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Customer Review

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good home theatre solution despite some setup quirks, November 26, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Universal Remote Control MX-850 IR/RF Aeros Remote Control (Electronics)
I just replaced our family's much-abused MX-700 with a new MX-850 and made it work just fine despite some initial difficulties. For the benefit of other buyers, here's my experience.

First off, there's the software, which is not included in the box. You have to visit the site, and download it. To do that, you have to register your name etc. and your MX-850's serial number. Pretend you're a "professional" not a "consumer", go to the professional support page, and find your remote. Next to it there's an option to register and download. The trick is the serial number, which is on two stickers under the batteries, but does not work when you plug it into the form in the obvious way. I found a tip on some support forum that worked for me: Select "K" from the dropdown, and enter the second sticker's number in both fields. I'm not sure which part of this voodoo is significant, but entering both numbers from the stickers definitely didn't work. This is bizarre, and demonstrates a strange inconsistency in this company's support for a mostly fine product. At least they should explain this on their download page.

Next there's the serial data cable, which is included with the remote, though not noted on this Amazon listing. I have an old PC running XP with a serial port on front that I used to program my MX-700 a couple years ago, but it no longer communicates with the remote, probably because the PC has become misconfigured in some obscure way. So I gave up on that PC and tried an even older ThinkPad T20 running Windows 2000. That worked great, and I was able to download my old MX-700 setup onto the new MX-850. I really love the way they preserved compatibility even if the design and interface are showing their age.

After refreshing my memory with their weirdly-constructed tutorial program, I was able to change the TV model to our new Sharp Aquos, and fix the macros for that set. The software seems pretty current, and had a model close enough to our new one that the IR codes work. I didn't have to research any obscure IR codes since the provided codes do the job, even for tricky stuff like power-on and input select.

So my recommendation is to buy the MX-850 if you need a home theatre remote with macro features, have access to a PC with serial port and a clean Windows install, and are comfortable with rudimentary programming concepts, like you'd use in a spreadsheet program. Note that getting the required programming software is a gray area, and I can't promise that URC won't slam the door on us prosumers.

By way of comparison, we originally had a Philips Pronto, which worked, but I hated the touch screen, and it eventually died of a broken screen after cruel abuse by our kids. They weren't kind to the MX-700 either, but it still worked after I found all the pieces and put them back together. Like virtually every remote ever made, it wound up with duct tape holding on the battery door.

I would rate this product five stars if they would switch the programming cable to USB, clean up the registration process, make the battery door from titanium, and spiff up the design a little. And letting you program from a Mac wouldn't hurt, but let's not get carried away.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 10, 2013 8:37:52 AM PDT
Don says:
Unfortunately, your instructions to register on the site are either incomplete or out of date. The catch is, to register one must have a registration code, as stated on the site: "Before you can create an account on URC Control Room, you must get a registration code from your URC Distributor or Sales Representative. No one else is able to issue a registration code. This policy helps to ensure that URC Control Room remains a powerful resource for the exclusive use of authorized URC dealers and installers."

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2014 12:06:54 AM PST
Eric Wedel says:
Great remotes, but the most brain-damaged business model I've ever seen.
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