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The dark gray plastic of the case has changed a little since the prototype model I saw during CES 2000, with a new tactile coating making it less slippery to hold. The molded edges of the two case halves fit nicely around all sides and allow for minimal twisting action. Conversely, the battery case cover didnít fit as well and actually protruded out the bottom right corner. It would seem that a more substantial locking tab was in order. On the bottom left side of the remote is a small mini-jack designed for future PC connectivity; however, as no cable is provided this might be a "distant" possibility.
No more blinking lights!
Since there are so few hard buttons on the Director, one naturally expects to do all remote setup via the LCD screen. This is, of course, a good thing as advanced configuration of One For Allís earlier hard buttoned products could become quite complex, what with holding buttons and counting blinking lights. The main layout of the LCD screen is quite uncomplicated. At the very top-left of the screen is a "Setup" button, through which all configuration is accomplished. In the top center is a "Theater" button that leads to a special device mode weíll cover later, while on the far right are device page changing buttons. Below that is your device selection bar, and below that are function buttons for the active device. Three device names are shown at a time; changing to a new component is simply a matter of pressing the name or using the small device arrow keys to display a new selection of three.
The Director can control up to 15 devices and it can be configured to operate properly with any number below that. Available device types are TV, Cable, Satellite, VCR, DVD, LD, Tuner (which also covers Receivers), Amplifier, CD, Tape, DAT, Phono, Video Accessory and Home Controller. Itís important to configure devices in the exact order you want them displayed on the device bar, since you canít change the sequence later: after one has been added you can only delete or replace it with another. Each device features between two and four LCD screens, with up to 18 buttons on each screen. So, with four-panel devices such as Amplifiers, itís possible to control up to a staggering 77 functions including hard buttons. Pages arenít numbered, but do rotate in a loop Ė so after page "4" youíll jump back to page "1". In addition, the Director will remember the last page displayed for each device and always return to it.
If it isnít built-in, it probably doesnít exist...
One of the most appealing aspects of the Director is the built-in code database. Many other advanced remotes have no built-in infrared codes and instead require you to learn every signal off your equipmentís original remotes. But what if one of your remotes is lost or broken? From the opposite viewpoint, what if a preprogrammed-only remote doesnít include codes for a particular device, or is missing a necessary function? The Director neatly solves these problems by providing both preprogrammed and learning capabilities.