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Universal Remote Control RF20 Preview with MRF100B

Universal Remote Control RF20 Video Review

Universal Remote Control RF20 Video Review


  • Product Name: RF20 Remote with MRF100B Receiver
  • Manufacturer: Universal Remote Control
  • Review Date: October 19, 2010 09:55
  • MSRP: $$79.99 w/o MRF100B
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • LCD Size: .875" x 1.875"
  • Size: 8.5" x 2.5" x 1" (L x W x H)
  • Weight: 8 oz (with batteries)
  • Learning Capabilities: 720 IR commands at standard frequencies (15 kHz to 100 kHz)
  • Macro Capabilities: 472 macro and favorite channel buttons (up to 190 steps each)
  • RF Freq: 418 MHz
  • Range: RF - 50 to 100 feet / IR - 30 to 50 feet. Approximate range will vary depending upon operational and environmental conditions
  • Power Supply: 4 AAA alkaline batteries (included)
  • Warranty: One year parts & labor

Remote controls are funny. You don't realize how important they are until you use a really good one... that's not yours... then you get remote envy. It's not pretty. One of the solutions is Universal Remote's RF20. Now there are several things that make this remote stand out, but the most visual thing is that it has a backlit LCD screen that can be customized to control up to 10 different devices.

The remote comes pre-programmed to operate virtually all brands of equipment. It can also do macros, which is like having the remote issue a bunch of commands to your gear in a row so that it turns itself on properly and starts playing a DVD, for example.

Programming is pretty easy, you just push the Main and Enter buttons at the same time for three seconds until the word Setup appears on the LCD screen. Then, you can choose whether you are going to select from the pre-programmed codes, or learn some custom codes from an existing remote. We found the preprogrammed database to be quite extensive, and it handled most of our equipment, but this remote has been out a while and actually lacks specific Blu-ray device codes, so you may want to do some customization and learning to get all of the functions you need - like the PopUp menu and four colored buttons used in many of the new BD player menu systems.

Using this remote to replace several of your device remotes is fairly simple, but what we liked was the ability to customize the LCD screen options to enable macros features to be run right from the top screen. In this way we could have the "TV" button power up our AV receiver, television and cable box and get us on the correct input. In the same way, the "DVD" button could reassign all inputs to watch a movie.

One other thing that makes this remote unique is its Favorite Channel Setup. What this does is use a built-in system for setting up your most popular TV channels (up to 40) where they can be selected by a single button push. With today's 3- and 4-digital cable channels, why have to type all that in to jump around? It does take some setting up, but in the end it's well worth the effort and you have a really powerful remote that's easy to use.

Now the last thing. This isn't just a regular infrared remote. It also supports RF (radio frequency) signals. That means that if you have your gear in a closet, or a cabinet, you can use Universal Remote's MRF-100B RF receiver to get signals from the remote and translate that into commands your equipment can understand. The MRF-100B comes with 6 mini IR emitters that can connect to your gear and pass the signal from the remote - all without having to have that equipment be visible or out in the open. Powerful? Yes.

The RF20 costs $80 and operates on 4 AAA batteries and will run for quite a while provided you don't have a three year-old in the house that likes to press the light button non-stop while they watch an hour of Astro Boy. Come to think of it, just have some extra batteries on hand...  The MRF-100B is a $60 add-on but given how useful it is, you'll wonder how you did without it. With both devices you have an entire RF remote package for just $140. Highly recommended.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Andrew Gash was the online personality for Audioholics' video reviews back in 2010. He's an accomplished video editor and scriptwriter and enjoys masochistic events such as entering 48 hour film festivals each year, for which his last several attempts have placed in various nominations and awards.

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