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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 abxnightpilot from California.
The reviewer has used this remote control for more than two years.
Review 157 made on Saturday February 18, 2006 at 8:04 PM.
Strengths:The best remote I have ever used. Very well organized.
Weaknesses:Not computer programable. Takes a few hours to get it programmed the first time because of this limitation. Once it is programmed it works perfect.
Review:This is by far the best remote I have ever used. The only thing that I dont like about it is that I have to use a second JP1 remote for descrete codes and then use the learn function to teach them to the MX500. Not a big deal.
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Written by arremote from NY.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 156 made on Monday January 2, 2006 at 3:59 PM.
Strengths:Does everthing I want it to do (the highest compliment for this product).
Relatively used friendly.
Good feel for use without looking
Weaknesses:No discrete (advanced) codes.
1 second delay for some macros.
o.k. the light switch that everyone mentions, but who cares?
Review:I just got the remote a week or so ago, and have done all of the progreamming except a few tweeks...

In general, I think this is a great remote for anyone that needs a universal remote, and who doesnít have some crazy high end system (of which I am jealous of both the system and remote). It does everything I need in a user friendly way. Bottom line, my wife can switch between the cable DVR, Tivo, VCR and DVD, and record, change stations and volume etc. without any problems (I did have to reminder her a few times about the 1 sec. delay on some macros, but more on that later). I will discuss the faults listed above, but this should not be over-emphasized, its just easier to discuss the issues rather than the positives, because I expect the positives or else the remote is useless. In short, I love the mx-500. I found the programming relatively simple (I had an earlier model from this manufacture so some related experience), but you should expect to spend a few hours for a few days to get it right. I donít really mind spending the time up front, since I assume I will use the remote for years without thinking about programming again, thus the time spent is relatively minimal. I also expect that in another week or so of use, I can use it seamlessly in the dark, without looking, to do everything I want to do, and that is my definition of a good universal remote (and at a reasonable price).
The problems. Again, this is just so you have a heads-up, not because I donít love (and I donít use the term overly lightly) the remote. These are just things I wish I new before a purchase that I in no way regret:
1) Not having discrete (advanced) codes is a ridiculous problem for any high quality remote. I needed discrete codes for (i) ďonĒ ďoffĒ of various devices and (ii) selecting inputs for my TV (the brand new, expensive TV only allowed me to toggle between the various devices). This problem was relatively easily solved by (i) a few hours of research in the forums of this website (thanks to all for their hard work), (ii) a $10.48 remote from radio shack to learn the discrete codes and teach it to my mx-500 and (iii) an hour or so programming. If Universal Remote, Inc. didnít want to waste the memory or software on this problem they should just include the $10 remote in the package (even charge me for it) and have the instructions that I eventually found on this website. If I had not gone through this (unanticipated)effort the remote would not have done everything I wanted it to do.
2) For the LCD device buttons (i.e. TV, DVD, etc.) the button both serves to put the remote in that mode (+ one other command of your choice) and, if you want, to run a macro. If you want to go into the mode you simply press the button (again + 1, i.e. change your receiver to match the device). If instead you want the macro (i.e. to (i) select the mode, (ii) change your receiver and (iii) change the input on your tv) you have to hold the button for 1 second. I would prefer to select whether the macro or simple device change functions by the mere press. This is important because one of the main goals I have for the remote is that wife, or a stranger that picked it up for the first time, be able to use it for all basic functions. Such a person will never be able to know that they have to hold down a button for 1 second unless they are told. With my setup, I need to run the macro to switch between devices. (Because of the discrete commands) there would be no harm to running the macro every time the user wanted to just switch to the device mode (i.e. what is done at a simple press of the button). Accordingly, I always want the button to function as a macro (more precisely, I donít care if it runs the macro in the times that I donít want it to), so I would prefer it to run the macro at the press of the button. It seems to me there is no reason that this canít be an option. Let me choose if I want the delay or not.
There are a few other tiny complaints (it would be nice if you could move a button), but these all just involve a little time up front. Assuming this is not your job, there is no reason you (or I) will be perfectly efficient at it on the first try. So spend the time, get it set up the way you want, and spend years enjoy what you are watchingĖ thatís the real point...
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Written by Thomas from Atlanta, GA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 155 made on Tuesday April 26, 2005 at 1:52 PM.
Strengths:Easy to program, easy to use, looks great and it keeps the technophobes in my house happy too!!
Weaknesses:This is not really a weakness, but my Denon 5803 reciever has many more functions than what I can program into this remote.
Review:This has been a great remote so far and has made using and enjoying my home theater so much better. I looked at many remotes, initialy starting with the touchscreen LCD types. I decided on this one because of its hard buttons and because I did not want to have to look at the remote to find the right button each time I neded to use it. I have recommended this remote to many others over the past year. It's a great way to end the clutter!
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Written by Marlow from Houston, Texas.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 154 made on Friday March 25, 2005 at 5:26 PM.
Strengths:Works with every device I have
Great feel
Long Battery Life
Easy Setup
On AND Off macro capability
Weaknesses:Backlight button hard to press
Pretty surely the finish will rub off sooner or later
Could use more programmable commands
Review:The remote is simple and easy to use. In fact, my mother and brother, both of whom could not turn on our home theater before, could do it when i was out of town with no assistance.

