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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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the Home Theater Master MX-500 remote.
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Written by Steve from Pittsburgh, PA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 150 made on Thursday January 13, 2005 at 10:47 AM.
Strengths:Easy to program once you get started. I haven't found a signal it doesn't work with yet. If you take your time and plan everything out, you shouldn't be upset with the results of this remote.
Weaknesses:No move functionality. I programmed all my equipment, then realized I didn't like where I had my TV button vs. my Sat button.

Also, I would like to program the 10 macros in the 10 LCD buttons outside of the main menu. I haven't found this option as of yet.
Review:So far I love this remote. I've tried 4 different, comparable remote controlls prior to this one, and I hated everyone of them. This is the answer.
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Written by Anheuser from Milwaukee.
The reviewer has used this remote control for more than two years.
Review 149 made on Sunday December 19, 2004 at 2:26 AM.
Strengths:Hard button/LCD layout the best design I have found, IR Strenght, High quality - not easy to break when dropped, others that use remote can learn it easily, great value when compared to other remotes.
Weaknesses:Keep spare AAA batteries onhand, they need replacing in about 6 months, 15 macro limitation,
need accessories to learn discrete commands.
Review:I just upgraded my 3 year old MX-500 to the current version (also needed an additional one)
to the current version. Love the gemstone buttons and also the new thumbstick, seems easier and more accurate to use than the original despite what others have said. I considered an upgrade to 650, 850 but could not justify the price considering I have been so happy with the 500. This is my favorite noncomputer toy and I highly recommend it.
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Written by George Miller from Ontario, Canada.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 148 made on Sunday December 12, 2004 at 4:37 PM.
Strengths:Controls EVERYTHING. Programs easily. Comfortable in your hand.
Weaknesses:Difficult to get in Canada. Backlight makes reading the screen MORE difficult.
Review:Great remote, replacing six others. My wife initially didn't want to lose her DVD remote but I "mislaid" it and now she wouldn't use anything else. I love the programmable screen, which makes it easy for other members of the family to work out how to use the remote. I also love the optional IRclone hardware that makes it easy to backup your configuration to your PC (it also makes it a breeze programming the unit). I've even copied my camcorder remote so that when the camcorder is plugged into the system it can easily be operated by the MX500.
I've used this remote now for six months and I like it more each time I see someone else's system!
A word of caution for Canadians ordering from the USA. It costs a LOT for shipping, customs & delivery. I paid BlueDo US$19.20 for UPS shipping which sounded reasonable, but then was stuck with a cash on delivery charge of CDN$30 for customs plus a UPS charge of CDN$50 as a "customs management" charge. So customs and shipping added 50% to the cost of the remote. In addition to that, UPS shipped to Waterloo Quebec instead of Waterloo Ontario & it took a week to arrive. It would have been cheaper and faster to have used the pony express.
Nevertheless, I wouldn't send it back. It's the best.
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Written by Tal Dayan from California, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 147 made on Friday December 10, 2004 at 12:25 PM.
Strengths:Very functional, comfortable one hand operation, ‘real’ keys for all functions (do not like touch screen buttons), 10x2 programmable labels for each device, supports well activity based programming as well as device based programming, excellent price (available for less than $70 from multiple sources, as of Dec 2004), excellent backlight for screen and all keys, general design of the keys fit well all my devices, strong signal, light (uses 4 AAA batteries as opposed to my previous RCS remote that used the heavier 4 AA batteries), excellent learning capabilities (was able to learn all my devices), has in the battery cavity connector for optional programming (JP1 cable?) which I did not explore yet.
Weaknesses:Ugly (but functional) industrial design, light switch and joystick center switches are somewhat hard to press, only selected keys can be programmed with macros, execution of macros effects selected screen page, no PC programming cable out of the box (optional ?), no automatic backlight with room lighting detector (need to press designated Light switch), no codes for Tivo (at least not in the user manual I got, though I easily program it for Tivo by learning mode), limited preprogrammed codes (did not have codes for my Daewoo DTS42 thouhg I could easily made it ‘learn’ the codees), no easy way to clear labels of function key (requires many key strokes to clear each key), no graphical icons for the programmable function keys (only limited ‘graphical’ characters are available).
Review:I switched to this remote from the RCA RCU 9000 and am extremely happy with it. I spent few hours programming it to my like and now I have a single very functional remote control that works very well and is very intuitive. This unit provide very excellent functionality, especially if you consider its price and I would not replace it with more expensive ones that uses touch screen buttons, has smaller display or require a two hands or hand+lap operation.
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Written by GTR from Texas.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 146 made on Thursday December 2, 2004 at 11:06 AM.
Strengths:Easy to Program
Light Weight
Easy to use for all in the house
Weaknesses:Takes longer than past remote to go through each Macro
Little longer than original remotes and previous universal, but it fits in the hand nicely.
Review:I am coming from owning a Philips Pronto Neo. The Pronto is mainly a touch LCD screen and I had to have it replaced 3 times due to a button breaking (same button location all 3 times). So I decided to try this remote out. It is very easy to program. The only one I needed the origional remote for to adjust a few things was my Denon reciever. It picked up on everything else very well. It is easy to change the LCD names and adjust everything to your likings between the learning feature and the edit feature it is great. For those who have other people who are less technically inclined this is a great remote. No need to flip through screens to get the macro's working, just hold down one of the LCD buttons and it will perform a macro. Macros are very easy to set up along with the rest of the remote.
For the gentleman below who said he wanted more buttons on top. I have to disagree, the macro will allow you to finish on whatever page you want. I have all of them ending up back at the Main LCD screen. Most of the LCD screens items are more technical then my wife will use so ending the macro on the Main screen allows her to always have access to change the system to whatever device she needs. Not to mention the nice feature that when you are on the Main screen on the LCD it still keeps the rest of the remote (hard buttons) on the device you were on last. If you don't want to do this you just have to hit one button Main right below the LCD screen to get back to the components screen. This is a great remote for the money and the whole house is enjoying it a lot more than the Pronto Neo for almost 3 times the price.
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Written by Mark from Alexandria, VA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 145 made on Thursday July 29, 2004 at 1:30 PM.
Strengths:Very easy to learn commands and macros.
Intuitive layout - very user friendly.
Weaknesses:Preprogrammed codes are useless.
Can't remap devices to specific keys.
LCD text size is very limited.
Review:Like everyone else I had the issue of 6 remotes on my coffee table and feeling like *Duuuhhh* because I couldn't figure out how to change channels because it depends on what mode I'm in. If I didn't use my system for a few weeks it was even worse because then all the remotes look confusing again! Yikes!
So, thanks to all you folks that support this website with your reviews, I believe I picked a darn good remote.

