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User reviews for the Home Theater Master MX-500 from Universal Remote Control Inc.
Home Theater Master MX-500
RatingsReviewsMSRP (USD)
Average: 4.80/5.00
Median: 5.00/5.00
The MX-500 is a 10-device all-buttoned remote control with an LCD screen for custom labels on 10 adjacent buttons. It includes full infrared learning capabilities, a preprogrammed database, 5-way joystick, macros and more.
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Now viewing user reviews page 18 of 23 for
the Home Theater Master MX-500 remote.
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Written by Mike Schnoll from Ca, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 38 made on Wednesday December 5, 2001 at 2:15 AM.
Strengths:Simple, straightforward operation. Remarkable breadth and versatility. Easy to reprogram.
Review:This is the most useful accessory I've ever purchased. It controls my mixed-brand home theater system perfectly - including the Pioneer A/V receiver, CD Jukebox, DVD player, Panasonic VCR, and Philips DirecTV/Tivo box. The backlit LCD screen is clear and easy to read in the dark, and the controls are laid out in a logical fashion. It rarely takes more than 3 keystrokes to complete any function.
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Written by Tom from Philadelphia.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 37 made on Tuesday December 4, 2001 at 11:07 AM.
Strengths:Well engineered, very customizable, hard buttons a plus, back light is erie and cool, learning AND preprogrammed, many macros
Weaknesses:More fun than actually watching the TV.
Review:It's a great remote. Solid, heavy. It even comes with name-brand alkaline batteries (as opposed to the usual generic last-2-weeks power cells). The button placement is well thought out and the rubber buttons feel pretty good. The dot matrix lcd screen is completely customizable with text and symbols. The screen is covered in glass, not plastic. The remote body is a good size and ergonomic. It's a breeze to program... everything is essentially menu driven and it makes full use of the lcd screen to access programming commands. It has the preprograms for everything I own except for a few commands that I learned into it (including my floor fan's remote control.... of course you can't expect THAT to be a preprogram). Macros can be set seemingly anywhere, altho I'm not sure about that. And it has 5 pages of 10 favorite channels each page. Very handy when you have 200 channels to choose from. It even had a few commands that work in my digital cable program guide that the original remote didn't even have (like next day button as opposed to having to hit the next hour button 24 times).

And finally, wife acceptance factor is high. Everything is right there on the scren and I can even make a whole menu page just for her so she doesn't have to bother with all the detail I like. All-in-all, lots of praise and not a single complaint (yet).
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Written by Jonathan from Northern Virginia, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 36 made on Wednesday November 21, 2001 at 10:26 PM.
Strengths:High quality hard-buttons
Powerful Infer Red transmission
Easy programming and learning
Stable and reliable
Speed and feel is good overall
Extremely flexible
Basically, it does what you program it to do and it does it better then most.
Weaknesses:Aesthetically challenged (big and ugly). What’s with the green lights? They should have gone blue. Slightly bluer and darker then indiglo blue. Also, any key should trigger the backlights.

Picture is worth a thousand words. Add SOME graphics. Interface with computer would have been awesome.

Need extra buttons (labeled “A” “B”) put them next to PREV CH and MUTE.

Alphabetical order should be same as the phone (whoever came up with this new concept, should be whacked or at least smacked backhand style). Ironic, company is called Universal Remote Control, Inc.

Macros are slow, and channel surfing on favorite channel is too slow (it’s very annoying…it’s faster using the number pad). Using number keys and macro buttons at the bottom can use improvements by balancing the remote better. When changing channels on the number pad, I have to pause slightly when pushing same digits. Other wise, second digit does not register. *click click enter* I’m on channel 7 not 77. WTF~

Off the subject: MX-700? They did add some nice features but they managed to take an ugly remote and made it even uglier. Silver with blue lights would have been excellent or at least black. I was looking forward to a slicker, smaller, lighter and a better looking remote. Oh well…maybe next year.
Review:Before I begin, I came to this site and found remote happy people. I couldn’t believe it! So much information on remotes. Without this site, I might still be aimlessly shopping, returning, and researching. I found that the reviews were right on target and genuine. Thanks to all that participated and special thanks to Remote Central. I would be glad to answer any questions regarding this remote.

