Home Theater Review

 

Universal Remote, Home Theater Remote Controls & Home Automation ReviewsInformation

A man's castle may be his home but he can't rule supreme without a well programmed home theater remote control. Today's remote controls range from the non-backlit junk that comes in the box along with your components to well done, affordable universal remote controls that cost only a few hundred dollars. Today, many of these remotes can be easily programmed by the end user via the Internet with pre-packaged settings for thousands of the most popular Home Theater electronics. For bigger systems and more elaborate home automation systems comes RS-232, wireless Internet controlled touchpad-based remote system from brands like Crestron. The overall theme of all home theater remotes from $199 to $5,000 is that a remote is only as good as the remote programmer. Below find a comprehensive list of home theater remote controllers, control devices and much more from the best brands including Logitech, Pronto, Crestron and so many more.

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Crestron MLX-3 Remote Control Reviewed

Crestron MLX-3 Remote Control Reviewed

By Jerry Del Colliano

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

Crestron's latest handheld remote is as simple, powerful, and reliable as anything money can buy today. Unlike the old days, an entire Crestron system with a "brain," a remote, and professional programming can be had for about $2,500. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

It's that time of year again. The HomeTheaterReview.com staff has discussed all the products reviewed over the year and decided which ones rated the best. Check out our list of the best of 2013. Read More

 
DVDO Quick6 HDMI Switcher

DVDO Quick6 HDMI Switcher

By Adrienne Maxwell

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

With HDMI more and more becoming the default connection for components, older systems may not have enough connections. Enter the DVDO Quick6 which seeks to remedy that problem and more. Read More

 
Logitech Harmony Touch Universal Remote Control

Logitech Harmony Touch Universal Remote Control

By Adrienne Maxwell

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

Logitech has replaced the Harmony One universal remote with the Harmony Touch. HomeTheaterReview.com reviewer Adrienne Maxwell takes a look at the Harmony Touch to see what's new. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

It's that time of year again. The Home Theater Review staff has looked over all of the year's impressive offerings - of which there were many - and narrowed it down to what they believe to be the best of 2012. Read More

 
Griffin Beacon Universal Remote Control System

Griffin Beacon Universal Remote Control System

By Adrienne Maxwell

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

The universal remote market is a continually shifting place now that mobile devices have apps that can make them into remotes, and, if what Adrienne Maxwell says is true, Griffin may have just completely changed the game. Read More

 
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with Peel Smart Remote Reviewed

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with Peel Smart Remote Reviewed

By Adrienne Maxwell

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

With the amount of touch screens available to consumers these days, there seems to be less and less of a reason to by a universal remote. Adrienne Maxwell takes a look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with the Peel app to see if it is a worthy replacement. Read More

 
Peel Universal Remote Control and iPhone App Reviewed

Peel Universal Remote Control and iPhone App Reviewed

By Adrienne Maxwell

Overall Rating
3 Stars
 

Apple's products have become more and more important to the home theater market. Almost every manufacture is trying to introduce the iPhone, but Peel's Universal Remote is an attempt to you the iPhone across multiple devices with the same app. Read More

 
Logitech Harmony 300 Universal Remote Control Reviewed

Logitech Harmony 300 Universal Remote Control Reviewed

By Adrienne Maxwell

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

In search of a more basic universal remote, reviewer Adrienne Maxwell picked up the Logitech Harmony 300 universal remote. How did the remote perform? Read about the tests Adrienne Maxwell put it through. Read More

 
Aidacase Keycase Folio Deluxe iPad Case Reviewed

Aidacase Keycase Folio Deluxe iPad Case Reviewed

By Pierce O'Toole

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

People's big beef with the Apple iPad (other than the lack of Flash) is that it can be hard to type on. Well cross that objection off the list thanks to Aidacase's Keycase Folio Deluxe iPad Case. It protects and props up your iPad and provides a full keyboard. Read More

 

