or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › A/V Control & Automation › Remote Control Area › Summary of URC models and features
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Summary of URC models and features

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm in the market for a new remote and am interested in the URC line. I can't seem to find a thread or site that compares all of their models and features in one nice summary. Their website is a bit cumbersome and I've read through some of the individual threads here, but it's becoming very time consuming to make notes on each model one at a time. If someone knows of a comparison summary, could you post a link?

I'm looking for a model that will control at least 5 components (projector, receiver, blu-ray player, cd player, cable box) with some room for additional expansion.My components are in a closet, so I either need an RF model with an RF extender or IR model with IR extender. Is one better than the other? I've been reading about lags with RF. Would something like a Xantech IR extender send commands faster than one of the URC RF base stations?

Where does the cutoff occur in the URC line where you go from user-programmed units to units that must be programmed by a professional? I think I'd like to be on the higher end of the user-programmed spectrum, so I can get as much flexibility as possible without having to hire someone when I need to make changes.

I think I've ruled out Harmony based on reviews. The general consensus seems to be that they are a little easier to program but aren't made particularly well and are more expensive than other units with similar features. Is that a fair statement?
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

I'm in the market for a new remote and am interested in the URC line. I can't seem to find a thread or site that compares all of their models and features in one nice summary. Their website is a bit cumbersome and I've read through some of the individual threads here, but it's becoming very time consuming to make notes on each model one at a time. If someone knows of a comparison summary, could you post a link?
I don't know of any published comparisons but I am glad to share the information I have.


URC makes 3 lines of remote control solutions.

They make a line of remote controls targeted directly at consumers. These remotes have model numbers starting with "URC". They are all programmed directly on the remote and offer varying degrees of functionality. The most interesting of these is the URC-R40.

The next line of remotes they offer is the "Complete Control" line of remotes. The models still in production are nearly all(excluding mx-350, mx-450 and mx-500) programmed via PC software. These remotes are targeted at professional installers but they do allow the software to be distributed to consumers at the discretion of the dealer. URC does not generally provide support directly to the end user on these products.

The newest line is the "Total Control" line of remotes. These are an IP based home control and automation solution and sold exclusively to professional installers. The software is only available to direct dealers.

I will focus on the "Complete Control" line since it seems like that is what you would be most interested in from your above post. More specifically, the models that are handheld and PC programmable.

First off, all of them will control the number of devices you have noted plus many more. Also, they all work via IR and/or RF. RF usage will require the purchase of a compatible RF base station.

MX-850 - The MX-850 is in my opinion the final evolution of what URC started in the 90's with the mx-500. It is PC programmable however, due to the age of it's design, it requires a serial port or adapter to program. It is has a basic LCD screen that shows 10 commands at a time, up to 5 characters in length. The MX-850 has proven to be extremely durable and uses traditional batteries.

MX-900/MXW-920 - The MX-900 is also a basic LCD display. It has 6 commands per page and each can be 7 characters long. It has support for basic variables allowing you to perform one set of actions if a variable is set to true or another if it is set to false. It uses traditional batteries and has proven to be durable. The MXW-920 is very similiar with a couple of key exceptions. The big one is that it is waterproof.

MX-780 - The MX-780 is one of the newer remotes. It has a color LCD. There are 6 commands per page. Two lines of text per command and there are two font sizes available. It has support for basic variables allowing you to perform one set of actions if a variable is set to true or another if it is set to false. It uses traditional batteries.

MX-880 - The MX-880 has a color LCD with 6 commands per page. The LCD is larger than the MX-780. Two lines of text per command and there are two font sizes available. It has support for basic variables allowing you to perform one set of actions if a variable is set to true or another if it is set to false. It uses a rechargeable battery and the remote is plugged directly into the cord.

NOTE: The remotes above this line are all relatively easy to program and excluding the MX-850 have more or less similar programming schemes. The remotes below this line are considerably more advanced and as a result take more skill to program. They also offer substantially more flexibility.

MX-980 - The MX-980 has 8 commands per screen and offers many options for text and graphics. Including the ability to select font and font sizes, color and placement options. It can have images on any page. It has a full implementation of variables and if/then/else logic. It uses a rechargeable battery and includes a charging cradle. The unit must be connected to the cradle in order to charge it.

MX-1200 - The MX-1200 includes a touch screen with somewhat flexible layout and controls. It offers font sizes, color and placement options but does not have the ability to select other fonts. It can have images on any page. It has a full implementation of variables and if/then/else logic. It uses a rechargeable battery and includes a charging cradle. The unit must can be placed in the cradle or plugged in directly for charging.

MX-5000 - The MX-5000 offers a touch screen with flexible layout options and many options for text and graphics. Including the ability to select font and font sizes, color and placement options. It can have images on any page. It has a full implementation of variables and if/then/else logic. In addition to IR and RF it offers two way IP communication via WiFi. It does not have a 10-key number pad though it can be implemented on the touch screen. It uses a rechargeable battery and includes a charging cradle. The unit must be connected to the cradle in order to charge it.

MX-6000 - The MX-5000 offers a touch screen with flexible layout options and many options for text and graphics. Including the ability to select font and font sizes, color and placement options. It can have images on any page. It has a large screen and very few hard buttons. It has a full implementation of variables and if/then/else logic. In addition to IR and RF it offers two way IP communication via WiFi. It does not have a 10-key number pad though it can be implemented on the touch screen. It uses a rechargeable battery and includes a charging cradle. The unit must be connected to the cradle in order to charge it.