I’ve researched and returned many remotes. I started my research June 2001 and received MX-500 from on Sept. 15, 2001.

I had to know its full capacity through trial and error before I can give my two cents worth. After two months, I came to appreciate its ease of use and capacity. MX-500 is a great remote. By far the best in its class and then some. It is powerful, flexible, and replaced 12 remotes. Super easy to program. I am very content with MX-500.

Right out of the box, I cleared all the pre-programmed codes and started from scratch. It’s fully customized. Extremely easy to program and learn.

I highly recommend downloading the excel planner spread sheet (bottom of the page Spending some time planning what you want the remote to do. Remote is only good and easy as your programming and imagination.

Only if I can point this at other devices and people *click*. Universal….hint..hint…

I would be glad to answer any questions regarding this remote.
e-mail: [email protected]
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by gselzer from Glendale, CA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 35 made on Monday November 12, 2001 at 2:29 PM.
Weaknesses:still thinking about that one
Review:Once in a while you come across a piece of technology that has a quality in design and function that greatly exceeds it's utility. Palm Pilot's orignal OS, the original GUI interface of MACs, the Game Myst all as examples. A simplicity, sort of design harmony, that only comesfrom a great deal of care over the details and understanding of machine-human interface concepts. Being a software designer, I really appreciate that sort of accomplishment. This Universal Remote, although a small market, clearly manages to achieve that level of accomplishment for it's particular task. I whole heartly recommend it.

PS, I almost never post messages like this, and I got it for a great price at

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Written by Vic from San Diego.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 34 made on Tuesday October 16, 2001 at 4:09 PM.
Strengths:Punch through, really nice backlighting, ease of setup, great IR window.
Weaknesses:The only complaints I have are that all buttons aren't programmable as macros, and that the top level screen items can't be renamed. Minor quibbles, really.
Review:I have to admit it's my first experience with a universal remote, but I think it's awesome. The only complaints I have are that all buttons aren't programmable as macros, and that the top level screen items can't be renamed.

I'm now able to put away 4 remotes and replace them with this one. :-)

FYI, I have the following:

Mitsu 50800 HD ready TV
Technics SA-AX6 receiver
Panasonic A-320U DVD player
Mitsu HS-U500 VCR
DishPVR satellite receiver

I used the DVD, VCR, and SAT buttons as macros to change settings across devices for each mode. I haven't even thought of any uses for the M1-M3 keys yet. :-)

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Written by Steve Tack from Colorado, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 33 made on Friday October 5, 2001 at 2:44 AM.
Strengths:* Very flexible in general
* Powerful IR transmission
* Pretty comfortable
* Lots of capacity
* Reliable
* Nice dual day/night display
Weaknesses:* There seems to be a bug related to renaming device labels. If you rename them, the pre-programmed device categories at the same position on the display get renamed the same thing. Very confusing.
* Would be nice if you could recycle the same channel numbers with the favorites feature across multiple devices. A minor quibble.
* When recording macros, there's no "echo" to actually perform the actions.
Review:This is my first real universal remote, and I have to say I'm completely satisfied. I was able to put all seven of my home theater remotes away - no more juggling!

The most challenging device to set up was my Sony A/V receiver which has a touch-screen remote. As soon as you hit one of the "virtual" buttons, its screen immediately switches to something else, which doesn't seem to give learning remotes enough time to get a good signal. I was not able to teach the MX-500 any buttons using the original Sony remote. Luckily though, some of the pre-programmed Sony codes did work, though they were labeled completely wrong on the LCD display. Using trial and error, I figured out what all of the pre-programmed buttons *really* did, and named them appropriately. It was a pain to set up that way, but now that it's done, it works great.