Remotes & System Control Reviews Wiki

1.0 Overview: What is a Universal Remote?
2.0 Types of Remote Controls

2.1 Factory Remote Controls

2.2 Learning Remotes
2.3 IR Remote Control Systems
2.4 IR Repeater Systems
2.5 RF Remote Control Systems
3.0 Touch Panel Remote Controls

3.1 RS-232
3.2 Keypads
3.3 Aftermarket GUIs


1.0 Overview: What is a Universal Remote?
A universal remote control is a programmable remote control for home theater use that can control each and every component in a home theater system. Many of today's remotes download the needed code for all of the required equipment in your rack via an online interface. Simply tell your Web interface which cable box, which Blu-ray player, which receiver and which DVD-Audio player you have and, within seconds, the codes are downloaded into your universal remote. Hard buttons on the remote are assigned to the basic standards sent from the remote company. Information is sent for onscreen controls, assuming your remote has an LCD screen. Users can modify these commands if desired past the remote company factory standards.

2.0 Types of Remote Controls

2.1 Factory Remote Controls
Factory remote controls range from basic functionality to full learning remotes. Audiophile components tend to come with heavy, metal remote controls that are designed to make you feel like you are in control of a serious piece of equipment. AV receiver remote controls tend to be OEM "learning" remote controls that potentially teach your entire system's commands. HDTVs come with some level of learning, but neither receivers nor HDTV remotes compare to the functionality and ease of use stereotypically found with the better under-$500 universal remote controls on the market today.

2.2 Learning Remotes
Learning remotes can accept code that enables them to control other components in your system. Non-learning remotes only control what they are factory programmed to control.

2.3 IR Remote Controls
Most AV components, especially older ones, are infrared (IR) controlled, which requires a direct line of sight from the end of the remote to the AV component and sometimes results in less-than-perfect control of systems.

2.4 IR Repeater Systems
Larger AV systems using IR devices often use IR repeater systems, which connect the IR "eyes" on your gear with repeater elements that connect to a control block. This block connects to a main eye that receives commands from your primary seating position. This is a good, affordable way to get control of your entire system.

2.5 RF Remote Controls
Radio Frequency (RF) remote controls are a more expensive option than IR, but they work far better. No longer do you need to point your remote directly at your components. In fact, you can have your gear in an adjacent room and the commands work like a charm. Today's better universal remotes are RF-controlled.

3.0 Touch Panel Remote Controls
Touch panel remote controls are the king of the "wow" factor, as these beaming, large, color command systems allow anyone in a family to have pre-programmed access to virtually every function of a home theater or home automation system. Touch panels range in size from a few inches to 20-plus inches. Touch panels can be hardwired (faster and more reliable) or can be wireless via a network or Bluetooth (more mobile). Touch-screen remotes and home automation systems require professional installation by an AV integrator, as they are complex and require significant amounts of hardware, control wiring, custom code and beyond in order to make them function in accordance with the client's needs.

3.1 RS-232
RS-232 is a hardwired, locking connection system that allows many slightly higher-end AV components to talk to each other quickly and effectively. RS-232 is the AV industry standard for connectivity, although Ethernet connections to the Internet have also become quite popular for AV components in recent months.

3.2 Keypads
Keypads are in-wall, often smaller versions of touch-screen remotes. Often located near lighting or security controls, these keypads can operate any number of functions around the house, including distributed audio, distributed video, HVAC, security cameras and much more. Keypads can be as small as four inches and as large as the largest touch-screen remote (more than 20 inches), as they all can be installed in someone's walls.

3.3 Aftermarket GUIs
While custom programming is one of the most profitable and sexy elements of a modern-day home theater and/or home automation sale, there are a number of companies that sell pre-made interfaces that look quite good and have many of the most popular components pre-loaded and ready to work on your Crestron, AMX or Control 4 remote control system. While there is a cost to these pre-made pages, they often can save you money in overall programming time. Also, just because a custom installer is technically very capable doesn't mean he/she is a good artist. Your remote might end up looking far more sexy when you use a pre-made graphical user interface.