Universal Remotes: A First Step in Home Automation

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Why do we love to talk about automation so much? What does it mean to add automation into your smart home or media room? Do universal remotes really make it easier to control technology, or do they just make things more complicated? Let's talk about all these things and more, and see which universal remote is right for you.

We love automation.

Adding technology into any (or every) room in your home can bring you to a new level of luxury and comfort - but only if it's done right. Many of our customers are skeptical about adding "too much" tech to their home, and understandably so. Some have said, "I like the way it used to be where I pressed a button and it worked." This is what automation does: it removes the complexity from the control systems and brings back one-touch controls.

In media rooms or home theaters in particular, we believe automation is essential. Most media rooms have a TV, sound system, cable or satellite box, streaming services, and a Blu-Ray player. You can easily end up with a stack of remotes so high it nearly blocks the screen. Automation allows you to use all these devices from one controller.


If you have more than 3 devices in your media room, or if you have multi-room audio and surround sound in the same system, you should consider using a universal remote to simplify use.

The Risks of Sloppy Automation

Universal remotes are powerful machines with sophisticated hardware and software components. As a result, not every company is equipped to handle that power competently. Trust us, we've seen it all. With some low-end remote brands or unqualified integrators these remotes end up being as complex as using 5 separate remotes. Some systems we encountered had poorly programmed logic that required multiple button clicks or got stuck when it got an unexpected command.

Over the years we've come to new customers' homes and found many sloppy universal remotes that worked about half the time. We've also tried a handful of remote brands while searching for one we can depend on. All of our smart home platforms have dependable controls for complex systems. And when it comes to a trustworthy universal remote brand, we use RTI.

Remote Technologies Inc.

RTI is our trusted vendor for the best universal remotes on the market. They have robust hardware and flexible software - a dream for any remote programmer, if they know what they're doing. This means mechanical buttons don't get jammed, touch screens don't fade, and the infrared or radio frequency emitters last the lifetime of the remote. It also means we, as integrators, have completed control over the logic and timing of signals sent from the remote.

RTI offers a suite of products perfect for automation jobs small and large. We recommend them for every media room and require them for every theater room we install. We install them in the family room to control the TV, sound system, cable, and streaming devices. It makes it all the more satisfying to relax and enjoy that space. On the other end of the spectrum is their theater or whole-home automation systems.

For example, when we install a home theater, you will click one button that lowers the lights, lowers the motorized shades, turns on the audio receiver, fires up the projector, and selects the video source. Check out the video below to see it in action!

Thinking of upgrading your family room or home theater setup? Call today.

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