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Which Remote?
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mj1856



Joined: 12 Jul 2004
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 11:46 am    Post subject: Which Remote? Reply with quote

Hi,

I currently have a Cinema 7 remote that I've been using with the various JP1 tools for the last couple of years. It's cool because my system has separately switched video and audio - which is easy to do with one button, thanks to macros. Anyway, it's working great, but I'm looking for something a bit sexier.

I heard there are some JP1 remotes with backlit buttons, LCD displays, etc... What do you guys recommend?

Advance thanks for any and all advice.

Thanks,
Matt
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Nils_Ekberg
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can start by looking at this

Which remote

It will get you started and can ask more specific questions from there.
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Which Remote? Reply with quote

mj1856 wrote:

I currently have a Cinema 7 remote

...
mj1856 wrote:
but I'm looking for something a bit sexier.


It's just a remote Laughing

mj1856 wrote:

I heard there are some JP1 remotes with backlit buttons, LCD displays, etc... What do you guys recommend?


If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

backlit buttons and LCDs are helpful before you really know how to use the remote. After that you should be able to use the remote without looking at it. Other models are not nearly as easy to use one handed without looking as the Cinema 7. So if you have it and it works and you're used to where the keys are, there is no where to go for improvement.

If you want to change anyway, most of the current models have backlit buttons. The 8910 and (if you can still find it) 15-2116 are the common models with LCD display (though I think LCD display is pretty useless).

I think the generally best current model is the 8811. It's also about the least expensive model if you don't want to do your own soldering (to modify a 6011 etc.). It isn't as easy to hold and operate one handed as the cinema 7 (or even as the 15-2116). Its button layout isn't as intutive (and easy to use by feel) as the cinema 7 (though it's better than most models). But it has about the largest total number of buttons, which is often a big advantage. When I was using a Cinema 7, I always wished it had a few more buttons. When I set up the 15-2104's I use now, I was more imaginative in configuring the extender for modal use of the remote, so I no longer feel like I need more buttons, but more would still be nice.

As of yesterday I can only find 3 of my 6 15-2104's. Two of the missing ones have been missing quite a while. I really rely on having a bunch of identical remotes every one of which controls every piece of remote control equipment, so I may be approaching time to switch to 8811's myself (Rob once said he can get me a deal on a pack of six).
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John
When I watch TV, I want to look at the TV not at the remote.
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mj1856



Joined: 12 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Which Remote? Reply with quote

johnsfine wrote:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Ok - point taken. Maybe I should rephrase.

I love my Cinema 7 - I can use it without thinking. The reason I'd like the backlit display is because I like to watch TV in the dark and the glow-in-the-dark buttons are usually faded dim by the time I need to see it.

But my primary reason for a new remote is that whenever my friends come over - they have no clue how to work the thing. I can explain until I'm blue in the face, and it's really simple with the setup I've done, but they still don't get it. I'm hoping with an LCD display that I can make it more intuitive with some feedback about what mode it's in, etc.

Perhaps it's just the way I've set it up. Let me describe my configuration breifly:

I have a Toshiba hi-def tv with a Kenwood receiver. I don't use the audio on the tv at all. The receiver has awesome audio support (5.1, dts, multiple digital ins, etc.) but poor video switching capability (only composite and svideo). But my TV has enough video inputs, so I just switch audio and video seperately. The key is the macros I've built into the remote. So when you push the macro for DVD, it switches the dvd on, turns the TV and receiver each to their proper input, and leaves the remote device set to DVD. I use audio-passthrough so that volume controls work regardless of mode.

I have each of these device-switching macros assigned to the shifted device key on the remote. So for DVD, you press "shift-DVD". For vcr, it's "shift-VCR", etc... I have dvd, vcr, direc-tivo, and high-def sat all setup the same way.

I also have a macro I've assigned to the main power button that toggles power on every device. To power a specific device, it's "(device) shift-power".

The only problem is that if you're not holding the remote at the right direction, some of the devices don't get the signal, so perhaps the tv won't power on, but everything else does. So then you have to know what device to power up, and power that one seperately - otherwise it will be out of sync with the others.

So it's really not too difficult - it's just not intuative to my friends. Especially when you have to know what button maps to the special functions in each mode (like to switch between widescreen and normal, or to use the instant replay or skip features on the tivo). Sure, if I bought one of those multi-hundred $$ touchscreen remotes I wouldn't have this problem - but that's not really something I want to do (hence JP1).

So - are there any remotes that might make things easier for my friends? If I get one with an LCD at the top, how programable is that?

Thanks again for the advice.

-Matt
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Which Remote? Reply with quote

mj1856 wrote:

So - are there any remotes that might make things easier for my friends? If I get one with an LCD at the top, how programable is that?


The JP1 LCDs are pretty much NOT programmable. They also aren't aligned with buttons, and they're too small to provide much info.

They can remind you which mode the remote is in, but they can't tell you anything useful about what it means to be in that mode.

