Too Many Remote ControlsEvery consumer audio/video product has a remote control and once you have 3 or 4 devices attached to your TV, you have a coffee table full of remotes. Do you have too many remote controls in your home? Each device will claim how easy it is to use but when combined with the other devices, it is a disaster. Input 1 for this. HDMI 2 for that. Volume control on everything yet none actually controls the volume.

And with the advent of apps for our mobile devices, we are promised even better ease of use with each device having its own app. Unfortunately this solution is no less complicated and just leads to the virtual or digital coffee table full of remotes.

And all this in the name of being entertained.

By far, this is the biggest frustration I hear clients talk about and is also the biggest reason people cringe when considering any new electronic devices in their entertainment system. I have never heard a customer not express fear about a system being too complicated. Everyone cries for it to be simple.

And I couldn’t agree more.

So how is this done? How do we add new features and devices without adding complexity? Is it even possible to make a system simple to use without too many remote controls?

The answer is yes. It is indeed possible to have a system that is easy to use.

The pathway to simplicity is to use a programmable universal remote control or control system. There are many good companies which create these products and when professionally implemented, you will have a system that is easy to use. These products are specifically designed to manage the activities between different devices and manufacturers in order to make the collection of components act like a single system with one point of control. The majority of these systems have a purpose built hand held remote control that has just the right number of buttons for controlling your system. The better solutions will also provide some sort of app for your mobile device that can then act as a universal remote (see my December article on this).

The most important consideration when looking to purchase a universal remote control solution is not the hardware manufacturer…. it is the programmer/installer. Anyone, even a big box retailer or online retailer, can sell the hardware but it takes a trained professional to make it work. Kind of like a fine meal, just buying great ingredients will not ensure success if you do not know how to cook. It’s time to get rid of too many remote controls.

You should expect to spend a minimum of $1,000 (programmed & installed) for a nice to use, reliable universal remote system. Once you have this, you will be able to enjoy using your entertainment system instead of swearing at it which, by my account, is priceless.

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