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URC Digital R50 Remote Control Review
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Iím pleased to report that the R50ís code database includes a large number of discrete power and input commands for popular brands, which will be particularly useful for activity-style macros. However the R50 lacks the built-in workarounds and variable-based status tracking of some other remotes for working with non-discrete devices.

Hide and... stay.
If you find a device with a number of preprogrammed buttons that donít work, or if you want to conceal some advanced functions that should only be used by macros, the R50 is capable of hiding individual LCD buttons or entire pages of buttons from view, without affecting their content. Itís even possible to hide entire devices.

Whatís not possible is moving buttons. Wherever a preprogrammed command or learned key is created, or wherever a device is first placed on the Main Menu, is exactly where itís going to stay. This is most limiting when using the preprogrammed database as a command source, as LCD functions may not appear in the desired arrangement or order of importance.

Of course most other standalone remotes donít offer the ability to move buttons either, but had URC added this feature the R50 would have been nearly as customizable as other models with full PC software. As it is, the control freak in me who knows that my Scientific Atlanta DVR doesnít actually have a ďDĒ key, despite what the database thinks, would want to be able to remove it and shuffle the other commands forward. The only way to do this is to delete everything and learn the entire device from scratch... since you can always plan out where youíre going to put learned keys in advance.

And so as a test thatís exactly what I did. I started over with a brand new configuration without making any use of the database, and instead placed every key in its optimal location. Itís great that the R50 is powerful enough to allow this sort of thing; however I should caution readers that this is definitely not recommended for beginners or the impatient as it takes a very long time to complete. This is partly due to the protracted amount of time spent saving each change, but also from a desire to use the increased label size. The MX-500 may have had 13 hundred customizable text characters, but the R50 offers an amazing 13 thousand. Now thatís enough typing to cramp up anyoneís thumbs!

These are a few of my favorite things!
Itís been missing for several generations now, but the Favorite Channels feature has finally made a comeback on a URC remote! This section has its own hard button for convenient access and is a collection of quick-access macros to your favorite television stations. Of course the R50ís greatly expanded macro capabilities would have allowed users to create similar favorite channel macros on any other LCD button, but itís only in this special section where the buttons can be customized with actual television network logos.

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