Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
The ridiculous proliferation of remote controls was once a problem only for those obsessed with technology. The normal family got by with a remote control only for the TV. No more, though. The average family room would have at least four devices with remote controls. The Kameleon 8 remote control addresses this, by allowing one remote to fully control up to eight devices.
The Kameleon 8 is the top-of-the-line remote control from the OneForAll range. It features two electroluminescent display panels that also provide soft keys (which change function according to the device you’re controlling), and also has 13 hard keys for common functions (such as adjusting your system?s volume and changing TV channels). The soft keys change depending on the particular device you have selected.
The remote supports up to eight devices. Some of these can be repeated if, for example, you have both a DVD player and recorder.
Most importantly, the remote supports the OneForAll Light Control products, which can be integrated into your home for automated lighting control.
The unit comes with the necessary infrared codes built-in for direct support for a couple of thousand devices from dozens of different brands. You just enter a four-digit code to select your own brand of, say, DVD player. If your device isn’t there, then the Kameleon 8 can learn its infrared codes from the device’s own remote control.
There is no ability to rearrange the layout of the screens or to provide customised text labels. Setting up the unit can, sometimes, be a bit difficult. For example I was using a Mitsubishi HC5000 projector, but none of the 11 Mitsubishi codes worked. There is an online facility at the OneForAll website, but the selection of codes with this is no more useful, with them simply labelled ‘Mitsubishi 1’ and so forth. Since the online system seems to bundle several sets of codes together, it uses up the remote’s memory fast. In fact, at best I could select just three devices using this feature.
If you do use this, when you have selected your devices, you download an audio file to your computer and play this back. The remote control ‘listens’ to your loudspeakers and learns the device codes. It took about 40 seconds for my setup to play through.
Once programmed in, the remote worked effectively, producing strong infrared pulses that worked at a long range, and without having to be too fussy about the angle. However, since there were almost no code sets available for home theatre receivers, and the one that was earmarked for Yamaha failed to work with the Yamaha receiver I was using, I could see a great deal of key-by-key learning ahead.
Once working, the remote control is excellent. The blue-on-black screens are very clear, and key presses worked reliably, with never a need to re-press a key because of a failure to register. But more work needs to go into making it easy to set up.