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The screen itself is not dot-matrix based, meaning that what you see is all you get. Itís designed similar to another remote I recently reviewed with regular button shapes which remain the same, although the labels can change between several predesigned options. There are a total of 28 user buttons and 8 component buttons, meaning this remote has the capability to control a total of 224 functions. The preset component labels are TV, DSS/SAT, VCR, DVD, Amp, Tape/Tuner, CD and Aux and cannot be changed, though you can control whatever you like with any of the buttons. In addition, there are four configuration buttons at the top of the screen Ė LEARN, DELETE, MACRO and TRANS.
Learning Your Way
The UCommand does not feature any built-in codes. So, if youíve lost a remote or have one that is broken, it will not be able to duplicate those functions. All codes on the UCommand are captured from existing remotes, a process commonly referred to as "learning". The learning eye is at the bottom of the remote, a recent trend amongst high-end models. Itís actually much better placement than at the top Ė trying to work with an upside down or sideways remote is an exasperating experience.
To start, youíd want to learn signals off of your existing remotes. To do that you enter "learn" mode by holding the [LEARN] button at the top of the screen for three seconds. The remote beeps twice and presents you with a screen with four numbers on it Ė 2, 4, 6 and 8. This is the programming change confirmation screen, which prevents accidental changes from being made to the remote Ė a nice touch. To continue you merely press each button once. Right hereís where youíll notice the first important feature of the UCommandĖ the remote is very fast to operate. Button presses are sensed right away. Screens change instantly. Itís quite unusual to work with a remote thatís so quick to respond.
So, down to learning. After pressing the four confirmation numbers, you select the device you would like to learn to. The POWER button blinks and the remote is ready to receive a signal. If you want to program a different button you can just press it. Then, aim the source remote at the bottom of the UCommand, press the button, and in half a second itís learned the signal. Impressive! But whatís even more impressive is that the remote has already moved onto the next button and is once again ready to receive a signal. Due to this smart automated stepping, itís possible to program an entire component in only a few minutes Ė and thatís if youíre a beginner! Although the UCommandís manual does not specify how much memory is available for learning, I would expect thereís enough for an average length signal on each and every button. Learning range extends from 10kHz through 150kHz. The UCommand learned most signals I threw at it in the blink of an eye, though it did have trouble with the input macro buttons for my receiver (very few learning remotes have been able to handle these).