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Sony RM-AV3000 Remote Control Review
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Learning in the 21st century.
After it was revealed that the RM-AV2000 didn't have enough learning memory for more than a couple of entirely taught devices, Sony has consistently ensured that there's sufficient memory for a learned signal on every single possible location in their remotes. With the RM-AV3000 that's nearly 1000 locations, twice as many as its predecessor. Even the most diverse collection of components should be tameable with the RM-AV3000!

Sony RM-AV3000
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Learning a command is as intuitive as programming a preset code. Enter the setup menu, select [Learn], then pick the device and button to teach on. Point the original (source) remote at the front of the RM-AV3000, push and hold its button, and the Sony will beep to confirm capture of a signal. On fixed LCD squares it's also possible to pick from one of several predefined labels, before learning, by holding the component name at the top of the screen and then selecting where to learn (you can't change the label of a preprogrammed button). The number of possible labels on each square ranges from three to four words or symbols and includes new terms such as "Thumbs +" and "EPG". One of the preset labels must always be chosen, as an empty border without text is not an option.

Learning proved quick and reliable, though the RM-AV3000 also demonstrated a sensitivity to stray infrared light - more so than other remotes. Initially the RM-AV3000 would instantly flash the "NG" ("No Good") indicator whenever I attempted to learn a signal. The source of this behaviour turned out to be an ordinary table lamp: when off, all systems were go. Just to prove to myself that I wasn't crazy, I tried learning on the RM-AV2100 under the same circumstances and had no problems. Purely from specifications, the new remote should have behaved identically.

The RM-AV3000 supports infrared frequencies up to 500kHz, higher than the majority of learning remotes. Although 500kHz doesn't extend quite high enough to cover really tricky components such as older Pioneer Elite, it's enough for Bang & Olufsen and several other manufacturers who try their hardest to ignore industry standards. The Sony also supports learning codes up to 300 bits in length - truly impressive compared to others that can't go above 30 or 40 bits. This overspecification actually has a practical use that I first commented on in the Sony RM-VL700 review (read it here). The RM-VL700 does not support any sort of macro, but I discovered that short ones ("micro macros") could be simulated by quickly learning the desired commands in sequence. It may take two or three dozen attempts before everything captures smoothly, but it will eventually work.

In contrast, the RM-AV3000 already supports 45 macros with up to 32 commands in each. However, those can only be assigned to "Component Select" keys - the buttons you press when changing to a new component - or "System Control" keys - buttons whose only purpose is to store macros. Thus, if someone wanted to assign a macro to a normal in-device LCD button they'd be left high and dry, unless said macro was short enough to be learned in one big chunk. Now, merely dividing the number of bits the RM-AV3000 purports to learn by an average code bit length may indicate that well over a dozen individual signals could be taught in sequence. The reality is closer to three or four at most, since the remote has a maximum recording time of one second and will capture everything it sees exactly, blank spaces, repeats and all.

Finally, the remote supports double-key security for the "Record" command, utilizing [Rec] and [Play]. Other previously supported double-key commands, such as [Input] plus a digit, have been dropped.

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