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Acoustic Research Xsight Touch Review
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Editing buttons.
Located under the wizard’s Advanced menu is an option to “edit extended keys”. While this may sound more like a way to add UEI’s famous “extended function codes” (typically hidden commands that manufacturers program into their devices but don’t usually put on the stock remotes), this is where almost all of the Xsight’s general button customization lies. (Note that UEI’s extended function codes are actually unnecessary on the Xsight as all possible database functions are already available.)

When editing buttons, the wizard displays a graphical overview of the Xsight. Hover the mouse cursor over a button and it displays the associated command, along with an option to change the assigned function. Any command from any device can be assigned to any button – that’s a whole lot of “any’s”!

On-screen soft buttons are added and edited using a separate but similar screen that permits the editing of text labels (and yes, with both uppercase and lowercase letters), as well as changing a button from displaying simple text labels to a predetermined icon (typically a symbol or abbreviated text in a larger font). Unusually, the Xsight’s wizard adds soft buttons to screens in reverse order – beginning with the bottom left, then bottom right, middle left and so forth. When a page is full, an option appears to add another. Buttons can be moved around on any particular screen, however it is impossible to move a function from one screen to another (except by deleting a key, which advances the entire list forward).

Seemingly absent from mention in the wizard is the ability to add individual learned functions to an existing device – otherwise new buttons can only be added from the preprogrammed database. This can in fact be done manually through the remote’s onboard software, although the process assumes that users will only ever want to add a single new button at a time. Just remember to upload your changes back to the website when you’re finished!

After programming is mostly complete, the wizard offers a handy “Review” button that leads to a quick reference list of everything that’s been added to the remote – devices, activities, favorites and macros, all with quick links to add or modify elements. Also shown is how much of the remote’s memory has been used, which remained quite reasonable on my test system.

More device than activity?
After working with the Xsight for some time, it became clear that the remote’s structure is different from established activity-based remotes. Generally speaking, such remotes will have two primary sections: devices for a complete selection of commands associated with a single component, and activities which include system configuration macros and any number of commands that will be needed to complete that task.

As expected, the Xsight displays both of these sections; however activities are heavily dependant on their primary device. With the Xsight, an “activity” represents a custom name, an association with a device, a macro, and a number of fixed hard button punchthrough groups. There is no separation between on-screen commands as shown for a particular device, and those as shown for an activity based on that device.

So if you want to cut down the number of functions shown on the LCD for an activity, this can only be done by removing them from the primary device – which unfortunately removes them from the remote entirely. Buttons and/or pages cannot be hidden from view. Similarly, if you wanted to add several functions from a second or third device to an activity, this can only be done to the primary device’s layout – breaking the idea of a “device” being commands for just that device.

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