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User reviews for the Take Control TC1000 from Harman/Kardon.
Take Control TC1000
RatingsReviewsMSRP (USD)
Average: 3.74/5.00
Median: 4.17/5.00
34$349
Designed in cooperation with Microsoft, the Take Control is an ergonomically designed unit featuring a large backlit LCD screen, a selector wheel for scrolling through channels and menu options and large volume buttons.
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the Take Control TC1000 remote.
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Written by armentage from NYC USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 34 made on Friday October 22, 2004 at 10:24 AM.
Strengths:GREAT editing software. Macros & Activity Management. Good ergonomics.
Weaknesses:Not enough hard-buttons. Scroll-wheel is dumb. Difficult to hold Vol+/- down to change volume quickly. POWER HOG! Touch-Screen Calibration can tricky, and when you batteries get low it tends to need a lot of calibration.
Review:This remote is truly a computer programmers dream. With its fantastic editing software and a varitey of button types (Macros, Links, etc.) the programming minded can really spend hours having fun, just designing your activity screens!

Screens are very customizable. You pick the activities shown on the main menu as well as their order, and have several others that you'd use as sub-screens.

You can place macros on the main-screen, so that picking "Watch DVD" can select the right video input on your TV, the right audio input on your Receiver, and then switch the screen to DVD controls. There are no stateful variables though, so unless your DVD player has a specific "ON" code, you cannot have a "power on only if off" type function.

The biggest failing is a lack of hard buttons. The scroll wheel is rather stupid in my opinion. I'd rather have PLAY/FF/RR/PAUSE/STOP and Ch+/- buttons. The wheel can be clicked, so it can function (sorta) as 3 seperate buttons.

HINT: When calibrating the touch screen, using something like a pen to poke the corner cross-hair EXACTLY in their centers. Finger tips never do the job well.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Mike from Vancouver, Canada.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 33 made on Tuesday July 1, 2003 at 9:42 PM.
Strengths:Price ($47 on eBay)
Ability to make activity based
Great software
Scroll Wheel
Weaknesses:IR field
Too few hard buttons
Review:This remote is an excellent value. It's use of macros and activity screens are incredibly flexible.

The backlight was fine on my unit. No playing around with different batteries was required.

If I was to make the perfect touchscreen/PC programmable remote, it would based on a lot of the features and strengths of the TC1000. I would add custom bitmaps and hard cursor buttons.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Alvin Toro from USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 32 made on Thursday May 1, 2003 at 4:49 PM.
Strengths:Exelent features, programability, impresive integrated component database, easy to use.
Weaknesses:It's a power hog
Review:From the moment I put the batteries on for the first time I loved it. I really don't know why I didn't try it out before. I guess a lot of bad rap about it's display and range had alot to do with it. But I think it works great, specially for the price I paid.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by James from Ontario, Canada.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 31 made on Saturday April 19, 2003 at 9:57 PM.
Strengths:- The PRICE !!
- Easy to use software
- Complete flexibility allows user to customize each screen and button
- The scroller wheel is great for channel surfing
Weaknesses:- Dim backlighting - easily improved with Tadiran batteries
- IR strength is questionable
- Would have liked more macro capacity (only reason that it gets a 4 rating on features instead of a 5)
Review:Summary – Great Buy !

Despite the sometimes very negative comments posted at the TC1000 forum, I couldn't ignore the fact that this remote can be found everyday on E-Bay for between $45 and $50 - brand new. I decided to take the plunge and buy about 4 weeks ago. Based on my experience so far, the remote is a steal at this price.

The Screen – Fingerprints & Backlighting Issues:

Physically, the TC1000 is a bit heavier and larger than most of the original remotes which it is replacing , but is still comfortable to operate one handed. It seems extremely sturdy and well made. The screen quickly becomes covered with fingerprints, but these are really only noticeable when the unit’s backlighting is off - and because you can’t actually see the buttons on the screen without the backlight on, the fingerprints aren’t noticeable when you’re using the remote.

I will agree with all the negative comments regarding the TC1000’s LCD screen. It is very difficult to see in any lighting conditions without using the backlighting. So...always use the backlighting. The unit remembers if the backlight is on or off, so if you turn it on, let it timeout (you can set the timeout to whatever suits you) and then later on you touch the screen, the backlighting will automatically light up the screen.

