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User reviews for the Sony RM-VL710 from Sony Electronics.
Sony RM-VL710
RatingsReviewsMSRP (USD)
Average: 4.48/5.00
Median: 4.67/5.00
Sony's 5-device RM-VL710 upgrades the RM-VL700 with a new design, additional hard buttons and 9 complete macros. It also includes full code learning capabilities, a preprogrammed database and easy setup.
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Written by Herman Trivilino from Houston, Texas.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-2 years.
Review 7 made on Saturday March 10, 2007 at 5:59 PM.
Also owned:Radio Shack 15-2133
URC MX-850
Strengths:Wonderful for those of us who are tactile.
Weaknesses:No easy way to program "secret codes".
Review:It wasn't until I'd used this remote that I appreciated its greatest asset. It's made for the tactile user. The array of different sized buttons, and the tactile dots, allow the user to feel his way around the buttons and use the remote without needing to look at it.

Macros can be programmed on the five Component Select buttons and the four System Control buttons, plus just about any button can "learn" any function. I actually prefer this $35 remote to my $400 MX-850 remote for controlling my six-component home theatre!

This is the way I've set my remote up to control my little home theatre. My television must be on for more than 5 or 6 seconds before it'll accept an input command. So, first I press the TV Component Select button to turn on the TV. Then I wait 5-6 seconds, and hold down one of the following Component Select buttons: VCR, CBL, or DVD. Each of these buttons launches a macro that then sets the home theatre up for that respective activity. For example, holding down the DVD Component Select button launches a macro that sets up the home theatre so that I can watch a DVD, and control the DVD player. Pressing System Control button B, C, or D launches a macro that shuts the home theatre down for each of these activities. Holding down the AMP Component Select button launches a macro that sets up the home theatre for listening to music on CD's.

A disadvantage to this remote is that there's no easy way to get "secret codes" onto it. For example, when playing back a television show that I've recorded on my DVR, I want to be able to skip over the commercials. I can use the fast forward command taught from the original remote, but there is a better way. There's a "skip 30 seconds" command that can't be found on the original remote and is therefore a so-called "secret code". More expensive remotes come with a database of secret codes, or alternatively it can be downloaded off the internet and onto a computer-programmable remote. Unfortunatley, there's no inexpensive way to get these secret codes loaded onto this remote. If you happen to own, or have access to, one these more expensive remotes, you can use it to teach the secret codes to this remote. And that is precisely what I did.
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Written by iron_city from Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 6 made on Friday May 26, 2006 at 10:11 AM.
Strengths:Easy to program, full learning capability, minimal buttons (could go either way), volume punch through, better buttons than the 700
Weaknesses:Slightly large size, only 5 components, odd button layout (compared to the RM-VL700S)
Review:Thank you, Remote Central. 3+ years ago, I took a gamble on the $30 RM-VL700S, because the saleskid at Bestbuy said that only a $149+ remote would control the Comcast box and home theater. Boy was he wrong. The 700S lasted over 3 years, so that made it quite a bargain. (My review of that one can be found in the RM-VL700 section for User Reviews. Mine is under "Brian from Pittsburgh").

Once the buttons started to go, I came to this site again to find out what's new and cheap in remotes, and found the "New review" of the RM-VL710. I had to get it. $35 later, I have to say that it is an improvement over the 700.

The remote was easy to program to learn all the buttons I needed for the cable box, and all the other compnents (Sony HT, Sony VCR, and RCA DVD) were pre-programmed. I have mostly all buttons in use on all components, and I had no trouble with "learn" capacity. The volume "punch through" is a must for those with a separate amp or HT.

I was able to easily program the macros. With the above components and the old 700, I had to press TV,Power,CBL,Power to turn everything on. Then (due to the Home Theater) CBL,Power,TV,Power,AMP,Power to turn it all off. Not any more! I quickly programmed a macro to turn everything on and one to turn everything off. I called them the "babysitter buttons", however my wife was extremely grateful to have simple on-off buttons now.

You can also still make the "mini-macros" which can learn a few keystrokes. This is helpful to replicate the "On Demand" buttons you get with Comcast.

Overall, the pros outweigh the cons. I don't have a "fluffy blanket" system like these guys, however, this remote passes the "missus" test, which means my wife can use it. Also, the kids and babysitters can use it. If you have a medium complexity system of 5 components or less, consider this remote - you won't be disappointed.

