How many remotes are on your coffee table? Well if its anything like mine was, the answer is at least three. One for the TV, one for the cable box , and one for the DVD layer. Heaven forbid you have a surround sound system in the mix. Most men and some women live this nightmare every day. They answer the call, “hey honey why don’t you see what’s on the TV” just so the other partner doesn’t have to figure out which one to use.
My wife, used to have me turn on the TV, tune the cable box, and adjust the volume so she could watch her favorite shows. There I was doing the hand/remote ballet, picking up the TV remote turning the TV "on", picking up the cable remote turning it "on", then hitting the "guide button" finding the channel, and then adjusting the volume up or down depending on the ambient noise in the room at the time. Which, by the way, is always louder then when she sits down to watch the show. Then the inevitable “honey please turn it down” or "up" depending on the case. I always tried to answer “baby can’t you?” and the response was either “well you have the remote” or “you know how technology challenged I am” and she would look at me with those lovingly lost eyes.
My days of being the "Remote Master" are gone! Thank goodness! They come in different shapes and sizes, from operating two devices to everything in your house, some have buttons, some have touch screens and some have mixture of both. I am talking about the universal programmable learning remote. I took my three remotes and made them into one simple easy to use and understand remote. Skeptical? Let me put it this way, I am no longer asked to turn the TV on, turn the movie on, or adjust the volume. I bought a middle of the road remote that is activity based. By that I mean, to watch TV you press the button that says Watch TV and shazam, the TV turns on the cable box turns on and you use the same remote for the volume and channel changing. To watch a movie you press the button that says "WATCH MOVIES" and again everything turns on and bam you are doing it. These life savers are wonderful they do it all and can’t be easier to use even for the so called "technology challenged" and because it is predominately touch screen based, it has big buttons so I can see it.
My remote wasn’t cheep as some of the so called "universal remotes" are but it was well worth every penny I spent. The key to the ease of use in a universal remote is make sure it has these two important words on it, "Activity Based". This means that when you press "Watch TV" it turns everything on and readies the remote for the appropriate commands to be sent out to the proper equipment for volume, guide, channel, and mute. This is accomplished by programming macro commands and assigning them to one button. Macros are individual commands sent in a specific order from the remote to each piece of equipment. Make no mistake in the world of universal remotes price means everything. When you buy an "Activity Based" remote they need to be programmed by a professional. Prices on "activity based" hand held remote controls vary from $300.00 programmed to as high as $2,500.00 programmed or you can get rid of the coffee table and remotes and get a remote table for a mere $10,000.00 unprogrammed. But no matter which one you purchase make sure you and your significant other can spend a few minutes with the programmer before he begins so he can ask questions about how the remote will be used and who will use it most often. This will help guide him in his programming and make sure it is functional and is easy to use for everyone.