NextGen has marketed its Remote Extender for many years. What exactly does it do and why would it be beneficial to a Hometoys reader?
With the advancement of flat panel HDTV’s, people want to do two things. One, put their TV on a nice chest and keep the doors closed so you don’t have to see wires all over the place. Two, hang the TV on a wall and hide all the equipment in a closet or basement. Another popular application, is for people putting these TV’s in the bedroom and wanting to put the cable or satellite box and DVD player in the closet.

In addition, people with speakers outside can now take their remote outside and control the stereo from their patio.

You say the technology is patented. Don’t other companies have products that do the same thing?
Similar but not the same. We have advanced the technology by some 20 years. With the older pyramid type products you still need line of sight and are limited to using it from one room. With NextGen’s Remote Extenders, all you do is replace one of the batteries in your remote and voila, you can now take your remote and use it from anywhere in the house, even use it outside with your outdoor speakers.

What are the main advantages of RF over Infrared in a remote control?
It allows your remote signal to go through walls, floors, windows and doors. No line of sight needed.

What other RF remote control systems areavailable and what are their pros and cons?
There are RF remote controls, very expensive and sometimes hard to use. They also don’t do everything that the original remote will do. So you pay a lot of money and don’t get all the functions that the equipment remote will do.

There are also the Pyramid style remote extenders, 20 year old technology that really has not been improved much over that time. Limited to one IR output frequency so it is limited to what you can use it with. Limited to one unit in the home, or business.

Will the Remote Extender work with all remotes?
I can never say “All” remotes because in all honesty I never be able to test them all. What I can say is 99% of all I the remotes we have tested it has worked.

Do you have to program anything to make the Extender work?
No programming needed, just replace one of the batteries in the remote, put the receiver where the equipment is, place the emitter eye in front of the equipment operate, and you’re done. It’s as easy as that.

What is the unit’s range? Can you guarantee a minimum distance that it will work?
That is a very difficult question to answer because there are so may X factors in a home. What I will say is that under normal construction, 100-125 feet.

What if there are two “same-type” systems in a home? If the Remote Extender has such good range won’t controlling one interfere with the other?
I’m glad you asked that question, NextGen is the only company to offer two frequencies with our Plus series, 433, and 418 MHz. and with our new Genius series we have developed a addressable system with 256 different address.

What kind of advances are you seeing in remote control technology and what can we expect for the future?
In my view, the ultimate remote control would be voice-controlled. Think of how great it would be for the viewer to simply say “ESPN” and the tv would magically go to that channel. Though it sounds futuristic, we have tested prototypes that work fairly well but not well enough yet to be marketable. I do think it will be a reality before long.