This Sony RM-VLZ620 remote has eight device select buttons: TV, CBL, DVR, DVD, BD, VCR, CD, and AMP. My receiver has eight inputs. I set up this remote so that each device select button launches an activity corresponding to one of these inputs.
For example, when I hold down the CBL device select button it executes a macro setting up my entertainment system to watch TiVo. Likewise with the other seven device select buttons.
There are four system control buttons, and I set up Number 4 to shut off everything in my entertainment system.
The other three system control buttons, as well as the buttons labeled A, B, C, and D, are used for things I do often such as adjust the sound compression level or picture aspect ratio. The PAGE+ and PAGE- keys are used for Power On and Power Off, respectively, for each device (except for TiVo control, where they are used for Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down).
Using a label maker I printed labels for these buttons. This remote is now easy to use, and it's easy to train family members to use it, too. Even little kids who are just learning to read can use it.
One of the things that makes the programming of this remote easy is the fact that my devices have discrete power commands, meaning I can turn them on or off with separate commands instead of using a single power toggle command. In other words, I have no TOAD's. The other is that my receiver and my TV accept discrete input commands, meaning they can be set to any input by sending a single command from the remote. I have access to a programmable remote that I used to teach the discrete on/off commands and the TV's discrete input commands, as they are not on the original equipment remotes.The eight device select buttons and the activity assigned to each
TV: Sony KDL-60W610B television.
CBL: TiVo box (has no power on or off controls)
DVR: iPOD or other MP3 player (no control of these devices, just input set up)
DVD: Wii game console (no control of this device, just input set up).
BD: Sony BDP-S500 blu-ray player.
VCR: fireTV box (using a Flirc to receive IR commmands).
CD: Pioneer PD-M530 CD player.
AMP: Denon AVR-591 audio video receiver.
All of the video switching is done with the receiver. A single HDMI cable carries the video signal from the receiver to the TV. An optical audio cable sends the audio signal from the TV to the receiver for the TV input. I have HDMI control turned off on all devices.
I make a written list of all the device codes used, the learned commands, and the macros. It makes things easier when I have to tweak the remote, replace one of my devices or add a new one, or program another remote for someone else to use.
It does take some time, effort, and thought to set up a remote like this, but the reward is complete control of my entertainment system with a single remote that costs only $20. One of its predecessors, the Sony RM-VL710, gave me nine years of heavy use so I'm hopeful that this one will last a long time, too.
I also own a Harmony 650. I can't quite tweak it to do everything this remote does. But the labeling freedom and extra button capacity of the color screen, and the ease of set up, offsets the more expensive $60 cost. So I recommend it to friends and family members who lack the desire or don't want to be bothered setting up a remote like the Sony RM-VLZ620.