Your Universal Remote Control Center
URC-100, URC-200 & URC-300 Reviews
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URC-300 Customizer
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Text at the bottom of the screen flashes insistently, telling you to use the up/down arrows – for some reason you’re not allowed to simply tap the name of the device you want to configure. Instead, it requires use of the direction pad to move the flashing device name, followed by pressing the [Select] key. I can see why such a system may have been needed on the URC-100, which can only display one name at a time, but there’s no logical reason why the URC-200 or URC-300 had to use it as well.

After choosing a device, the remote automatically asks you to pick the device code table to program from – this is your chance to change the type of component a button controls. Regardless of label, anything can be done: have the “Cable” button operate a second VCR, the “CD” button a DVR, and so on. The only catch is that a device’s LCD-based command labels are not automatically changed, so the new “DVR” device would have DVR-oriented controls with old CD-oriented labels. Needless to say these can be edited later, but figuring out what should be what takes time.

Next, key in an appropriate three-digit code number from the table included in the back of the manual. Available device types include amplifiers, cable boxes, CD players, DVD players, DVRs, LD players, lighting, preamps, receivers, satellite receivers, tape decks, televisions, TV/VCR combos and VCRs. As numbers are added they’re shown on the LCD. When the final digit is entered, the remote automatically transmits the “Power” command – so as soon as one of the codes succeeds in turning your device off, press the [Light] key to save it.

If none of the codes listed for your brand work, both remotes have a built-in code search function that’s especially easy to use. Instead of entering a specific code number use the on-screen “Up” and “Down” keys, or the [Channel Up] and [Channel Down] hard buttons, to step through all codes. The current code number is always shown on the LCD, and the “Power” command is transmitted automatically after each press. And even better, you can hold the key down to scan through codes at a rate of about one every second.

URC-200 Automator
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Learning in the right places.
Like all remotes in this price range, in addition to the built-in infrared database the URC-200 and URC-300 can learn codes from any existing remote. Frequencies range from 15 to 100kHz, which excludes a number of non-standard devices operating at 455kHz such as Bang & Olufsen.

Universal Remote Control’s private code database continues to grow – since the MX-500 I count 38 new DVD player codes. Still, no preset database can be perfect when the goal is to come up with a generic “covers the most models possible” template. For example, the codeset that worked with my receiver only selected three out of the six inputs and was missing at least a dozen other commands from the original remote.

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