So you have everything. You have your TV, DVD player, LD player, VCR, speakers, and receiver. Everything has been set up and you are the coolest guy on the block. But there is one problem… you have way too many remotes. If you had the above combo of electronics, you would have five completely different remotes. If the electronics you have are all from a different manufacturer, which they usually are, the remotes will not normally have the ability to control all of your equipment.
This may not seem like it is that big of a deal, but believe me, it can and will get annoying. When you are entertaining or just watching a movie by yourself on a Saturday night, you don’t want to be fiddling around will all of these remotes. If you do not do something about this, your couch will have a wonderful display of large, and usually complex remotes for which you need an engineering degree from MIT to use. Don’t worry, there are some solutions.
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Nowadays, there are what we call learning remotes. These are just like other remotes but they are special. They have the ability to control all of your components. They do this by “learning” special codes from your other remotes. There are a many different types of learning remotes, but there are two main varieties.
The first is programmed with special codes. These kind of learning remotes come with a code booklet. All you do is look up the component you are wishing to control in the booklet and follow the instructions.
The second kind of remote you have a little more control over. For example, you want to program this new remote to be able to turn your DVD player on and off. You turn your new learning remote to LEARN (some remote may be different but a lot are like this). You then select the button on the learning remote that you want to be able to turn your DVD player on and off (with this kind of remote, you can assign your controls to individual buttons). After you have decided which button needs to be “taught” the new code (to turn your DVD player on and off), you point the DVD remote at the new learning remote and press the corresponding button (in this case, the button you would normally press on the DVD player to turn it on and off). After that, you are done! Now all you have to do is repeat this for all of your other components and all of your other controls (like the “seek” controls on your CD player, you channel UP and DOWN controls for you TV or VCR, etc.). This can get a little time consuming, but it will be extremely convenient in the end.
These remotes can be bought almost anywhere. However, I would not look at buying the $15 ones at your local electronics store. If you want a good one, one that will have a button for absolutely everything, be expected to pay $100+. A good one is the Marantz RC-2000 learning remote. I think this may be between $150-$200 (but don’t take my word on it!). This will do everything you want it to do including take out the dog, wash your car, and do your laundry (ha ha). The best thing to do is write down a list of what you need the remote to do and then go look around at remotes. Your best bet is to look in home theater magazines. Another thing you can do is look at receiver remotes at your local home theater dealer. This is a good idea because nowadays, a lot of these new receivers and amps come with there own learning remotes which can control everything. Also, you can usually buy these remotes separately.