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User reviews for the Sony RM-VL900 from Sony Electronics.
Sony RM-VL900
RatingsReviewsMSRP (USD)
Average: 4.51/5.00
Median: 4.67/5.00
The Sony RM-VL900 is an economical all-button universal remote that can control up to 8 devices. It has multiple macros, full learning capability on every key, plus a great ergonomic design.
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Written by David from CALI.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-2 years.
Review 74 made on Saturday April 12, 2003 at 7:46 PM.
Strengths:Great flexibility in learning all your buttons. Very good memory for this.

Good IR.

Good battery life.

Weaknesses:NO BACKLIGHT. Glow-in-dark buttons don't last long enough.

BUTTONS ARE FADING!!!!! QC is *sucky* in this regard!! I bet it's engineered to fade so you have to buy another one. I'm a casual user of this remote, and this is UNACCEPTABLE after one year use!

Programmability is quirky (i.e. non-intuitive). I always have to whip out the instruction manual. :=(

NOT ENOUGH BUTTONS! They should definitely add the DVD/CD scene skip buttons that other reviewers have mentioned on this thread.

Review:Read Above.
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Written by Dave Goetz from Sandy, UT, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 73 made on Monday April 7, 2003 at 2:50 PM.
Strengths:Ergonomic feel, programmability of individual buttons, codes for many standard manufacturer's components, battery life.
Weaknesses:"Learning" functions are not intuitive - they require having the reference books open - following directions step-by-step.
Review:Like many other buyers/users, I'm thankful for this website for the unbiased product feedback. I was considering a touch-screen device (from Yamaha, for about $200), but dismayed by users' comments about very short battery life (a few days!) and the need to press hard on the touchscreen to activate the function. Programming the keys on a PC seemed like a great way to "learn" the device functions (even custom icons), though.
My goal was to simplify the remote clutter in 2 places: family room (complete home theater) and bedroom (basic home theater - "leftover" components). The Sony RM-VL900 was a great choice, and only $37 each at Yahoo shopping (+ $11 total shipping, no tax) in March 2003.
The family room theater setup consists of an Echostar satellite box, 36" Toshiba TV, Aiwa receiver, Memorex DVD player, Technics CD changer, and Emerson VCR (all basic components, but they work well together). The RM-VL900 had programmable codes for all components except the Memorex DVD player; I had to "learn" the 8-10 basic functions (that I typ. use) to the Sony remote. The "learn" function is NOT intuitive, in my opinion - need the user manual handy for programming. Also, the "unlearn" function (if the desired button already has an assigned function) is not intuitive either - need the user manual also. I noticed all the bashing of Sony's user manual, so I expected the worst. But it was OK; they should have made a color 1-page (large) setup guide (like PC manufacturer's provide) instead of the smallish user manual, where programming commands may take 2-3 pages, plus their printed comments/notes distract the user. I liked the "macros", where I programmed a single button to turn on all components for watching satellite TV (incl. receiver settings, TV settings, etc), a DVD movie, or VHS movie. It works well, and simplifies the system for my wife and 4 year-old son (who learned faster than my wife!). The macros are a great feature). Total programming time for the Family Room remote: about 3-4 hours (I'm slow, but methodical).
Bedroom theater system is only a 20" Daewoo TV, RCA VCR, Echostar satellite box, and Technics receiver. A simpler setup. All components had "codes" for easy programming. The macro function works great. Total programming time: 1-2 hours.
Benefit of having 2 of the same RM-VL900 remotes in the house: simplifies user interaction/learning. Operating the downstairs theater is almost identical to operating the upstairs theater. For busy and distracted people, this is a big plus.
I heartily endorse this remote for the average user. (I'm a little scared of paying $500-$1000 for a Pronto). They work great, and I can't think of any features to add further convenience. Just have the manual for programming - plus you may need the original remotes, if you program the "learn" functions. Best wishes to all.
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Written by Bill Knitter from WI, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 72 made on Friday February 28, 2003 at 10:35 AM.
Strengths:Tons of learning buttons. The hardest thing is to find remotes with plenty of these. It's about time someone came up with one like that.
Price, paid $60 at Best Buy.
Weaknesses:Not nearly enough preprogramed buttons on remote for things that are on most origanal remotes. Example: track < > not just FF> and FR<, PIP swap, PIP source and many more.
I don't no if it was just me, and I'm pretty good at figuring this kind of stuff out, but out of 6 units I only had codes for 3. Details in review.
And like everyone else said, the manual for this unit stinks. Had to use the manual on this web site to figure some things out.
Review:First I have to say thank God for this web site. There should be detailed review sites like this for everything. I makes it easier to sort through the choses. A+++. Second, I feal for everyone who trying to find a perfect remote to run a home theater system. The search can be long and hard, but this site makes it a bit easier.

