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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 19 of 23 for
the Home Theater Master MX-500 remote.
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Written by C. Warren from California.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 31 made on Saturday August 11, 2001 at 7:29 AM.
Strengths:The ability to co-locate and edit text to hard button "mini-macros", to operate Direct TV channel selection is the most superlative invention related to the remote control, since their inception. Being able to have 50 different favorite channels, and the ease of pushing one button, instead of four in the Direct TV menu application is nothing more than a stroke of innovative genius. This is the most simple and straightforward learning remote ever devised. The steps needed to program it, either in the learning or code mode, are intuitively a breeze. Rather than paging through a plethora of menus and steps to edit alpha-numerics and assigning particular functions to hard-buttons, this remote thinks like you do, and eliminates redundancies in programming that you'll find on vitually every other learning remote on the market. The proprietary rocker switch also operates intuitively and is a welcome addition not seen on any other learning remote I've perused.
Weaknesses:Well, it's a small quibble, but I would have liked a "tactile" sort of feel when pressing the buttons, and a somewhat easier amount of pressure to activate a function. As it stands, the volume and channel controls require just a little too much force to operate, however, the work-around is to assign channel and volume functions to the super-cool rocker switch, which is simple to do.
Review:If it sounds like I'm waxing with unbridled enthusiasm for the Universal MX-500, it's only because I am. If you're a home audio and video perfectionist, then you should rush out and get this remote, yesterday. The ease of programming and learning, it's ergonomics and weight and general ability to operate it one-handed, juxtaposed with its ability to give you one touch access, with editability, to your sattelite channels makes this remote a mandatory purchase for anyone who would really like to utilize all of the features of their systems, that may not have before, due to the complicated nature of remembering which button to push, on which of the 5 or so remotes you have. The functionality of this remote gives you the additional benefit of letting your significant other have the ability to operate your home entertainment system, due to the ease and simplicity of clear labeling of the hard buttons, which makes all options a snap. Take my advice, folks: Buy a Universal MX-500 now. Randy, at, was extremely accomodating, and gave me a great price.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Neil Weinstock from New Jersey.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 30 made on Tuesday July 31, 2001 at 7:03 PM.
Strengths:o Superb ergonomics
o High quality hard-buttons
o Programmable labels for LCD keys
o Unbelievably easy to program
o Thumbpad is great
Weaknesses:o Can't assign macro to any key
o Use of the two power buttons is sub-optimal
o Double-booked transport keys
o No direct entry of advanced codes
o Rated battery life (6 mo) is on the short side
Review:Based on high recommendations here and on Home Theater Forum, I picked up an MX-500 to replace my trusty RS 15-1994. I'm a big fan of hard buttons, and the added bonus of programmable LCD labels on this remote seemed to be the clincher.

In use, it has for the most part been everything I was hoping for. The ergonomics are outstanding; I was initially afraid of the thumbpad when I first saw pictures of the unit, but in practice it is absolutely wonderful. Some of the capabilities are not as general as I'd like (for instance, it ought to be possible to assign a macro to any key), but it seems to be sufficiently well thought-out that I'm able to do what I want almost all the time.

Probably my biggest gripe is the power buttons; there's "System Power" and "System off", and if you use them as macros then you're left without any power buttons for each device. It's an area where you have to be a bit clever, and just sort of "make do" with some compromise arrangement.

Overall, though, I'm very happy with it. If you like hard buttons, you should definitely give it a good look.

By the way, it is almost impossible to imagine a remote being easier to program than this one. It makes superb use of the LCD display. The only thing that's even slightly a pain is relabeling all the LCD labels, but it's not too bad once you get into a rhythm.

Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Bill Wood from Philadelphia, PA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 29 made on Monday July 30, 2001 at 11:09 PM.
Strengths:o Can execute a device command when switching devices (useful for switching audio input to selected device)

o Can assign chosen device functions and label them on LCD panel

o 5-way joystick and other "hard" keys are more ergonomic than a touch-screen LCD

o Power macro works no matter what device you're on

o Favorite channels is a great idea

o Overall feel and speed is good

o Doesn't lose programming when battery dies
Weaknesses:o Too many key presses to switch devices, cannot be overcome with macros

o Macros do not record key presses to "Main", "Page", and "Fav" buttons
Review:I just received my MX-500 a few days ago. There are many things I like about it:

o Can execute a device command when switching devices (useful for switching audio input to selected device)

o Can assign chosen device functions and label them on LCD panel

o 5-way joystick and other "hard" keys are more ergonomic than a touch-screen LCD

o Power macro works no matter what device you're on

o Favorite channels is a great idea

o Overall feel and speed is good

o Doesn't lose programming when battery dies

However, I have not been successful setting the MX-500 up the way I would like, so I have some enhancement requests.

I was hoping that I could put my VCR, Cable, and audio controls all on one dummy device I set up called "All"; however, the keys that I use frequently for Cable (Menu, Guide, Info, and Exit) are double-booked with some of the VCR keys. And I don't want to put those functions on the LCD panel because I use "Favorite Channels" most of the time; also the LCD panel is not as easy to use as the ergonomically placed hard keys. That brings me to my first wish-list item:

1) Add separate dedicated keys for Guide, Exit, Menu, and Info. In general, don't double-book keys.

