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VCR Co-Pilot

 
Description: Simply set the day of the week and the record and stop times...VCR Co-Pilot does the rest by sending a signal to your VCR to start and stop recording. Day and Time settings are stored in the VCR Co-Pilot.



Reviews (1):


     Remote Control a-la-Mom
Reviewer: Reader Rabbit   Northern Calif., USA    11-26-2004
This unusual remote control might be the answer if someone in your family can't (or won't) learn to program the VCR, or if your VCR's onscreen menu is too complex for human comprehension.

This remote bypasses your VCR's programming interface entirely. It also bypasses other baffling VCR rituals: You need not turn the VCR off in order to record. (With this remote, you instead leave it ON.) You don't have to teach the remote your VCR's numeric code. You don't even need to set your VCR's timer -- leave it flashing "12:00" if you want.

The trick is that this remote contains its own clock and timer. You set the clock once. Then, when you want to record a show, you do the following:
1) Turn on your VCR, and leave it on.
2) Switch it to the channel on which you want to record.
3) Set the VCR's default recording speed (if you care, and if your VCR allows this).
4) Set the recording start and stop time, in 10-minute increments, using this remote control's simple mechanical dials and sliders. Also set the day-of-the-week, or daily recording.
5) Leave the remote pointing at your VCR.

When the remote's clock matches your timer setting, it cycles through 77 codes that various VCR manufacturers use as a "record start" signal. When it finds a match, recording starts. At your preset stop time, the remote negotiates a "stop" command in the same way.

So far, it works for me as advertised. My VCR recognizes the third code in its list, so recording starts almost immediately.

That said, this device is not perfect, especially given the elder users for whom it seems designed. The glitches:

* It must point at the VCR throughout your intended recording period. So make sure you have a suitable perch for it.

* It's a bit bulkier than a normal remote, and significantly heavier (at more than 1/2 lb.).

* Setting the clock is tricky: The tiny buttons are hard to see and they must be carefully depressed using a pen point. Older users will want help with this step, which must be repeated after battery changes and daylight/standard time shifts.

* The LCD display is essential to the device's operation. While the numbers appear nice and big, the contrast is low (black on gray) and it's not backlit.

* It's significantly more expensive than other universal remotes, even though it's manufactured in slave-labor China.

Still, this device will be very useful for some folks. And if you buy this version, you might help the vendor (a small company in San Francisco) stick around long enough to introduce a better second generation.



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