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mdf



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#150319 18-Jul-2014 14:04
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My grandfather was particularly technically challenged, even by grandparent standards. Some health issues have made this even worse. I'm trying to help him watch TV and DVDs, but even that is proving to be a challenge.

Currently he has a TV with a Freeview terrestrial box and DVD player, both connected by AV. The TV has HDMI in (x2), but neither the DVD player nor the STB has HDMI out (the STB does have DVI out). 

No matter how many times you explain it to him, he can't seem to get his head around pressing the source/AV button on the TV remote to select the DVD or STB, then switching remotes to play a DVD or change channels on the STB.

I'm looking for advice/views on the best option to help him out.

Universal remote - I believe the Logitech Harmony remotes have one-click activity buttons that you can program to turn on TV --> select DVD source --> play with one key press. All these remotes are way too complicated for grandad though, so I'm not sure this would be a perfect option. Similarly, you can get simple universal remotes with just a few buttons, but I haven't been able to find one that you can program to take several actions.

All-in-one TV - modern TVs have freeview built in, and I think I've even seen one with a built in DVD player. Anyone have any experience of these? Do the bits actually play together nicely, or are they just Frankensteins mashed together (a la VCR-DVD combo units)?

New HDMI boxes - my TV will auto-switch to the relevant source when it detects a box switching on. Is this a feature of HDMI connections? Would buying a new DVD and STB connected by HDMI auto select the right source for him, or is this just a feature of some TVs?

Any other thoughts?

Cheers,

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  #1091434 18-Jul-2014 14:31
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While I'm a huge fan of the Harmony remotes, I'm not sure they're the perfect solution for those less technically inclined. When they work, they work well. But because they can't determine state of the components they control, and instead simply toggle power on and off, you can end up in a position where something isn't turned on, but the remote thinks it is. Or the remote reboots itself (it happens), and loses all state, but all components are turned on. 

It does have guided steps you can follow on the remote to help resolve this, but they're not foolproof. They also, for some inexplicable reason, always result in my PS3 being turned on, even if it is an activity that doesn't use the PS3. But the main sticking point here is that this does NOT pass the WAF test. Whenever our remote gets into this state, I'm the only one that seems able to resolve it. This would have me concerned that your grandfather may struggle with it at times.

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  #1091437 18-Jul-2014 14:35
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No matter how many times you explain it to him, he can't seem to get his head around pressing the source/AV button on the TV remote to select the DVD or STB, then switching remotes to play a DVD or change channels on the STB.


This is normal in the elderly and there is nothing you can do that will stop them doing what they've always done and pressing the channel numbers on the TV remote to change channels.

Why not replace the TV with a TV with Freeview built in. Make sure it's one that always changes to the TV channels when the number button is pressed as some brands won't automatically change over when an external input is selected.

There aren't many TVs with DVDs built in and I doubt many of them are user friendly as they would be "frankenstein" units made by minor companies.

It was easier in the analogue era when you could use RF modulation to have the VHS or DVD on a channel like 0.

 
 
 
 


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  #1091438 18-Jul-2014 14:35
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A TV with built in freeview, and perhaps one with a button on the remote that goes directly to HDMI1 or whatever the dvd is on.

 

Some newer blueray players automatically switch the tv input when they are turned on

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  #1091440 18-Jul-2014 14:38
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Have a look at some of these.
Maybe the Simple variants would be good. They are pretty programmable so might be OK for this case.
http://www.oneforall.com/remotes.html

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  #1091445 18-Jul-2014 14:47
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Tricky... my Dad had a stroke 3-4 years ago now and has similar issues. Fortunately for him though, mum is still there to unravel some of the random or frustrated button pushings, or she calls me for assistance. 

I have no real alternatives I'm afraid, but what I can add is a universal remote may not be any better, in fact may make things worse in my experience. I have a Logitech Harmony One remote with one touch buttons set up for all activities which I have trialed with dad. If it misses a power toggle command or source change for any reason (usually due to excessive movement of the remote or being held at an obtuse angle with dad) while sending the commands, you can end up in a right pickle not knowing exactly how far through the sequence you are, what state devices are in etc etc.


Edit: what dclegg said :-) 






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  #1091474 18-Jul-2014 15:19
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Agreed with the Harmony issues (with them not knowing the state of the devices), but it may be the best of a bad bunch.

Another option may be looking at something like a Panasonic DVD Recorder, which has Freeview built in. That way, you can probably program the Panasonic remote to turn the TV on/off and adjust volume (not sure if they do this) and use the Freeview tuner and DVD player in the recorder (do not have to use the recording feature).

Other than that though - getting a TV with built in Freeview (and you can get them now with both Sat and Terrestrial tuners) and a basic harmony may be the go. You should look for a TV that has distinct TV On/OFF remote commands available (my 2 Samsung's do) so that you can program the remote to use the On or Off instead of the power toggle. That way, just pressing the off button on the remote should fix most issues (then start again by pressing the activity you want).

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  #1091476 18-Jul-2014 15:22
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Of course there's always this option :-)


 
 
 
 


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  #1091490 18-Jul-2014 15:40
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dclegg: Of course there's always this option :-)



Nah that wouldn't work with my folks, there's no 0, 1, 4 or 7 button there ;-) 

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  #1091506 18-Jul-2014 15:55
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As someone who has just been through the trials of a family member with undiagnosed Alzheimer's one of the classic symptoms is the button confusion you describe. In my family member's case this progressed to the point where he couldn't get the hang of operating a touch lamp.
Can save a lot of heart ache if it is diagnosed and allowed for while the person still had their marbles.

This week is Alzheimer's awareness week.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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  #1091527 18-Jul-2014 16:22
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Remotes suck, for some reason they all have 100 buttons

Best remote I ever found for grandparents was one that was florescent green with a bottle opener (which wasn’t needed ;) ) on it and exactly 6 buttons (channel up/down, volume up/down, power ant mute) and was programmable

I'd get a tv with freeware built in and one of these, remove the bottle opener and your good to go

http://www.play.com/stores/DDLDirect/listing/254267513







 


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  #1091532 18-Jul-2014 16:27
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This is better..

mdf



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  #1091584 18-Jul-2014 17:04
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Thanks all. Appreciate the help. Sounds like a TV with built in Freeview is the way to go. With the price of DVD players these days, I will see if I can get one that has a combined remote. And I will try it in store for ease of use. dclegg's cardboard sleeve could well be deployed.

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  #1091587 18-Jul-2014 17:07
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You could mold a latex case for the current remote and cut out the buttons they want and label them (more advanced way than the cardboard)

Awesome
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  #1091599 18-Jul-2014 17:24
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Get a DVD player that has HDMI and CEC but of the same brand as the TV. Each brand calls CEC something different (LG Simplink, Sony Bravialink, Samsung Anynet, Vieralink etc),

That way, you can program the DVD player to come on when the input is switched there (Or the input to switch there when the DVD is turned on), and/or use the control buttons on the TV remote for the DVD player.




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  #1091607 18-Jul-2014 17:36
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Some brands allow you to set their DVD/Blu-ray player remotes to control other brands' TVs and will have a section in the manual telling you how to.

You'rebetter off buying a Blu-ray player as they're inexpensive now and it should be able to play both the traditional and "blue DVDs" too. Sony ones should be region-free for DVDs out of the box while Panasonic ones you can have region freed with receipt and visit to the service centre. 

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