In a unique synthesis of hardware and software engineering, Universal Remote Control has revolutionized the standards of custom installers for color touch screen automation. The Complete Control™ MX-3000 offers some superficial similarities to previous touch screen offerings. However, in this review of the hardware and software specifications, it should be clear that the power of this new design offers custom installers and end users long needed relief in a number of key areas.
The twin goals of the design team were to improve the elegance and usability of touch screens through the physical design while streamlining the programming process to REDUCE THE TIME required to install a touch screen.
Touch screens for automating and controlling home theaters have been an important tool in the arsenal of custom installers for years. The usefulness of the touch screen lies in the installer's power to control the user interface and customize it to the client's needs specifically. To end users, the success of touch screens in the high-end home theater market has been a double edged sword. On the one hand, a touch screen offers understandable controls, powerful automation and a delightful aesthetic alternative to the clutter of conventional remote controls on the coffee table. On the other hand, touch screen users have traditionally suffered from ergonomic challenges that conventional remote controls do not.
By assigning the important home theater operational buttons to the natural resting place of the end users thumbs, the MX-3000 achieves a new standard in use and comfort.
For an end user who surfs or loves to make fine adjustments to the home theater, the touch screen is constantly in their hands. The MX-3000 has a number of refinements to keep it comfortably in their hands. The most important is the use of advanced technology and materials to make the touch screen as light in weight as possible. Through the use of lithium ion battery technology and other innovations, the weight of the touch screen has been reduced to less than 11 ounces.
The integral motion sensor detects any movement of the touch screen and automatically backlights the screen. The user does not have to press any button to display the screen. Any movement of the MX-3000 renews the backlighting. Without movement, the touch screen stays lit for 1 to 99 seconds (programmed by the installer). The backlighting is extremely effective, even under direct sunlight. Utilizing the latest CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) technology, the screen is vividly illuminated in a dark room and perfectly readable outdoors.
Animated in 65,535 Colors:
Powered by a 206MHz RISC microprocessor, the MX-3000 offers installers the first touch screen designed for animation. The powerful central processor enables quick, fluid page transitions and animated macros that entertain the client as your programmed automation goes to work configuring their system for them. The 3.5" screen offers a 320x240 pixel window to any graphic you as the installer care to provide. You can place BMP's, JPEG's, PNG's, GIF's or animated GIF's on any button.
The World of Sound:
Equipped with a speaker and any PC recording, you can add talking help buttons (recorded on any PC with a microphone) or music to your macros via any WAV file.
Long Macros via Reliable, Robust RF/IR Repeating Add-On:
Traditional touch screens generate their automation via macros of IR commands. During a long macro, the user must hold the remote steady and pointed at the equipment to ensure that all commands are received by the components. The MX-3000 includes remarkable new RF technology that provides seamless communication between the remote and the components via RF. As a result, the end user no longer needs to point the remote during a long macro. Once the button is pressed, the MX-3000 transmits the macro to the MRF-250 RF/MRF-300 RF Base Station (sold separately), which repeats the commands flawlessly regardless of whether the remote is even in the customers hands.
The MRF-250/MRF-300 RF Base Station receives RF signals from the MX-3000 and transmits commands to all components in the space (cabinet or room) either through the MRF-250 Base/MRF-300 RF Station's Front IR Blaster or the six plug-in flashers.
The MX-3000 and MRF-250/MRF-300 RF Base Station consistently achieves a range of 75 to 100 feet without any interference, even in hostile RF environments with multiple satellite receivers, computers or PVR's (all these components generate significant interference to RF remote control). The combination of troubleshooting LED's and the easy repositioning of the base station and its antenna leads to easy, trouble free installation in the most active environments.
Eliminate Plasma TV Interference Without Expensive "Plasma-Proof" IR Sensors:
Because the MX-3000 can issue both line-of-sight IR and omnidirectional RF, plasma television sets can be controlled directly via IR, while out of sight A/V components are controlled via RF without the need for any IR repeater installation. Whether equipment is behind closed doors, inside cabinets, in other rooms of the house or even outdoors, the MX-3000 will send the necessary commands without pointing the remote controller at any A/V components.
