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URC-200 Automator & URC-300 Customizer
Universal Remote Control’s URC-200 and URC-300 remotes offer significant upgrades over the starter URC-100. There are more devices, more macros, larger LCD screens, customizable button labels and even a favorite channel macro section. The Automator and Customizer are the kinds of remotes that will operate even the most complex of home theaters with grace and poise, but are simple enough that folks with just two or three A/V components won’t feel overwhelmed.
The $150 URC-200 is priced squarely between the $100 URC-100 and $200 URC-300. As I’ve discovered, quite often the middle of the road is the best place to stand: mid-range products often have most of the advanced model’s features, without the high price premium afforded by actually being the advanced model. In this case the URC-200 really does have all of the URC-300’s major features, just in smaller quantities.
From a hardware standpoint the 10-device URC-200 looks very much like a “light” version of the Home Theater Master MX-500 and has been priced exactly the same (although that’s now $40 less than the MX-500’s original price). The smaller and more demure case belies the capabilities beneath, as surprisingly the URC-200 offers features absent on the theoretically higher-end MX-500 – progress marching on. If you want brighter backlighting, more commands per device and a lot more macros, then the URC-200 has them.
The 15-device URC-300 takes the capabilities offered by the URC-200 and builds them even higher with more devices, more macros, more memory, and more functions. With a suggested price of $200, the 15-device URC-300 enters territory occupied by several already well established and quite sophisticated remotes. But for the extra $50 you do get a larger LCD – touchscreen no less – and what I feel is overall cleaner operation than the URC-200, but the URC-300 has no new operational features to boast of and simply offers “more”.
Two screens to view.
The physical differences between the URC-200 and URC-300 are limited to the top third of the case. The URC-200 Automator has a tall LCD screen with regular buttons on either side, while the URC-300 Customizer sports a larger LCD touchscreen and no additional keys.
The Automator’s LCD screen measures 0.95” wide and 1.90” high (2.4cm by 4.8cm) and has 7 lines of dot-matrix text. The top line has the largest font size and displays the active device or mode. The next 5 lines are slightly smaller and used to display custom 5-character names for an equal number of buttons on the right side of the screen. The seventh line of text at the bottom is the status display and has the smallest font size, but can show up to 7 characters. Finally, on the left side of the screen are three buttons: [Fav], [Page Up] and [Page Down]. [Fav] is used to jump directly to the Favorite Channels macro section, while the large page buttons change the labels and functions of the 5 keys on the right.