Your Universal Remote Control Center
URC-100, URC-200 & URC-300 Reviews
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If you own multiples of the same type of device, rest assured that the Unifier will control them all: regardless of label, any device key can control any type of device. To change a button’s assignment, enter setup mode as described above, select the device you want to change, press the [Mute] key, and then select the type of device you want it to control. It’s that simple.

URC-100 Unifier
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Learning in the right places.
Like most remotes starting in this price range, in addition to the built-in infrared database the URC-100 can learn codes ranging in frequency from 15 to 100kHz from your existing remotes. The Unifier’s maximum code bit length is generally quite short, so the possibility of using “micro macros” is slim.

Universal Remote Control’s private code database continues to grow – since the MX-500 I count 19 new brands of DVD players. 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.

This isn’t because Universal Remote is doing something wrong, but because it’s simply impossible to come up with a database that will control absolutely everything for all makes and models. Even if the codes for basic function are the same between related models, as is normally the case, every model doesn’t have the same features. Sometimes a database will have two or three preset codes that operate at least partially with your equipment – each one with a few needed commands – but multiple preprogrammed codes cannot be merged together. Frequently, functions will be placed on buttons with improper labels. As the Unifier cannot move commands from one button to another, the only solution is to learn those keys from scratch.

This is one reason why you should avoid preprogrammed-only remotes when full control is needed: a little infrared learning is often necessary before a new universal remote will work to complete satisfaction. On the other hand, learning-only remotes without a code database also aren’t a good idea, as without preprogrammed codes there’s no hope of replacing lost or broken originals. Fortunately, the Unifier covers the best of both worlds.

URC-200 Automator
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DoubleTapping your way...
Learning mode is activated by holding the device button you would like to capture codes to and pressing [Select]. “LEARN” flashes on-screen. Select the button to place the new command on and the LCD flashes “READY”. Press the original remote’s button and the screen changes to a horizontal line, then “RETRY”. Release the source button, press it again, and the LCD should display “GOOD”. If a code was not captured correctly it will flash “FAILD”.

You’ll notice that the source button had to be pressed twice. This odd double-learning technique was used by Universal Remote Control some years ago on the SL-9000 and MX-1000 (along with earlier models), but had been dropped in favor of the more user-friendly single-tap system ever since the MX-500 first came out. Although code learning is still fast and rarely takes more than a split second for either push, double-pressing still involves at least one-third more button pushes. The manual claims that the “unique DoubleTap learning technology ensures compatibility with the widest variety of remote controls ever,” but I don’t recall many problems with the high-end MX-800...

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