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URC Digital R50 Remote Control Review
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Device 411
Itís now time to find a preprogrammed code that works with your equipment. Conspicuously missing from the R50ís slim paperwork is the traditional densely packed list with thousands of seemingly random numbers... and thatís because the R50 doesnít need them. Instead, simply tell it that your television is a Sony or a Samsung and the R50 will automatically narrow down the possible codes from thousands to tens Ė or less.

The first screen (or half screen) filled with boldfaced brands are the most commonly owned makes for that type of device. If your brand isnít listed there, scroll down using the cursor pad and youíll be able to sift through the entire collection alphabetically. (Undocumented tip for quick scrolling through long lists: use the [Left] and [Right] keys to jump page-by-page.) Although URC has not historically been known for having the most extensive code database, the R50 shows that it has evidently grown to a rather significant size over the years. I counted 17 pages of audio devices, 21 pages of televisions, 10 pages of DVD players Ė the list goes on.

Universal Remote Control Inc. Digital R50 Universal Remote Control Inc. Digital R50 Universal Remote Control Inc. Digital R50

Most brands will result in multiple matching codesets, so the next step is to figure out which one is the best. With the current code number displayed on the screen (oh no, there are those random numbers again!), the cursor pad can be used to step through the various matches. Each time the code is changed, the R50 automatically sends the [Power] command. When your device responds by turning off, the [Test] button will jump to a new screen where the code can be tested in-depth using any of the remoteís hard buttons. Check whether the menu cursor, transport controls or channel buttons work, all before finalizing the device. The R50 even offers suggestions on what functions to verify.

Unfortunately the preview only works with regular hard buttons, so thereís no way to see any of the advanced functions that will be assigned to the LCD screen. In situations where several codes all operate basic functionality, this omission can make it rather time consuming to quickly locate the most appropriate match... but itís at least no more difficult than any other standalone remote. Two buttons exit the testing phase: [Pass] saves the device, or use [Back] to try a different code. The process of saving a device took longer than I would have expected; something that became a running theme for anything that needed to be written to memory.

Yes, you can search the long way!
Initially I had wondered if, in an effort to keep the number of programming options to a minimum, URC had omitted the ability to search through the entire database at once. As it turns out itís merely well hidden.

Universal Remote Control Inc. Digital R50
After a brand (any brand) has been selected and all matching codesets exhausted, the remote will offer a full database search or the opportunity to learn everything from scratch. Inconveniently, when opting to learn the R50 immediately forgets everything itís already been told about the device, such as the desired icon and name. Of the dozen test devices in my system, 3 were not covered by the database and had to be learned: a satellite receiver, a subwoofer and an antenna rotor.

Thereís no way to quickly enter a preprogrammed code number if you already know what it is Ė the R50 contains a summary screen with the codes assigned to all devices, but the information does little to expedite future programming efforts.

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