DVD Talk Forum

DVD Talk Forum (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/)
-   DVD & Home Theater Gear (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-home-theater-gear-5/)
-   -   What is the best HT remote to get? (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-home-theater-gear/278185-what-best-ht-remote-get.html)

insanecollector 03-13-03 06:14 PM

What is the best HT remote to get?
I have a HDTV, laserdisc player, dvd player, amp and vcr to control. I want just one remote. Any suggestions. All are Sony if that helps.

tommy28 03-13-03 06:33 PM


do some searches as whats good for me,might not be good for you..

search here-


good luck-

JNielsen 03-13-03 09:17 PM

IMO the Phillips Pronto is the best remote around for the $$. The older models should be going on sale soon since new ones are being introduced as we speak.

I would also check remotecentral, great site.

dgc 03-13-03 11:00 PM


jeffwright 03-13-03 11:08 PM


drmoze 03-14-03 07:21 AM

Ditto on the MX-500. Check out the remotecentral link above for details. I was attached to my old Cinema7; now I can't imagine life without the 500! Great remote with lots of buttons in a good layout, incl. a center thumbpad and a group of 10 buttons up top (2 columns of 5) with an lcd area to label each button. Enough memory to learn every button on every device (fully customizable) plus lots of macros. This is the first 'universal' remote that really let me retire the originals, completely. Plus it can be set up for one-touch switching and settings for all your components/activities, great for guests and SO's. $^) One button to separately switch my audio and video for each component (cable, DVD, vcr, cd) plus set the sound mode, etc. And a full array of sound mode buttons, labeled, is just one button away, as are 5 pages of 10 favorite channels each.

The Pronto is sexier, admittedly, but I (and *many* other people) prefer hard buttons to touchscreens. It's much easier to operate a remote when you don't have to look at the screen for every button push, or switch screens constantly (as the Pronto holds a relatively small set of buttons on each screen), or *wait* for multiple screens to scroll by to get to your controls.

Best bang for the buck by far, IMO, is the MX-500. If you want to spend lots more $$$ and impress friends with the 'gee wow' factor, go for a Pronto. But if you want a great remote that you can set up to do things the way you want, quickly and easily, with no looking, the MX-500 is your baby.

audrey 03-15-03 11:09 AM

I don’t think there is a single “best” remote. I have a Pronto, Sony 2100, and a HT MX500---they are all great in their own way and lend themselves to different personal preferences and applications. Since the Pronto and MX500 are fairly representative of the opposite ends of the design spectrum, I’ll quickly summarize some of their respective strengths and weaknesses. As others have noted, remotecentral is an invaluable resource for all things remote.

<b>Pronto</b>: Programmable LCD

• Programmable via computer interface. Allows the user to create custom GUIs that support “activity” based, device based interfaces, or a combination of these; facilitates rapidly changing out equipment as device codes can be referenced as variables within macros—no need to reprogram complex macros when a device is swapped out.
• Macros are created via the computer interface—coding and editing complex macros is far easier than w/o the computer.
• Ease of use: because the GUI is completely customizable, the interface is limited only by your coding and design skills. It is fairly simple to implement different interfaces for different users/purposes. For example, I have a “guest” interface that is entirely activity based and simplifies using the HT; it includes interactive troubleshooting screens to resolve common problems (like no sound, or squashed picture, etc) and limits the types of actions guests can perform (no access to any setup screens); my interface is password protected.
• Backup: all codes/macros/graphics are stored on the harddrive for easy retrieval incase of a failure.
• Wide availability of device codes (especially discrete codes), graphics, macro templates, interfaces, etc. These can be extremely helpful in setting up a new system. The user community is large and generally willing to help solve problems.
• Strong IR transmission—certainly not the strongest, but still quite powerful.

• Expensive (though this is relative)
• Some people prefer hard-buttons over soft ones as once a remote’s button layout is memorized, the user rarely has to look at the remote. The Pronto only includes a small number of hard buttons: volume, channel, etc.
• Fragile. The screen can crack (mine has; replaced for free). Not a good choice if one has children.
• No preset codes: you can’t just tell the Pronto you have a XYZ TV; everything must be programmed.

<b>MX 500</b>: Hard buttons w/ custom labels (for 10 buttons)

• Easy to set up. Supports preprogrammed codes and learning to facilitate custom button layouts.
• Good button layout and feel; easy to memorize layout and differentiate buttons by feel. See hard button comment above.
• Supports 10 devices; has enough memory to support long macros and many devices.
• Flexible—although not as flexible as the Pronto, it is possible to set up activity and device interfaces.
• Fairly inexpensive.
• Extremely powerful IR transmission.
• Built like a tank.
• Great backlighting—though LCD screen may be difficult to read at higher contrast settings.

