top of page

Faith Group

Public·10 members
Philip Muravyov
Philip Muravyov

URC Complete Control Program (CCP) Utorrentl


RESEARCH:My decision to upgrade my universal remote was based on an interest in adding RF support. Initially, I planned to simply pick up an MX-850 (same chassis and setup software as the MX-700, but with a new navigation pad and RF support). In the process of shopping for the MX-850, however, I came across the newer MX-810. The 810 offers a few things that the 850 doesn't: lithium ion battery, some additional hard buttons, and a color screen that supports longer labels for its six buttons per page. In the process of inquiring about the 810, Mike at Surf Remote suggested the MX-900 because of some extra features it offered and because the software would be much more familiar to me. The prices for the three were not significantly different once you factored in some readily-accessible discounts. Surf Remote couldn't provide me with copies of either the MX-810 or the MX-900 software to test drive (after URC's software distribution policy change in 2006, the only allowed distribution process is from authorized dealers like Surf to owners of remotes), but some past experience with URC's web site and the fact that I had the serial number for my MX-700 allowed me to download software for nearly all of their remotes (including the MX-850 and MX-900) shortly after the policy change, and I used the same procedure to retrieve a copy of the MX-810 software. As a result, I was able to install and familiarize myself with both software packages. After doing that for several days, I put together a list of "pros" and "cons" for all three remotes as well as some notes about the MX-810's software design. MX-850 Pros: MX-850 Cons: Already know software and have file builtFamiliar button layout / interface for familyseparate "select" button in navigation pad disposable batteriesno hard button for recordRS232 interfaceno support for variablesno separate skip buttons MX-900 Pros: MX-900 Cons: USB interface7-character button labels (up from 5 on MX-850)separate "select" button in navigation padseparate buttons for channel and skipbetter softwareexpect support for variables soon (currently in beta testing)"press & hold" macro optionnarrower, easier for smaller hands to useability to turn off LCD screen to save battery power disposable batteries (but can use rechargeable batteries)no hard button for recordnew layout for family to learn MX-810 Pros: MX-810 Cons: USB interfaceLithium ion batteryseparate "select" button in navigation padLonger button labels (multi-line)hard button for recordseparate buttons for channel and skipColor screen? new layout for family to learnSoftware (see notes below)difficult to write macros or set punch-throughs?no support for variablesno "press and hold" macrosMX-810 Software Notes:help file should rely on Windows standard (aids in searching)no ready access to software documentation (unlike MX-900)layers of "helpful" wizardry get in the way of setupactivities don't link to the primary device (requires creating separate device to control same component)can't copy entire pages between devicescan't find where to set punch-through"custom installer" market doesn't match "end-user wizard" feelAs an existing user of URC's MX Editor software, it's not too surprising that I preferred the MX-900's software. The MX-810's software does allow a great deal of customization, but the interface isn't nearly as well-suited to a power user who is likely to want to quickly achieve that sort of customization. My initial reaction to the MX-810's software was dreadful frustration, followed by grudging acceptance of what it could do (once I found the Universal Browser), followed again by frustration at how restrictive its "friendly" interface was. By contrast, the MX-900's software is a very effective refinement of the MX Editor software platform. The 810's move toward an activity-based concept initially intrigued me, until I found that it didn't link back with the device pages at all (requiring you to basically build setups for devices associated with an activity twice). I also ended up finding several uses for the "press and hold" macros on the MX-900 (which the MX-810 and MX-850 lack). The other thing that intrigued me about the MX-900 was the fact that URC had support for variables currently in beta testing on the MX-900. Variable support could be a great way to address the handful of devices I have that lack full discrete on/off support. The combination of macros (to automate complex functions with multiple devices), RF support (to eliminate the need to aim accurately), and variables (to pick up the loose ends left over from macros by the lack of discrete codes) could be sufficient to make operating the home theater almost perfectly automated.The only things that made the MX-810 appealing were the separate record button on the remote, the longer button labels, and the lithium ion battery. The battery charges by plugging it in like a cell phone, not by simply dropping it in a cradle, which I could deal with (I'd just add that charger to the array of other small cables under the computer monitor and plug it in at night every so often) even though it wasn't exactly optimal. I could almost as easily use the battery charger that I already have for our digital camera and charge spare Ni-MH batteries for the MX-900. The longer labels would be handy, but I wasn't sure how easy they'd be to read. That just left the record button. We have only two recorders, one of which (DVD recorder) we almost never use anymore and the other of which (HD cable DVR receiver) we record to almost exclusively via automatic timers. Sticking a "record" button on the LCD screen was an easy step to take and one that we've been doing ever since we got the MX-700 about three years ago.In the end, the MX-900's extra capabilities and the MX-810 software's extra hassles made my decision for me. I'm keeping the MX-700 around, as it's still a great remote, although I plan to revise its programming a bit to make it a "whole-house" jack-of-all-trades (bedroom TV, DVD, and HD cable; dining room two-channel system; kitchen TV/DVD; and at least some devices in the den), but I locked in on using the MX-900 and an MRF-260 (partnered with my existing Xantech IR distribution system) as an RF solution for the big system in the den. That just left ordering it, which got delayed almost a month by a broken femur. That same broken femur combined with a busy work schedule and a week of vacation to delay this review another six weeks or so beyond that.return to top