Excuse my if this review may be long winded, but it needs to be. I bought this remote after researching many remotes for price, learnable buttons(biggest thing) and reliability. With the good reviews this web site had I bought the Sony VL900. The first problem I had was trying to get codes for my AV equipement. Below is what I have and code results.
New Sony NC655p DVD carousel Had to do a "search funtion" for code
New Denon AVR-1803 surround receiver NO CODE
Samsung DVD-612 DVD player NO CODE
Emerson EV 806N VCR HAD CODE
Phillips/Magnavox TV HAD CODE
I couldn't believe I couldn't get codes for so many units especially after all the reviews I read on this site about very little problems with this issue. I'm not blaming the reviewers, I blaming my crap for luck. So what do you do when this happens? You hope the manual would spell this out plan and clear. Wrong. You use the "learning function" to program all the funtions from the old remote to the buttons of the new. The manual makes you think you have to assign a componant key a code before being able to use the learning function. I had to figure this out myself with help through the "remote forum" on this site. That brings me to the next thing. Programming.
Figuring how to program learning functions to the new remote was easy once you did a couple. But here's another problem. Even some of the preprogrammed buttons for the componants I did have codes for had to by reprogrammed to work. ex. menu button for TV, 4 way curser pad didn't work for anything, ect.. You would think a Sony remote would be perfectly matched for my new Sony DVD player. ON-OFF, FF-FR and play was about all that worked without having to asign learned buttons for it. A great thing about this remote is you can teach 30 plus buttons per componant, commands from your origanal remote to the key of the 900. Beware though, if you asign functions to any of the numbered buttons, they no longer work as that number unless you asign it that number. I asigned number buttons for special features from my origanal remote and found out I couldn't change the TV stations through the keypad on numbers I used for other things. Brain fart. I had to reasign thoughs special functions to an unused button. Like I said under weaknesses, the 900 does not come with enough buttons on it. I had 22 special functions from my origanal Denon surround receiver remote I wanted to have on the 900. I this case I had to use all the numbered key pad buttons and then some. I no longer can use the numbered keypad for things such as entering radio station by number, but that didn't matter much to me since I'm a CD listener. In total I programmed 52 learnered commands for all my stuff. I think most would have a problem using up all the possable learning keys, but since the lack of buttons on the 900 you find yourself asigning learning functions to buttons like "sleep" for uses like zoom or step. Unless your a genius, you need to make a good functions to buttons list. I myself type out the functions on the computer and reduce size and print the whole list. Then tape it down with clear packing tape to the rear of the remote. You can't see it unless you flip the remote over and the info is always right there.
Last words. I found out it seems you always got to have trade offs. In this case, the lack of the number of buttons on the remote is kind of made up with the number of learning buttons you can have. My old remote (One for all URC8800) only had 6 learning buttons. Had to go back to the origanal remotes to do things sometimes. I don't think I'll have that problem with the 900. I'm very disapionted with it not having all the codes I needed and the lack of on remote buttons. Had to give average ratings on quality and features becuase of to many "give and takes".
If anyone knows differant ways I could have solved some of my problems, please e-mail me at [email protected]
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Written by Andrew Beckman from MA, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 71 made on Friday February 7, 2003 at 10:17 AM.
Strengths:Easy to Program and operate
Weaknesses:Manual could be better
More buttons would be nice.
Review:I was going to buy a more flashy, touch screen remote, but I'm glad I didn't. I've gotten so used to operating a remote by "feel" over the years, I don't think I would have been satisfied with a touch screen. After a few days use, I'm well oriented to the positioning of all the buttons, without having to look at the remote.

30 minutes after taking the remote out of the box, I had all my components programmed. My setup includes:
Sony home theater receiver, Sony DVD player. Sony CD changer, Toshiba TV, Motorola cable box, Hitachi VCR, Bose Wave Radio CD.

