Why I returned my Sony RM-AV3100 universal remote...

Got the new TV. Love it.

Got the new DirecTV receiver. Pretty much have it working the way I want it to.

Got the Sony RM-AV3100 "Integrated Remote Commander". Not sure I'm keeping it.

Here's what I'm thinking...

It's universal

It's got codes for everything I needed. No big feat, though, given that most of my components are also Sony. And it's a learning remote, so it would have been fine anyway (just a lot more work). As it stands, a half-dozen buttons or so for each of my non-Sony components, and they became totally submissive -- with all the right buttons on the remote doing all the right things. Beautiful.

It impressed me by impersonating my TiVo remote

Extension of it's universality (is that a word?), I guess, but this impressed me enought o deserve note... Plugged in the (only option for a) code for my Philips TiVo, and it immediately got the picture. I was able to do just about everything I'd ever want to do with my TiVo remote. I guess I'm easily impressed, but I expected it to be harder than it was.

It's got macros

I can record them. They work. But I can't associate them with any of the primary (real) keys on the commander, only with keys on the LCD screen. What I really wanted was to press "DVR", and have the commander turn on the TV, turn on my receiver, select the right audio and video inputs, and thank me for my time. But alas, no such possibility seemed to exist.

It looks cool

As far as the space-aged, scare-your-parents, impress-your-friends look-and-feel goes, this thing's got it. I'm impressed.

It has a touch screen

Reeeeeally don't like this part. I thought it'd be all cool that I could custom reconfigure buttons, and I do like that feature in a vacuum. The bad part is that it's clumsy. And in the dark, I can't see what button to press. Yes, there's a backlight, but my eyes aren't the greatest, so it's still a bit hard.

It gets smudgy

"Smudgy" probably isn't a word either, is it? Either way, I'm kind of obsessive, and I just don't know if I can handle the fingerprints all over the touch screen. Yeah, I know this is silly, but.....

It's got a backlight

Simple. Necessary feature. Liked it.

It's hard-core

Perhaps my 2nd biggest beaf, next to "clumsy". It's made to be able to handle any requirement, no matter how complex (well - except the "associate a macro with the "DVR" button" requirement above). I guess my expectations are too high thinking that it should do everything I want it to exactly the way I want it to, and no more. But still, the reality is that I feel a little overwhelmed by all the different keys always available to me. (And did I mention that they're clumsy?!)

It's manual was confusing

I have to say that it was a big book of "goto" statements. For those without a software background, here's what I mean... The thing was chalk full of "After step 7 on page 13, then...", which appeared after step 4 on page 24, which referred to something on page 4, which...

It failed the parental test

No way my parents even came close to being able to handle this thing. And that in fact was one of my tests.

And the final straw...

In my TV-buying frenzie, I spent like $180 bucks on this thing at Circuit City, and Newegg has it for $69.99. Game over! So, even if someone turns me around (as to whether or not I keep it), I'd be re-getting it there.

Other places to buy...
Always check Froogle

Other reviews...
RemoteCentral, ePinions, CNet


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