Not sure I understand why you would expect it to be "useless in a few more months" Most remotes, over time, will have the more frequently used buttons wear out, like the volume up and down. They usually don't fail altogether over a period of time. Sometimes they do. But this is rare.
In all the devices I've ever used, its a short learning curve to figure out any quirky functionality that may exist.
For the 976 remote, I posted earlier in this thread that I figured out I needed to aim the remote slightly downward towards the 976, or I turned the remote in my hand so the buttons faced either left or right depending on which hand I held the remote in.
When you mention "there is no set pattern", there actually is. I also mentioned earlier in this thread, if the 976 IR sensor misses the initial IR pulse, the command can be misinterpreted. Such as controlling volume down instead of up, and vise versa.
The set pattern, IMHO, is the jostling of your hand when pressing the buttons. I duplicated this back when someone first reported it in this thread. Not sure if that was you.
Is the 976 remote limited in its IR range? Yes. But, this can be compensated for, and its a short learning curve to becoming adept at using it.
It's time to hit "send", and leave.

Main HT <> 976 <> 7200 <> Ultra-X12 <> sapphire ST2 mkII RF/LF <> sapphire SC center
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Lava HD-2605 Ultra 150 mile antenna <> Vizio E70U-D3 70" LCD <> Oppo UDP-203 <> Amazon 4k Fire TV