A quality RCA universal remote can make the rest of your electronic remote controls redundant, as long as you’re aware of which features it should include. Buy the wrong type or model and all of the reasons you bought the URC for in the first place will be pointless, if you still need to cling on to one of more of your old remotes.
In this article we’ll explain how the new controllers work and which features you want on your model.
Most major universal controls work on the same premise – to control using special built-in codes, the electronic devices scattered around your house and perform all the same functions that the parent remotes would. How the new remotes achieve this performance is what makes them stand out from the crowd.
To get the most out of your new URC it really needs to have the capacity to control hundreds if not thousands of electronic pieces of equipment, after all, that is the main reason why you’d buy the controller, so this is the most important feature.
There are three ways in which a URC harvests these codes; via a built-in database, by encompassing a learning function or having a Wi-Fi facility/CD/DVD disk setup sequence.
Realistically, all universal controllers should have a decent sized database built-in, as this allows you to start using the remote straightaway. The database should be fairly exhaustive and include thousands of brands and associated models. If the list is somewhat small, the usability of the remote could be called into question very quickly.
You don’t need to despair if the remote falls short of having a remote rolling code complete database, many URC’s overcome this disadvantage by utilizing the learn function. A very popular and thankfully common attribute is the ability to transmit the code from the old device to the new one. The manual will detail the procedure, but its usually a simple transfer to store the codes on the new controller.
A third option can overcome the first two functions. A Wi-Fi capability will allow the device to connect to the internet and update the remote codes on the URC via the manufacturers’ online database. You can also update the remote by using a CD/DVD. These disks often come pre-packed with the URC and offer an alternative to the online connection; however, once they’ve become outdated, you’ll need newer copies, which may incur fees.
All of the above features are incredibly important for the future of your new URC. If you can’t make the device future-proof, then it will quickly lose the ability to control newly released electronic items.
The main functions have now been covered, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other considerations before you buy. Look at styling and the ergonomics of the device as well as an intuitive user interface. Pick a model which you feel comfortable holding, look for an ergonomic fit that sits easily in the hand.
Check out the various user interfaces (UI) available, as some top models feature large LED screens with touch screen options, so the graphics can also play an important part and need to be easy to read. Also look for sensible button placement in the layout.
To wrap things up in this article we’ll just say a quick word on useful extras that can take the RCA universal remote from being good to being great. Does the URC include a dock with which to stand and charge the device? Are the keys powered by backlights? Two simple factors that can greatly improve performance and enjoyment.