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View Full Version : Are there any decent remotes controls?




jamesvdm
Jul 23, 2012, 11:05 PM
If the AppleTv remote had volume controls it would be ideal. Small, simple, light, tactile.

Is there anything even remotely similar?



Jefferyd32
Jul 24, 2012, 12:37 AM
Love my Harmony One! It's a bit dated now, but it works great!

jamesvdm
Jul 24, 2012, 02:27 AM
A remote that needs computer programming doesn't meet the simplicity requirement :(

chibiterasu
Jul 24, 2012, 02:59 AM
Get the remote app for your iPhone from apple.

ssgrif
Jul 24, 2012, 03:19 AM
lost my remote ages ago, since then I've been using the Remote app and also the Constellation app (for xbmc) on both my ipad and iphone and never looked back.

szolr
Jul 24, 2012, 03:28 AM
If the AppleTv remote had volume controls it would be ideal. Small, simple, light, tactile.

Is there anything even remotely similar?

I'd love to know this too :D

HobeSoundDarryl
Jul 24, 2012, 07:47 AM
It will fail the simplicity request, but consider a learning universal remote. I have the MX-850 from Universal Remote Control, Inc. It is the best remote I've ever had (literally one remote to rule them all). You need access to Windows to program it but it can do anything including learning new remote codes as I buy new A/V equipment and executing custom macros (a bunch of remote commands in a sequence). I use the latter to create a "setup" button for each mode (apple TV, cable, Blu Ray, etc) and the "setup" macro button is one push to set up everything.

The iDevice remote app is great but it doesn't work if you are not single living alone... unless you are going to leave your iDevice behind when you are out and about. Otherwise, the roommates/family are going to be mad at you for taking the "good remote" out with you.

These remotes last a long time (I think I've had this one for maybe 7+ years now), easily evolving as the A/V stack changes over time.

JAT
Jul 24, 2012, 03:17 PM
A remote that needs computer programming doesn't meet the simplicity requirement :(
I completely disagree. Have you ever tried a basic universal remote? Their programming is often horrible. There are remotes that succeed at simple for usage, but the programming part is not, often it is the most complex. (I'm talkin' bout YOU, Weemote) The Harmonys have a very easy learning curve, it's a step by step online program that should be easily understood by most. Harmony is the best at achieving simplicity both in programming and use.

That said, I don't use Harmony, I also have a URC remote. I wasn't looking for simple myself, I need macro power like HobeSoundDarryl.

For those looking for a simple LOOK:
There are basic remotes with 10 or fewer buttons. Just search through Amazon. But they may not be able to be programmed for what you want, like an ATV. The best would be a learning remote. Perhaps you could find an original Harmony (http://www.buy.com/prod/harmony-sst-748s-web-based-universal-learning-remote-with-activity/90124886.html), the kind with only a few buttons. IDK what their support is for these, though. Here's another spot (http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bin/mboard/whichremote/thread.cgi?1903) to help search. Great website.

jamesvdm
Jul 24, 2012, 08:29 PM
Thanks for all the replies.

Re remote app - doesn't have any power or volume controls. Plus finding and unlocking my phone, then launching an app is just painful, and the points HobeSoundDarryl made.

Re Harmony remotes - I gave a 785 a very decent trial and hated it by the end. Swelling batteries, buttons losing their click, terrible dock, bad battery life, clock wont keep time and resets everytime the battery runs out, horrible software... I could go on.

I may have found exactly what I'm after on Amazon though (thanks JAT for the suggestion). It's called the Acoustic Research ARi3G, and it's basically the Apple remote with volume, power and source select buttons. And it comes pre-programmed for the Apple TV as a bonus. I found one on eBay for $20 (Amazon doesn't ship to here). I'll report back when it arrives.

CrAkD
Jul 24, 2012, 11:00 PM
another vote for harmony 1. not that difficult to plug it into the computer select your components and what source everyting has to be on.

lazaro
Jul 25, 2012, 01:51 AM
+2 for harmony one really is a good control and my parents have the harmony 880 which is also good

takeshi74
Jul 25, 2012, 09:24 AM
A remote that needs computer programming doesn't meet the simplicity requirement :(
I completely disagree.
+1. URC's may take some effort to program but they're certainly simple to use. That said, to each his own. Harmony may be a good fit for many but they're just nowhere near as flexible or capable as the MX-350 and MX-980 that I use.

