Need help selecting a new universal remote - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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It has been a few years since I have been in the market for a new remote and I'm sure some things have changed. I have an older model URC MX-850 that I think I've about had enough of.

Let me explain what I need to run:

1 Dtv HR34/700 + 3 Dtv H21/200s all in the same cabinet
2 panasonic 32" flat screens + 1 Polaroid 23" flat screen all on the same wall
1 Epson 8100 Projector
1 Marantz audio receiver that controls video and audio switching between the Projector, PS3, and a Roku
Bonus - Roku and PS3 but I don't really mind using different remotes for these

With the MX-850, I was using an older model base station and IR flashers to all 4 Dtv receivers, as well as to each of the Panasonic TVs. Obviously I could not control any of the identical components with RF as they would all respond, so I had to move to the IR flashers.

Well, my base station seems to have crapped out. And I'm sick of all of these damn wires running everywhere, the flashers falling off the front of my components, etc.

Not to mention the URC software interface is clunky and outdated, and I don't even know if I can run it on Windows 7. Every time I need to add a device or change something it is a major ordeal and half of the time the updates don't work anyway.

I would like to move to something wireless, if at all possible. Can I do that? What device(s) might work? It would also be great if I didn't have to hook up to a PC every time I wanted to update/program something, but browsing around here it seems like that may be asking too much.

I'm not married to URC, or Harmony, or anything. I just want something that fits the above criteria and will let me control all of my devices.

Any advice? Thanks in advance.

-Baboon
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post #2 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Any help?

I can't even download the latest MX-850 software apparently so right now my remote is a brick.
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 11:14 PM
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When it comes to 4 directv receivers, even the most upto date URC database in the CCP still only has codes for Directv addresses 00001 & 00002. You would have to teach the other two addresses. Same goes for the newest mx-850 editor. URC still has 8 Tivo addresses under Directv, which haven't been used by a Directv receiver since 2006.
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edmund View Post

When it comes to 4 directv receivers, even the most upto date URC database in the CCP still only has codes for Directv addresses 00001 & 00002. You would have to teach the other two addresses. Same goes for the newest mx-850 editor. URC still has 8 Tivo addresses under Directv, which haven't been used by a Directv receiver since 2006.

Thanks for the response Edmund. If I can teach the remote for four distinct addresses, that means I can do it without a base station and flashers, correct? Can I do the same with the identical Panasonic TVs?
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 12:25 PM
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Ha, funny. I'm in the same boat. My dad has that URC (or something similar) and it is just awful. It is not intuitive and even for someone who's fairly tech-savvy it's frustrating to use. Picking it up after using a Harmony One is like traveling back in time 25 years. He just bought a TV so now I'm updating his remote too. Normally I'd go straight for a Harmony RF remote but the announcement that Logitech is trying to sell it off doesn't bode well for a web-supported remote like the 900 or 1100. The website only lists the 650, 1100 and Touch (which I heard isn't good) as current products. The 900 would be ideal but like all of those listed Mac OS support stopped at 10.5. I'm considering iRule or Roomie but hate to build control around something as transitive as an iPhone app.

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post #6 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Based on poking around a little more, it appears that even if I were able to get a copy of the MX-850 editor software, it would be useless, as they stopped making it so it won't support Windows 7. So esentially my remote is a brick right now and when I am trying to watch 4 basketball games at night I have to crawl up to my component cabinet, point the stock Dtv remote at each individual IR window and pray when I need to change a channel. Sucks.

I would pull the trigger on the URC MX-980 if I could get some understanding of how to program each Dtv receiver individually using RF so that I don't need to use a blaster and a million wires. And of course, the same for the TVs. I would also pull the trigger on a Harmony but I get the sense from reading this forum and others the past few days that URC makes a superior product.
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 04:01 PM
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The mx-850 editor works fine on both of my w7 64 bit computers. It won't upgrade the database, but URC isn't upgrading it anyways. I have a xp machine that gets updates, but as I said when it comes to Directv, they still only have two addresses.
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 05:12 PM
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If you right click on the icon and run as Administrator it should update in Win 7. I'm running win 7 64 bit in parallels on an iMac and just updated the mx-850 editor to 13.02.06.1
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok fellas thanks.

