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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 20 of 23 for
the Home Theater Master MX-500 remote.
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Written by Jim Treadway from San Diego, CA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 24 made on Monday June 25, 2001 at 1:25 PM.
Review:I just got my MX-500 and haven't used it yet, so my goal here is simply to say that if you decide to buy this product based on other reviews seen here, you should give serious consideration to getting it from Rick at I don't know of a better price ($139.95) and the service was perfect. I sent a couple of e-mails with questions to Rick and got responses to each within an hour. The product was delivered within two days, as promised. Great service, price, and follow-through. Now, I eager to see if the product is as good as the service from!

By the way, since I haven't used the product yet, my quality ratings are meaningless and are included only because they are required fields on the review form.
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Written by Scott Larsen from California.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 23 made on Wednesday June 20, 2001 at 4:35 PM.
Strengths:User friendly, great button placement, strong IR transmitter, super bright LCD, and a very handy thumpad!
Weaknesses:NONE so far!
Review:I've had this remote for around 5 months or so! It's one of the best purchase I've made for my HT setup! This remote replaced my Marantz RC 2000 MKII. My wife continued to complain about it's bulkiness, and button placement. Don't get me wrong, it was fine with me, but the boss wasn't really happy with it. So to make a long story short, we purchased the remote from for $139, and have been extremely happy with it! Dollar for dollar, there is nothing on the market that can beat it!
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Written by Pam from Austin, TX.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 22 made on Monday June 18, 2001 at 5:57 PM.
Strengths:Easy to learn
Weaknesses:Won't control Magnavox Starsight
Review:I'm sticking with my Marantz RC2000 MKII.

I bought the MX-500 to give to my parents because of it's ease of use. It is a step up in usability from the RC2000, but I was unable to teach it to control my Magnavox Starsight. It appears to learn the buttons one-by-one, but when tested with the Starsight, it just doesn't work. I found that cable box code 094 was close, but several of the keys were programmed wrong (reverse function or not programmed at all) and teaching it button-by-button didn't work.

I'm amazed at all the positive reviews of URC's customer service - I was not too impressed. I sent them my MX-500 and Starsight remote so they could diagnose the problem and they sat on it for 2 weeks and returned it to me saying that it learns for them. When I got it back, since they changed nothing, it still doesn't work with the Starsight. I'm guessing that they don't want to spend the time and effort to make it work with a product that is not terribly widespread.

So I sent it back today.

I'm sticking with the Marantz RC2000 MKII.
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Written by Robear from Sunnyvale, CA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 21 made on Saturday June 16, 2001 at 3:07 AM.
Strengths:Very easy to program! Excellent button placement. Slim design for single hand operation. Powerful IR transmitter!
Weaknesses:Limited amount of text spaces for component description. (This isn't actually a weakness...)
Review:Prior to the purchase of my MX-500, I used the Marantz RC-2000 for 2 years. I was fairly happy with this remote, but got really fed up when it's memory bug kicked in. Hence, I was forced to upgrade to the MX-500. This remote is by far much more superior to the RC-2000 as well as the RC-2000 Mk II! The mere fact of being able to control the remote single handed sets it apart from the rest!!! Because this remote is so easy to use, my wife figured it out in a whopping 5 minutes! Enough said right!!!! To make a long story short, this remote is awesome! I was able to purchase this remote for a measly $139 from It was a painless experience! Rick from RRDeals provided me with a tracking number the following day, and was able to ship it to me that same week!!! In conclusion: "This remote is a must have for any home theatre setup!"
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Written by Greg Lunzer from Mpls,Mn,USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 20 made on Tuesday June 12, 2001 at 12:47 AM.
Strengths:Plenty of memory,highly legible LCD in both light & dark conditions,sophisticated punchthrough options, powerful IR transmitter, thumbpad is terrific!
Weaknesses:Placement of the 'light button'.
Review:Up until now I've used & lived with a Marantz RC-2000 remote control. Some of it's limitations were: not enough memory, a hard to read LCD and some poorly laid-out buttons. However, an excellent remote in many ways.

Nonetheless, I've always wanted to upgrade. The LCD touchscreen remotes like the Philips Pronto & the Marantz RC5000 were very enticing since I think they have the greatest 'cool factor' bar none. But, instinctively I knew that I wanted to keep my eyes on the video screen as much as possible and not have to repeatedly look down at my remote control. Also, I'll mention here that I have often tried out other remotes that came with different equipment. Of these, 2 that stood out were 'joystick' remotes - one that came with an early model Panasonic DVD player & another that came with a Toshiba DVD player. Yet, the Marantz RC-2000 still reigned supreme.

Along comes the Home Theater Master MX-500. Combining the best features of the RC-2000 with the joystick control of the DVD player remotes, the MX-500 is nearly perfect. The LCD is excellent to read - the inversion of the letters to white on black when the light is activated is a classy ( as well as easy to read) touch. The volume, channel, & transport keys are logically placed & very distinct for in-the-dark usage. Lastly, the 5-way thumbpad is the ultimate joystick, superior to the joysticks found on the previosly mentioned DVD remotes.

