I thought I'd give my opinion of the new universal remote control I received from Amazon. It's a One For All URC-8910 and it's a budget remote you can find online for less than $30.
Okay, so don't expect it to be as great as these Logitech controls but it's a really convenient URC for the price.
I've had a few universal remote controls over the years, but I found my old One For All URC-7800 to be the most reliable. So now that it was time to upgrade, I decided (after some debate) to go with a new One For All.
I like the overall design and feel of the controls. It's fairly large (about the length of the remotes you get from RCA components) but still somewhat slender given all the buttons necessary to be an effective remote. It's silver and black in color with a red back-light (which is kinda strange at first, but I got used to it quickly). I also like that the plastic surface is not completely smooth to the touch and it's got a nice heft to it. Seems durable.
The URC's best attribute may be it's ability to learn and upgrade. The fact it's a learning remote means that not only can you teach the learning "L" keys to perform functions from your original remote control, but you can actually teach almost all the pre-assigned keys to learn as well. In other words, you can teach the MUTE button to eject your DVD...or teach your CHANNEL+ key to switch from analog to optical, if you choose. Obviously, you'll be overriding the original function of that key, but only under that particular component. If you switch back to AVR, for example, your MUTE button will still mute sound when pressed.
As expected, I did have to override a few controls. For example, I had to reassign my FAV channel button to another key (MUTE) because One For All decided they wanted their FAV button to do something different. For some reason, they thought it would be a great idea for the FAV button to scan channels (instead of just pressing the button one at a time yourself) and you have to input the favorite channels yourself (instead of the favorites you already input on your original remote)...oh, and you can only have 10 favorite channels. Worst part, the FAV button is one of the few you can't re-teach so you're stuck with it. Interestingly, I discovered that the SELECT button within the directional controls actually acts as the "favorite" button instead. But I want that button to actually, you know, select. So I re-assigned the true "favorite" button to my MUTE button and re-assigned my SELECT button to do just that.
The great news is that almost all the components I have (TV, VCR, AVR, etc) turned on with just the first code number I programed into the remote. I did have to re-assign a key to turn OFF the AVR (because there's a separate OFF button on the original remote). It took a while to figure out that the number keys on the remote changed the audio components on my H/K AVR. For example my "2" key switches to DVD audio; my "4" key switches to VID 2 audio, etc. And, of course, I had to teach the URC to do some basic things not already assigned (like switching the AVR from analog sound to digital, etc).
The one component that didn't turn on was my Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player. So I had to contact One For All customer service for an upgrade. It's not toll-free but they answered very quickly and the upgrade was easy. After putting the remote to the earpiece on my phone, some signal actually downloaded the program onto my URC. Then I input the 4-digit code and it worked perfectly!
One small problem, however. I discovered my URC's memory was full when I tried to teach a couple of the "L" keys to eject my HD-DVD disc and change audio. This was a little disheartening. I wonder if the download took some of that memory. Well, I figured it was no big deal to compromise. I deleted a couple of "L" key functions for my AVR that I probably wasn't going to use anyway in order to program my DVD player to eject and switch audio soundtracks. It's a small price to pay for all the things this baby will do for me!
I should mention a couple of special buttons. There's a HOME THEATER button which is supposed to assign different keys for different components at the same time (like using your PLAY and FFW buttons for DVD player, while changing audio via your receiver, etc). The other button is the COMMERCIAL SKIP button allows you to watch something else (preferably commercial-free) for so many seconds while the original program is on commercial break. The problem with this is you have to actually program the channel your watching at the time into the COM SKIP set-up...then choose how many seconds (30, 60, etc) before finally being able to utilize the function. I don't anticipate using either of these special buttons. Makes me wonder how much memory those two buttons and the unnecessarily programmed FAV button are using at the expense of a few more functions I could teach the "L" keys.
One more problem is that the POWER button is much too close to the arrow up button on the direction controls. I've accidently turned off a couple of components when I was just trying to move up on a menu. But I think some time getting used to the remote will fix that problem.
-Nice overall look, size, heft and feel of the remote
-Buttons are pretty extensive and conveniently located (mostly)
-It's learning and upgradeable ability are top-notch
-POWER button too close to UP button
-Limited memory storage (this one is a little disappointing, but not entirely unexpected, you'll probably have to do a little compromising)
-The special functions of the HOME THEATER, FAV and COM SKIP buttons seem to be unnecessarily and kind of a waste considering the limited memory.
-The red back-light will take me getting used to (I usually like the green or blue light)
-Like a lot of universal remotes, it didn't program everything right away, but thanks to the URC's convenient learning and upgradeable service, it was easy enough to program.
Overall, the URC-8910 is what I expected and better. It looks and feels great and so far performs all the functions I need. It's brilliant for the price you pay.