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URC Introduces MX-980 "Master Remote"
New remote upgrades the MX-950 with a color LCD touchscreen.
Posted by Daniel Tonks on August 3, 2007 at 1:00 AM
RC News Story
Universal Remote Control Complete Control MX-980 To complement the company’s introduction of the MX-810 color LCD remote control last month (which, incidentally, is officially no longer called the “Wizard Remote” and now merely the MX-810), Universal Remote Control Inc. has today released an upgraded version of the MX-950 which they have dubbed the MX-980.

From the supplied rendering the MX-980’s family resemblance to the MX-950 is obvious; however there are also some significant differences. The LCD is not as tall as the black-and-white one used on the MX-950, reducing the adjacent multipurpose buttons from 10 to 8. The volume, channel and menu cursor area has also been changed to an arrangement more similar to the MX-900 (which we just reviewed), while the MX-980’s newly arranged transport cluster would seem to be more logical than either the existing MX-900 or MX-950 versions.

In other specifications, the computer programmed MX-980 sports a high-resolution 240x320 screen, supports a wide range of image formats including JPG, PNG and animated GIF, and maintains the majority of the MX-950’s current capabilities including narrow band RF, compatibility with the MSC-400, a pickup sensor, rechargeable lithium ion battery with basestation, plus a beeper speaker (the MX-950’s WAV playback would appear to have been removed). The new remote will be available in September for $599 USD MSRP.

Also announced today by Universal Remote is the MRF-260 basestation, which was mentioned briefly in the earlier press release for the MX-810. The narrow-band MRF-260, which is more economical than the two-piece MRF-350 solution, is fully addressable with two fixed and two variable 3.5mm IR outputs. The unit will be available this September for $149 USD MSRP.

I’ve included both original press releases below.

Universal Remote Control Introduces New Master Remote for Home Theater and A/V Systems

MX-980 Custom Remote—the Next Big Step in Intelligent Control—Boasts Vivid Color Display, Narrow Band RF, Powerful OpenArchitecture PC Editing for Professional Installers, and More

HARRISON, NY, Aug. 3, 2007 — Universal Remote Control, Inc., the leader in control system design and manufacturing for home and professional entertainment systems, will introduce the next big step in the intelligent evolution of A/V control, the MX-980 Remote Control, at CEDIA EXPO ’07, beginning Sept. 6 in Denver, Colorado.

The MX-980 is a powerful wand-style custom control designed to advance the state of the art of Home Theater programming and integration. Achieving an apex of power, style and versatility, it enables professional installers to more quickly and efficiently customize and automate sophisticated Home Theaters and whole house A/V systems — while empowering their owners to handle them as naturally as a race car driver hugs the road.

Ideal for homes with one or more A/V systems, the MX-980 is as intuitive for installers to program as it is for users to operate. Its unique synergies automate and simplify operation of even the most complex home systems. Its many highlights include a big, bright color LCD display, an open programming architecture, Narrow Band RF capability, and seamless integration with other control devices.

The MX-980’s display shares the vibrant color capabilities of URC’s popular MX-3000 Remote Control with an active matrix LCD that offers a 320x240 pixel window to any graphic an installer would like to provide, including BMP, JPEG, PNG, GIF and animated GIF files, all of which can be assigned to any of eight adjacent activity buttons.

The MX-980 also integrates more strongly than other remotes with URC’s breakthrough MSC-400 Master System Controller. The MSC-400 flawlessly harnesses the power of sophisticated home entertainment systems to provide installers with options and advantages not otherwise available. It offers triggered macros, RS-232 and relay control, video and voltage sensors, and many more features — taming system complexity, while delivering unmatched flexibility, automation power, installation speed, and diagnostic capabilities.

With or without the MSC-400, the MX-980 is an exceptionally versatile remote that delivers automation solutions for every purpose as well as superior entertainment. Like the MX-3000, the MX-980 is programmable by any Windows-compatible laptop or desktop PC with a USB port. The port provides access to a vast array of custom solutions, available free of charge using URC’s proprietary Complete Control Suite programming software, available online at the URC Control Room.

