Universal Remote Control

Before the invention of the universal remote, coffee tables and couches all over America held two, three, four or even more remote controls. The number of remote controls might even have been looked upon as a badge of honor in some homes – the more remotes, the more technology. But soon enough, in 1985, to be exact, a software engineer named William “Russ” McIntyre took out the patent on universal remote controls, allowing technologically minded humans to control all their machinery – be it a television, VCR, DVD player, digital video recorder, Laserdisc player, Betamax player, BluRay player or stereo – with one small, many-buttoned instrument.

Though universal remote controls have made our home technology infinitely easier to control, programming them still takes a little technological know-how, especially if, for some terrible reason, your universal remote control comes without instructions. Programming universal remote controls usually includes entering a code, waiting for a light to flash, and then turning the television on and then off again – though sometimes not in that order.

Determining and programming the codes used to program universal remote controls is one of the trickiest parts of using the little devices. For example, say you are trying to program your universal remote control to control your television. According to your universal remote control’s instruction book, you should choose your television’s brand from a long list of brands included in the instruction booklet. If your television is Sony, JCV, Philips, or one of many other very popular televisions, you may find that there are as many as six or eight possible codes for your television. Many universal remotes make you go the trial and error route, following the complicated instructions (remember? Enter code, flash, turn on, turn off) with each code until the television finally cooperates. And that’s just if your remote comes with instructions. Luckily though, if the instructions are somehow lost, most universal remote controls make their unique code set available on the internet.

If you are in the market for a higher end universal remote control, though, you may not have to deal with that drudgery. Some higher end universal remote controls have code lists programmed directly into the remote and are even designed to capture the codes for newer devices as they come on the market. Some of these higher end models even have LED displays and use such new wave technology as Blutooth protocol.

With every new advance in technology, there is inevitably a backlash of naysayers who predict that it will cause chaos and destruction. Did you realize that even the handy little universal remote control has suffered such a fate, albeit comically? The 2006 film Click, starring Adam Sandler and Christopher Walken is the story of a man who is gifted with a universal remote control by a mad scientist. But here’s the catch – not only does the universal remote control work on all his electronics, it is able to pause, mute, fast forward and rewind his entire life.

Not sure what all the buttons on the remote control do, but know that something has gone haywire every time you’ve pushed one of the unfamiliar ones? There’s a solution for that. The popular website Lifehacker suggests dummy proofing your remote control by covering it with a piece of paper and making cut outs only for the most frequently used buttons. That way the next time your buddy’s come over to watch the game you won’t be trying to figure out the difference between the “Vert” and the “Aux” buttons on your universal remote control while the other team scores the winning touchdown.

This Universal Remote Control Review is Written/Updated on Aug 1st, 2009 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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