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A Design History of Remote Central
To celebrate our five year anniversary...
Posted by Daniel Tonks on March 12, 2003 at 1:00 AM
RC News Story
As today marks the five year anniversary since the Remote Central concept first launched on March 12th, 1998, we are presenting a short overview of the major design revisions that this site has seen over the years. For the few of you who have been with us from the start, these designs should appear familiar – but for most, they’ll be brand new.

Design #1

Design #2

1) In March 1998, Remote Central wasn’t called “Remote Central”. It didn’t yet have a domain name. It was simply a single page with photos (made on a flatbed scanner) and specifications for a solitary remote control, Sony’s RM-AV2000. Over the coming months a simple message board was added to the lone-page site. It wasn’t until September when things really started to happen.

2) The first thing noticeable about this second design, which lasted between September and October 1998, is that the site finally has a name – complete with the logo that continues to be used today. It sported two pages, a home page and the Sony RM-AV2000 “review”, with a promise of additional material to come.

Design #3

Design #4

3) The next design ran from October to December 1998. This was the first time that the site had a full header graphic on every page (all 10 of them). This thin blue bar had only three buttons, but it did have JavaScript mouseover effects... which were ultimately scrapped. The number of message forums had expanded to 4, with a second remote control review added, the Philips Pronto TS-1000.

4) The fourth design remained active almost twice as long, running from December 1998 through to April 1999. At this point there was a larger header bar with more buttons, plus a LCD “touchscreen” based area for site navigation. There were also three reviews available, plus a new file area for the Philips Pronto with only a couple of files available for download.

Design #5

Design #6

5) The fifth design, which ran from April 1999 to February 2000, added lighting effects and changed the LCD touchscreen’s layout to what is being used today. The button arrangement on the right will also appear familiar – ported directly from my first Pronto CCF layout – and the page was finally centered on your screen. Near the beginning of this layout’s run, Remote Central officially moved over to the now-established domain name. The site had grown by leaps and bounds, with 10 message forums, 5 remote control reviews, a couple of dozen DVD movie reviews, contests, 3 “features” and a Pronto file area with over 1,000 files available for download.

6) The sixth layout was active from February 2000 to November 2000 and was very similar to the fifth, with the only major changes being the Remote Central logo, which changed colors and added a “.com” tag, and the background color, which is now dark grey. At this point the site had grown to 13 message forums, 12 remote control reviews, 11 feature articles, a remote control user review database, two remote file areas (with the Pronto area growing to well over 2,000 files) and much more.

Design #7

7) The seventh design is what you see on Remote Central today. The site, which is completely hand coded in Notepad and makes no use of prepackaged HTML editing programs whatsoever, has grown to several thousand HTML pages, not counting automated sections like the forums, file areas or user reviews. Each and every one of these pages needs to be hand edited every time the general layout changes so, since 2001, the header has remained the same. There are now 21 message forums, 34 remote control reviews, over 7,500 files and much, much more... with plenty yet to come!

Speaking of which, how about a few new file areas!
Today I’m very pleased to announce the availability of three new file areas for the following remote controls:

  • Home Theater Master MX-500 (with IRCLONE-MX)
  • Philips Pronto “Next Generation” TSU3000
  • Philips iPronto TSi6400
To visit any of our file areas, view the new file area index.

Although all three areas are brand new, limited content is already available for two of them: you’ll find new system configurations ready to download in the MX-500 and TSU3000 sections. If you have one of these remote controls, please help these new areas grow by uploading your files today! Just visit the file area of your choice and click on the “Upload” link.

Wait a minute; did I say a new file area for the MX-500? Yes indeed! Although the Home Theater Master MX-500 does not have a computer interface in the traditional sense, a new third-party device has been created that exploits the MX-500’s infrared cloning abilities. The $90 USD IRCLONE-MX and matching 500e Editing Software allows MX-500 owners to wirelessly back up their remote’s configuration to a USB-enabled computer and then edit it completely. Afterwards, simply send it back to the MX-500 via infrared. For more information on the IRCLONE-MX, please visit the Home Theater Master message forum.

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