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Philips PHDVR8L Remote Control Review
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The transport control punchthrough is fully automatic and requires no manual setup. Whenever you switch to a device configured with a TV, Cable or Satellite code, the remote will automatically punch through the six VCR transport controls from the last device accessed with a VCR, DVD or DVR code. This smart punchthrough feature works quite well, especially since more and more A/V systems include multiple devices with transport functions. Why be forced to pick just one?

All punchthrough modes function properly with learned codes, and can also be manually overridden by learning new functions over those keys.

Macros la mode.
Like most current remote controls, the PHDVR8L includes support for macros - 3 of them. Macros are normally used to automate repetitive system operations, such as powering the system on or off, playing a DVD movie or adjusting a remote-controlled lighting system. On this remote, macros can be used from any device by pressing the [Macro] button followed by the number [1], [2] or [3]. Macros normally transmit at a rather placid rate of one command per second, however if more time is needed the delay between two steps can be lengthened up to 9 seconds by pressing the [Pause] key followed by a number from 1 to 9 during macro recording. There is no option for a "0" second delay.


Enlarge this photo.
Macros can only hold a total of 10 commands including device switches - and since the first command must always be a device switch, that limits the remote to no more than 9 commands from any single component. Even adding a longer delay counts as a step! So, if you wanted to have a [Power On] macro that sent the power commands to all 8 devices potentially supported by the remote, the PHDVR8L will only actually be able to record the steps to 5 of them. Now, if you're thinking outside the box you may figure that you could simply teach all 8 power commands under a single device and record the macro that way - but no, remember that you can't learn more than one brand of code under a single device mode.

Missing from the PHDVR8L is any way of adding automatic power and input switching macros onto the device buttons, and with only 3 other macros there will be no easy way to keep your system in sync when switching from watching TV to playing a DVD movie or listening to the radio.

Other operations.
The PHDVR8L includes several additional features. First is the TV sleep timer, which can be used to automatically power off a television - and only a television - after a configurable delay of 1 through 99 minutes. This mode works by pressing [Code Search], the [Sleep] button, followed by a number.

Next is a rather unique feature, the "IR transmitter finder", which causes the LED on the remote to flicker quickly when it senses IR. Although I can think of a few possible uses for this - for example some high-end audio systems that have been designed to transmit IR codes from the main unit for learning but may not mark where that transmitter is located - however the manual describes this for "identifying where your original remote's IR transmitter is located". Just in case you happen to have a remote that transmits from the side or bottom...

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