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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I actually posted this on the SageTV forums as well, but this seems like a somewhat better place to ask....

Ok, so I've been muddling along for a while with a multitude of remotes for my HT system:

Anthem AVM20 remote

BenQ W5000 remote (behind)

Streamzap remote

STP-HD200 remote

Pioneer DV-C36 remote

Xbox 360 HD DVD remote

Lutron IR Dimmer remote (behind)

And thus far it's "worked", I can pile all the remotes around me and I know what to use to do what operations. I'd like to simplify it but so far it's not been required.

Well all that is changing, I'm building some cabinets for the back part of my theater which will become part of a "bar" area and I'll be moving all my equipment that is no in front, under the screen, into the cabinet, probably in a Middle Atlantic SRSR rack (that's the plan at least).

Obviously this will cause a problem because not only will the equipment be behind the seating area, there will be no line of sight to it. Thus controlling the system will be impossible with the current "pile-of-remotes" method.

So, I'm looking for suggestions for a solution.

Bare minimum, I could probably get away with an IR distribution system and my current remotes, but if I'm going through the effort might as well consolidate everything.

Harmony's are basically out. I've tried them in the past and I don't like them. I think I could deal with the software programming, but they just feel "cheap". I don't like the tiny plastic buttons, and they layout is not very good. The only one that looks like it might "feel" OK is the One, but it's not RF so I'd need to add another $100-200 in IR distribution to it's cost...

Next option is maybe a URC Digital R50+IR repeaters. On the plus side it's a URC, and I've heard nothing but good things about URCs, the layout looks good, but it doesn't seem to leave much room for expansion. And I'm not sure about the on-remote-programming.

Only other option I'm really considering is an MX-880/900/980 with an RF module or maybe an MSC400. I think this woud be the ideal solution, since my AVM20 and W5000 both support serial control (which the MSC400 supports).

The biggest issue is it seems to be rather iffy getting the URC software (I know that issue's been beaten to death already).

Thinking about it some more, I mostly use the remote for the source I'm actively using, but there are a few commands that I need to punchthrough always, those are volume on my AVM20 and the various AR modes on my W5000.

So thinking about it, I guess I'd design my conceptual remote like this:
  • Watch TV/Videos
    • Switch to HD200 Inputs
    • Switch to HD200 remote config (with punchthrough for AR/Volume)
  • Watch Blu-ray
    • Switch to HTPC inputs
    • Switch to HTPC/Streamzap remote config (w/ above punchthrough)
  • etc...

One thing that always kills "universal" remotes for me is having to constantly switch which remote it's emulating (like having to switch from source to projector to change AR).

Anyway, any thoughts suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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