The JP1 remotes really don't offer anything to address the "easier for my friends" requirement. The Kameleon models have the basic structure (touch screen), but aren't programmable enough to do anything with it, so they just provide the worst aspects of both (hard button vs. touch screen).

I'd hate to use a touch screen remote myself on my own system, and I'm much to cheap to buy a good touch screen remote for vistors using my system (and everyone I visit, whose TV etc. I've used has the old seperate remote per device and no desire to fix that). But I think a good touch screen remote is the only way to make a really visitor friendly system, and there is no JP1 model that does that job.

With discrete codes (sounds like you lack those) and macros on device keys, and a few other extender features, you can get much more visitor friendly than a basic universal remote. But still far short of a well programmed touch screen.

I usually ignore this aspect of universal remotes, because I assume people mainly use their own home entertainment systems and do other things when visiting.
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Ellen



Joined: 03 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The only problem is that if you're not holding the remote at the right direction, some of the devices don't get the signal, so perhaps the tv won't power on, but everything else does. So then you have to know what device to power up, and power that one seperately - otherwise it will be out of sync with the others.

This will be an even bigger problem with the newer UEIC remotes. I have found that the Cinema 7 has a much stronger signal (due to two IRs instead of only one) than the 6011 and 6131. I can point my Cinema 7 in just about any direction and have my gear respond. The 6011 is much less powerful and needs to be aimed more directly at the entertainment center.

I always liked the Cinema 7 in part because it has a few more buttons that are available for function assignment in device upgrades without keymoves than some of the other remotes. If you are not using an extender, this may save some precious keymove/macro memory.

Speaking of extenders, the newer remotes do have cooler extenders available with advanced features like Long/Double Keypress. The C7 extenders have not been updated to include the newer stuff.

Speaking of which, John did you ever find the source code to the 2 published versions of the C7 extender? I think you said at one point that looking for it was on your to-do list.

The 6011 does feel good in the hand if you have small hands or if you are a clutcher. It does have a backlight. But the backlight comes on when you release a button, not when you press it (what on earth were they thinking?!). There may be an extender that changes this behavior but I'm not 100% sure about that.

And I can't believe that you let your friends touch the remote Wink
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jon_armstrong
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Which Remote? Reply with quote

mj1856I wrote:
have a Toshiba hi-def tv with a Kenwood receiver. I don't use the audio on the tv at all. The receiver has awesome audio support (5.1, dts, multiple digital ins, etc.) but poor video switching capability (only composite and svideo). But my TV has enough video inputs, so I just switch audio and video seperately. The key is the macros I've built into the remote. So when you push the macro for DVD, it switches the dvd on, turns the TV and receiver each to their proper input, and leaves the remote device set to DVD. I use audio-passthrough so that volume controls work regardless of mode.


The Toshiba HDTV's made in the past few years have discrete power commands, that may help a little: EFC 006 Discrete On; EFC 010 Discrete Off

The Kenwood probably does not.
Have you tried ToadTog?
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mj1856



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jon_armstrong wrote:
Have you tried ToadTog?


I haven't - but I'm not sure it would help. The idea there is that the remote keeps track of the mode based on toggeling an internal bit when you power on or off - so you can treat it like discrete when it's not. Correct? Well if the ir signal doesn't reach the receiver, it's going to assume it did and I'll still be out of sync. Right?

If I could get discrete-on working on all the devices, then I would still need an "on" and "off" button on my remote - my cinema 7 just has the big red power button. Perhaps I should get some paint out and make "macro 1" and "macro2" look pretty.... Anyone ever re-painted their buttons??? lol. I have no clue even what kind of paint to use... hehe

The goal here is to make it more intuitive for guests, my girlfriend, mom, etc.. I hate always being called to the TV when it can't be figured out.

Thanks
-Matt
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mj1856 wrote:
If I could get discrete-on working on all the devices, then I would still need an "on" and "off" button on my remote - my cinema 7 just has the big red power button. Perhaps I should get some paint out and make "macro 1" and "macro2" look pretty.... Anyone ever re-painted their buttons??? lol. I have no clue even what kind of paint to use... hehe

Another option...
POWER = power on
SLEEP = power off
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mj1856



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Which Remote? Reply with quote

johnsfine wrote:
The JP1 remotes really don't offer anything to address the "easier for my friends" requirement. The Kameleon models have the basic structure (touch screen), but aren't programmable enough to do anything with it, so they just provide the worst aspects of both (hard button vs. touch screen).


I wasn't sure what you were talking about so I just looked up the Kameleon on OFA's website. It looks like it would work great. Why aren't they programmable enough to do anything? I looked on the yahoo JP1 group and there are a couple of extenders for it that look promising. Can you elaborate on why I wouldn't want one?

Thanks,
Matt
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The general feeling among JP1 experts is that the Kameleons are all flash and no substance. Their basic premise is to hide any buttons that are not needed in an attempt to make the remote less confusing to the less skilled user. The remote hides buttons that are not used for the selected device type (eg, you wouldn't need PIP when in CD mode, etc).

