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If you've ever tried to enter text on a cell phone, this technique will be recognizable. Repeatedly press a button and the remote rotates through the assigned letters. Move on to a new button and it automatically advances to the next character to edit. Other available options include clearing any changes, resetting the label back to what it was, moving the cursor and saving your changes. Overall, editing is extremely quick - I now see why "telephone typing" can become an art form. I especially like that all letters are shown on-screen, removing any guesswork as to what number corresponds to which letter.
Sony thoughtfully includes a well-rounded selection of advanced features, all available from the setup menu. Contrary to what I said earlier, those complicated button combinations still exist and can also be used by the insistent to directly access most functions.
The first item allows devices to be copied from one position to another. This simple feature makes it much easier to reorganize the remote if what you initially spend time programming isn't what you end up wanting. This can also be used to consolidate secondary devices, which may otherwise be scattered over three pages of LCD labels, onto a single screen.
Next is the all-important "reset" - or "whoops, I want to start over". The remote provides ways to reset single components, system macros, timers or the whole shebang at once. As with all critical decisions, the RM-AV3000 wants to make sure you really really want to delete something and asks twice.
Even though a powerful remote like the RM-AV3000 can learn anything anywhere and has enough memory to do so, Sony still provides an automatic volume punchthrough. By default, audio devices will control the amplifier's volume, while visual devices control the television's. Optionally, you can force all devices to reference the amplifier. Naturally, this can be overridden on single devices by merely learning new volume controls to the hard buttons. I'm also pleased to note that the remote properly punches through amplifier and television volume controls when they are learned instead of preprogrammed.
Beep tones can be activated or disabled depending on preference. I would have liked two volume levels, since the default is a little on the loud side, along with an option to only beep on LCD buttons. I enjoy the audible feedback with using the touchscreen, but find it a nuisance when channel surfing or volume tweaking.
Finally, individual components or an entire remote's programming can be duplicated from one RM-AV3000 to another. The RM-AV2100 additionally supported transfers between itself and the lower-line RM-VL900 (read our review), but that isn't the case any more. Although this isn't a constructive feature for the average end user, dealers may find it convenient.
The light show!
Once again, it's time for our internationally ignored Menacing Thick Fluffy Blanket (MTFB), which goes beyond manufacturer infrared distance specifications and determines how well a remote will perform in real life, when situations are less than ideal. To refresh your memory, the best performance we've observed to date is the Xantech URC-2, which pounded its way successfully through an astonishing 5 layers of fluffocity. For this test we use the "Mute" command from a Sony STR-GA8ES receiver - right up the Sony RM-AV3000's alley.