It appears from what you all are saying that so long as a remote has a certain number of addresses or is "teachable" for more addresses, I can do what I am desiring to do with my Dtv boxes WITHOUT a base station and IR flashers, correct?

So let me ask these follow ups:

1. Does the same hold true for the identical Panasonic TVs?

2. Will most of the higher end universal remotes these days allow me to do the same? Will a Harmony 1100 do this? Anyone know how many addresses it holds for DirecTV? Same question for the URC MX-980.

My frustration level right now is such that I will hightail it to BB before closing and pick one up if it will do what I want it to. I'm not going to invest any more time or money into the MX-850 at this point.

Thanks again.
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 05:29 PM
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I'm not familiar with Harmony remotes but if you have multiple of the same TV then all of the TVs will see the IR signal and respond the same way. Is this the desired result?
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

I'm not familiar with Harmony remotes but if you have multiple of the same TV then all of the TVs will see the IR signal and respond the same way. Is this the desired result?

No, the desired result would be that I could select "TV 1" and then press Power and only control that TV while the other one remains off.

I can live with it if my only option is controlling both at the same time as they are just my side TVs and I rarely have one on without the other, but it would be nice.
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 05:38 PM
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I think you will need a new base station (like the MRF-350) so each component's IR could be output to a specific emitter from the base station like you had set up. The good news is that you could learn the other 2 DTV addresses and not need emitters attached thus meaning you would only have to attach them to the TV. If they keep falling off you can use a glue gun.
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. I think I'm going to buy the 1100. I'll check out that thread. If anyone has any particular insight into how my situation might work with the Harmony 1100 and wants to add it here I would appreciate it.
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baboontyme View Post

Thank you. I think I'm going to buy the 1100. I'll check out that thread. If anyone has any particular insight into how my situation might work with the Harmony 1100 and wants to add it here I would appreciate it.
I don't own the 100 but I do own the Harmony One. First you'd set up all the different devices in your home. Then you would set up as many activities as you want and select the devices associated with each given activity. You can then custom name each activity. So you could have one activity called "Basement TV" and another called "Kitchen TV" if you wanted. Selecting each activity would only affect those devices you associated with it. Does that make sense?

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post #15 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 07:35 PM
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If I understood the OP's dilemma, he has 2 TV's side by side. Each can see the IR. How does programming "Activities" help?
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post #16 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

I don't own the 100 but I do own the Harmony One. First you'd set up all the different devices in your home. Then you would set up as many activities as you want and select the devices associated with each given activity. You can then custom name each activity. So you could have one activity called "Basement TV" and another called "Kitchen TV" if you wanted. Selecting each activity would only affect those devices you associated with it. Does that make sense?

I think it does, maybe. In my case it will be like this:

Dtv DVR
Dtv 2
Dtv 3
Dtv 4
Epson
Tv Top
Tv Mid
Tv Bot
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post #17 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 07:52 PM
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I understand the "activity" idea but if each TV is the same brand/model and located in front of you, how does TV Top know to only work when you are in the TV Top activity? Wouldn't all of the TV's see the same IR signal and respond the same since they can't be "addressed" like the DVR's? Or am I missing something here?
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

I understand the "activity" idea but if each TV is the same brand/model and located in front of you, how does TV Top know to only work when you are in the TV Top activity? Wouldn't all of the TV's see the same IR signal and respond the same since they can't be "addressed" like the DVR's? Or am I missing something here?

Well no, I think you're exactly right. They won't.

To clarify, only 2 of the 4 TVs are the same brand/model (TV mid and TV bot for this purpose). But it would seem from what I've come to understand here that unless those 2 TVs can have separate channels on the remote, or alternately be hooked up to IR flashers via some sort of base station, I will just have to deal with the fact that they are both going to respond when I try to command either of them. Correct?
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post #19 of 19 Old 02-14-2013, 04:56 AM
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That is correct. And if one gets out of sync with the other you'll have to adjust it some other way.
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