• Large and heavy. I have small hands and find it difficult to reach some of the buttons using only one hand. The unit is fairly wide, but this is offset somewhat by the design of the bottom, which is nicely curved.
• No computer backup w/o purchasing a 3rd party product like IRClone. Only an issue if you have a complex HTS and the remote dies.
• Changing a device entails relearning all of the device buttons and any macros that reference the new device. Not the kiss of death—but a hassle for anyone who changes equipment often.
• Requires a 2nd remote to program discrete device codes.
• No JP1 interface; all commands and macros must be learned.
• No function to “clear” the remote—all initial state labels must be manually erased. Not a big deal—just a bit of a pain if you want to start with a blank slate.
• Labels are limited to 5 characters. Works fine for me, but occasionally requires some creative abbreviating.

I use the Pronto for my main system and the MX 500 in the bedroom. I love the MX 500, but I find it’s still too complicated for my guests—many of whom use my home theater when I am not at home. It just takes too much explaining to teach people how to use the remote and the HTS; with the “guest” interface on the Pronto, my visitors almost never have a problem. The MX 500 works great in the bedroom; I can perform most functions by feel and I am less concerned about breakage if I fall asleep and it slips off of the bed. I don’t really have a hard-button/soft-button preference; I find I can perform must functions in about the same time on either.

Bottom line, both the Pronto and the MX 500 are great; they just fill different needs and appeal to different personal preferences. But there are also a lot of other great remotes at different price points.

Sorry for the long post.

TheKobra 03-15-03 11:32 AM

I have the MX-500. I believe the hard buttons are the way to go. I had Pronto and had to look everytime I would change a channel. Hard Buttons Are The Way To Go!!

kngelv 03-17-03 08:50 AM

I too recommend the MX-500. I had the Pronto, but having to look at the screen every time I wanted to do something became a pain. Using it with my DirecTivo was especially bad. I slowly but surely took out the original remotes. I ended up buying the MX and have never looked back. If you use your original remotes in the dark, and know where the buttons are by feel the Mx will let you configure the buttons the same way.


audrey 03-17-03 09:47 AM

<b>TheKobra</b>, <b>kngelv</b>: just out of curiosity, what kinds of things are you doing with your remote? Other than adjusting the volume, channel up/down, or hitting play/pause (all of which can be setup to use the hard buttons on the Pronto) I rarely touch the remote while watching a movie or television or listening to music.

In terms of “favorites,” unless you have all 40 favorite channel buttons on the MX500 memorized and remember which favorite page you are on, you still have to look at the remote.

I’m not pushing the Pronto or touch screens in general; for anyone who just wants to replace a bunch of remotes, a remote like the Pronto is overkill. But I also think the “look at the screen” syndrome is somewhat exaggerated and can be minimized by good screen design and effective use of the hard buttons. I can perform many functions on the touch panel, such as using the transport and thumb wheel functions, w/o looking at the screen. In addition, there are a number of hybrid remotes, like the MX1000, that combine many of the best elements of hard-button and programmable touchscreen approaches. Like so many things, it all comes down to indented use and personal preference.

Tsar Chasm 03-17-03 10:50 AM

I spent a long time on remotecentral to get the right remote for my HT. I ended up purchasing the MX-500. Previously, I had the Sony vl900. I bought the 500 about 8 months ago and STILL haven't programmed it. How's that for lazy? It sits in the remote drawer along with 5-6 other discarded remotes.

The VL900 does everything you need for basic functionality and would be superb in a Sony setup. It is a definite one-hander. The only thing about it is there is no Tivo support.

One day, I will sit down and program the 500 and I know that I will be thrilled with it but until then, the 900 is my remote of choice.

Icculus 03-17-03 11:53 AM

II have a Pronto and I love it, it does everything I need and the small inconveniences don't really bother me. Before the Pronto I went through a bunch of other remotes - H/K TC1000, One for all Cinema 7, Sony vl900 and the Sony touch screen. The main difference (for me) between all of those and the Pronto is the ease of use for other people. Instead of trying to tell people that the menu button brings up the dvd menu in dvd mode, displays the program guide in vcr1 (actually replaytv) mode and does other things in other modes I can now just create a button for every function I need. The screen setup for the Pronto takes a little time (although it was kind of fun) but once you have it done you can make it so the remote basically walks you through the setup for whatever you want to do (I have screens for watching a movie on DVD, watching TV with the replayTV, listening to music, watching basic cable and playing video games).

drmoze 03-17-03 03:49 PM

Just a few things I'm doing with the MX-500 (for which I really *need* hard buttons, and lots of 'em!):

For cable, we have digital cable with on-demand services. So, in addition to the channel up/down & volume/mute, I really neeed the center thumbpad for navigating and entering the onscreen program guide (which requires 4 directional buttons and an enter key, just like a dvd menu control), as well as the 'guide' 'menu' *and* 'info' buttons. These are set up to pretty much match the original cable remiote. I also use the play, stop & record buttons around the thumbpad to go with the triangle, square and circle ABC buttons on the cable remote, even though they are in slightly different places. Plus the number keys to go directly to any channel by touch. FF & Rev keys next to the thumbpad work well as the scroll up/down for the cable guide, and again are used often. Plus, because I'm using the buttons around the thumbpad, I programmed a column of lcd-labeled buttons above for the play, stop, pause, ff & rew buttons for video on demand. They are also easy to operate by touch alone.And I keep the 'Dis' button for changing the picture mode on the tv, sometimes switching between stretch and narrow.