With my more commonly used remotes, I started from scratch using that AUX 155 code you may have heard about. For others, I started with pre-programmed codes and then replaced or renamed buttons as needed. I think if I had it to do over, I'd just start from scratch on each device. The learning feature of the MX-500 is so quick and reliable that you might as well customize it exactly the way you want.

I've been using the macro features a lot more than I thought I would. My Toshiba TV does not allow direct selection of inputs (it forces you to cycle through all of them), and I switch between two particular inputs a lot. I programmed the M2 and M3 macro buttons to transmit the input button the right number of times and now I have the equivalent of a direct selection. I did have to experiment a bit with how many pauses to put in between, but found that a double-pause between each keypress did the trick. I also have macros for turning on the appropriate devices and selecting the right inputs for watching a DVD and for watching stuff on a particular satellite receiver.

One thing I didn't like is the fact that the MX-500 does not actually transmit the actions while you are recording a macro. That makes it tough to create complex macros that are 10 or more steps (such as navigating through an on-screen menu).

The favorite channel feature was an unexpected bonus, but it's not ideal for my setup. I use two different Echostar satellite receivers, one for HDTV and one for digital recording of standard TV. So the channel numbers are the same for each receiver, but the remote codes are completely different. The favorite channel feature of the MX-500 locks you into a particular device for each channel; it would have been more useful to me if there was some way to share channel numbers across the two devices. I also had a problem getting 4-digit channel numbers to work - I think my HDTV receiver is too slow to respond, since only three of the digits get sent. (the fourth digit gets sent, but not the third)

The MX-500 is flexible enough so that you can combine several things into one "device". For instance, when I have the MX-500 set to DVD, I have a button programmed to give me access to the aspect ratio controls of my TV, and I use the "punch-through" feature to give me volume and mute control of my A/V receiver. That lets me do most of the things I need to do without having to bounce around and select different devices. Nice.

As far as ergonomics goes, I'd say it's pretty good. There are so many buttons on the thing that it's a little tricky to use with one hand sometimes, but it is possible. Most of the buttons can be used just by feel, which of course is the whole benefit of having real buttons instead of using a touch screen. Overall, it's pretty comfortable to hold. The little directional thumb pad thing took a little getting used to since it requires a bit of a light touch and at first I had a hard time pushing the center position without hitting a direction as well. Now it doesn't seem to be a problem at all, and I've come to really like it.

As others have mentioned, the backlighting is really bright, crisp, and readable. It really is pretty cool.

If you're like me, you *will* need to read the entire manual to get the most out of it. (like the fact that you hit Channel Up to stop recording a macro - not exactly intuitive!) It's a pretty short manual and it's to the point though, and I found that I did not have to refer to it again. Even entering text is something I learned to do pretty quickly without looking at the keypad-to-letters chart. (it works just like entering names with a cell phone) The LCD screen also enables some basic feedback while programming, like letting you know whether you should hit the "from" or the "to" device next while defining a punch-through, or which step of a macro you've recorded. However, once everything's set up, it's quite easy to use.

I paid $125 for it, which I feel is a fantastic deal. The combination of real buttons for common dedicated tasks (numbers, transport controls, directional pad) and the bank of generic buttons with LCD labels is pretty much perfect. It's clear that a lot of thoughtful design went into every aspect this product. Highly recommended!
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Written by John Wyckoff from New Mexico.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 32 made on Saturday September 8, 2001 at 1:22 AM.
Strengths:Very powerful programming capacity. Learns well.
Weaknesses:Erase one of the 10 buttons and there's no way using edit, to enter new information. Those buttons remain blank forever.
Review:The instruction manual is less than complete but programming is not a problem. However, if you have some unique equipment you may find there is no way to progam it. I have a Myryad Amp, Myryad CD and Myryad Tuner. I can program the Amp and to a limited degree, the CD but not the tuner.

If anyone knows how to re-inter text in one of the 10 top buttons, please let me know how it's done.
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