Remotes, remotes, remotes. They are everywhere at this years CEDIA but if you can get past the flashy touch-panels there are some innovative products out there and Monster's first remote venture is one of 'em. Think Harmony with a lot better lighting integration and iPod'ish control scheme. The Monsters at Monster took the amazing Harmony 890, reworked it and came out with what we believe is a superior product. Their light integration is based on Z-Wave and Levitron's proven equipment but best of all you don't need a pro to come install the product. Simply replace existing light switches and plugs with the IlluminEssence (their brand) equipment.

So how did it work? Click on to find out. The product manger of the Monster Central brand took us through the remote and you know what, it is a remote. Sorry to be blunt, but it doesnt have a cool touch panel nor a built-in phone so there had to be something in there to make it a 'Monster' and sure enough, there was. The lighting control is off the hook. It just simply works. No need to run special wires or IR receivers as this remote integrates like a pro into the whole system. This system does for lighting just like Harmony did for A/V.

With the Harmony system a user can punch "Watch TV" and it flicks on the TV, receiver, cable box and yes, even lighting. The control for the lighting was very limited and hard to implement. With this new system though a person can control the whole home's lighting with a single button. If you are having a romantic dinner, select "Romantic Dinner" and it will dim the lights to the level that just works for you and your lady (or man). Plus, since everything works wirelessly via Z-Wave there is no new wires to run.

The look and feel of the remote was monsterized from the original Harmony 890 design. They took the iPod as a tech-example and crafted the central control scheme in like fashion. The popular 'select' button is surrounded by the media navigation controls like stop, pause and record, but no volume or channel. Those are awkwardly underneath these other buttons. Maybe Monster is foreseeing people using this remote for movies more then watching normal TV.

The Monster didn't stop there, oh no, they have built this system with 'System Tracking Memory.' This market lingo equates into 5 AVL300's can control up to 5 systems.

But does it work? Yeah, from what we saw it works just like they advertised plus the remote feels better in the hand then the 890. They have two different flavors of this remote: the AVL100 which is basically a Harmony remote Monster style without all the lighting stuff for $349 and then the AVL300 that does everything mentioned above with an MSRP of $599. The switches and wall outlets start at $99 and go to $149.

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