I specifically wanted a hard-button remote, fully illuminates, and has a jog-dial and transport controls. And, I wanted to be able to operate with one hand.

The good:
Very easy to teach this thing commands from existing remotes. I programmed macros to do all the basic stuff. This is great for switching between say TV/Cable to TV/DVD/Receiver modes. My original TV remote (Samsung HLN507 DLP TV) does not have discrete codes for input selection - not sure if the TV supports it either. Instead I get a menu that I have to cycle through. To overcome this I programmed a macro that selectes TV/Video (that gets the menu), then selects scroll-down via the jog button, then hits enter to select the input via jog center button. When I do this as a macro, the TV acts as if it has the capabilty to jump from one input to the other. It took about 1 minute to program this.

The bad:
The preprogrammed codes are a joke. Most didn't match the pregrammed device's layout (like surround mode on receiver might be mapped to the "1" button - how stupid).
So, pretty much don't even waste your time with the codes. Just teach the MX-500 the most common commands and you will be happy.
The MX-500 does not support discrete commands. As discussed above, this is a real hassle for some systems (like mine). For example, my receiver's remote has a button to tell it to go directly to "DVD input" (a discrete command). In contrast, my TV requires you to go to menu and then scroll through various inputs in order to select it - so there is no way to tell the TV to just select "Component" input. I was able to overcome this as described above, but it still is not exactly what I wanted. But, I am not sure if my TV even has discrete codes for this function, so I might be wasting my time even talking about it.

Also, the device buttons cannot be remapped to other locations. So, TV is always in the same location - this is really stupid, in my opinion.
Finally, the text size is limited to only 5 characters - I find this very limiting and quite annoying.

Overall, I am happy. The trouble with stuff like this is that you often don't even know what you want until you have a product in your hands and then you realize what makes you happy. But, the reviews here really helped (MX-500 seemed to have highest ratings and most reviews).

I called HTM for help and they were great. Also, they suggested that if I wanted access to discrete commands that I should get the MX-700.

BTW: My wife loves the MX-500. She can now turn stuff on/off, etc. with one button and it is not confusing. And she really likes the fact that it lights up. We have shelved all our remotes, so it was like we got a new coffee table with all the space we got back.

In general, you can't go wrong with this remote. There are other remotes out there that would probably work just as well (I held them all at Best Buy and Circuit City) but this one feels good in your hand, lights up, has a jog, and macro buttons. I bought mine on Ebay new for $99 plus $20 overnight shipping.

Good product and would buy again. If I had more money and time to research and customize I'd probably get something fancier. But in about one hour I eliminated all my remotes with this MX-500 - cheap, quick, and easy. And customer service was great. Good luck.
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Written by Jordi Moran from SPAIN.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 144 made on Monday July 19, 2004 at 3:26 PM.
Review:It's impossible to buy in Spain.
I'm a international shipping, it's fantastic, the very best for this price.
Good luck.
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