Even though the code for my receiver worked right out of the box, I still ended up using the learning feature to customize the setup a bit. I like to tweak my surround speaker settings, as well change my listening modes frequently. The remote was not set up for this automatically, but in a matter of minutes I was able to map out and program all the buttons I needed.

I couldn't get the Motorola Cable box to work with any of the pre-programmed codes, so I just ended up using the learning function, which was simple.

The Marcos were also a snap. In minutes I had macros set up for the correct sequence to turn everything on for TV or DVD, and turning everything off, with ONE button. This is great for my wife, who doen't want to be bothered with turning on the receiver, setting it to video, turning on the TV, setting it to input 1, turning on the cable, etc.... Now she just presses 1 button and the whle sequence is done automatically.

The only downside is the manual. I understand that I should be able to set up a total of 11 macros, but the manual
does a poor job of pointing out the process for setting up macros that don't use the 3 system control buttons.

All in all I'd highly recommend this remote. I went from 4 remotes to one. I'm glad I didn't get sucked into buying a more flashy "LCD" remote, that costs way more, but insn't as intuitive.
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Written by david from NY.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-2 years.
Review 70 made on Wednesday January 22, 2003 at 8:17 PM.
Strengths:learning remote, feels good.
Weaknesses:Not very durable
Review:Everything worked fine when I first programmed it. Got new components, tried to program then in, and would not accept them. Reset all the codes to the defaults, and still would only take some, and never the receiver that I had working before. Not very durable.
I paid $60 too much. Would have been better off with a cheap one that I can replace often and not feel bad when a $$$ one breaks
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Written by JayB from WI.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 69 made on Thursday January 9, 2003 at 10:07 AM.
Ease of Use
Weaknesses:Some additional transport buttons such as |<<, >>|, ||> (slo-mo) would be useful. Programmed delay buttons to insert within macros would be cool.
Review:I have a fairly complex two-room AV system:
Toshiba 36" TV (LR)
Toshiba 19" TV (K)
Sony DA50ES Receiver
Denon AV900 Receiver
Magnavox DVD
Denon CD Changer
Sony VCR
DirecTV System Box
I have been searching for years for a remote that would replace all 8 individuals, and have been unsuccessful. I have tried the 'multi-function' remotes that came with my various systems. Programmable remotes, and touch-screen remotes. None were able to completely eliminate my need for other remotes.
Invariabley the remotes that came with my components were sorely lacking in the functionality they were able to replace for other components. Makes you wonder why the manufacturers even bother with these things.
I tried a programmable remote from Radio-Shack. Too complex to program, and my Wife could never figure the thing out.
I tried an RCA touch-screen remote. It was a two-handed pain to use, hard to see the LCD buttons, and built like crap.
The RM-VL900 was like a breath of fresh air! It can be used easily with a single hand, is built solidly, and has a simple layout my Wife has found easy to learn.
I was able to program it easily for ALL my components. Using code search, it even found a pre-programmed code for my unlisted Magnavox DVD player! Of course, the rap on pre-programmed codes is the button functions programmed don't always make sense or include important functions. Same here, but in this case it is simple to supplement functionality with the learning function. The ability to set macros on component select buttons is a life-saver in my system, as each video source has a different type of input. I am able to set the input on the TV and Receiver and turn on the component at the same time (something my Wife could never seem to figure out without this remote).
The only problem I have had seems to have more to do with my TV than the remote. Upon powering-up there seems to be a delay before the Toshiba will accept IR input. My startup macro has difficulty dealing with this, as I can't seem to get the delay long enough for the TV to accept the proper input device.
Bottom Line: Mission Accomplished! - all other remotes have been rendered obsolete, and the family is happy with this one.
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Written by jfred from Los Angeles Caliifornia.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 68 made on Thursday January 9, 2003 at 12:18 AM.
Strengths:SIMPLE TO USE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Easy to program
Weaknesses:the only weekness iv found is that it dosn't light up all the keys
Review:This remote by sony has got to be my favorite manufacterd remote to this date. I personally use the Omniremote by Pacifick Neotek and I use it with my hometheater set up. Iv set mine up so that i use all discrete codes so that even you never have to turn anything on! anywho I do programing of remotes and this has got to be the greatest thing, ITS inexpensivly priced, has learning an macro functions so that if you have acccess to somebody with internet there own remote. I love how simple this remote is to program, my favorite used to be the Marantz RC-2000mkII but that was just replaced by this beautiful remote. Anywho everything in life is subjective :)send me any questions that you have
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