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Home Theater Master MX-500 Review
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Other advanced features.
Although the MX-500 is one of the more powerful remotes I've used, there is a decided lack of frilly (and often superfluous) features - for instance you can't move keys or enter advanced codes; more importantly it also lacks timers. The one advanced feature it does include are punchthroughs. What this means is that the volume, channel or transport keys can be "punched" through from one device to another. For example, you can have DVD transport keys work under the television, or the receiver's volume controls function under the CD device. Although the same functionality can be obtained through monotonous learning, this is a much more elegant solution. All three types of punchthroughs must be individually configured for each and every device, which provides maximum customization potential even if it takes a little longer to complete.

It's Dolly-500!
Ideal for custom installers or anyone else who wants multiple identical remotes, the MX-500 provides wireless cloning capabilities to duplicate all settings from one MX-500 to another. The procedure takes about 40 seconds, which is infinitely quicker than trying to manually program multiple remotes.

We all make mistakes - and the MX-500 is able to deal with them. The Setup Menu's [ERASE] command provides a way to reset all user changes made through learning, macro recording or favorite channel entry. The remote is capable of removing all learned signals for the whole remote, an entire device or an individual key, macros for the entire remote or an individual key, plus favorite channels for the entire section or only a single entry. For each of these areas the remote provides full on-screen instructions and requires enough confirmation that you'll never be able to delete something accidentally. It's also possible to reset the whole remote to factory default settings by holding the [MAIN] and [EXIT] keys for 10 seconds... no confirmation is required here, so make sure you really mean it!

Home Theater Master MX-500
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Backlighting - it's useful from the front, too...
For anyone who's ever tried to use a remote in the dark, you'll appreciate the MX-500's excellent backlighting. Although most buttons on the MX-500 already have shapes unique enough that you won't need to look at them (for instance the large, curved [PAGE], [MAIN] and [FAV], the raised "+" and lowered "-" on the channel/volume rockers, the round or pointed transport controls around the thumbpad), the LCD labelled buttons would nonetheless be impossible to decipher in low light environments. To remedy this in the best possible manner, the MX-500 includes the same aqua colored electroluminescent (EL) panel as the MX-1000, lighting both LCD screen and hard buttons at the same time.

Angst-ridden that the thumbpad got left out? Well, although the thumbpad itself is opaque, the clear blue bezel surrounding the pad illuminates its position most effectively. The backlight is enabled by a button located on the upper right-hand side of the remote. It's interesting to see that a minor item like the [LIGHT] button shows marked improvement from Universal Remote Control's previous remote. Instead of being "hinged" (resulting in only one side depressing), the button is now free-floating. In addition, it's curved and angled ideally for thumb or forefinger use. Sometimes it's the small touches that really count!

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