For DVD watching, again I use the thumbpad for navigating menus and entering choices (that *alone* is worth having hard buttons over a touchscreen IMO), plus the hard buttons for ff/rev/play/pause/stop and chapter up/down.

In both modes, a full page of 10 labeled audio modes is just one button away as well. I know these by touch already. $^) ANd no waiting to scroll through multiple screens.

I've used a touchscreen (Sony, not Pronto). Decided to go with a hard-buttoned learning/macro remote before (Cinema7) and the MX-500 is just that much better for me. And for my SO, with 'foolproof' macros to control power, inputs etc. for DVDs and cable and vhs.

The 5 or 6 hard buttons on the Pronto come nowhere near what I want on my remote!

CheapBastid 03-17-03 05:38 PM

No-one's mentioned the Radio shack alternative?
So cool they have their own website!


drmoze 03-17-03 05:53 PM

Yup, they're very cool too. I had a Cinema7 for a few years (OK, 2 of 'em, one for the main HT and one for the bedroom system). They're great for most commands and functions, but they have a limited amount of memory for learning commands and macros. They are great for a few macros, but if you're changing inputs on a few components, you can get lost on what button does what on which device. (Or so my SO has said & done! Never a problem for me!!! $^) Still, the RS/OFAs are great for getting rid of multiple remotes and putting in a few macros. Those are still the best bang for the buck, IMO. (However, the MX-500's set of 10 lcd-customizable buttons, 2 pages--20 buttons--per device, is *sweet*!)

cowanrg 03-17-03 06:26 PM

ive used the MX-500 before, it comes with some higher level marantz gear, and most of the higher sunfire gear. it's nice, but it drains batteries, and i personally hate lcd's on remotes. personally, program your TV remote control from sony to do most of common functions (or your DVD remote), and put the others away.

on any given day, i use power, play, stop, and volume. all tweaking and setup is done once, and that's all.

drmoze 03-17-03 06:56 PM

Different strokes, I guess. We do a fair bit of surfing; I like to change audio modes more than I should (but my receiver actually has several listenable ones!), plus, for the SO and guests, simple macros for switching inputs (on the tv and receiver, as my audio and video go directly to the corresponding component) are a must.

Also, battery life on the MX-500 is rated at 6 months. LCDs by themselves use a negligible amount of current. I'll report on how long they last with my 'overuse'! $^)

cowanrg 03-17-03 08:24 PM

6 months is a little optomistic. my dad BARELY uses his, he just uses the volume and input knobs on his marantz, and he keeps complaining that the remote is dead :-) i think its the backlit lcd...

my yamaha does eveyrthing automatically... with each input, it knows which sound mode i want it to default to.

kngelv 03-17-03 10:46 PM


I use the thumb pad quite frequently while navigating through DVD menus, but the main use is with my DirecTivo. Whether I'm FF through commercials, or scrolling through guides it is way easier to do so with the MX-500 over the Pronto. I had to dig out the Tivo remote because the Pronto was such a pain to use. Even though it is backlit I now know pretty much the whole setup with my MX. I can switch inputs and components without ever looking at the remote. This is not doable on the Pronto. BTW the only way to get six months of battery life on the MX is if you never use the backlight or rarely use the MX at all. I average around 45 days of use before replacement. I picked up some rechargeable batteries today just for this.


audrey 03-17-03 11:17 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I agree the lack of a hard button thumb wheel is a disadvantage of the Pronto. What I did was design large soft button one; I can work it completely by feel.

dtsmovieguy 03-18-03 01:18 AM

MX-500!!!! It's the best for those of us who are "touchy-feely".... :)

cowanrg 03-18-03 01:52 AM

how much does the mx-500 cost roughly? ive only seen it packaged in, never for sale...

BigDave 03-18-03 07:18 AM

The MX-500 can be bought for around $120 and most likely less online. I got mine from a retailer mentioned on Remote Central. I've been very happy with mine and the wife approves of it also.

audrey 03-18-03 07:19 AM

Originally posted by cowanrg
how much does the mx-500 cost roughly? ive only seen it packaged in, never for sale...
It's available online for < $110 from either www.bluedo.com or www.surfremotecontrol.com

boston george 03-18-03 08:42 AM


I use this. The Sony RM-3000. I like the hard buttons (like the 4 way directional with enter button) but also the flexability of a backlit LCD. A very good remote.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:07 PM.

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.