Can anyone recommend a cheap universal remote that can learn one task that involves two devices?
November 5, 2008 2:49 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a cheap universal remote that can learn one task that involves two devices?

So, I've modded my xbox, installed xbmc and got it working as a media centre for the bedroom, including making it work on the wireless network. It's all working really well, except that we currently have to use two remotes to control everything! Since the only thing that the TV in the bedroom does is work with the media machine, it is very frustrating to have to use two remotes for it all the time!

In the main room we have a harmony 525 remote, which is excellent, but it seems like overkill for the bedroom, since there is only one activity we want to do on the bedroom machine. I've had a look at the usual suspects for cheap universal remotes, but I have two problems with most of them. 1. They usually only work with codes, and it seems most of them don't have a code for the xbox remote and 2. They all have buttons for "TV", "VCR", "DVD" etc, and I think it's stupid that I'd have to press "TV", then press on, then adjust volume, then press "XBOX" (or whatever) and then press play. I don't want to have to select the device, I want it to know that play goes with the xbox and volume goes with the TV.

I guess what I really want is a simple remote with all the usual buttons that will allow me to "learn" the buttons on the other two remotes by pointing them at it, pressing a button on the original remote and then pressing a button on the new remote to learn it. Does something like this exist? It would seem a sensible idea, but I'm struggling to find it.

BTW, I'm in Queensland, Australia if it makes a difference. I'd ship internationally, but prefer to buy locally if I can, since the Aus dollar has tanked against the USD in recent months!

Thanks all!
posted by ranglin to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a Harmony and love it - I assume that you don't want to share that remote between the bedroom and the main room?

If all you're using it for is controlling the media centre/TV, which presumably won't be used very often, wouldn't the cheapest solution be to add another device or two to your current Harmony?
posted by Nixie Pixel at 3:37 AM on November 5, 2008

I bought a Digitor branded LCD touchscreen remote from Dick Smith a couple of years ago and it has been fantastic. I just had a look on the DSE website and couldn't find it, but they might still have them instore.
posted by threeze at 3:59 AM on November 5, 2008

seconding the Harmony.
posted by agentwills at 6:26 AM on November 5, 2008

I've previously used One For All remotes that—if you're willing to put in the time—are pretty hackable (just google for "all for one remote hacks"). And they're pretty cheap. If you just want to control volume on one device while keeping the mode set to another device, they offer a "punch through" feature for volume; more generally, they allow you to transplant any action from one mode to another.

The problem is that it's a PITA. If you value your time, the Harmony winds up being a better deal.
posted by adamrice at 6:48 AM on November 5, 2008

Philips/Magnavox makes a really affordable series of learning remotes. I paid around $20USD for one a few years ago.
posted by advicepig at 7:26 AM on November 5, 2008

I have a Home Theater Master MX-500, which has macro and punch-through capability that I use for everything except my PS3 (bluetooth-only). You can visit the RemoteCentral forums to get an idea of what you want, post for recommendations, and generally get the scoop. That's where I figured out which one I wanted when it came time to eliminate the 5 remotes from my coffee table. Now it's just one remote and the PS3 controller.
posted by rhizome at 9:17 AM on November 5, 2008

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