Home Control
Two-Way Remotes: Better Signal, Less Frustration
Should you splurge on a two-way remote control? Depends on whether you enjoy the aggravation of repeatedly pressing buttons without seeing results.
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Niles’ iRemote is a two-way RF handheld controller designed to work with the company’s IntelliControl ICS multizone audio system.
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September 25, 2007 by EH Staff

Why should you get a remote control with two-way RF? And what is it, anyway? Good clicker god in heaven, all you want to do is operate your home entertainment system, and now you need some complicated two-way scheme!

Let’s start with a brief rundown of the types of wireless control technologies. Some remote controls use infrared (IR) signals that require you to point the clicker directly at the TV, DVD player or whatever. We’ve all used these. Others use radio frequency (RF) that doesn’t require a clear line of sight. This is great if you want to store your audio/video equipment in a closed cabinet, closet or another room, because the RF signal filters around and through walls and doors.

Many RF remotes are one-way, meaning the signal is sent to the component you’re operating, and that’s it. Two-way RF sends a signal back to the remote, confirming that the signal has been received—and ensuring (we hope) that you don’t sit there and repeatedly press the button, thereby turning something on and off and on and off while you sit in another room and cuss about technology that doesn’t work. (Just admit it because we’ve all done it. Why, Mr. Technology here has even blamed bad IR and dead batteries, when in reality, his big dumb feet were in the way!)

Do you need two-way RF? No, but it’s nice to know whether the signal was received. Higher-end remotes and touchscreens generally have two-way RF, and it is great to have if your equipment is stored in another room. If you have this kind of setup or a more involved home entertainment center, we recommend going two-way. It sure beats pressing a button over and over again.

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