in or otherwise.
     

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