Quick: name the two items you'd most like to have with you in front of the TV after a long day's work - and I'm not looking for 'cold drinks' and 'salty snacks'. Since you're on this site picking 'a remote' would definitely be a safe bet, but the second item I'm looking for is, of course, some sort of 'TV guide' to point out when your favorite shows are on.
Here at Remote Central we're all about consolidation: namely, trying to reduce the jumble of handheld remotes that orbit aimlessly around nearly all audio/video systems. Given that every remote evaluated on this site is designed to tackle that very problem (some more efficiently than others), it's heartening to see that certain companies are endeavouring to differentiate themselves from the flock by tackling yet another palm-sized nuisance: the TV guide.
The company at work in this case is Evolve Products Inc, located in southern California. They may be a new kid on the block, but Evolve's founders are some of the same folks who began Universal Electronics Inc. - which is today one of the largest remote manufacturers out there, responsible for the exceedingly popular One For All line of remotes amongst others. The first product from the fledgling Evolve is the $199 USD MSRP Guide Remote RD5000, however here we'll be reviewing the updated RD5000M. The RD5000M is physically identical to the original, but comes with several added functionality enhancements. Mmm, enhancements!
What exactly is the Guide Remote and what does it do? Physically there's little to differentiate the Guide Remote from other remote controls. Its "T" shape design is certainly distinctive, but the rest of the hardware components are routine, including the dot matrix LCD screen surrounded by hard buttons, menu button cluster and PC serial port connector. Nevertheless, the Guide Remote does have something quite interesting to offer on its LCD screen: a full electronic program guide, complete with show descriptions. Now that sounds mighty useful!
So, why should you care whether your program listings are displayed on a tiny LCD screen or pressed with vegetable-based inks onto 10% recycled paper? Because the Guide Remote will always let you find out what's on right now with no page flipping or waiting. It will let you customize the guide, picking and choosing the exact channels to include. It will also work alongside any reception system, from good ol' rabbit ears to the latest satellite dishes and, most importantly, it can be integrated with any reception device including televisions, VCRs, cable boxes and DSS receivers.
Even if your digital cable or satellite system already comes with some sort of built-in on-screen electronic guide, you'll still want to check out this review to learn exactly how the Guide Remote can help you sort through those hundreds of channels.
But with all this emphasis placed on program listings, could the Guide Remote actually be more "guide" than "remote"?