Most JP1 experts have found a use for all the buttons, even PIP in CD mode, and most of us don't find it confusing to have too many buttons on a remote, so we're not exactly the Kameleon's target audience.

But, that being said, if you like the look of the remote and think it's the one for you, I have some available that I have modified to be JP1 ready (ie, I have soldered in a 6-pin connector, so you won't need to get a pogo-pin adapter).
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jon_armstrong
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me make an observation based on a couple of comments you made earlier:
mj1856 wrote:
jon_armstrong wrote:
Have you tried ToadTog?
I haven't - but I'm not sure it would help. The idea there is that the remote keeps track of the mode based on toggling an internal bit when you power on or off - so you can treat it like discrete when it's not. Correct? Well if the ir signal doesn't reach the receiver, it's going to assume it did and I'll still be out of sync. Right?


I didn't quite understand your skepticism about toad tog so went back and more carefully read one of your prior posts that explains it:

Quote:
The only problem is that if you're not holding the remote at the right direction, some of the devices don't get the signal, so perhaps the tv won't power on, but everything else does. So then you have to know what device to power up, and power that one seperately - otherwise it will be out of sync with the others.


I think that the root problem you are tying to solve is this inconsistent reception problem without aiming properly. I think there could be two broad reasons for this:

1. That there is a range, obstruction or other geometry problem that makes this unreliable or,

2. That your macros take a long time and the "friends and family" don't keep the remote pointed at the target long enough. It is also possible that one or more of your units have blind periods when they can't "see" another IR command after being powered on for several seconds.

Whatever the cause, I don't think you will have reliable results until you fix or understand that underlying issue.

Possibility 2. may be easily remedied by using the extender. The extender speeds up macros tremendously. Rearranging the sequence can help also.

Possibility 1. could be everything from the IR emitter being pushed too far back into the remote and reducing beam width to placement of the equipment. There are also blasters and repeaters.

I think if you can get reliable IR reception ToadTog would probably work fine. With unreliable reception, I agree with everything you said.
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Nils_Ekberg
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though I have written all but one of the Kameleon extenders I will not jump in here and defend the Kameleons. Partially because I am not overly fond of it's short comings either such as not all buttons showing all the time (except home theater mode) and the shorter life for the batteries.

Ironically, I have 2 remotes programmed identical in my primary viewing room and they sit side by side. One is the URC-9960 Kameleon and the other is an RS 15-2116. I did that to see what the acceptance level would be with family and visitors. It seems that lately I don't lean towards either one and just grab the one that is closest and my wife does the same thing. However, guests seem to gravitate to the Kameleon and get the hang of it quicker since they just use the basic functions and can press and hold DVD to watch a DVD or CBL to watch regular TV etc. without much education. Actually they can do exactly the same with the 2116 but the Kameleon is more eye appealing and looks easier with less buttons showing.
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mj1856



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jon_armstrong wrote:
I think that the root problem you are tying to solve is this inconsistent reception problem without aiming properly. I think there could be two broad reasons for this:

1. That there is a range, obstruction or other geometry problem that makes this unreliable or,

2. That your macros take a long time and the "friends and family" don't keep the remote pointed at the target long enough. It is also possible that one or more of your units have blind periods when they can't "see" another IR command after being powered on for several seconds.


I think it may actually be both. The tv's ir receiver is on the opposite side of the rest of the equpiment stack, and it does take awhile for the macro to run completely.

jon_armstrong wrote:
Possibility 2. may be easily remedied by using the extender. The extender speeds up macros tremendously. Rearranging the sequence can help also.


I haven't tried using an extender yet. Perhaps I should give it a try and see if it gets better.

jon_armstrong wrote:
Possibility 1. could be everything from the IR emitter being pushed too far back into the remote and reducing beam width to placement of the equipment. There are also blasters and repeaters.


I'll check the IR emitter. It's just on two folded pins like an LED, right? So I should be able to bend it out a few millimeters. I guess an IR repeater would work too, but it seems like I shouldn't need it - the sitting area is far enough back to bring both the TV and the equipment stack into range.

jon_armstrong wrote:
I think if you can get reliable IR reception ToadTog would probably work fine. With unreliable reception, I agree with everything you said.


Ok, well then I'll focus on the reception issues first before I start playing with toadtog. Thank you so much for your advice. Smile

-Matt
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mj1856



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nils_Ekberg wrote:
I have 2 remotes programmed identical in my primary viewing room and they sit side by side.

Nils_Ekberg wrote:
guests seem to gravitate to the Kameleon and get the hang of it quicker


Sounds like a good plan - keep both and see what works best. Perhaps I'll try the Kameleon afterall - but I'm going to wait until I can get everything else going first. It might take some time to play with the extender and discrete power codes and ToadTog on my existing C7.

Thanks again for the advice.
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