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Old 03-06-03, 11:05 AM   #1
audrey
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Join Date: Sep 1999
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TOADs, DUDEs, Remotes, and “best” buys (long)

Given the sheer number of What’s the best _____ for under $ _____ threads lately, I thought some members might benefit from a potential purchasing factor that is rarely discussed here---TOADs.

After living with a HTS for some time, some users grow annoyed with the array of remotes cluttering the coffee table and purchase a universal remote to help simplify their lives. To further improve ease-of-use, many of these users create macros (a series of commands executed by a single button press) to perform common functions. For example:

Turn On The System: power up the receiver, the TV, DVD player, etc.
Power Off The System: turn off the power to the receiver, TV, DVD, etc.
Watch A DVD: power up the system, change the receiver’s input to DVD, change the TV input to component, set the appropriate TV color mode, etc.
Listen To The Radio: power up the system, change the receiver input to Tuner, jump to the “default” radio station, change the sound field to the preferred setting for FM, etc.

It’s during the macro recording phase, that problem arises …all too often the user discovers he has a TOAD (Toggle Only Actuated Device). There are basically two types of remote control commands: toggle and discrete. A toggle cycles through a predefined sequence of commands, e.g. Power On,/Power Off. or TV Tuner/Video 1/Video 2/Video 3. In contrast, a discrete command executes a single function, e.g. Power On, Select Video 3, Raise Center Channel Volume, etc. Devices that support discrete commands are sometimes called DUDEs (Device Utilizing Discrete Extensions).

The problem with using toggles is that, unless you have a very sophisticated remote that can store system states, macros tend to get “confused” and may fail to work properly. For example, say you want to create a macro to watch a DVD as described above. If all of your devices support discrete commands, it’s an easy task: send “Power On” commands to each device (if the device is already on—nothing changes), send the change TV to the component input command (if the device is already set to this input, nothing changes), etc. But if the TV is a TOAD, how does the remote know if the TV is already powered on or what input the TV is currently set to? It can’t.

True, there are workarounds for some TOAD issues; e.g. some DVD players will power on with a Play command. To power off the DVD player you create a macro that sends “play” then “Power” (which toggles the unit off). These kludges work, but are prone to error.

I realize that to some of you these issues may seem like little more than anal retentive nits. But for anyone who has a SO or frequent guests or children who have difficulty comprehending the six pages of notes you’ve scribbled out to explain how to turn on your system and watch a movie, universal remotes and macros are life savers. If you are one of these people, you might want to invest some time upfront to learn if the device you are considering is a TOAD or a DUDE. Here’s a few approaches:

• If you are shopping at a specialty store that offers custom installation and remote control programming, ask them; they should know what devices they sell support which discrete commands.
• Check the Pronto TOAD list at remotecentral: http://www.remotecentral.com/files/use-ir.htm. This list is a good start, but it’s not comprehensive.
• Post a query in the appropriate forum at remotecentral.
• Check the Advanced Command List for the One For All/Radio Shack remotes: http://www.hifi-remote.com/ofa/adv-codes.shtml. FWIW in my experience this list is often inaccurate.

Happy hunting.
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Old 03-06-03, 11:34 AM   #2
drmoze
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Join Date: Oct 1999
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Good post! Let me add my new experience--just purchased a *great* remote, the MX-500, after reading many discussions and reviews at remote-central and other places. This remote combines the best of both worlds--a well-populated hard-button style *plus* an lcd screen up top that labels 10 adjacent buttons (5 on each side, and 5 characters per label). There's enough memory to learn commands for every single button on each of the 10 devices. So you can use preprogrammed codes, learn everything from existing remotes, or a combo. Plus there are extensive macro programming capabilities. And (for tv viewing) the lcd screen has a "FAV" button below that cycles through 5 pages of favorite channels that you can program in and label. (That's 50 total favorite channels).

Regarding the TAD/DUDE issue, the sites audrey linked above have *tons* of info on discrete commands. I had no problem getting foolproof DUDE macros for my Mitsu tv, Yamaha receiver, Panasonic DVD player, and Mitsu VCR. (Our Sci Atl cable box *only* has a toggle for the power, alas.)

As an example of one trick, the new Mitsu rp's do not have discrete on/off or input select codes in the remote. *But* (I found out) you can change the factory remote by holding in the power button and entering '090.' This gives the power button a toggle ON command, the stop button becomes toggle OFF, and the various a/v inputs (Ant A-B, Component 1-2, and AV 1-4 on my set) can be accessed directly through a combo of the input switch plus a number on the remote. So, all of these 'hidden' discrete commands can be learned to the MX-500. Wow!

Anothe rnice feature of the MX-500 is that each device (10 total) has 2 full 10-button lcd pages associated with it. I use one for remote commands that don't fit well on the hard buttons below, and the second page I use for direct access to the various sound modes on my receiver.

This is the first 'universal' remote I've ever owned where I really can put away my original remotes permanently after programming and not lose any functionality.
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NOT THE SAME: affect/effect; lose/loose; compliment/complement; then/than; palate/palette; site/sight; peek/peak/pique; advice/advise; allude/elude; holy/wholly; accept/except
SPELL: d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e; r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s; r-e-f-r-i-g-e-r-a-t-o-r; w-e-i-r-d; c-e-i-l-i-n-g; s-e-p-a-r-a-t-e
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Old 03-06-03, 03:34 PM   #3
...except
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Awesome thread...I have a new Mitsu RP, and that '090' code just saved me lots of frustration with my Sima. Thanks!
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Old 03-06-03, 06:40 PM   #4
drmoze
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One other thing-- to return to the original Mitsu remote settings, hold down the power button and enter '000'. Also, many of the discrete and special codes are found in the discrete, one-for-all, *and* home master theater remotes forums. There's lots of Pronto info and codes too, but I haven't checked those...
__________________
NOT THE SAME: affect/effect; lose/loose; compliment/complement; then/than; palate/palette; site/sight; peek/peak/pique; advice/advise; allude/elude; holy/wholly; accept/except
SPELL: d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e; r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s; r-e-f-r-i-g-e-r-a-t-o-r; w-e-i-r-d; c-e-i-l-i-n-g; s-e-p-a-r-a-t-e
NOT ENGLISH: alot; wallah; spendy; would of; could of
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Old 03-07-03, 06:56 AM   #5
audrey
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Quote:
Originally posted by drmoze
There's lots of Pronto info and codes too, but I haven't checked those...
To use Pronto codes with the MX500 (or other learning remotes that do not have a computer interface), you need 2nd remote that supports JP1. First you convert the Pronto code, then download the new command to the 2nd remote via the JP1 cable, and finally learn the new code from 2nd remote to the MX500. A bit of a pain, but it works. The advantage of the Pronto codes is that there are TONS of them.

For MX500 users there's a product called IRClone which provides a computer interface for programming the MX500 and doing Pronto code conversion. The same company also offers an app to backup the data from a MX500 to your computer. Only drawback--it's about $90 (w/ the required IR cable) and still in beta.
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