Sound Advice: URC Digital R50 remains go-to universal remote

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Question: What is your latest recommendation for an all-in-one remote control? I have seven remotes for our cable box, TV, soundbar, Blu-ray, CD player, receiver, and an old VCR. It's driving us crazy.

JOHN CONNOR

Answer: My latest isn't any different from what I have recommended in the past. I am a big fan of the URC Digital R50 from Universal Remote Control.

The URC Digital R50 comes preprogrammed for thousands of different components. Just use the buttons and the colorful LCD screen to find your components, select them and you are ready to go. It can control up to 18 devices and has selectable icons for personalization, including television channels.

The URC Digital R50 is easy to find online. The best price I found was at Walmart.com, which had it in stock selling for $119. You can see the URC Digital R50 at www.universalremote.com.

Comcast encryption follow-up: I recently answered a question from a Comcast customer in Minnesota who subscribed to Limited Basic service. He lost his high-definition signals after Comcast encrypted the signals and sent him a Standard Definition DTA (Digital Adapter). He wanted to get his high-definition channels back without paying for an upgrade.

After the column was published I was contacted by Comcast's Western Pennsylvania public relations department. In this region, Limited Basic customers were originally notified that they can have up to three DTAs on their account at no charge, and they can obtain two High Definition DTAs. The HD DTAs are free for two years; five years for those on Medicaid. Market pricing will apply for the HD DTAs after December 2015.

If you are a Limited Basic customer in Western Pennsylvania and lost your high-definition channels because you received a Standard Definition DTA, call Comcast toll free at 1-855-860-8989 to obtain an HD DTA. I am sure you will be happy to have your high-definition channels back in their full visual glory! Please contact me through my website with your experiences obtaining and setting up the HD DTA. Your home entertainment satisfaction is the reason I write this column.

This offer may not apply to every Comcast region.

For example, Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times reports that in Seattle, Comcast charges $2 per month each for an HD DTA, plus a $10 one-time "tech fee." You can read the article and reader comments at http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2022464420_briercolumn16xml.html.

Brad Reed, a Boston resident and news editor of technology website bgr.com, lost his high-definition channels when he received his digital adapter box. Comcast attempted to charge him $10 a month to get the high-definition channels back. You can read his story at http://bgr.com/2013/10/16/comcast-digital-adapter-criticism.

Next week I will discuss encryption and what it means to consumers, the difference between a set-top box and a DTA.

Read product reviews by Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com.


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