In regards to setup, I personally appreciated NOT having to program & download the remote from my computer but rather being able to do all of the programming on the MX-500 itself. I chose to totally customize this remote. I started out by blanking out all of the keys using the pre-programmed code of 155 (AUX) for all the components - a tip I picked up from this website. I then re-labeled all of the LCD buttons, arranging the key functions to were I wanted them. At first, I was thrown by not being able to changed the "device names" (e.g. VCR, TV, etc.). It was then revealed that in "edit" mode, after you press any of the device keys on the main menu, one has to hit the "page" key to return back to the main menu. At this point one is then able to rename the device labels - or at least place them were you want them located on the remote's LCD. From there I taught the remote the IR commands, setup the punchthrough buttons, & programmed the macros. Finally, I adjusted the LCD contrast & the time-out for the light. It had plenty of memory for everything it was given. The commands & confirmations that appeared on the MX-500's LCD screen made this a very simple & direct remote to program.

Onto the downside of this remote. First, the color. Why not black or dark gray? I understand silver & champagne colored remotes...but dark navy blue? Does anybody own 1 dark navy blue component? Second, the bevel around the thumbpad is a little high in relation to the transport keys that are slightly recessed into it. The result is that some of these keys are a bit more difficult to engage than need be. These are 2 small nit-picks. A larger offense keeps the MX-500 from being a perfect "10".

That major complaint is the activation of the light. I wish this remote had a light sensor to detect the ambient level of light in a room. Then, if you were in the dark & pressed ANY of the remote's buttons it would activate ( for whatever period of time one has chosen) the backlight. As it is, the backlight for the MX-500 only comes on when the "light button" is pushed. The big problem with that is the light activation button is absolutely too high up on the right-hand side of the remote. I prefer to use a remote control with one hand and whether I'm using my left hand or my right hand to work the MX-500 this button is awkwardly placed. I have to either use my other hand to hit the light button or I have to shift the remote in my hand to press the light button, then shift it back again to continue running the remote's other functions. Yes, I have to use 2 hands for other buttons, such as one of the 3 macro keys placed at the bottom of the remote. Nevertheless, if I'm watching a DVD the macros are used infrequently. On the other hand, the backlight is something that I often engage during an evening. Since the MX-500 does not use a LUX, the placement of the light key needs to be in a more ergonomically sensible location.

These criticisms aside, I must report that this is without question the finest remote I have ever used. It's overall design & performance is incredible, overwhelmingly besting my now retired RC-2000. The Home Theater Master MX-500 is going to be tough to beat.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Grady Alexander from North Carolina,USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 19 made on Friday June 8, 2001 at 12:03 AM.
Strengths:Ability to control all of my equipment. Simplicity to the extent that my wife has almost learned how to use this remote with very little instructions. It does what you said it would do.
Weaknesses:Macro's cannot handle some situations like when you have a Sony TV and you have 5 different antenna options and you cannot specify which one you want.
Review:Overall I was really impressed by this remote control and have actually reduced my 7 remotes to one!
You have a great product and it lives up to your claims.
I will check out your products first when purchasing new equipment.
Thanks again,
Grady Alexander
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Ken Hoffman from Seattle, WA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 18 made on Sunday June 3, 2001 at 11:17 PM.
REAL Buttons with Programable Lables
Weaknesses:Limited Favorites Programming.
Can't Copy Buttons or Devices from one to another.
Complex Satelite and PVR controlls could use two more buttons.
Review:I just finished my afternoon or programming the MX 500. I had the older All Button Learning Remote (SL 9000). It was great because I really prefer the feel an accuracy of real buttons over touch screens. However, The little sickers for the buttons only helped sometimes as I had to choose the most important lable. So for many devices I would forget what was programmed. It also was a pain for DVD.
I now have every useful button of every remote (6 total) programmed in.
The programming method is a breeze. The programmed favorite channels even match about 80% what I needed.
If I were updating this remote I would make 3 changes.
I would add Guide and Menu/Cancel buttons just above the central set and not try to use the advance buttons. (on MY PVR I mapped the replay and commercial skip buttons up on the LCD area when this suggested layout would have created the perfect solution.
The second changeI would make is to let the Favorites be more like mini macros so I could set the Audio mode depending on the channel (say for music)or even include a device change for local vs Dish stations.
I would let the user copy buttons (including device buttons) to another button. After I finished programming my DISH PLAYER in the Sat Button location and erasing the unused devices I realized I would rather have the DISH button in another location, but not after I did all the learning and labeling.
One last comment:
A universal remote that can't learn is a joke. I have never had one that even mapped one of my devices correctly. If 50% of the buttons are correct it is a good thing.
This remote gives me the simplicty and ease of real buttons. The felibility of LCD lables. Not only does this remote meet my needs, but I think it will allow guests to uses the system without me bringing the Microsoft Madgril out of the drawer for them.
The SL 9000 is off to the bedroom.
Quality: Features: Value:

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