Do you have too many remote controls?
I know I do, because every new device I buy comes with its own remote control.

What you need is an easy to use remote that can replace all the others. I have tried units where you enter codes that set them up to represent your devices, but there are always some functions that may not work or are not mapped out the way you would like them to be. Also there are often functions that you never need and you may want to simplify the layout. The best way to make sure all functions will work for now, and also for future devices, is to use a learning remote. There are very few out there and many of them have buttons that are too small to read since they try to cover every possible combination of devices and features imaginable.

The CrispSolutions UCommand-515 learning remote will clean up all the clutter in a nice easy to use unit that runs the functions that you want for your multimedia devices.

* Large Touch Screen LCD with intelligent Auto-Backlighting
* Configurable Screen changes with various controlled Audio/Video Devices
* Learns from other infrared Remote Controls (Won’t become obsolete)
* Up to 25 Macro Commands on any standard Button
* Customize your Buttons from a pre-defined graphics set
* Will work as a X-10 IR remote

I went through all my devices … TV, VCR, AMP, CD … and set up the screens the way I wanted them to look by removing keys not on my original or functions that I don’t use. The programming is fairly simple. After finding my remotes (and batteries that work) I just put the original units a few inches below the UC-515 and turn on the learn mode. Then, as the buttons on the LCD screen flash, you push the corresponding button on the original unit. Continue to work your way through the rest of the buttons on the UCommand. If you have a remote that hasn’t got the button that shows on the default LCD screens, no problem, skip to the next button and then later delete that button. You can also change some of the button layouts on the unit (limited by the LCD preset graphics).

You can set up macros to run multiple routines such as turn on the VCR, change the audio on your amp and change the TV input or channel via one button. (I’m lazy)

The X-10 codes are pre-programmed into the new production units and the user can activate them by selecting learning set “01”. Later there will also be learning sets for the most common TV’s and a SAT receivers.

Once you set up this remote, the settings will stay in flash memory even without batteries … which is good since it can take a while to program. The batteries will last up to 6 months under normal conditions (although extensive use of the backlight will shorten the battery life) according to CrispSolutions.

The backlighting comes on automatically with the first push and can be set to turn off at different times. The sensitivity of the backlighting is also adjustable.

One thing that I would like added to this unit is the ability to turn off the beep on a more permanent basis. It is easy to turn it off by tapping a device key quickly twice, but can also be turned back on by mistake.

Not having tactile feedback from the virtual buttons takes a bit of getting used to, so you have to watch the screen in the beginning. The volume and channel buttons are on the right side so can be used with your right hand most of the time.

You won’t lose this unit in the cushions of your sofa as it is about 1/2 lb and 7″x3″x1″. Being large helps out in ease of use and allows you to see the buttons easily in all lighting conditions. This is especially true if you are watching a movie with the lights dimmed.

The UCommand is easy to use. My sons Greg and Theo (ages 5 and 7) got it figured out in no time and I can clean the peanut butter off it easier than from the units with buttons. I have used it for awhile now and have gotten quite used to it.

While there are lots of programmable remote for under $50.00, the layouts of the buttons are often not how you want them. If you want a full featured unit that you know will work with your devices, and gives you the ability to change the screen to suit your needs, spend a bit more and get this cool looking unit with the retail price of $129.00. Then you can get rid of all those remotes cluttering up your living room.

The UC-515 has enough features for me (although my kids want it to play pokemon) but if you really want to customize you could opt for the UCommand-616. It can operate 10 devices and is programmable via software on your PC. You can download a database for devices (a nice timesaver) to your pc and some nifty software so the screen can be changed exactly as you want it (it’s bitmapped). List price is $199.00 dollars.