More Than a Remote
Many people have found themselves attempting to watch a television show, DVD, VHS, etc. only to find themselves wading through a plethora of remote controls trying to discover which one provides the desired function. Thanks to a new approach, and a device that would be insulted to be called a "remote", these complexities are now a part of the history books.
An automatic control system (ACS) is a small handheld device that provides a single, activity oriented, interface for all of your audio/video equipment. Being activity oriented, you no longer have to think "I'm going to turn on the DVD Player with the DVD remote, turn on the TV with the TV remote, switch the TV to the correct input with the TV remote, and then use the DVD remote to control playing, pausing, etc. Instead, with an activity focused ACS, you simply select "DVD" and the ACS automatically performs all of the above operations and then only shows buttons that relate to the activity you have chosen. If you would like to hide your AV equipment in another room, the ACS will still control it, since they control these devices via radio waves instead of conventional infrared signals that require line of sight.
Most ACSs today are touch screen. You are only presented with buttons that relate to the current activity. In addition, they have recently become much smaller and sleeker making them easier to hide when not in use. Many systems allow for two way communication with your equipment. That means that, if paired with a digital jukebox for example, the ACS can read the contents of the jukebox and present you with a list of your collection directly in the palm of your hand.
How can you choose the most comfortable system? First, there are certain actions that are desired for all activities. This can include volume control. No matter what activity is chosen, volume control will probably be desired. For functions such as these it is most comfortable to have hard buttons so that you can find them without looking. In addition to hard buttons, look for a clear, spacious touch screen which can display the activity specific buttons. Finally, look for a good installer. Avoid installers that use devices such as IR repeaters that require you to aim the ACS at a sensor. The installer should also be thorough in verifying that the system doesn't leave unused devices powered on when they are not in use.
Automatic Control Systems make operating everything from the simplest audio/video systems to the most complex entertainment systems as easy as turning on a faucet. Even guests will be able to use your equipment without asking questions.