The buttons feel good. The fact that the backlight is hard to activate does not really matter to me because i have memorized where all the buttons are (you can do that on a hard button remote)

It works with every device i have, on the first try, which was a real problem with my harmon/kardon remote.

The fact taht there is a mac ro button for ON and Off is very important, becasue some devices have discreate commans for on and off. It was bizarre not having this feature on my harmon/kardon universal remote, who bundled device required these commands.

I bought mine on eBay using "Buy it Now" for $70 including shipping, brand new, in box. It works perfectly. If you can wait a few days, don't pay $200 at the store, even though it would be well worth it.
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Written by BillM from nyc.
The reviewer has used this remote control for more than two years.
Review 153 made on Sunday February 27, 2005 at 6:48 PM.
Strengths:I'll just discuss how this remote was after two years. My original review was very high.
Weaknesses:See below
Review:After two years the remote started to look a bit beat up. First the backlight switch broke off. Many posts about this. I fixed it. Secondly the rubbery feel started to rub off. Must have been some sort of spray on finish. The gem buttons are like new. The screen is fine with no scratches.

My option was to replace as is or upgrade. I wanted discrete codes so I would need the JP1 cable or a higher grade HTM remote.

Based on the above, cost and the fact that the Harmony 680 had hard activity button I went with that. After rebate the Harmony was under $100.

Although the mx500 is larger I prefer its larger buttons. Even with the PC programming the mx500 is easier to program.

If the HTM had dedicated activity buttons, longer text strings and the ability to do discrete codes it would be all 5 stars.
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Written by Luis Calvino from Spain.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 152 made on Thursday January 20, 2005 at 4:30 PM.
Strengths:Fantastic programming capability (learning) and vast options. Even the Mrs worked out how to use it without me even having to explain. She loves it nearly as much as I do.
Weaknesses:Could do with a bigger database of certain brands especially DVD's and upgradability of new codes but I guess then you're into MX-700 and above territory. Also lack of red, green, yellow, blue buttons which most remotes these days have.
Review:Would deffo recommend this remote to anybody who is actually serious about removing the need for any other remote. I have put 7 remotes away in a draw after spending about 4-5 hours setting them all up, some obviously easier han others, but all working absolutely perfectly.
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Written by Adam from Pennsylvania, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 151 made on Saturday January 15, 2005 at 12:31 PM.
Strengths:-Intuitive, easy programming.
-Strong learning function.
-Good feel; comfortable hard buttons.
-Backlight performs wonderfully in dark conditions.
Weaknesses:-Center joystick button hard to press.
-Backlight button hard to press.
Review:Programming this remote was difficult at first, but that is due to my ignorance of some terms and understanding of how exactly a quality remote is programmed. It's my first learning remote. It's my first universal remote.

After I understood what common terms mean and got a general understanding of how to program the remote (I was making it difficult on myself), programming was a breeze. I grabbed all my remotes, input all the features I could, edited the lcd to cater to other features, mapped macros and added 'punch-thru' commands to make things easier.

Now my friends and family can pick up my remote and know exactly what they're doing. They don't have to bug me because they want to play PS2 and don't know how to get the sound working.

In general, the remote is very comfortable. I cannot compare it to an all-LCD remote (never had one), but buttons are laid out very well, spaced out properly, easy to press and not overdone. I love it.
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