CNET First Look
URC Digital R50The URC Digital R50's successful combination of good ergonomics, solid design, and fairly easy programmability makes it a good alternative to Logitech Harmony universal remotes.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> I'm John Falcone, Senior Editor at CNET.com and this is the URC Digital R50. The URC stands for Universal Remote Control. That's the company's name, as well as what it is actually is. The company makes many of the remotes that are included with the cable boxes and other third-party devices that you already own and it also puts out high-end remotes under the Home Theater Master brand, but the Digital R50 is more of a mid-range model that's targeted at the average consumer. This universal remote has a 2-inch, 176 by 220 pixel color screen that's surrounded by six contextual buttons, the functions of which change depending upon what's on the screen. Otherwise it's a pretty standard design with a four-way D pad and plenty of keys that will work well with cable boxes, satellite boxes and DVRs. All of the buttons are backlit as well for easy viewing in a darkened room. We like the design overall, but the arrangement of the keys could have been a little bit better. Unlike the competing Logitech Harmony remotes the Digital R50 doesn't need to be connected to a computer to be set-up. Instead it uses wizards on the screen to walk you through the simple set-up process for up to 18 devices. The codes for all of the TVs, receivers, DVD and Blu-ray players that we use were already built-in to the R50, but it can also learn to control codes from any other infrared remote. The R50 can also hold up to 48 channel favorites and it's even got familiar icon logos for many of your favorite networks. Advanced users will appreciate that the Digital R50 can be programmed with macros. You can program in more than 800 macros of up to 255 steps each to automate processes within one device or across multiple devices. All in all, the URC Digital R50 offers a compelling combination of good ergonomics, solid design and easy set-up for those who don't want to use a PC to program their universal remote. We just like to see a price lower to compete more aggressively with some of the lower-end Logitech Harmony models. I'm John Falcone for CNET and this is the URC Digital R50. ^M00:02:17 [ Music ]