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  • So it’s an extremely geeky solution and not one for everyone but…

    Years ago I chose my favourite remote (from my selection of 10s) and used LIRC to program it such that it could control my PVR at the time, MythTV.

    LIRC basically accepts commands from the remote and converts them into commands into your computer.

    I notice now there’s a MacOS port for this: https://github.com/andyvand/LIRC . So maybe technically minded users might be interested, if you have a remote you want to re-use.

    A lot of computer based media players, for the front room, will already have their own remote. But for those that don’t (JRiver? HQPlayer?) you might be able to use this.

    You could probably define a LIRC -> AppleScript bridge to control iTunes or something (sorry – there’s probably already a way of doing that).

  • I have been using the Blumoo Remote App for about a year or more and love it. Originally started out with the Harmony smart hub and ended up sending it back as the Blumoo with iPhone App and Hub and it is much easier to set up and customize than the Harmony. I use a variety of equipment including an almost vintage receiver with my new TV. Blumoo is a small company it seems but very co operative and have always been able to resolve any issues I have had with setting up special tasks. Works great, give it a try.

    • Added information on Blumoo. I use the iPhone App on my iPad Pro and I love it. I only wish they had an iPad app that would let me customize the layout a little more but it works fine. Also might mention that their support has been fantastic. I had a couple of unique situations with what I wanted to do and they were able to solve my issues.

      • Sorry to hear that as it works great. I do know that the last time I talked to them they were having problems. Oh well I will use it until it quits.

  • TV/video remote control became complicated when TV sound systems became horrible again. I say “again,” because starting in the 1980s (and stereo TVs) internal speakers eventually got better. And then we got flat screen TVs and all of that disappeared, with tiny, tinny-sounding speakers aimed at the floor instead of larger ones aimed at you. And so you needed a separate audio system just to regain the basic sound quality that old TVs provided.

    In the late 80s/early 90s, Panasonic (first with its high end PRISM line, and later with its Superflat models) had decent-sized speakers deep inside the cabinet, funneled through tuned enclosures to narrow slots in the front, on either side of the screen. They sounded so good, we used to demo the TVs by playing audio CDs through the TV’s aux inputs. They could fill a room with decent sound!

    In our living room today, we have a surround receiver as a way to regain sound quality but make it all simpler. The receiver acts as hub for both audio and video but we only use its remote control for source selection. And that’s only if we don’t feel like getting up to turn one of the two large knobs on the unit. That’s actually easier, because the way the buttons are arranged on the receiver’s remote makes it always appear to be inside-down. SO, I in fact typically pick that remote upside-down …

    HDMI (with ARC feedback control) allows the TV volume to control the surround receiver’s volume (TV speakers remain turned off.) And, the receiver also powers on whenever the TV is powered on.

    The only video source we use that needs remote control is Apple TV, and we’ve told it which buttons on the TV’s remote to pay attention to, via its learning feature. The typical play/pause/next buttons already present on the TV remote work fine here, and we use two additional buttons not typically used on the TV’s remote for the menu/back nav functions of the AppleTV.

    Even simpler, would be instead a soundbar that included HDMI source switching with ARC control. But that wasn’t common when I was shopping, so (again, ironically) you could have just a TV and soundbar and still need 2 remotes, even if both units from the same company.