Home Theater Controls
We got four new pieces of home entertainment electronics and they all came with their own remote controls. Along with all the old ones, not to mention cordless phones, we have a veritable pile of similar shaped things with buttons.
On a good day, I can get by with one remote and one cordless phone. The cordless phones are easy, even though we have three different ones. We got them all at different times, so I was able to adjust to them slowly. I didn't have to figure them all out at once. Also, I try to avoid all the fancy features, mostly on principle.
The remote controls are another story. There has got to be a better way of dealing with this stuff. I am pretty sure I only use half a dozen buttons on any control. Some remotes can be programmed to operate other devices, but I tried that a few times and it hasn't paid off. Several years ago I bought a Universal remote and dutifully programmed. Then the batteries died and it forgot all I taught it. Wonderful. When we got the DVR from Verizon I thought I might try again. So I dutifully tried all of the codes they listed in their book for Panasonic. None of them worked. What a crock. I supposed I will have to call Verizon, or go visit their web site or something to get this straightened out, but you know, I really don't want to have to mess around with this.
Here's an idea: contact programming. You hold the remote up to a spot on the device and press the program button, the remote sends a request to the device for instructions, and the device beams them back to the control. You require contact to eliminate confusion. You are also going to need to label some of the buttons dynamically, which will mean some kind of screen. And for Pete's sake, put some lights in these things. I want a light button that causes all the buttons to be illuminated so I figure out which button I need to push.
Are any of these remotes any better than any other? I like the one's that use AA batteries instead of AAA, but only because I expect the AA's to last like forever. Triple A's are constantly dying and they are expensive for the amount of power they hold and they save you, what, half an ounce of weight? Big whoop. Other than that, they are all about the same. Someday someone is going to come up with a remote control that is run with the fingers, rather than the thumb. I mean you have four fingers and only one thumb. Fingers are longer and can cover more area, why would you want to use your thumb for all this button pushing? Because your fingers are holding the device. There has to be a better way.
My wife's car has radio controls on the back side of the steering wheel. You cannot see them, but they are easy enough to operate. Of course, there are only a few buttons, not the sixteen zillion there are on these remotes. There has got to be a better way. Maybe somebody will come up with one. Maybe I will. Someday.
Update December 2016 replaced missing pictures.
1 hour ago