On my system, I like to turn everything on and off at the same time. So I put the on/off macro on the POWER key, which stands out ergonomically as the key to press to turn things on or off. However that meant I couldn't turn individual devices on and off, so I put device on/off functions on the System Off key. Leading to my second request:

2) Rename System Off to Device Power; Rename Power to System Power

The MX-500 is actually worse than many other remotes when it comes to switching between devices. If you are in Favorite Channels, it requires 3 key presses to switch from one device to another (Main, Main, Device). Most remotes only require 1 key press. To resolve this, I thought I would assign macros in Favorite Channels that would be task oriented, for instance "VCR". This macro would switch the current device to VCR, then switch back to Favorite Channels since most family members don't need to see the obscure functions associated with VCR on the LCD panel. My TV channel macros (eg. "ABC") would switch to the Cable device, then switch back to Favorite Channels, then switch to channel 6. Of course I found that this approach was totally impossible. To accomplish this would require these enhancements:

3) Allow full macro capability on Favorite Channels

4) Macros should record presses to "Main", "Fav", and "Page" so you can run a macro and have it end up at the Main screen or Favorites screen

A couple of additional requests for macro capabilities:

5) Allow macros on device LCD keys

6) Ability to create macros via button presses (current method) and/or by learning steps from device remotes

A few requests for learning capabilities:

7) Ability to record long Sony codes without having to "block" part of the signal with your hand

8) "Copy key" to copy a function from one key to another

9) Allow reassignment of punch-through keys; eg, apply punch-through then reassign a key would override the punch-through for that key

Finally, after playing with the MX-500 for awhile, I really wanted:

10) Ability to reset to factory defaults
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Jody W. from Newark.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 28 made on Friday July 27, 2001 at 11:48 AM.
Review:First the purchase:

  • Ordered 7/20/01. Received the confirmation and tracking number shortly thereafter.

  • Received 7/23/01, double boxed and of course in undamaged perfect condition.

Thus ends my transaction with and I must say, I've never had a better experience, including local stores!

Now the remote! When I first opened it, I was pleased. It was light (but not too light), comfortable, soft, and didn't 'sprain' my hand to use it (I am prone to that with my other remote, an OEM piece of junk)

The manual was excellent, I was up and running within 10 minutes. Learn a button? Simple as it could be! Rename an LCD entry? Easier than checking my bank balance over the phone :) Create a macro? You get the point. It's so darn simple to program this remote, and the manual is SO clear, I'm shocked there are as many posts here with questions as there are!

Daniel Tonk's review was complete and thorough, and I generally concur with him. (and his review has nice pictures too!) Needless to say I plan on convincing everyone I know to buy this remote. Thanks to, Remote Central, Gregorius, and Home Theater Master.
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Written by Jeff Ashforth from Charlotte, NC.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 27 made on Friday July 27, 2001 at 10:58 AM.
Strengths:Ergonomics, Ease of use, IR strength, Backlight....pretty much everything.
Weaknesses:Needs a function where you can clear out all factory pre-set labels with the push of a button.
Does not support advanced or discrete codes.
Review:I recieved my MX-500 on 7/24/01 and I couldn't be happier.

Before taking the leap the the MX-500 I was using the Sony RM-VL900. It was a very good remote, but the fact that it had no backlight and you could not relabel buttons made it less than perfect for me. I actually had to tape a chart to the back of it so my wife would know what buttons performed what functions!! So I decided to get something a little more "user friendly". (That's my "official" justification of the purchase of course, I would hate for it to get out that I'm a upgrade-obsessive Home Theater FREAK.)

First and foremost I would like to thank Daniel for this fantastic site. I never would have found out about this lovely remote with out it.

When my remote arrived I started by taking Daniel's advice and blanked out all of the devices with the AUX 155 code. This process was so simple, I was a little embarassed at how obsessed I was with it. It would be nice to have this code also blank out the labels under the device as well.

Next I started re-labeling the device keys and then went on to re-label the buttons under all devices. This was quite a tedious process (and took longer than all of my programming combined!)but the results were more than worth the effort. I managed to save a lot of time by doing some planning in advance: I created a worksheet using a blanked out image of the LCD screen printed multiple times on a sheet of paper. I wrote the names of the buttons where I wanted them on the paper so when it came time to enter them into the remote all I had to do was reference the picture. Here is a link to the worksheet that I used: .

After that, I learned all of the buttons from all of my remotes to the MX-500. The procedure for learning is very intuitive and the process is lightning fast. It only took me about 10 minutes to learn every function off of SIX remotes!!!! That's how fast and simple it is to use this remote.

The speed and ease of use continued into the programming of Macros. I wrote out the steps for all of my macros on a piece of paper before programming, so this process was a breeze. I had all 10 of my Macros programmed in less than 5 minutes. Favorite channel macros took another 2 minutes. What a joy!!

