PCRemote is a nifty little device that plugs into your parallel port and controls your Infra Red devices (TV, VCR, Stereo etc … you name it). Simple is the name of the game here and the PCRemote does it’s job without frills and thrills. I had the unit up an running in a few minutes and it learned commands from my remote in no time. This is the first device I’ve reviewed from the UK and I’m impressed with the functionality. Frankly, I think much of the equipment coming to market these days is unnecessarily complicated as manufacturers try to do too much with one device.
wpe3.jpg (25834 bytes)PCRemote comes in a small package that includes the IR send/receive device, a CD with the software on it and a few pages of simple instructions to get you going. Just plug the device into your parallel port and load the software. Run a test program (TestIR) to test the operation by recording a command from your existing remote and playing it back to be sure it works. The image at the right is the PCRemote interface (and that’s it folks … no fancy stuff at all).
Push the button that says “Learn” to train the system. Click on the button that you want to program (the red band at the top turns yellow), aim your remote at the device and push the corresponding button (the yellow goes back to red when the signal has been received) and that’s it. Want to change the name on the button … right click on it and type in the new name.
So, that’s it. Put the unit back in “Normal Mode”, aim the send/receive device at your TV and click away to verify the control. For me … it worked flawlessly first time.
Need to control more devices than the available button space allows? You can create as many remotes as you want by placing the .exe file in different folders. Each will run as a separate entity and you can run as many onscreen as you like at the same time. The name of the folder appears at the top of the remote so you know which one is which.
If you want to schedule PCRemote to record your favorite show in the middle of the night you can do that using “Command Mode”. This is simply a matter of using a command string when you run the software. For example:
will start the software and send IR commands 1,2,3,4 with a 1 second pause between them. In this way you can have the unit send a string of commands. Special characters are:
Comma (,) – 1 second pause
Period (.) – No Pause
Numbers 1 to 30 represent the 30 programmable buttons on the remote.
Using any scheduler program you can thus set the system to carry out scheduled tasks. Using this method you can also set up macros by creating shortcuts with the command sequences in them. I presume the command line function would also allow this unit to be used with many of the advance HA controllers as an IR interface.
While I think the basic operation of this system is great and easy to use, it could be improved with the addition of a few features. For example, it would be nice to be able to program macros into the buttons. The average household has several devices in their home entertainment system and one of the handiest things to be able to do is to turn several on with the push of one button.
At Â£49 / $82 this is a handy device and it will be available in the US soon. By the way, Concept is still seeking US distributors if you’re interested.