URC MX-900, TX-1000, & MX-3000 Universal Remotes

Ever drive a car where the controls just didn't feel right? Recently, my wife and I were shopping for a small SUV, and we looked at the Honda CRV. But at nearly 6-foot-4, I was unable to get my knees under the steering wheel. It might be the best SUV in the world, but ergonomically, it just didn't work for me.

What We Think
All three of these highly programmable remotes would be great additions to your home, but the MX-3000 touchscreen is in a class by itself
A parallel can be drawn to the control interface for your A/V system. If it's cumbersome, it doesn't matter whether your display and sound system are top-notch - you and your family won't get full enjoyment from them.

The solution, of course, is to replace all of those separate remotes with a single, smart control. Universal Remote Control (URC) is no newcomer to this world. Since 1991, it's manufactured 200 million remotes under its own brand and for equipment manufacturers. For this review, I played with the Genesis MX-900 and the Medius TX-1000 - two remotes similar in price and performance, but with completely different form factors - and the flagship MX-3000, which I have a lot to say about.

SETUP Though URC intends these remotes to be professionally programmed and installed, the programming software is available on their Web site. All three use similar Windows-based programming architectures that I would rate about a 6 out of 10 in difficulty. Still, to extract all the capabilities from an MX-3000, I'd highly recommend going with a pro.

While programming the remotes, I was continually impressed with little touches to make an installer's life easier: programming shortcuts, support for two-step IR codes (like those used by some XM satellite receivers), and the ability to add push-and-hold programming for any button, for instance. The programming process usually involves three steps - program, download, test - which are repeated over and over until everything is working correctly. Since downloads are handled via USB, they're fast and painless.