You need access to Windows to program it but it can do anything including learning new remote codes as I buy new A/V equipment and executing custom macros (a bunch of remote commands in a sequence). I use the latter to create a "setup" button for each mode (apple TV, cable, Blu Ray, etc) and the "setup" macro button is one push to set up everything.
You don't even need a setup button. I have macros bound to the device selection buttons that handle the setup (select receiver input, select TV input, discrete on etc).

HobeSoundDarryl
Jul 25, 2012, 09:44 AM
You don't even need a setup button. I have macros bound to the device selection buttons that handle the setup (select receiver input, select TV input, discrete on etc).

Yes, it can be set up that way. I stick with a dedicated "setup" button macro as I sometimes want to make changes without actually changing the mode on the various devices. For example, the family might be watching a movie on the TV while I'm listening to an iTunes song through :apple:TV via Zone 2. I might want to skip to the next song but I don't want to interrupt the movie. Since simple stuff like that can be done without actually seeing the :apple:TV interface on screen, I don't really need the mode to change in any visible way. Instead, I just go into :apple:TV mode (on the remote only), skip to the next song, then switch the mode back to DirecTV. The movie is not interrupted but I accomplish what I want to accomplish.

carlgo
Jul 25, 2012, 10:21 AM
Harmony 1 is not at all ideally simple to set up, but at this time seems to be the best way to control a number of components with one remote.

Surprising that someone hasn't developed an Apple-like universal remote, if not Apple itself, some ex-employees like the ones who developed the thermostat.

mslide
Jul 25, 2012, 10:44 AM
URC is my remote brand of choice. I tried Harmonys but URCs are simply better, although the higher end models can get pretty pricy.

For simple setups, I use a URC R50. I have one for each of our Apple TV setups. It's pretty cheap, about $50, considering what you're getting (color LCD). It is not computer programmable, which I consider a plus for simple setups. It's technically not an activity-based remote but it's easy to program it in such a way that it feels like an activity based remote, which is what I do.

If your only devices are a TV and an AppleTV, then a computer programmable remote is overkill.

For more complex setups, I go with URC's MX line and RF.

milbournosphere
Jul 26, 2012, 09:28 AM
+1 for the Harmony. Yes, you'll have to take your man-bits out of your purse to program it, but after the programming is done it is quite simply the easiest and simplest remote I've ever used. I bought one for my mom's entertainment setup, and that's saying a lot. She's no techie but she picked up on the remote's functionality immediately. It passes my mom test, so I'd recommend it to anybody.

kenaiking
Jul 26, 2012, 11:30 AM
Can any of these remotes use the IR on the Mac Mini like the apple remote?

emaja
Jul 26, 2012, 10:39 PM
Can any of these remotes use the IR on the Mac Mini like the apple remote?

Yup. I have an ATV2 and a mini programmed into my Harmony One and it works like a charm.

In reference to the difficulty of setup, yes it does take bit to set it up, but once you have it right it is done.

hipnetic
Jul 27, 2012, 07:29 AM
I may have found exactly what I'm after on Amazon though (thanks JAT for the suggestion). It's called the Acoustic Research ARi3G, and it's basically the Apple remote with volume, power and source select buttons. And it comes pre-programmed for the Apple TV as a bonus. I found one on eBay for $20 (Amazon doesn't ship to here). I'll report back when it arrives.I was going to mention that one. Here's a link for it (http://www.amazon.com/Acoustic-Research-Universal-Compatible-Products/dp/B003EYV238/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343391532&sr=8-1&keywords=ARi3G). Only $11 and it's definitely simple. Backlit buttons, too. I was thinking about buying one just for fun. Let us know what you think.

For me, I kinda need a bit more functionality because I also have a Windows Media Center computer (as my DVR) in my bedroom and XBox 360s as Media Center Extenders in other rooms, so I bought a few Logitech Harmony 650's a while back when there was a good deal on them. But they've got *way* too many buttons on them.

If Apple could score some sort of deal with the major networks whereby I could drop my cable subscription, I'd love to have just an AppleTV and could then get by with a simple remote and single UI.

Remember that the ATV can *learn* the signals from any remote control (a very cool feature). I used to be a long-time TiVo user and, despite the lack of backlit buttons, my family could all operate the remote without looking. It's not slim and tiny, but it feels good in the hand and I'd certainly recommend it.

That said, considering how many ATVs have been sold, you'd think we'd see more beautifully designed, simple and small, 3rd party remotes.