Automation for your home theater can be as simple as using the factory remotes to having a custom programmed Crestron controlling the whole home. A theater with good automation can be much more fun to use than one without it.

Things to consider automating are…

  • Turn System On/Off
  • Volume
  • Audio Processing Mode (Stereo, Prologic IIx…)
  • Source Selection
  • Lights
  • Curtains
  • Thermostat

When selecting a universal remote there are several features to consider. The first is if you need an RF (radio frequency) compatible remote. These can be very useful for controlling equipment not in the line of sight of your theater seats. When selecting an RF remote make sure it is compatible with RF gear you want to use it with. Z-Wave for example is a common solution for RF controlled lighting or other devices.

Another solution for devices not in the line of sight for your remote are IR blasters. These devices can repeat the IR information from your remote to your IR controlled gear.

X10 is another option to consider. This allows devices to be controlled over your household 110V wiring.

Other features you should consider when purchasing a remote are….

  • Flexibility
  • Buttons (some people prefer the tactile feel of buttons)
  • Touch Screen (some people prefer touch screens)
  • Complexity (can you program it or do you need help)
  • Size (is it a good size for your hand)
  • Weight (is it too heavy for you)
  • Reliability (some are more error prone and some are more durable)
  • Illumination (how the remote is illuminated can be a big deal in a dark theater)
  • Will it fit with the charger where you want it?
  • Does it handle discrete codes for my equipment?