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Sony RM-VL710 Remote Control Review
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Sony RM-VL710
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Component Select macros are typically used to power on specific devices and select the correct inputs for your television and/or receiver, reducing the amount of time it takes to change, say, from watching satellite TV to listening to a CD. These are only transmitted whenever the device button in question is held down for a minimum of 2 seconds, otherwise if pressed quickly the remote will merely switch to the new component. The 2 second delay can be a little long for comfort, so I would have preferred it shorter or perhaps customizable.

The four System Control buttons, on the other hand, will always send their assigned macro immediately, operating exactly the same under all devices. Typical uses for these macros include main system power on and off functions, plus routine operations such as playing a movie or dimming the lights. Unlike Component Select macros that always end with their labelled component active, System Control buttons will finish by switching the remote to the last recorded device.

Each macro can contain up to 16 steps, including device switches. There’s no way to add a manual delay (beyond the manual’s tip of inserting a 0.4 second delay by pressing the Component Select button – which would take 13 steps for a 5 second pause), and also no way to change the inter-command timing. Macros transmitted fairly quickly, with a 16 step sequence with no device changes taking 8 seconds to transmit, and a 16 step macro with 8 device changes clocking in somewhat faster at 5 seconds.

If you don’t have a use for the full 9 macros, any of these buttons can alternatively hold a single learned function – and in the case of Component Select buttons, this command will be transmitted instantly instead of requiring the 2 second hold time. It is not possible to combine a learned command and macro onto a single button.

Sony RM-VL710
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When you can’t macro, micro!
The original RM-VL700 was one of the first Sony remotes to support learning codes of up to 250-bits in length, far in excess of the average 8 to 24-bits required by most signals. Since that model had no official macro support, a good use was discovered for all that learning capacity with “micro macros”, or the process of learning more than one command onto a single button. With practice it’s possible to learn four or more commands onto any of the remote’s buttons – and those commands don’t need to be for the same device or even brand of device. “Micros” are an especially handy way to put favorite channel macros on otherwise unused keys.

Although this is far from an advertised capability for the RM-VL710, Sony did catch on to the concept with the RM-AV3100 and turned into an official feature – at least according to the manual, since it never ended up working on the actual remote. At any rate, micro macros can be tricky to learn since every command needs to be sent in a 1 or 2 second window, and there can be virtually no blank space between each signal or the remote will stop capturing.

One method is to line up all donor remotes in a row, get your fingers in position over each command, then select the target button on the RM-VL710 and quickly press the donor buttons in sequence. It may take dozens of tries to get a micro with all commands functioning as they should. An alternative method is to use a second more sophisticated remote that can transmit macros without any pause between commands, record the macro on it, and then capture the end result on the RM-VL710.

True, this can be a lot of work, but if you absolutely must have a macro someplace that Sony doesn’t allow them, this is the only way and well worth the effort.

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