WATCH and LISTEN buttons on the MX-980 display activities users can control. When a user wants to watch something else (a DVD, a videotape or an HDTV broadcast), he or she simply presses the WATCH button and selects the new activity. When a user wants to listen to the radio or a CD, he or she touches LISTEN. Then, with the press of the button, the MX-980 automates the entire routine of turning on components, selecting inputs and favorites, even resetting the lights to the optimum scene for the selected activity.

The MX-980’s unique OpenArchitecture PC Editor provides professional installers with new solutions to the age-old problem of automating a central system as well as local TVs, cable or satellite receivers, and even local surround systems in secondary rooms like bedrooms and offices. Using the MX-980, installers can simply select an appropriate solution for each equipment location.

In the central system, for example, the MX-980 can trigger sophisticated smart macros, RS232 and relay controls via a centrally installed MSC-400 Master Controller. At each local system location, the MX-980 addresses an RF Base Station, like URC’s new MRF-260, which extends the remote’s range to 50 to 100 feet, and eliminates the line-of-sight requirement. In any room with a projector, lighting switch or other IR-controlled device not connected to a central MSC-400 or local MRF, the MX-980’s built-in IR signal is effective at a range of 30 to 50 feet.

The MX-980 is packed with practical features for users as well as installers. These include a motion sensor that automatically turns on the display when the remote is picked up and refreshes when it’s moved, and automatic blue backlighting for all the buttons to ensure the remote can be used easily in dim or darkened rooms. A small integrated speaker optionally beeps in response to button pushes, indicating the MX-980 understands an instruction. A built-in time/date display, a low-battery alert, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and a supplied USB programming cable further enhance its ease of use.

The MX-980 Remote Control will be available in September from authorized Universal Remote Control dealers at a suggested retail price of $599. It can be seen with URC’s other outstanding products in Booth 918, Colorado Convention Center, during CEDIA EXPO.

Universal Remote Control Introduces New Base Station with Barrier-Free Narrow Band RF Reception

Addressable Four-Outlet MRF-260 Improves Range and Reliability of Compatible Remotes; Ideal for One Room, or Many with Multiple Units

HARRISON, NY, Aug. 3, 2007 — Universal Remote Control, Inc., the leader in control system design and manufacturing for home and professional entertainment systems, will introduce the MRF-260 Complete Control RF Base Station, bringing the advantages of optimizing Narrow Band radio frequency (RF) reception to home entertainment systems, at CEDIA EXPO ’07, beginning Sept. 6 in Denver, Colorado.

“We’re very excited about our latest addressable Narrow Band RF Base Station,” said Jim Novak of URC’s product development department. “It’s even more affordable than the MRF-350, and should have broad appeal to custom installation professionals everywhere.”

Universal Remote Control MRF-260 The MRF-260 is a compact, fully addressable RF base station compatible with URC’s many Narrow Band-equipped remote controls. The base station features an integrated Narrow Band receiver and antenna, two fixed line outputs for IR emitters, and two adjustable, or variable, line outputs. Each adjustable output can be matched to the IR input on any component that a standard IR repeater can operate.

The base station extends the reception range for flawless connectivity from compatible remotes up to 100 feet away though walls, floors and doors, indoors or outdoors. It eliminates the line-of-sight requirement, and can even be concealed in cabinets for true “Barrier Free” control.

The MRF-260 can be programmed to operate equipment at up to 15 locations, like a den or a bedroom, anywhere in a house by installing an MRF-260 at each location. It also works with such devices as URC’s breakthrough MSC-400 Master System Controller, which seamlessly harnesses the power of sophisticated home entertainment systems, providing options and advantages not otherwise available.

The Narrow Band capability offers significant installation advantages. In addition to improving devices’ range and reliability, it improves spurious adjacent signal rejection, ignoring unneeded signals. A bright red LED status light flickers to alert users to the presence of RF interference.

Four shallow grooves on the top panel of the MRF-260 accept standard Brother P-Touch® self-adhesive labels, allowing installers to easily identify each component connected to the corresponding outputs. The base station is designed for use with standard 3.5 mm plugs.

The MRF-260 Complete Control RF Base Station will be available in September from authorized Universal Remote Control dealers at a suggested retail price of $149. It can be seen with URC’s other outstanding products in Booth 918, Colorado Convention Center, during CEDIA EXPO.

Talk about the MX-980 & MRF-260!

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