Friday, February 13, 2009

Universal Remote

I’m the type of guy who takes pride in his entertainment center. I have an ostentatiously large television and a broad assortment of components and hi-fi equipment to go with it. I like to get the full benefit of all of it. The AppleTV is running through the TV and the receiver. The DVD player and record player (when not broken) is running through both as well. Each component has a prescribed audio setting and proper cables. I even manually renamed the TV input channels to suit their corresponding component. The back end is a thicket of cables that could strangle a boa constrictor.

My only shame has been that since switching to the latest cable service and getting the TV, I haven’t programmed a universal remote for everything. Having to juggle up to 3 remotes was making me feel like a failure of a father and husband. These things are clearly under my jurisdiction and I was letting everyone down.

Over the years I’ve become quite the master of home entertainment electronics. My resume features mastery of such elements as:

Switching from DirecTV to Comcast, back to DirecTV and finally to Service Electric Cablevision without skipping a beat on the TiVo.

Integrating the following components into the entertainment center: Air Tunes, (iTV) AppleTV, multiple DVD players, VCR, Phonographic Turntable and a Nintendo Wii

Familiarity with RF Modulators, iPod AV docks, Piggy Back RCA cables, IR Cables for the TiVo

There is an empty cardboard box under the bar in the den so chock full of wires and jacks that it looks like a Radio Shack was crushed into a cube. The fact that I hadn’t bothered to unify the remote controls seems like a disgrace.

While joining the flock of tech vultures at our local Circuit City, I picked up a Sony model and I got busy teaching special functions with end to end laser communication like a mad scientist until all the original remote controls were stripped of their batteries and resigned to the box in the den. Including the colorful and cumbersome cable box unit that had been the bane of my existence during countless sporting events. (If you can’t tell, I’ve been reading Updike recently)

Of course to make all this magic happen, I needed to follow two important gentleman rules: Follow directions & Check the Batteries I spent a frustrating 25 minutes wrestling with the thing before deciding to allow my wife’s advice to sink in and recharging the batteries before proceeding. It was one of those did-you-check-that-it’s-plugged-in moments. Where you loose sight of the forest. I should probably add: Welcome and Heed Advice to the rules of universal remote programming as well.

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