All in all, it took just under 3 hours to go from fresh out of the box to fully customized and configured for my system.

My only concern right now is that the macros seem to take a while to execute. I did not add any delays when I programmed them so I don't know if I can reduce the default delay time between signals.

One final note on the unit itself: This thing has the most powerfull IR emitters I have ever seen. I can be sitting in my kitchen (which is behind my HT) and aim the remote into the room and it STILL CONTROLS EVERYTHING...EVEN MACROS!!!

Because of it's ease of use, Favorite channel macros and IR strength the MX-500 has earned an unprecedented wife acceptance factor(W.A.F.) of 9 out of 10!!!

Finally, I would like to give a short explanation of why I chose to use RRDeals. I was very familiar with the problems they had with some transactions with people on the MX-500 forum on this site. I was also not very crazy about their un-paid advertising there. But I watched, and waited, and it seemed as if they were making a conserted effort to make changes and resolve any and all upsets. I am a small business owner myself and I am all too familiar with the problems inherrent to getting started. I also know that word of mouth and referral business is the key to survival (especially in my field). Therefore, I decided to give RRDeals a chance to prove the naysayers wrong and earn a referral from me.

Well, I am happy to say that they handled the transaction flawlessly.

  • I ordered my remote on 7/18/01 at 10:37 a.m.
  • At 11:03 a.m. I recieved my first email from RRDeals confirming my order and letting me know that the remote would ship that day.
  • At 3:11 p.m. I recieved a second email thanking me for my order and confirming that I was getting the "latest and greatest" version.
  • At 5:54 p.m. I recieved an email from UPS with my tracking number.
  • Last night came the "knock, knock" at my door and my remote arrived double boxed and in perfect condition.

So to all that are considering purchasing this wonderfull remote: I can, without hesitation, highly recommend using RRDeals. I'd like to thank Rick for responding to the requests of his customers and for working to resolve the upsets of the past and I wish him the best of luck in the future.

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Written by Larry Benson from Oklahoma City, OK.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 26 made on Sunday July 1, 2001 at 12:01 AM.
Strengths:Hard buttons, pre-programmed sets, selectable labels next to hard buttons
Weaknesses:Device buttons can only hold one command. Push and hold can hold 20. Bad light location. When you press device it changes LCD to TV page 1.
Review:Device button can only hold one command. In my bedroom TV setup I need to send more than one command and I don't want to have to push and hold the device button.

When you press a device button it changes the LCD page displayed to the first page for that device. I need it to not change, stay on the main page. If I want to go the other pages THEN push the page button to go deeper.

Most of the time I'm switching between TV and Sat device and having to push the main page each time to back to the home page is a drag.

The light button location is bad, bad! at least when you push a button automatically turn the light on. My Xantech remote turns on the light when I move it or pick it up and THAT IS WONDERFUL.

Macros execute fast and the IR signal means I don't have to point it at all. The response is great.

The lack of a mutli macro on the device keys means I just cannot use the MX-500.

I've been spoiled by the Xantech that can have a macro any and everywhere PLUS the 2 second push and hold PLUS the computer interface PLUS the CD of codes. My cost for the interface, software and CD of codes was $210.00 but it is worth it.

I have many TV's around the house and will standardize on a remote to allow for a consistant interface for my family.

I like the 2 second push and hold on the Xantech and the macro on any key. I use the macro on any key to totally setup the switching between devices and if one is not turned on I use the push and hold to send the power for that device. So, I find the MX-500's concept of one command on the device and 20 on the P&H to be the opposite of my needs!

The only issue I have with the Xantech is the placement of the channel and vol buttons. They are located above and below each other, not beside each other. This means I have to look sometimes in the dark or lighted situations. The automatic light helps for this.

I'm taking the MX-500 back for that single device macro reason alone.

If anyone has a workaround for this shortcoming I would really like to hear about it, as otherwise I could live with the rest of the issues.

My cost for the MX-500 was $107.25.

My cost for the Xantech was $ 120.00

Quality: Features: Value:

Written by LeoR from Vancouver, Canad.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 25 made on Friday June 29, 2001 at 10:50 PM.
Strengths:Learned every button from every remote I own.
Quality feel.
IR strength
Weaknesses:Wish you could move buttons, particularly FAV channels.
Review:Have spent the last couple evenings setting up. Blanked EVERYTHING out first and then learned every button from all my remotes. Did not use any P-Pro codes so I have every button exactly where I want it.

Love this thing. Does everything I need and feels and looks great while doing it. Thumbpad and transport button layout is fantastic and, in my opinion, far superior to a touchscreen for ease of use (no looking required!)

I do not find the transport buttons difficult to press as some others have noted. Guess I don't have sausage fingers (sorry Daniel!)

I set up all available stations in alphabetical order. Not sure if I will stick to this layout. Makes channels easy to find but some often used stations are several button presses away. Without the ability to move buttons, changing the layout is time consuming. My only gripe!

Highly recommended product.
Quality: Features: Value:

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