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Some remotes from the likes of Logitech feature a USB port, which lets you connect to a PC, download the relevant codes and set up the remote online, but the Remote 815 lacks this connection, which means you have to manually configure it for each of your devices.
There are two ways of setting the pre-programmed codes. The first is to use the Auto Search mode, which sends out all of the available codes one by one. The downside of this is that you have to sit there like a lemon pointing it at the IR receiver while it runs though the codes, then quickly stop it when the intended device turns off.
Alternatively, you can input the code from the supplied list using the number keys on the LCD screen. If there's more than one code listed for your brand, then you have to go through them all until you find the one that works.
If you can't find the right code then the remote also sports a learning feature, which lets you program commands by pointing your existing remotes at the eye on top of the Remote 815 and pressing the relevant buttons. For the soft keys on the LCD screen, the unit's auto guide system automatically moves onto the next button when it detects each command, but for the hard keys you have to manually select which one to program.
If you're thinking that all this manual button-punching sounds a bit long-winded and time consuming, you're right, but the benefit is that you don't have to worry about the manufacturer's database getting codes wrong or omitting certain functions or products. The learning feature lets you tell individual keys to do exactly what you want, and because each button contains three of four different icons, they can be tailored to the requirements of your device.
One example where this hands-on approach comes in handy is setting up for a Sky HD box. With ‘Sat' selected on the LCD screen, the default settings make no provision for the hard-disk playback controls (search, pause, play etc) so with a little tweaking we were able to add the relevant icons to the bank of controls and input the correct commands accordingly.