This is general information provided to assist people faced with the
task of coming to terms with an incomprehensible remote control unit
-specifically one for a DVD - and it should regarded as such and not as
professional advice offered by a person qualified in electronics.
Use of the information contained herein is to be seen as an
acknowledgment of the fact that liability for the use of the
information contained in this document lies solely with the person who
chooses to make use of the document.
the public domain 27th April 2011
I've played with a lot of DVD players - it is a bit of a hobby - and
the controls are varied. I don't have a methodology for working
out the functionality of the remotes.
Perhaps it boils down to identifying the key functionality. There will
be a play button which might be identified with a right pointing filled
in arrow. There will be a stop button which might be identified by a
filled in black or red square. A pause button will likely be labeled
with two vertical bars.
The remote will most likely have keys which are identified by double
arrow heads. The double arrow heads pointing right are fast forward,
those pointing left are fast reverse. If there are double arrow heads
with a vertical bar as well as the other type then the ones with the
vertical bar are skip a chapter forward - right pointing - or skip a
backwards - left pointing. Note that the operation of these chapter
buttons can be a bit kludgy - particularly if you tell it to go past
the last chapter or before the first chapter. In these cases the remote
will usually default to repeatedly referencing either the last chapter
or the first chapter.
The remote will have a pair of volume control buttons often marked with
an increasing or decreasing filled in sound wedge. These can take many
and varied forms. I have seen volume buttons marked + and -. There is
also likely to be a mute button - often showing a speaker with a line
The remote might have an Open/Close button which will most likely have
a filled in upwards pointing arrow with a separated horizontal bar
underneath it. Note that some remotes don't have an Open/Close button
at all - the
thinking is probably that a user would need to move to change the
physical DVD and by not offering the button the maker removes the
possibility of accidental presses and also saves space on the remote.
This is particularly the case when the DVD player is a part of another
more comprehensive setup - perhaps including a VHS player.
Knowledge of the above is usually sufficient to operate a device -
venturing further is best done with the assistance of a manual. Manuals
are often available from the manufacturers web site. There are also
many private sites which offer manuals for download - some of which are
made freely available and some of which attract a charge.
Nearly everything in the way of manuals is available if you search
carefully and for people willing to join a user community it is
possible to request a copy of a particular manual from other users
interested in such items.
It seems that the older the device the more difficult it might be to
locate a manual as manufacturers tend to cut off support for old
I sometimes find that manufacturers attach conditions to the
downloading of manuals on the web but many don't. I find this latter
policy enlightened and in the interests of the manufacturer. On the
other hand - just the other day - a download from a DVD manufactures
web site refused to complete satisfactorily - presumably because they
were unable to place a cookie and then ceased the download. In such a
case look again on the web as the manual will often be available
elsewhere - perhaps in a slightly different form. Remember that many
generic products exist in a variety of forms and often the same unit
may be able to be located with another brand name.
When I find manufacturers behaving behaving badly with respect to
making manuals available for download I simply make a mental note not
to buy their products in the future for they are taking the position
that their information gathering need should take precedence over my
need to maintain the integrity and security of my computer system.
Most DVD remotes have navigation buttons - selection arrows - which
offer up, down, right, left pointing arrows set out in a compass type
circle. These keys are for navigating menu options. The navigation
buttons frequently have a round OK button in the middle which is used
to give assent to a choice once it has been made using the selection
Lower level machine or DVD level options are available through a setup
or menu button or both. The menu option probably relates to settings to
do with the DVD data source - the disk itself - such as language,
sound options - basically things customizable for a particular DVD. The
setup menu is likely to relate to machine specific settings such as
audio type selection, video output format etc.
Some machines might even have the occasional physical switch to
controls the selection of something like video output. Such a physical
switch might occasionally be found on the back of the unit and might be
used to make a choice between say RGB and DVI output. (I've seen this
in the case of a settop box.)
A sound option choice may be something that needs to be set up on at
least one occasion. Something like an optical S/PDIF sound output
wiring choice might need to be chosen in the relevant setup menu for it
to start working.
The setup level options can be remarkably complex and are best not
fiddled with unnecessarily. Somewhere in the mix there is often an
option which enables you to return the device to its factory settings.
It is possible to end up with a DVD player which doesn't output
meaningfully to the TV as a consequence of injudicious
choices having been made - particularly with respect to video output
settings and in this situation you might find yourself following the
manual directions blind in order to select such a 'return to factory
default' selection for your DVD player.
You can send email to me at
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