3/03/2011

RCA RCRP05BR 5 Device Cable Replacement Universal Remote (Black) Review

RCA RCRP05BR 5 Device Cable Replacement Universal Remote
Average Reviews:

(More customer reviews)
This is an exceptionally versatile device but it needs some effort to realize its full potential.It's a JP1.3 class remote, meaning that if you procure the related 6 pin cable (the connector is in the battery compartment) you can program it from your PC.This approach gives you the greatest flexibility though I managed to accomplish everything necessary without the cable using just the keyboard on the remote.

As a JP1 device it will accept Enhanced Function Codes which are not even mentioned in the skimpy instruction sheet.Further, the Volume Punch Through instructions provided by the manufacturer are wrong.The site referenced below will allow you to fix that.

With help from experts on the JP1 remote forum (hi-fi-remote dot com) I was even able to program full functionality for my Insignia NS-BRDVD3 BluRay/Netflix player (not available from Amazon, try BestBuy), something the distributor said was impossible!

I was also able to completely replicate the functions (and more) of the remote which came with my AT&T Uverse DVR (a Motorola VIP1225) using the code finding and then the learning functions.The code for my box is 1998 and is not mentioned in the provided code sheet.The RCA supports all the record/pause/rewind etc. functions of the remote provided by AT&T.

Once you have used the basic four digit device codes to set up your equipment, you can then start entering EFCs to realize full functionality generally missing from the four digit one-device-code approach.Five digit EFCs are frequently available on the JP1 forum or, if not, the experts there will figure them out for you.Once you have them you can confer full input switching on this remote.For example, I use a Sony receiver and MacMini with my Vizio TV and can now switch inputs for both the TV and the receiver using the RCA.In the case of the Insignia BluRay player there is no basic four digit code that works and the learning mode does not work either.The Insignia must be controlled with 5 digit EFCs, available by searching the web.A related advantage is that the RCA has better range and ergonomics than the remote provided by Insignia.

Once you have full EFC codes input the final step is to create macros to automate sequences of steps.While only two keys are labeled 'Macro' on the RCA you can actually assign macros to any key other than the mode keys so the potential here is vast.I have now fully emulated the 'activity based' approach adopted by the far costlier Harmony range of remotes, meaning you can have one button macro programmed for 'Watch TV', another for 'Watch DVD', etc.Additionally, you can create macros to, say, jump directly to TV Favorites, something the Uverse controller does not support.

Drawbacks?Well, it needs some time and effort to learn just what this remote can do.Some of the keys are small and they are not backlit.And as an IR device, your equipment must be line-of-sight for everything to work. Finally, the provided instructions and code sheet barely scratch the surface of what this remote can do and in some instances are simply incorrect.

There are many JP1 class remotes available with like functionality, but you will not begin to to realize their true potential until you invest some time in learning what they can do.From what I have learned most of (maybe all) the One-For-All remote range is JP1 class so you have many alternatives if the ergonomics of this RCA do not work for you.You can recognize a JP1 remote by the presence of a six pin connector.

The two AA alkaline batteries shipped with the remote lasted only 14 days.Mercifully, the programming is stored in non-volatile memory so is retained even when the batteries die.There's no knowing how old these were when the remote arrived here, but I have replaced them with two Lithium AAs which claim a 7x life advantage (at considerably higher cost).I'll report back when I have some data.

The RCA + some effort on your part constitute a wonderful value.

Making it even better - Update:

As our young boy was having difficulty pointing the RCA just so at the various devices, I added a Hot Link Pro Remote Control Booster System.This device is basically a far more sensitive IR receiver which can detect the weakest of signals from the RCA - bounced off walls to its out of sight location works fine - and then routs the received signal to up to six IR components through an optical fiber cable which is attached over the IR receiver in each component.It works exceptionally well and even activates the fussy Insignia NS-BRDVD3 BluRay/Netflix player correctly, so long as you take care to place the Hot Link's sender correctly over the Insignia's receiver.A little experimentation and it's perfect.I use the Hot Link with four devices (TV, Sony receiver, DVD player and AT&T Uverse DVR (Motorola VIP 1225)).I have found you can point the RCA to the wall behind you and it still works!I mounted the Hot Link IR sensor on the back of the TV facing a wall and completely out of sight.This is like having RF functionality in an IR device.

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Product Description:
The RCA 5-Device Cable Replacement Universal Remote is designed especially for cable systems, with a form factor and key layout modeled on what millions of cable customers already know and use. Like all RCA remotes, it's easy to program and easy to use. Its navigation clusters put DVR, guide and interactive functions together in groups that are easy to access. Its specialized red, blue, yellow and green keys unlock advanced features on cable or satellite systems as well as Blu-ray disc players. And the RCA 5-Device Cable Replacement Universal Remote is among the first designed specifically for digital and HDTV, offering digital TV converter box codes and support for new features such as HDTV sub channels.

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