Universal Remote ControlsWhilst switching on a television is not the hardest thing in the world to do, turning the television off, and switching on the hi-fi can be more involved than it should be. Not sure what we mean? Well we’ve all been in the situation where the remote is not where it should be, so there is the inevitable exercise in looking down the back of sofas and under chairs, only to find that when we do locate it the batteries are flat, and we’ll need to get up and switch the hi-fi on manually anyway!

This is where the universal remote control comes in enabling you to easily switch on and off individual components without the hunting for all the different remote controls. Universal remotes have been around for a long time now, but it is only really in the last few years that they have really become easy to use, advanced in their capabilities, and most importantly, easy to set up. The latest remotes simply connect to your computer via USB, you tell it what audio visual equipment you’ve got with the easy to use software, and it does the rest. You then unplug it and use it – simple. You can then control each of your devices from the single remote control freeing you from the inevitable ‘hunt the remote’ exercise.

Whilst just having one remote is a definite advantage, the real power of the advanced remote control comes in the form of macro functions where they perform a set of steps to perform a common task. For example, you can set up an activity called ‘Watching a Film’ and use the simple online wizard that comes with the remote control to select what components are involved in the activity – whether they are simply your DVD and Television or a more complicated set up like a Blu-ray Player, amplifier, home cinema projector and electric screen. Then when you want to watch a film, you press the button and hey presto, the devices come on, and the hi-fi that you were listening to is turned off. You can also instruct the remote to turn off, or dim, your remote control lights if you have them for the ultimate cinema effect!

We’ve highlighted some of our other top reasons for buying an advanced universal remote control.

  • Easy to find in the dark – The latest remote controls are back-lit, so when watching a movie in low light, or in darkness, you can still read the buttons when you want to. Some of them also light up automatically when picked up.
  • Rechargeable – Many remotes are also available with a recharging cradle so they can be recharged when not in use to save having to keep replacing batteries
  • Simple Design – the beauty of most modern universal remotes is that the design is so simple – all the main frequently used buttons are easy to access without the multitude of extra buttons you rarely use to confuse matters
  • LCD Screens – The interactive display can help you change the settings on the remote, perform the activities you have programmed, and also give you access to the all the other (often lesser used) functions of the original remote. Many of the latest remotes have full colour LCD screens, for the ultimate clarity.
  • Top Brands – Universal remotes are available from a number of manufacturers but the most popular ones are from Logitech and Philips.

If you have any more than 2 remote controls, we think a universal remote is essential, so much so you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one.

Visit our section on remote controls to see what products are available, and what we think of them.

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