Q 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.
A 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.
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 Transport 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 PR 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 through the offer. 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 your 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://tinyurl.com/ob9klq5 or at the original link: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/ 2022464420(underscore)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 personal story at: http://bgr.com/2013/10/16/comcast-digital-adapter-criticism/
Adding to the confusion is Comcast's own website. At http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/limited-basic-encryption/ under HD FAQs the question reads, "I would like an HD device instead of an SD device, is this possible?" and the answer is "An HD digital adapter is available upon request with this offer regardless of your service level." No mention of fees is made one way or the other, though other fees are listed on this page.
Next week I will discuss encryption and what it means to consumers, the difference between a set-top box and a DTA, and report more on the situation nationwide.
Contact Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com and use the "submit question" link on that site.