Batteries:

Much has been written about the backlighting not being sufficiently bright when using 4 standard AA 1.5v batteries. I ordered 4 Tadiran 3.6v batteries from Allied Electronics, put 1 in with 3 rechargeable AA 1.5v Alkaline batteries and the LCD screen (with backlight on) is perfectly readable, particularly when the lights are dimmed which is typically when we use our home theatre. Seems to be a very easy (and relatively inexpensive) fix to the problem. Not being an electronics wizard, I have no intention of performing modifications to the unit to try to fit it with other types of batteries, as has been suggested elsewhere.

IR Strength:

The other common complaint about the TC1000 is its weak IR strength. I sit approximately 13 feet from my system which is all clustered together (everything but the TV is behind a glass door). Prior to installing the Tadiran battery, the most common problem was that my H/K receiver would sometimes miss a command…in general, none of my other components seemed to have any problems. Interestingly, the manual which came with my receiver suggests that its IR receiver might not work very well if placed behind glass doors (they even have an optional IR booster you can buy), so I’m not sure that the problem is strictly because of the TC1000. After installing the Tadiran battery, and making some slight adjustments to my macros to add small delays between sending successive commands to the H/K receiver, I’ve found that the IR functions almost flawlessly. However, even with these modifications, it is still fairly important to point the remote in the general direction of the components.

Using It – Touchscreen & Hard Buttons:

Aside from the backlighting and IR issues, there is really very little to complain about with this remote. It’s touchscreen is reasonably sensitive to the touch, once you get used to it. The trick seems to be using a light press on the buttons, rather than a hard push…this tends to accomplish nothing, and probably will ultimately ruin the screen. For those whose thumbs are too big, try using a Q-Tip, seems to work very nicely. The hard buttons are nice and big and are easy to find in the dark. The scroller wheel and “mouse click” action are a great idea. There seems to be almost no delay between rolling the scroller and the channel changing...makes for a great way to channel surf. Once all the programming is done, and your thumb gets the “feel” of the LCD screen, the remote is nice and easy to use.

Set Up – Built In Codes & Set Up Wizard:

The built-in set up menu is very easy to use and quickly recognized each of my components, which are: Harman / Kardon AVR 210, Sony CD Jukebox CDP-CX250, Panasonic VCR-V4630-K, Panasonic DVD-RV30, Scientific Atlanta Explore 3200 Digital Cable Box and RCA Rear Projection TV. However, the resulting screens that are set up automatically by the remote are not well organized and can use up to 7 different screens for each component. These screens cannot be altered in any meaningful way using the remote or the computer software. Good thing they included the software.

P.C. Software:

Once the initial set up is done, it’s time to hook the TC1000 up to your P.C. and start creating. Initially, I had difficulty getting my P.C. to recognize the remote, apparently my Comm 2 port had been disabled. I followed the instructions contained within the Help menu, and surprisingly, managed to fix the problem.

The Take Control Editor software is nicely laid out and remarkably easy to understand. It only takes a few minutes to get a feel for how the software works and how easy it is to use. The hard part is figuring out how to set up the various screens, activities and macros so that the remote is convenient, flexible and intuitive. It is extremely helpful to take the time to map out how you actually use your current system, and set up your activities and macros to match. Don’t be surprised if you find that you are still making modifications to your set up weeks (or maybe months) after your first try...blame the flexibility of the TC1000...there’s a lot you can do with it that you just won’t think of at first.

Activity Screens:

The basic concept of the TC1000 is that the remote is configured based on the activity that you are currently performing. So, if you are listening to CD’s, the remote’s activity screen should be configured with as many of the most commonly used functions of your CD player as possible. As the LCD screen can only handle 20 buttons on any one screen, the use of navigation buttons to take you to other related activity screens is usually required. FYI, navigation buttons are round, all other buttons (commands and macros) are square. Also, the remote emits a double beep when you press a navigation button; command or macro buttons emit a single beep.

