I spend a lot of time bidding out home theaters for people, and not just projector and screen theaters, but simple 3.1 & 5.1 surround sound setups with a 4K flatscreen on the wall. I get asked about Universal Remotes all the time. Yes you want one, and while you’re at it spend the little extra to get the right universal remote.
In my mind there are three tiers of remotes. You have the entry level remotes you find at a best buy or target. Next you have remotes like URC and ProControl. These remotes come with a little more horse power, and support light automation of lighting, climate control etc. Last you have remotes from companies like Savant and Control4. I think you should spring for the remotes from Control4 and Savant. Here’s why.
These are round numbers and not specific to any brand, but it gives you the general idea. A typical universal remote is going to cost you in the ball park of $300. But it’s a handheld device. If you want to use your smart phone or tablet, you’ll add on an attachment for $300 that supports control from your smart phone and tablet. So $600, give or take a little, plus your programming fees to have a remote in the home that controls one room.
Now for $1,000 you can install something like Control4 or Savant and run your TV and media system(s) all from your smart phone or mobile devices. What’s cool is that in addition to running your one TV, the Control4 or Savant system you’re putting in is the same brain or operating system that runs the whole home. So you’re in a position to start integrating in all the items in your home, Sonos Audio, Nest Thermostats, Door Locks, Lighting Control, Security, etc. So that extra money to upgrade you to Control4 or Savant gives you substantially more features.
We carry and sell remotes in the $300 range, and they have their place. Some customers really just want a handheld remote that runs the TV and nothing else. But if you’re thinking about investing in something to run your TV and components from your phone or tablet, spring for the upgrade to Control4 or Savant. You’ll be very happy you did.