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Home Theater Master MX-500 Review
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Since it's hard to remember that the letter "p" is on the number "6", you'll most likely need to reference the manual's code table. As there are only 4 characters assigned to each of 9 buttons (20 symbols are on the 10th button), I would have suggested displaying and entering characters via the 10 LCD buttons - that way letters and numbers are always in view. For a completely customized remote, you can also edit device names while on the Main Menu by pressing the [PAGE] button followed by the device.

Home Theater Master MX-500
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Stringing it all together.
Once the basics are completed, it's time to progress to one of the features that make universal remotes such a pleasure to use: macros. Macros are, simply put, strings of commands that are 'played' by pushing a single button. Actions that would normally require you to push more than one button in sequence - such as powering your system on and off, playing a movie, or entering favorite channels - can be fully automated so that the remote does all the tedious work for you.

The MX-500 features three different types of macros: "System", "Device" and "Favorite Channel". The first, System macros, reside on buttons that remain the same no matter what device you've selected. These include the three macro buttons at the bottom of the remote, plus the [SYSTEM OFF] and [POWER] buttons at the top. Accessed from the Setup Menu's [MACRO] option, System macros are programmed simply by hitting the hard key while on the Main Menu screen.

As was mentioned earlier, you can't learn commands to the three lower macro buttons - but you can to the two top power/macro buttons. This double-usage could have posed a user programming nightmare, but the final solution was straightforward. If you choose to place a System macro on either of the power buttons, that macro will override whatever command is stored there throughout the remote, on all devices. However, when programming the macro you are still able to access the preprogrammed or learned command stored 'under' them.

Device macros are assigned to each of the 10 LCD device buttons and are transmitted from the Main Menu whenever that button is held down for two seconds. Otherwise, selecting the device won't transmit anything. The typical macros stored on these buttons would be ones that configure receiver and television inputs, or power devices on. As remotes that always send these commands can create a muddle if things are already the way they should be (read: needing you to block the signal with your hand), the two-second hold requirement was a smart design choice.

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