I recently set out on a quest to find one remote to rule them all. I was sick of needing 6 remotes. The problem was I refused to bother unless I could truly replace them all. Not have “most” of the functionality, but never have to touch them again (of course there are many functions that I never ever use, but that’s beside the point). One big sticking point was my TiVo. Obviously it has some very specialized buttons, and I love my little TiVo remote.
After much research I narrowed it down to a few choices. I decided I definitely wanted buttons, and not a touch screen. I’ve heard many people say you never realize how much you navigate by tactile sensation until you don’t have it. There was a $100 the MX-500, remote that could “learn” any key from any other remote, and was mostly hard buttons with a small lcd that has some programmable buttons, but in the end I went with the One For All URC-6131, which is made to accommodate TiVos and TiVo like devices.
Of course the normal $18 one wasn’t good enough though. Since it’s not a learning remote, you have to rely on pre-programmed codes, which many times have most, but not all the functions you want. Therefore I got the hot rodded model with a special chip and a JP-1 interface, and included JP-1 cord to hook up to my computer. This required delving into the world of JP-1 which is very techie, and not for the weak hearted. There are entire sites, a Yahoo group, forums, and more dedicated to it. I scoured them learning about programming codes, EFC’s, Hex codes, OBC’s, and many other spoonfuls of alphabet soup. I got a few of my devices working with no problem, but a few were determined to be difficult. There was a steep learning curve, but just as I was about to give up on it all, I had a breakthrough, and from there, things started flowing.
After many posts on the forums, I determined that my best solution was to buy another remote, the One For All 8810w, available at Wal-mart, purely as a helping tool. The reason being, that it can “learn” 4 buttons, and is JP-1 ready, so I could learn buttons from my remotes with the 8810w, then use on of the programs to look at the learned codes, and use that information to help me program my own device upgrade with a few proprietary programs and spreadsheets, and upload them to my 6131,which really is the best of the bunch as far as form and function. The designers really put a lot of thought into, and I am impressed.
I am happy to say that I now have one remote that controls all 6 devices in my entertainment center, and does so marvelously. There are now 7 remotes put away in the entertainment center cabinet (6 devices, and the extra universal used just for learning buttons so as to steal their code).
In addition to that, we got Jess’s website going (aside from email which up to the web host to figure out what’s up), got her started on Movable Type, and got her Reblogger working (for Lisa’s sake), ran a bunch of errands today, and framed our authentic Egyptian papyrus scroll. All in all, it’s been a productively geeky weekend.