For each activity screen, the remote’s hard buttons (scroll up, scroll down, scroll click, volume up, volume down and mute) can all be assigned activity specific functions. For instance, when in the Watch TV activity, you can assign Channel Up to Scroll Up, Channel Down to Scroll Down and Previous Channel to Scroll Click. So...don’t take up space on the LCD screen with buttons for Channel Up, Channel Down or Previous Channel. For each activity screen, be sure to consider what functions could be intuitively assigned to these hard buttons (generally makes sense to assign up / down, left / right, fast forward / reverse types of functions).

A few activity screens that I have found very useful:

1.) Power Controls: place all of your components' power buttons (both On and Off if they are different) on one screen. You can put a navigation button on each of your other screens, so you’re always only one button away from controlling the power for all of your components.

2.) Select Remote: when you want to access a different component from the one you’re controlling, it’s nice to have one screen with navigation buttons to all of your activities on it. Just place as many navigation buttons as you want on this screen…let’s you quickly select the other activity screens you’ve set up.

3.) Switch: because many components out there don’t have separate on/off buttons, macros that are set up to turn components on or off can sometimes have the exact opposite effect than what you want. Setting up switch macros overcomes this problem. For each device, you can set up a “switch” activity screen, which would contain macros designed to switch from, for instance, watching digital TV to watching cable TV or watching a DVD or playing CD’s. Because you know you’re watching digital TV, you know what components are on, which ones are off, and which ones need to be turned on and off. This “switching” is the really great feature of the remote – no longer do you need to know which combination of receiver audio input, TV video input, etc is required, just push the switch macro and your system is reconfigured.

Macros:

Unfortunately, because of the macro limitation of 32 (or thereabouts, depending on the number of buttons used in total), I would recommend that none of the macros be wasted on favourite channels. There are more important uses for the macros.

Another comment relating to macros - before setting up macros for functions that you use very infrequently (e.g. adjusting the video settings on your TV) make sure you consider all the ways you use your entertainment system everyday; like switching between listening to CD’s to watching digital TV to watching a DVD. These functions might involve making changes to as many as 4 or 5 components (which used to mean picking up 4 or 5 different remotes to get it done) and which, if you don’t use macros for these types of functions, will still involve a lot of screen surfing and button pushing.

Suggestions:

1.) Don’t bother using the icons when you are naming buttons; they clutter up the screens and make it harder to locate the button you’re looking for.

2.) Try to configure your screens so that certain navigation buttons (such as “Back” or “Power” are usually in the same place; makes it easier to use.

3.) Don’t bother putting “Mute” or “Home” buttons on the touchscreen, or any function you have assigned to the other hard buttons.

4.) Use the Home menu for macros to start activities from scratch – i.e. everything is turned off. For power down macros, always finish with the “Home” navigation button so that the “Home” menu is available when you want to power up again.

WAF:

Started out a bit low, but gets higher and higher every day...looks like it's going to be a keeper.

Recommendation:

If you want a good, universal touchscreen remote, don’t want to spend a lot of money, and don’t mind investing some time into customizing its programming, then this is a terrific buy.

Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Mark Craig from Iowa.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 30 made on Thursday March 6, 2003 at 3:24 PM.
Strengths:-Short learning curve.
-Fast and easy programing.
-I could move buttons aroung on screens to look more like the devices remotes.
-PC/Take Cpntrol programing.
Weaknesses:-I wish the back lighting was brighter but, but it's not too bad.
-I wish you could change shapes of buttons.
- it's a bit heavy.
Review:I have the JBL TC1000.
I was looking for a remote that would run every thing, and one my wife and kids could still use. I found both! When I used the codes in the remote it hade every thing but channel up and down for the PIP on my Toshiba TV. (Now Added)Using the software and a PC it was fast and easy to program this remote.
I love the macros, with one push of a button I can change the inputs to the receiver and tv turn on whatever device and put the correct screen on the remote.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Mark from Bosnia.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 29 made on Saturday February 22, 2003 at 6:30 PM.
Strengths:Software programmable
Learning function
Macros
Useful, functional hard buttons
Solid construction
Weaknesses:Very dim display (unless using non-standard battery fix)
Finicky touch screen
A bit bulky
Not enough macros for all favorite channels
Review:I chose to ignore the negative/neutral reviews and bought this for the geek factor, helped by the very low prices this can be had for now (I paid $65).

