...Continued from Page 3.|
A code by another name... will still work.
Back to the main setup screen, it’s time to pre-program your devices. Although my review unit shipped with a partially incomplete manual shy of both detailed instructions and code lists, it’s obvious from using the remote that such a list would be merely a convenience. The first item that must be selected is which device you’d like to program. The MX-1000 is capable of controlling a dozen different components, more than enough for most people. The default selection is AUDIO, TUNER, CD, DVD, LD, TAPE, SAT, CABLE, TV, VCR1 VCR2 and AUX. Next, the remote asks you which device you would like to program – if you want to make AUX a VCR, press AUX then VCR. Both the currently selected device and the component you’re programming it as, are shown on-screen.
The next screen presents you with two ways of entering codes. The first is by direct code number entry, via the on-screen keypad. The second is with code search. Selecting the "BRAND" box specifies code search, after which you must press the number which corresponds with the first letter of the brand. Much like a telephone, small letters are displayed next to each button; for instance  has P, Q and R. To start off with "Radio Shack", press  three times. Next, use [CHANNEL UP] and [CHANNEL DOWN] to scroll through all included codes. Many devices have more than one, so you may need to scroll through quite a few. Each time you press the channel buttons, the code’s "power" signal is sent. The currently selected code number is always shown at the top of the screen. When your device turns on or off, press [SAVE] to select that code. The remote returns to the device page, allowing you to program the next component. If you prefer, you can start off with the very first code for a particular device by entering the exact number, then continue on to all other options for it – it’s a versatile and intuitive system.
Presenting "Bob", and "Bob", and there’s "Bob" again...
My test home theater system is fairly generic, with popular brand-name components. Selecting the correct pre-programmed code was often a difficult task, since multiple codes seemed to control the same device. I know that on one of these devices there’s only one code set in existence, so why half-a-dozen nearly identical variations are included is anyone’s guess. When it came down to testing the pre-programmed code sets, it became apparent the MX-1000 uses a database [nearly] identical to that of their SL-9000. How so? Well, many functions don’t match up with their on-screen labels – much as I found on the SL-9000.
For example, on the pre-programmed screens for my VCR, pressing the button labeled [MENU] ends up selecting video inputs; pressing "X2" changes sound modes. On a hard-buttoned remote such oversights are forgivable since you can’t change what a button says. But it’s a mysterious problem on an LCD-based remote when you have complete control over what buttons go where and, technically, what they say. A similar problem was exhibited on my receiver, which had about half a dozen functional codes that each contained 80% of what I needed. In addition, many LCD buttons had no functions assigned – meaning nothing happens when you press them. Buttons are always visible unless completely deleted.