Utilize Identical TV's or Other Components Without External "Black Box Routers":
A single MRF-250 RF/MRF-300 RF Base Station can route the IR commands of up to six identical components. In houses with identical TVs or Satellite receivers spread around the house, you can install additional MRF-250 RF/MRF-300 RF Base Stations. Each MRF-250/MRF-300 RF is assigned one of 15 unique ID Numbers allowing up to 15 equipment locations in a single installation. Each MRF-250/MRF-300 RF Base Station can be controlled from any MX-3000. A system can be comprised of any number of MX-3000's, MRF- 250's/MRF-300's . If desired, each MRF-250/MRF-300 RF Base Station can have a dedicated MX-3000 programmed only for the components in that room. For instance, a single MX-3000 may be used to control three different locations, or each location can have its own MX-3000.
Software Designed for the Professional Installer:
Home Theater Master created new standards with the introduction of the MX-700 and MX-800 Editor programs for the combination LCD/Hard Button IR/RF remote controls. For the first time, the custom installation professional has software designed to speed programming and installation. Around the world, the MX series of hybrid LCD remotes has found huge success because of the professional orientation of the software. Touch Screens introduce many complications for the professional installer. Yes, now you can label any button with any length label, but now you have the added chore of selecting, arranging and aligning all of the graphical buttons of the user interface. In some installations, the artistic part of the programming can take days with other touchscreen programming packages.
The MX-3000 Editor enhances the reputation earned by the MX-700 and MX-800 software. In every operation, the design team found ways to speed the process of programming a touch screen for a professional installation. Rather than forcing installers to create their own graphics and buttons, Home Theater Master GUI designer, Dale Crawford (renowned for his EasyTheater template for touch screens) unleashed a torrent of creativity, producing hundreds of icons and new button designs, organized into templates and themes that can be instantly swapped into place by the installer.
MX-3000 Editor allows you to create your own designs as well, but with an added twist. You can save your designs as templates or themes and reuse them over and over again, without the labor of programming each button individually. The end result is a totally customizable production environment for professional installers.
Quick and Easy Understanding of Uploaded Configurations:
The age old problem. One installer is asked to fix the problems of another installer. With MX-3000 Editor, understanding the programming of another installer is effortless. Simply upload the file from the remote, and examine it in Simulator View. Each button is flagged with a symbol identifying whether it is programmed with a Macro, a pre-programmed code, a learned code, an alias or a punch through. By browsing through the pages of the configuration, you quickly identify the change you need to make since every button is instantly identifiable without clicking or double clicking.
Powerful Macros With Sounds, Text Changes, Multiple Page Jumps, Variables, Press Times, Delays and IR Commands
The MX-3000 supports unprecedented macro flexibility and power. Utilizing a spreadsheet style of action list, the installer can program macros with much more flexibility than any past touch screen program. Each row in the spreadsheet represents a macro step, but the installer can now program several functions to occur at the same time. Thus a command can be issued, a sound played, a message displayed on the button and a variable can be set all at once.
IR Code Editing:
Extensive editing of learned and database codes is possible. Now, projectors that require a sustained burst of 4 to 5 seconds can be automated, since the software enables you to edit the time the code is sent during a macro. Carrier frequency, single code repeats and labels can be saved.
Use Variables For Personalization of Macros:
Macros can set up to 255 custom variables. By creating variables for each of your users, you can program macros that perform different steps for different users. Advanced programmers may utilize variables for their own purposes, creating dynamic interfaces for clients that shift with activity or purpose.
Import CCF and other Tools For Professional Installers:
During programming, you can call on a number of powerful tools to ease the process. Import ccf configurations, open galleries of button art or pre-recorded sounds. An emulator of the remote control itself enables you to quickly check navigation and button art in use. Timers and clocks can be added to any button for display or automation.
Unprecedented Control of Text, Graphics and Animation:
With the MX-3000, you can instantly set the parameters of any buttons text and graphics. You can select fonts, styles, and colors for your text and align multiple lines of text on one button if you like. Button art can be automatically inverted after a press or swapped out for an alternate image. Animated GIF files can be looped or run once at your discretion.
Features and Benefits:
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