As home entertainment technology becomes more feature-filled and affordable, more people require an advanced form of remote setup. This is to overcome the problem of having so many remote controls that you do not have enough space on your desktop. Generally an advanced remote setup will involve some form of universal remote control. This is a device intended to perform the functions of multiple remote controls in a single unit. The number of remotes which can be replaced varies depending on the sophistication, and thus the price, of the device.
Universal remotes have a variety of different ways of sending the correct signals to your equipment. The most basic simply have preset commands for common devices such as TVs, DVD players and video recorders. Often only a few main commands can be carried out with such a remote, though this may not be a problem for most everyday use.
A more advanced method of remote setup is a remote control which can be programmed. This involves typing in a code which corresponds to the particular make and model of each device you wish to control. If the instruction manual does not list your equipment, searching online may produce some suggestions for the number needed. Some less popular brands may not be covered by all programmable remote controls.
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An even more sophisticated method is the "learning" remote. This will have a sensor towards which you point your existing remote and click each button in turn. The replacement universal remote control will then "learn" the necessary signals for future use. In some cases you will only have to click one or two buttons for the learning remote to identify the make and model of device you want to control and then figure out the rest of the signals itself.
Battery life is an important concern when deciding on an advanced form of remote setup. By definition, you will click on the buttons of a multi-function remote more often than the remote for a single device. This sends out more signals and thus uses battery life quicker. It's therefore worth making sure the batteries on your selected remote replacement have a decent lifespan and are easily replaceable at an affordable price. An alternative to this is to look for a set-up that uses a rechargeable battery or batteries, either through a traditional battery charger or through plugging the remote itself into a wall socket or charging through a USB connection to a computer.