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For power users who traditionally prefer to configure their remote from a blank slate by learning all codes from scratch, the old “AUX 155” trick first reported about in our MX-500 review still works with the URC-100. Since there’s no way to actually delete preprogrammed functions from a key, what this does is assign a code with an absolute minimum number of commands: only the [Off] and [On] buttons are occupied, and by non-repeating codes at that. This wipes out all other keys and restores proper function to the transmitting icon, so it only activates when a bona fide command is being sent.
A shift in control.
Each of the 8 devices on the URC-100 has 43 available hard buttons. This works out to 344 possible device commands, however as cited earlier the [Shift] key allows access to a second command on any button. To use that command first press [Shift], which causes the LCD to blink, and then press whichever key has a secondary function. You can add shifted commands to any of a device’s 43 in-device keys, plus the 8 device selection buttons at the top of the remote only for the Audio device. The preprogrammed [Record] command is stored as a secondary function of the [Stop] key, helping prevent accidental usage. The totally exposed [Record] button on the MX-500 always seemed too risky. Also, orange labels printed above the numeric keypad indicate certain other secondary shifted functions.
Since the back of the manual claims that the Unifier will hold up to 424 learned IR codes, that works out to about 10 extra shifted keys per device, assuming every possible button in every device has a learned command. As that’s not likely to be the case, it should be possible to use shifted keys wherever necessary.
This is an interesting way to increase the limits of a fixed-button remote, but it’s not particularly user friendly. Other than a few mainly receiver-oriented secondary labels, there’s absolutely no way for anyone unfamiliar with the programming of the Unifier to determine whether a key holds an extra function or what that function might be. The back of the manual makes numerous references to preprogrammed shifted commands scattered on various buttons – 14 for DVD players, 16 for televisions – but it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will ever know about them.
Although you can’t change the function labels on hard buttoned remotes – the first person to invent that will make a fortune – the URC-100 does let you edit the 5-character device name that shows in the dot matrix display. So even if the device button’s printed label doesn’t match what’s being controlled, the LCD will.
Labels are edited with the number keys, which turn into a telephone style typewriter – although here “A,B,C” starts on the  key then continues three letters to a key until . The  key holds several remote-related icons and special symbols, so in total there are 56 possible characters. The cursor is positioned left or right with the arrow keys, and characters are deleted by pressing [Down].