Remotes

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by DonRC, Oct 8, 2004.

  1. DonRC

    DonRC Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know if this is really the right place for this question... but it looks better than the other places, so I'll put it here. Please accept my apologies if it should have been elsewhere (and feel free to educate me).

    Once I get my HT set up, obviously I would prefer not to be dealing with all of the different remotes if I can help it. Does anybody have any suggestions on good HT remotes that will let me control my projector, receiver, DVD player, VCR, etc.? (I'd like to even control the lights and the "stage curtain" with the remote if possible.)

    Also, my room is set up so that I have a closet for all of my equipment. This closet is behind a wooden door, though, which will block the IR signals from my remote(s). What suggestions would people make for a device to get the IR signals into the closet where I need them?

    Thanks!
    Don
     
  2. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    I'm sure this will get moved to the tweaking and accessories forum....

    But in the meantime, take a look over at www.remotecentral.com. It really depends on your budget and prefereces. Do you want a touchscreen or hard button remote? How much do you want to spend? You could spend $25 and get a simple learning remote that will control all your equipment. You could spend $600 for a color touchscreen remote that you can customize and program yourself.

    If you want to control components in a closet you will need some type of IR distributor, repeater or IR-RF converter. I'd recommend some type of IR distribution system rather than one of the IR repeater types as I have heard that the repeaters often miss signals.
     
  3. BrianKR

    BrianKR Second Unit

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    Home Theater Master makes a real nice remote that you can pick up for aprox $250 online.
    It's called the Home Theater Master MX-800
    You can purchased it packaged with a
    IR/RF Remote
    MRF-200 Base Station
    MRF-200 Power Supply
    6 IR Flashers
    Serial Cable
     
  4. DonRC

    DonRC Stunt Coordinator

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    Tim,
    Forgive the probably silly question, but what is the difference between an IR distributor and an IR repeater? (I mean... I assume one distributes and the other repeats, but I don't know what that means. [​IMG] )
     
  5. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    Well, when I refer to repeaters I am talking about things like the "pyramid" they sell at radio shack. It is basically an IR receiver that takes the IR signal and then beams that signal via RF to a second unit across the room which converts it back to IR and beams it to your devices. As you can imagine, this leaves room for errors and misses.

    Distributors are more like an octopus. There is an IR receiver, but instead of sending the signal to another room wirelessly, it has a number of fairly short wires coming out of it. You attach one of these wires to the front IR receiver of each piece of your equipment. These are good for solid equipment cabinets that you want to keep things hidden from sight.

    Hope that clarifies...
     
  6. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    I recommend the Home Theater Master line also. Awesome remotes (if you prefer mostly buttons).

    If you like the touchscreen idea, then the Pronto is a good choice.

    Don, I live in Mckinney. If you need some more input or direction, let me know. I do alot of HT stuff on the side and may be able to help you out. Or even if you want to come by and check out my MX-800 remote. My equipment is also in another room so you could see how it works. I'm always happy to help out a newbie.
     
  7. Wayne_H

    Wayne_H Auditioning

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    Since I haven't sheetrocked yet, I was able to hardwire in for IR. I bought the Buffalo Round Micro IR Sensor (looks like a 1/2" glass eye) and put it in a discreet area on the upper wall to the left of where my screen will be. Then ran some 4 conductor 22 gauge shielded wire (which boils down to a security system type wire I bought at Home Depot) to my components area. I haven't bought it yet, but I'll also be using a 4 Buffalo emitter connecting block (which basically collects signals from room IR sensors, processes them and sends the signals to your audio/video equipment via an infrared emitter). Now this is setup to only control 4 components, so other than the Round Micro IR Sensor, you may need different hardware to fit your needs.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot the pieces that will go between the connecting block and components. I'll be using stick-on IR emitters. In order to include the projector in all this, I have an in-wall extension cable between the connecting block and projector area.

    Well that's probably clear as mud. Hope it helps.

    Wayne
     
  8. Mike Boniferro

    Mike Boniferro Second Unit

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    I saw a really nice custom setup with the Harmony remote a few weeks ago. He had all different types of 'activities' setup depending on everything, even the time of day.
    For example, to watch a movie in the day, the automated screen would drop, the curtains (on motors) would close, the lights adjust and the rest of the system would be setup. But if he pressed the 'at night' button, the curtains wouldn't draw. It was very impressive.
     
  9. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    First time in this area, but I thought I'd throw out the MX-500 as an option.

