September 29, 2004
When I saw this baby come across my desk I thought, hey that’s worth writing about. The MX-3000 from Universal Remote (suggested retail $999.95), is the flagship product in the home theater master line, owning a MX-800 myself, I was really interested in what the upgrade had to offer. The MX-3000 is a universal color touch screen remote control. The screen size is 3.8 inches and has the ability to operate by infra-red, radio frequency, or both.
For anyone who has ever lusted after color touch screen remotes, such as those offered by Crestron or AMX, but unwilling to sink what could equate into a few mortgage payments into a remote, take note this might be what your looking for. While the MX-3000 doesn’t offer quite the level of customization a Crestron system does, it has more than enough features to handle the average home theater or media room setup.
At about 7 inches wide and 5 inches high the remote fits comfortable in your hand, and the color LCD screen is easy to read The contrast of the screen seemed quite high and made punching in channel numbers a breeze but, I’m getting ahead of my self. Any programmable remote that uses PC based software is really only as good as that software, as if it’s hard and cumbersome to program, your unlikely to get all you can out of it. With that in mind, I installed the programming software, and gave it a whirl, (dial up users take note, don’t lose the disk, as it’s a 32mb download).
Customization is what this remote is all about, if you’re the kind of person that loves to tweak the look of things, you’ll love the editing software. Alternatively if your not that sort, the stock default skins are more than appealing. Once you’ve picked your equipment from the included database, that is updateable via a live update function or learned them in, if you couldn’t find your particular equipment, you’re on your way. Functions such as macros are as simple as clicking record and pushing the buttons you want to sequence on screen and then clicking record again. I had no problem finding codes for all of my equipment in the database, sans my CD player, which admittedly isn’t very common.
Earlier I’d mentioned the MX-3000 was IR or RF or both. To use the RF ability, you’ll need the separate MRF-250 (suggested retail $99.95) which reads commands from the remote and then spits them out via infrared emitters attached to the front of the equipment. I highly recommend this option, as pointing the remote at the equipment is no longer necessary, six infrared emitters are included. This option pretty much guarantees the codes will be sent, regardless of where the remote was pointed at the time, also the range is increased from the infrared distance of 30 to 50 feet, to over 100 feet via RF.
Other features include custom background files, the ability to import .ccf files from other remotes such as the Philips Pronto, and the ability to “smart route” commands. This gives you the ability to remotely control identical devices separately. Overall, I really liked this remote, while my MX-800 RF offers many of the same functions, the color LCD display of the MX-3000 was really alluring, not to mention how it felt in my hand, it was really comfortable. So as said previously, if you’ve considered touch panels from Crestron or AMX in the past, but didn’t need that level of control, not to mention the price tag, the MX-3000 is highly recommended.