...Continued from Page 12.|
The second change is with the LCD screen’s overall contrast range. The RM-AV3000’s screen came set from the factory to the lowest of 16 settings, causing many owners (who understandably had difficulty sorting through the “manual”) to complain about the display’s weak contrast. The RM-AV3100 has the same number of settings and again comes set to the lowest value, but the whole scale has shifted darker by about 6 steps. Consequently, the screen no longer appears abnormally weak out of the box and the adjusted scale now covers a more sensible range.
It’s not nearly as hard to find software changes, with the RM-AV3100 boasting four significant new features: key aliases, key macros, micro macros and key hold time. Let’s take a closer look at each.
A reason to like linking.
The first new feature, key aliases, is one of the more useful additions. When created automatically in a group, “aliases” are sometimes referred to as “punchthroughs”. On some remotes it is possible to punch the amplifier’s volume controls through to the television, or a VCR’s transport controls to the DSS receiver. An alias is basically a memory efficient way of linking one button to another – think of it as similar to a Windows “shortcut”.
The Sony RM-AV series already has one form of punchthroughs available for volume controls, but key aliases take this capability to a whole new level: any in-device key can now reference any other in-device key. So, you could copy the TV’s [Wide] function to several devices without having to learn the command multiple times from the original remote. Aliases will work with preprogrammed or learned codes and even key macros, and there’s no fixed limit on how many of these you can have.
Buried deep at the back of the RM-AV3100’s extended list of components is a new device named “Multi”, replacing the former “LD” position. This is an example of what Sony calls a “multi component key”, which is basically any device that contains aliases to other devices. By default, “Multi” is set up with commands for televisions and DVD players. The way aliases work, if the commands stored on the actual “TV” or “DVD” devices are changed “Multi” will automatically (and conveniently) reflect those changes.
Since “Multi” is merely a sample aliased device, it can be reset to work as a normal programmable key, for instance if you want that “LD” device back. Just as with other Sony remotes, the RM-AV3100 is picky on exactly what can be changed after a device has begun customization. If a component has a learned key, alias or macro, the preprogrammed code can no longer be altered. The built-in “clear all aliases” procedure should be enough to allow entry of a new code number but, just like the RM-AV2500, it wasn’t enough for the RM-AV3100. I also had to perform the “clear all learned codes” function – even though there were no learned keys to remove.