    Etronics has them for around $70

    B
     
  10. Chris Moe

    Chris Moe Screenwriter

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    If you were using a HTPC I would have suggested Netremote to use as your remote. I run it on a tablet PC and absolutely love it.

    For IR distribution I use Hot Link Pro and it works great.
     
  11. Elijah

    Elijah Supporting Actor

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    I'm not suprised to see Moe's response as it was going to be mine also.

    For the most flexible, feature rich remote control setup you can have, Netremote and a cheapo computer cant be beat.

    It (netremote) along with a bit of automation software called Girder can control basically anything from HT equipment, to your PC's, to any X10 equipment you have (lighting and security cameras), to basically anything else that you can throw at it, all from touch screens, or your palm pilot if you so desire.

    Check out Moe's link above, I was convinced after one visit : )
     
  12. DonRC

    DonRC Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm...

    NetRemote is an interesting idea. I wasn't planning on springing for any kind of HTPC right now, though.

    If I were to use NetRemote, how "beefy" a computer would I need to make it worth the effort?

    (I haven't really looked into HTPC to any significant depth yet, so feel free to educate me on the pros and cons if you need to. Please don't just assume I know... because I probably don't.)
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    I have used both the Pronto and the MX-700. If you like the look and feel of the touchpanel, you can't go wrong with the Pronto, if you are a button man then I would do the MX-700 over the MX-500 as you can customize it on the PC.
     
  14. Chris Moe

    Chris Moe Screenwriter

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    That all depends. If you want a HTPC to be your DVD player, HDTV, Tivo, music server, etc. You will need some horsepower. If you just want to run netremote and girder pretty much any computer will work. I don't think it would be worth it just for remote duty though, it's really designed for HTPC use when the HTPC is the heart of your system.
     
  15. Tony#E

    Tony#E Extra

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    I purchased the MX-3000. ($650 on the Internet) It converts all your IR to RF. You can be within 200 feet of your system and control everything. You'll spend $1300 for it at a retailer if you want them to program it. I like to tinker so I enjoy the challenge. It will run anything you can throw at it. Good Luck.
     
  16. Steve Lucas

    Steve Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    I have an MX-500 and I can program mine via PC. Makes it so much easier. You can also back-up your settings so you don't have to redo them if they get lost. The only drawback to the MX-500 is that it doesn't do RF. But if you don't need RF you can't beat it for the price.

    Steve
     
  17. Prescott Moore

    Prescott Moore Auditioning

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    Tim K really hits to the point when he asked about your budget. Personally, I’ve found that the Sony RM-AV3100 has been a great piece of equipment since I took it out of the box. I first used it’s predecessor (the AV2000) when the touch-screen remotes were in their mass-market infancy and found it to work quite well. Several years later, when I reached the 2000’s limits, I tried a number of units including the Pronto. For the money, however, I went with what I both knew worked and had familiarity with the process.

    It has a nice mix of touch-screen and buttons (I hate fumbling for the volume or light control in the middle of a film and with this you know exactly where things are in the dark) and is generally easy on the power consumption (I change the 4 AA batteries about every six weeks of heavy use).

    It controls everything I’ve asked it too without any problem. This includes not only all my AV equipment, but also two Hot Link Pros, four different light sets, my screen, and thermostat. (Some credit here to Smarthome for excellent support and advice—i.e. the Hot Link Pro when it too was new on the market and I was sick of fighting with the nightmarish Leapfrog system.)

    It has no problem with memory space thus far (I’m running a bundle of items including three DVD changers, amp, LD, DVR, HD receiver, audio equipment, etc.) and still has empty “slots” to spare (it can run 18 devices). This is great as with the macro programming (that is a piece of cake), with the touch of a single button I can turn on everything to run a specific piece of equipment—be that XM radio to channel 44—all the way to firing up the video system, lowering the screen, setting the temp, and slow-dimming the lights. Starting the “show” is often as entertaining for guests as the actual film. Further, I’ve never once had it miss a beat with losing data or commands.

    Lastly, and perhaps at the top of your list, is the cost. While I found online dealers that had it to my door for 129 some time back, I noticed now that Buy.com has it for 95 and change. Having a four-year old and a toddler, I never know what might happen to my remote regardless of my best intentions. At that cost, while I would be bummed, if it took a dive and died some tragic death (No! Daddy’s remote doesn’t go in the potty!), it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

    Just my two cents, but certainly a great piece of versatile equipment at a reasonable price.

    P
     

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