**Disclaimer/Full disclosure - I have never personally used the MXW-920, MX-5000 or MX-6000 although I have done programming work for the MX-5000.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

I think I've ruled out Harmony based on reviews. The general consensus seems to be that they are a little easier to program but aren't made particularly well and are more expensive than other units with similar features. Is that a fair statement?
In my opinion Harmony remotes are very easy to program as long as what you want to do with your remote is exactly what they offer. If you desire to go outside of that you either will end-up with complicated work-arounds or simply not be able to make them do what you want. I also agree that most modern harmony's are not particularly durable. On the price side, I think they fill a place in the market that nobody else has been able to establish a stronghold in. The value they provide varies from model to model with some providing better value than others.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for the thorough write up, dalto. After researching each of those a bit more, I've come to the following conclusions:

1. I don't like the dated style or LCD screen of the MX850. I own the MX500, and used it quite a bit in the early 2000s, but it's been serving the bedroom tv for the last several years. I'd definitely like something a little different.
2. The MX880 and 900 are probably more than I need (both complexity and budget).
3. The R40 and MX450 seem like they might be good options. The R40 is appealing because I wouldn't have to track down/learn the Complete Control software. Everything is either preprogrammed or can be learned. The MX450 is appealing because it uses both IR and RF. Both seem to be in the same price range. Are there any other major differences between these two units?

A few general questions:
1. Will I be just as happy with an IR extender as I would be with an RF base station/extender?
2. Do I need to worry about the lags I've been reading about in an RF set up?
3. From a cost stand point, will an RF base station that is compatible with the MX450 be comparable to the cost of an IR extender kit?
4. Do either the R40 or MX450 allow for the OLED graphics to be customized? Based on the screen images I've seen online, the OCD in me would love to replace the "DVD" graphic on the screen with a "Blu-ray" graphic. Is this possible? Not a deal breaker...just curious.
5. I'm assuming dealers aren't just handing out copies of the Complete Control software to people who bought their remote on Amazon, correct? Will I be forced to go through a dealer if I decide to purchase the MX450 and want the software?
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Wow, thanks for the thorough write up, dalto. After researching each of those a bit more, I've come to the following conclusions:
3. The R40 and MX450 seem like they might be good options. The R40 is appealing because I wouldn't have to track down/learn the Complete Control software. Everything is either preprogrammed or can be learned. The MX450 is appealing because it uses both IR and RF. Both seem to be in the same price range. Are there any other major differences between these two units?
The R50 and the MX-450 were identical except for the fact that the MX-450 supported RF and there was software to save the configs. The R40 is an updated version of the R50. So the short answer is there are not all that many differences. I think if you search for "r40 vs r50" you will find some comparisons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

A few general questions:
1. Will I be just as happy with an IR extender as I would be with an RF base station/extender?
I find RF remotes to be more reliable in general but lots of people are happy with IR repeater setups. With an IR repeater you will need to run wiring from a receiver to your components. You will also need to point the remote in the general direction of the receiver. Also, a good RF station will be addressable allowing you to send the appropriate signals to only the specific devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

2. Do I need to worry about the lags I've been reading about in an RF set up?
It is a personal thing, I have never found it noticeable on any of my remotes but some people do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

3. From a cost stand point, will an RF base station that is compatible with the MX450 be comparable to the cost of an IR extender kit?
The RF base station will be a bit more probably. Not a huge difference though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

4. Do either the R40 or MX450 allow for the OLED graphics to be customized? Based on the screen images I've seen online, the OCD in me would love to replace the "DVD" graphic on the screen with a "Blu-ray" graphic. Is this possible? Not a deal breaker...just curious.
No, all the programming is done on the remote itself so there is no way to get graphics into the remotes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

5. I'm assuming dealers aren't just handing out copies of the Complete Control software to people who bought their remote on Amazon, correct? Will I be forced to go through a dealer if I decide to purchase the MX450 and want the software?
That is all correct. However, the complete control software is not used for the MX-450. IMO, the software isn't that useful on the MX-450. If I remember correctly all it does is allow you to backup your config.
post #5 of 11
Try Remotecentral.com for info on all models also.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help guys. I just pulled the trigger on a URC R40. Should be here before I finish the theater.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Thanks for the help guys. I just pulled the trigger on a URC R40. Should be here before I finish the theater.

Nice choice wink.gif

There's a little thread about the R40 here:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1384297/official-urc-r40-thread

And another at RemoteCentral:
http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bin/mboard/rc-master/thread.cgi?11690

So far i'm still loving mine, and a few friends have bought one after playing with it. A worthy replacement for my trusty MX500.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalto View Post

MX-780
MX-880

NOTE: The remotes above this line are all relatively easy to program and excluding the MX-850 have more or less similar programming schemes. The remotes below this line are considerably more advanced and as a result take more skill to program. They also offer substantially more flexibility.

MX-980

Does the MX-890 fall above or below this line?
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

Does the MX-890 fall above or below this line?
It's in the same category as the 980.
post #10 of 11
Thanks, finding the perfect remote is really difficult! I like the layout of the 780 & 890, but just noticed a nasty little catch. In the drawings on the URC website (they are not real pictures) the NAV wheel and SEL button appear to be physically separate, however in pics people have posted on the internet I now see they are in fact a single piece. Is the SEL button easy to press without rocking the NAV? The last thing I want is a repeat of the MX-500's only major flaw!
post #11 of 11
Does the screen of the mx-1200 allow you to have more than 6 touch buttons on a page like the 5000?

I noticed the 980 has 8 soft keys which kinda makes up for lack of RGBY buttons.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Remote Control Area
AVS › AVS Forum › A/V Control & Automation › Remote Control Area › Summary of URC models and features