RTI TheaterTouch universal remote review

Rule your media like a golden God. Ha, ha, haaa!

TechRadar Verdict

A powerful and relatively affordable alternative, but not for the novice

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Where would we be without the humble remote control? Well, we'd be getting up off our lazy arses every five seconds to change the channel, tweak the volume or pause the Sky , that's where.

With even a simple misplacement down the back of the sofa enough to send the average man into a deranged rampage round the lounge, a trail of cushions scattered in his wake, it's clear the remote has become an essential part of our everyday lives.

And as your kit collection grows, the number of remotes tends to multiply to an extent where a deceptively straightforward act such as watching a DVD can stray perilously close to becoming a logistical nightmare.

But fear not home cinema fans, help is at hand in the form of this nifty universal remote set-up. Aimed at the higher end of the market - but with a slightly less than high-end price tag attached - TheaterTouch is a system comprising of a handful of main elements, a sprinkling of optional extras and some very intelligent, if a little complicated, software.

Central to the whole shebang is the T2 handset. Armed with an LCD touchscreen, rechargeable battery and chunky backlit buttons in all the usual places, it looks a little bit average. However, when you marry it to the rest of the system, its qualities start to become apparent.

The other essential bits of gear are a control processor, a radio receiver with aerial, and little infrared emitters - one for each item you are controlling (each processor can manage up to six products). Because the receiver uses radio signals rather than the standard infrared, you can hide it, and the processor, away in a cupboard and it will still work (up to a range of about 200 feet in fact) you just need to ensure that an infrared emitter is placed near to each product you want to control.

There is also the TheaterTouch Designer software that, once you get past its bewildering complexity, enables you to completely customise your system. The screen and buttons on your remote can be modified almost exactly to your tastes - you can even stick in little icons - and more remotes and functions can be added.

TheaterTouch is a powerful and relatively affordable alternative to offerings from the likes of Crestron. That said, if you don't know your way around a PC and the thought of grappling with convoluted software leaves you cold, you'd best steer clear.

Tech.co.uk was the former name of TechRadar.com. Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a Tech.co.uk staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.