URC Complete Control Program (CCP) Utorrentl



REMOTE SETUP:The process of researching the MX-850, MX-810, and MX-900 actually yielded a nearly complete configuration file for the MX-900. I did a little fine-tuning on it while waiting for the remote to travel cross-country, and by the time the MX-900 arrived I had a file ready and waiting for it. (It helped that I'd been using an MX-700 for years, and along the way I'd set up every device I wanted to control in an MX-700 file somewhere.)Since I'm using the MX-900's RF capabilities, I also needed to set up an RF base station. In my case, that means the MRF-260. Setting up the RF base station itself is straightforward: set the address (0 to 15) using a small dial on the back, plug it in, and connect some IR emitters. In some cases, you may need to adjust the variable output emitters if the emitters are overpowering the IR sensor and causing inconsistent behavior. You'll also need to remember what address you selected, and if you have multiple base stations serving different equipment you will probably want to put each on a different address. You can also use the base station's built-in IR emitters in some cases by aiming the emitters at a rack of equipment. In my case, the built-in emitters are sending lots of commands to an otherwise empty shelf. You will also need to set up the MX-900 to work with the base station, though. Each device can be set to transmit IR only, RF only, or both, and each device that will be sending RF will need to be assigned to the right base station (defined using a name of your choosing that you then associate with the address you picked). I set my devices to send RF only in most cases, with just the devices that weren't tied to the IR distribution system or RF base station getting set to output IR. My reasoning there was that it was more efficient for battery life to send only one signal with each button push. That brings us to the MX-900's software.The MX-900's software will take a newcomer some time to master, but it offers a great deal of power once some of the central capabilities are understood. The MX-900 benefits from URC's routinely-updated database of equipment IR codes, but I have long preferred to handle much of my remote setup by directly learning codes to buttons. For numbers, volume, transport controls, and a few commands like that, it can be a bit more effort than just using the database, but for other commands (especially all of those commands that will end up on the LCD screens) learning allows me to locate and label each command in the manner that best suits my needs and tastes. The MX-900's learning function avoids a problem that I had at times with the MX-700: it requires to you send the signal twice to verify that it learned it properly. This avoids those cases where the remote picked up some sort of signal but not quite the exact signal that was needed, thus leaving you with a useless learned command.In addition to learning and the database, you can get commands from other files using the Universal Browser (see screen shot below). Since I had everything set up in the MX-700 already, I used the Universal Browser very heavily. You can use files from MX-900, MX-700, MX-800, MX-850, and Philips Pronto remotes. Combined with sites like Remote Central and various forums filled with fellow remote owners, you can collect quite a library of reference files and pluck commands from them. You can use this approach and the older version of MX-900 software that I mentioned earlier to mock up a setup for an MX-900 without even having the remote in hand.Universal Browser in MX-900 EditorLearned or database-furnished commands are at the heart of setting up the remote, but it's the other features that tie everything together. The most important of those features is the macro, which in the MX-900 is a multi-talented tool. Macros can send multiple signals with a single button push, of course, but they are also used to change the active device or page, store two independent commands on one button, or access commands from other devices without leaving the active device. If you want to turn on the TV, turn on the receiver, set the receiver to a specific input, turn on the cable box, set the cable box to a specific channel, set the TV to a specific input all from one button, and set the remote to control the cable box, a macro can do it. A macro can also allow you to jump quickly between two commonly used devices without going through the "Watch" or "Listen" screen (such as toggling between cable box and VCR, if you routinely need to switch between those devices to set up a recording). To do that, you simple create a macro and have it change to the desired page, then put another similar macro on the other page that takes you back to the previous page. I used this with my DVD recorder and VCR for those times when I am archiving a VHS tape to DVD. A macro can also support separate "press" and "press and hold" instruction sets, so you can have one macro be carried out when you quickly press the button and a different macro when you hold down the button for a specific duration (minimum of one second). I use this on the "Listen" and "Watch" pages for many of my device buttons. The "press" macro will send multiple commands (change input on the processor, send discrete power "on" commands, change TV aspect ratio controls) while the "press and hold" macro will simply change to the desired page without doing any of that. This is particularly handy when you are using an RF base station, since you can't simply cover the IR emitter with your hand when you want to select a