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Every good remote control comes with a preprogrammed database of codes, allowing owners to replace missing or disabled originals. Since it's practically impossible for a preprogrammed database to incorporate all advanced functions from every model ever made, they typically provide only limited functionality; enough to control the basics, but little else. Thus, every great remote will also be capable of learning infrared commands from existing ones. Naturally, the RM-AV3000 supports both.
Thanks to the easy setup menu and ability to display the exact code number entered or in use, programming the RM-AV3000 is decidedly simple. Enter the setup menu, [Commander Off] and [Muting], press [Preset] on the first screen, select the device, then start entering the number via the keypad on the left. The number is shown on the bottom right, accompanied by a [Power] button to test the code and [Clear] to start over again.
In a departure from every hard buttoned remote I've used, the RM-AV3000 no longer requires a component button to be redefined before entering a code. Instead, the category of a device is stored as part of the four-digit code number. For example, all televisions start with number "8", while all DVD players start with "0". If a DVD player was to be assigned to the "TV" button, simply enter the DVD player's complete code number. Both assigned commands and preset button labels will be instantly changed over to reflect the new device without any further fuss. With many instances of user confusion over how Sony's "CBL/SAT" button was originally configured to the SAT device - causing CBL codes to malfunction - this is a welcome improvement.
In addition to manually entering codes from the included code list, Sony has also provided a built-in code search function. On the same screen as code numbers are entered, the [Channel Up/Down] buttons can be used to advance to the next or previous option. However, this function isn't automated far enough: advancing the code number does not send out a test signal. After each press of the channel keys, the [Power] button must be hit to see if the code works. This would have been more expedient had it been fully automatic.
Sony's code database continues to see improvement. The original RM-AV2000's complement of preprogrammed devices was quite minimal. The RM-AV2100 saw marked improvement, while the RM-AV3000 is better yet again. For example, in order, the three remotes each contain 5, 14 and 26 DVD code sets. For receivers, the statistics are 32, 50 and 92. CD players? 45, 50, and 72. The RM-AV3000 also includes codes for Digital Video Recorders (TiVo, ReplayTV), two brands of lighting systems, analog and digital cable boxes, audio tape decks, CD players, MD/DAT decks, laserdisc players, mini systems and satellite receivers.
The number of preprogrammed functions for the Sony brand has also improved - for example, on the RM-AV2100 the DVD device had 32 commands, now there's 48. VCRs have gone from 29 to 40, tape decks from 11 to 29, televisions from 37 to 44. "Non-Sony" brands are far less complete and rarely use any of the customizable LCD label keys - expect to learn from your original remotes.