The nearly constant complaints about the overly dim screen are absolutely correct, even with the backlight on. Unless you use it with the backlight on in the dark it is completely useless. The trick of using one or two (I use two) photo batteries along with the AAs described in the forums completely solves that problem. If that trick had not worked I would give this zero rating, but the fix really changes everything. The touch screen also needs to be recalibrated every few days or so.

(I have given it three stars for quality due to these quirks, but the physical housing/assembly is very, very solid.)

So, then what you have is a very functional mainly touch screen remote, with decent software, good availability of preprogrammed codes and capable learning functions. The available hard buttons can also be reprogrammed, allowing you to use them for what you want depending on what you are doing.

Setting up devices is straightforward. My Hitachi TV and VCR and Panasonic amplifier were already coded, and I had to learn the remotes for my Panasonic digital satellite box and my JVC DVD. The pre-programmed codes are not always complete, and you will probably find you need to learn additional funcitions.

The remote was very effective at learning all the functions for my satellite box. One of the hard buttons is a roller, defaulted as channel selector. I found changing this to the guide for my satellite worked really well, as I tend to scroll through the guide rather than actually channel surfing.

Macros work generally well, too. You can easily set a one button macro to turn on your amp, set the input, turn on your satellite box, turn on your TV and set the input to that, etc. There is a limit of 40 macros, which should seem like a lot, but this is also the only option for setting favorite TV channels. In my case, I had hoped to just program all the TV channels by name but I ran out of space well before finishing. This may not be a problem for most people.

In short, once the battery fix is applied I think this is a quite good remote for people inclined to touch screens. It is really too bad that HK and Microsoft abandoned this, because a second generation really could have been a contender.

If I have anything negative to say, it's that after using this for six weeks now I realize that I don't like touch screens and will probably switch to a hard-button model. The now-bright touch screen also too easily attracts the attention of my very grabby 19 month old son.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Stefan from Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
The reviewer has used this remote control for more than two years.
Review 28 made on Sunday January 19, 2003 at 4:05 PM.
Strengths:Activities customisable, Good Hard Buttons, Flexible Programming, Good PC Software
Weaknesses:Small IR Library, Small Screen (given the size of the thing), Battery Drainer, Expensive List price
Review:(excuse my bad english guys)


I was one of the unlucky folks who bought this for close to the original list price, because the Remote control situation on my living room desk was getting out of hand. So I bought this thing and programmed many of the devices in there, but I did not use it a lot of time and often prefered the functionality of the original devices remote to this one.

Main reason is the relatively small screen given the size and weight of this remote. If operated in the dark, you will certainly have to switch on the backlight and fully concentrate on handling the remote and hitting the right buttons. Additionally you will sometimes have to switch through 4 or 5 differnent screens before you can reach a lesser often used funtion, which makes the effective use of this remote require a lot of patience.

However, after time I learned that this remote can be customised to your needs and that smart PC programming can remedy a lot of the initial weaknesses. For instance you can put buttons more than once on main activity screens to remedy the missing feature of button sizes not being customizable. If you want to make sure to not miss "play" or "Stop" just put these buttons on there twice right beside each other, and you have a larger area to press to avoid pressing wrong functions. This is very useful for kids or elderly folks as well.
However, the extensive use of the PC software is required to customize all these features. If you know what you want you can tweak this device to really neat functionality.

Also, this device has been able to learn all remote control functions on all the 12 AV devices that I am operating, along with some more exotic devices like Video beamers or NTSC-PAL VCRs.

Last not least: If you are not a poweruser, you can still operate and program this remote quite easily, since all functions are being explained satisfactory during programming and operation, so you will probably only use the manual once or twice, and the rest is being explained while you operta it, which is neat.

If this thing had a bigger touchscreen and activity surfaces with more customizable feastures (button sizes and shapes!), then this would be a full range winner. For prices between 50 to 100 US$ or Euros, this thing is still a steal. If you can find it for this little money, get it. However, there are much better remotes around, if you have to spend the original list price....
Quality: Features: Value:


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