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Written by djke from new jersey.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 5 made on Thursday March 2, 2006 at 3:28 PM.
Strengths:well made, 9 macros (4 system and 5 device macros) long battery life, every button is programmable for each device
Weaknesses:manuel a littlt confusing, could use more examples for macro setup, no backlight but at this price point what do you expect
Review:this is a marvel of engineering at an msrp of $35. fairly easy to program. wife and child friendly. can be device and/or activity based (as can most remotes) with a little creativity on the users part. for a modest home theater this is a terrific universal remote. i don't believe anything comes close in versatility given the learning ability and macro programming. as a last note, per this websites review although the feedback from the remote during programming is not on par with more expensive universal remotes you still get enough feedback to asess whether your programming was sucessful. i heartily recommend this remote for a modest system which i suspect most people have.
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Written by jchristl from Pittsburgh.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 4 made on Saturday February 4, 2006 at 7:52 PM.
Strengths:Macros and learning
Weaknesses:Button layout is a little off
Looses its learning ability
Review:I did alot of research before purchasing a remote. I figured this was the one to get. I got it, setup all of my devices, "Learned" a few buttons, and then setup a few macros to turn things off and on.

Well after having it for a couple of months, I decided I wanted to move around a few buttons. This is when I found out that the damn thing won't "learn" anymore. Apparently it was all learned out. "Resetting" the remote, and leaving it without batteries for days on end, had no effect. The eeprom must have somehow corrupted and made it impossible to do anything else.

It gets a Feature Rating of 3 (Average) because it does what it's supposed to do as far as a universal remote is concerned.

It gets a 2 (fair) for Quality due to the ergonomics of the remote, and for the possibility of the learning/macros functions to stop working.

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Written by GaryPSU from New Jersey USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 3 made on Wednesday December 28, 2005 at 3:45 PM.
Strengths:Excellent overall. Learns everything I threw at it - even the difficult AV2 mode of my Sony Receiver/Tuner.
Weaknesses:Not enough buttons for my needs.
Review:An excellent learning remote for the price. I had to program some buttons with functions not related to label on the remote, but at this price I can't complain. A real bargain and well built.
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Written by Oscar Gabriel Pineda from Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 2 made on Tuesday September 20, 2005 at 1:14 PM.
Strengths:It is remarkably strong built, very easy to use, a fairly big pre-programmed database, and FULL Learning capabilities. It also has a very powerful IR emitter which works from every single angle in my bedroom.

Although, where I live is would be unthinkable to buy a US$40 remote, it turns out to be a great value for everything it can achieve.
Weaknesses:A better job could have been done with the button layout. Also, the labels on the buttons could have some more significative names on them. It would be cool if there were buttons labeled "SUBTITLE", "LANGUAGE", and "ANGLE" for example. Nonetheless these are all minor weaknesses.
Review:About 2 weeks ago, the remote control for my Norcent DP315 DVD player died on me. I was quite pissed, since it's a remarkably good and powerful player for the price tag (about US$30), and I had just recently unlocked it to play ALL regions.

So, i began to search the net and local stores for a remote that could control my DVD player. I found that there were remote controllers that could learn signals from other existing remotes and then it hit me. My sister has the same DVD player I have and her remote still works, so my internet and local store search was now for an affordable remote control with learning capabilities and program it with my sister's remote.

I read several reviews and the RM-VL710 seemed to be exactly what I needed. I contacted to local Sony distributor and luckily they had it in stock. I bought it yesterday and I'm 100% satisfied with it. It was everything I needed and so much more!

After I made it learn all the functions from my sister's remote (which took me about 10 minutes and worked like a charm), I started to play around with the macros. I programmed the A button to power on the TV, switch it to VIDEO 1, power on the DVD player and start playing a movie all with a single button. I programmed the B button, to power on the TV and mute it.

I've only had it for a day and I know there's so much I can do with it, it's like I'm addicted to it.

Now I understand what's the difference between a US$35+ remote and a US$15 remote. To be honest, I just discovered a whole new world.
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Written by Stewart from Sydney, Australia.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 1 made on Thursday September 1, 2005 at 10:53 PM.
Strengths:Big simple buttons that serve obvious purposes and are easy for "untrained" people to understand.

