Your Universal Remote Control Center
Home Theater Master MX-500 Review
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Home Theater Master MX-500
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Our 20-step program features bonuses!
Both System and Device-style macros can hold up to 20 steps each. An automatic 0.1 second delay (quick yet reliable) is added between each command, but by pressing the [PAUSE] key additional delays in 0.2 second increments can be added up to a total of 3 seconds, with the running total flashing on the LCD screen. Delays don't count towards your total step count - which are thoughtfully displayed and incremented as you record your macro. As well, changing to a new device does not count as a step. Macros are saved by pressing the [CHANNEL UP] key, which means that you can't include [PAUSE] or [CHANNEL UP] commands in any of your macros.

When played back, both System and Device macros will switch the remote to the device they were saved on (always LCD "Page 1"). As described earlier in this review, it's possible to teach a single signal to each device button that is sent without delay. The macro feature can work in tandem with this learned signal - if you select a device the single command will transmit instantly; if you continue to hold the button down the macro will also be sent. As System macros play back, the currently accessed device is shown in the LCD status region; device macros do not do this.

Since we all hate figuring out what number "TLC" is...
Next we come to Favorite Channel macros. This feature can be accessed from anywhere on the remote by hitting the dedicated "FAV" button. What this section does is display five pages - that's a total of 50 macros - of LCD buttons, each button referring to a particular television channel. As with all other buttons, they can be renamed to whatever you desire. Configuring a Favorite Channel macro is done from the Setup Menu's [FAV] option. First select the device the macro should operate on, then choose the button on which to record. Although it's possible to enter up to 10 steps for each channel macro (are they anticipating mega-satellites?), the only buttons usable are numbers [0] through [9], [ENTER], [DISPLAY], [INFO/PAUSE], [POWER] and [SYSTEM OFF]. The commands entered are shown on the LCD; saving what's been entered is done by pressing the same macro button again.

Home Theater Master MX-500
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Even though it initially sounds like the Favorite Channel section can only reference the keypad from a single device, this is in fact not so. Hitting the [MAIN] button allows you to select a new device and then record any number of channel macros for it - meaning that macros can be mixed and matched for television, VCR, cable, satellite and DSS devices in the same section, though take note when playing back that they can only reference the device they were recorded with, not the device you were in when you selected the [FAV] option.

When active, the Favorite Channel area only changes functions on the LCD buttons. All remaining hard buttons pick up commands from the most recently selected device. [FAV] scrolls forwards through the quintet of screens, while [PAGE] scrolls backwards; pressing [MAIN] returns to the previous device.

Although five characters are generally enough for command labels such as "input", "eject" and "setup", that limit can be a little restrictive for certain television stations. Major networks such as HBO, ABC and NBC obviously fall under the total, but others start to take on an abbreviated form that'll be familiar to anyone who remembers the days of MS-DOS filenames. Anyone up for watching a little "Disco[very]"?

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