device without changing the system to that device. When programming macros, you sometimes don't need anything fancy. Sometimes it's just a single command from a different device (such as TV aspect ratio control) that you want on the current device (such as cable TV). For folks out there who are using an RF base station, you may sometimes run into devices that still need an IR signal. In my case, it was the Lutron dimmer that controls our den lights. I have always had a few buttons on my video devices that allow me to turn the lights off without leaving the device, but I didn't want to bother with transmitting IR signals all the time just for a couple commands that needed it. I was pleased to find that a macro on a device configured for RF output will still send IR for any commands that come from devices configured for IR output. This allowed me to have macros on RF-only devices (cable box, disc players) that would send a single IR command to the dimmer.MX-900 EditorOne of the advantages I noted up in the research section was the ability to turn off the LCD screen to save power. This didn't really sink in with me when I was doing my research, and I actually only added it to the list after I had my MX-900 set up. It is an advantage that I think deserves some attention, though, as a remote will spend most of its life not being looked at. The MX-900 can turn off its screen after a set number of minutes of inactivity (with activity being defined as any button pushes). When the screen is off, the labeled button (on, off, Listen, Watch, and everything on the gray background) works normally, but the page buttons and the six buttons associated with the LCD screen don't do anything except turn the screen back on. I was initially unsure about this feature, but I've come to really like it.URC added a feature to the MX-900 some time during the month between when I did my research and when I actually placed my order: variables. During my research, I learned that this was something already in beta testing, and I was initially very intrigued by it. Variables are a way of circumventing devices that lack discrete codes for critical commands (particularly the power on/off dilemma, but also things like input commands). In actual implementation, I'm less excited by variables. First, you can only have eight of them, although that limitation didn't seem so bad for me once I figured out how few non-discrete commands I was concerned about (basically just one or two). Second, using variables in a macro makes it impossible to also do a "press and hold" macro. This was a problem for me, as I needed this ability for device buttons that would want to have a variable "make sure this device is on" command in the "press" macro but also have a "press and hold" macro that just changed to the device page. In the end, I haven't made significant use of variables on the MX-900.The MX-900 and MX-810 both abandon the "Favorites" button that showed up on URC remotes back with the MX-500 and remained around for the MX-600, MX-700, MX-800, and MX-850. I almost never used the Favorites anyway, so I didn't really pay much attention to it, but a substitute (or multiple different substitutes for different devices or users) could be created easily with macros and extra device pages. The MX-900 even allows hidden Watch and Listen pages, which would work perfectly for this. A device on such a page could be accessed using a page-change macro and then populated with simple macros that changed to specific channels. Having "his and hers" macros could actually be pretty slick, if your channel-surfing habits benefited from it. I even put a single "favorite" macro on the cable box device so my mother-in-law can quickly find the kid's station Noggin for our three-year-old (see the MX-900 Editor screen shot above, between "4:3" and "RECORD").You can download my current setup file here. In addition to providing codes for all of my devices (see the list below for included components), it may be a useful sample of how a remote can be organized. As I change out components, I will add separate device files (culled from the main file as devices are retired) in case folks need them. Commands can be imported using the Universal Browser, or entire devices can be imported by right-clicking on a device in the tree view (left window) and selecting "Import Device" from the menu that appears.Current Setup File:Outlaw Audio Model 990 surround processorZenith C32V37 HDTVComcast Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD cable box (HD DVR)OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD playerPanasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray playerToshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD playerPanasonic DMR-E80H DVD recorderRoku Labs SoundBridge M500 media playerPanasonic PV-S4566 S-VHS VCROPPO Digital HM-31 HDMI switchVelodyne SMS-1 subwoofer equalizerLutron Maestro IR dimmer/light switchOutlaw Audio RR2150 stereo receiver and OPPO Digital DV-980HOnce everything was programmed, loading the file to the remote went very quickly, especially for someone used to loading files to an MX-700 via serial cable. The first time I loaded a file to my MX-900, I had to try it a couple of times because of errors with the data transfer and I couldn't use my USB hub (which is probably more the fault of the hub, as I've had several devices not like being connected to it). After those first couple errors, though, I've not had a single problem with loading data onto the MX-900 or learning commands to it.return to top


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...
bottom of page