Ability to learn more than one signal to a button.

Great button feel.
Weaknesses:Just a little big, but I hope that turns out to be forgivable(see below).
Review:When I bought my Harman Kardon receiver about 4 years ago, I stumped up the extra cash for the next model up, being the lowest in the range that came with a programmable / learning remote control. This has worked perfectly fine for all this time, with just a few complaints. First, the remote was trying to achieve as many functions as possible. Combine this with the fact that its primary function was always intended to be to control the receiver, and you end up with a heck of a lot of small buttons. Some of these work functions that your regular user would never care for, and those that you do use are not obviously labeled, example, the “mem” button switches DVD audio channels. The result is a remote that effectively “alienates” everyone else who tries to use it.

Second, the macros I recorded to power up and power down the system could not go on the right buttons.

Third, the aforementioned macros had a 1 second pause in them. So even after people would ask me what button to push to turn it all on, they would still not realize that they had to keep holding it pointed at the system for it to turn everything on.

Never the less I persververed with this remote, until now. What changed? Well I went from analogue to digital cable TV (that’s another story . . . ). The HK remote didn’t want to learn the Foxtel remote’s commands. I just guess that they were outside of its frequency capabilities. The system is mostly used for watching TV, and the main purpose of the HK remote was to make TV watching a one-remote job. All of a sudden, I had one remote for navigating the cable box, and another for turning on the system and adjusting the volume.

So I took the plunge and bought the Sony remote. I ordered it over the net from the US (I can’t find it here in Oz), and paid UDS 24.95 plus postage. It arrived within a week and I had it programmed and was using by the end of the night.

I love the fact that the buttons are big and obvious. Channel up and down, channel numbers and volume up and down are so easy to find and push. I also like the fact that the numbers are in a 3 per row configuration. The HK remote was a four numbers a row deal, and most people couldn’t learn to like it. I should point out that on the odd occasion I pulled out my Sony TV’s remote and used it, I was always reminded both that Sony tend to stick with a three number per row config, allowing bigger buttons. I was also reminded how good Sony do button feel. These “faiths” in the Sony product help me to decide to buy this remote from the other side of the Pacific.

This faith was rewarded with what, quite simply, has to be the best value remote control ever made. You’ll note that I’ve been talking about the ergonomic features of the remote. As for functionality, it is so strong that it just does what you want, and as such I barely feel I need to make a fuss about it. For those who are wondering, it learned everything I taught it, including the cable box. The manual probably doesn’t employ the best English skills, but once you understand the logic, this remote is a walk in the park to program. As it is equipped with a discrete “on” signal for Sony TVs, I was able to make all of the component select buttons turn on the system. This means that if I press these buttons to turn the system on, everything turns on. If the system was already on, it will simply switch the receiver’s input (the receiver component select buttons that I learned from also turn the power on for the HK receiver). This avoids a large amount of the toggling issues the lower end remotes can cause. I did this all by just making it learn two commands to one button, no need to fuss with macros. Extremely handy. Whilst I haven’t made it learn three commands at a time – thus not being able to have the DVD turn on too – I can say this is a far superior solution to the old macro-button-running-a-long-pause-macro scenario that I had to put up with previously. I then made the “power” button turn everything off. Instant power-on, instant power-off. It is so straight forward to use, and I don’t need to explain how it works to people.

On the down side, it is a little big. There’s a lot of real-estate to cover when doing things like going from volume control to channel numbers. I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt, as sub-consciously we all do laps of our remote control, it’s just that it becomes habit over time. I anticipate that navigating the remote will become second nature to me, and before too long I will be doing laps of it without having to think about what I’m doing.

I never really thought a remote control would be interesting enough to tell people about, but this one is just so simply right. It does so much right that its funny . . . and the punch line is the price. I have always followed the remote central site, often saying “I could use that one” or “I don’t like that one”. Some of them were cheap, some of them were expensive, but I never thought that the one that the right one would also be one of the cheapest.

I would recommend this to anyone. Read the review, and if you think it will do all that you need it to do, give it a go. For the money, it is worth the punt, because when it works (and I think it will . . . ) the money it would save you over the more serious remote controls is amazing.
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