Product Review (June 2001) - One For All
Home Producer 8 Universal Remote

The most commonly asked question by guests visiting my entertainment room is "Why do you have so many remote controls". Unfortunately, each and every new product purchased for the system in this room seems to include one. For years I've looked around for the right universal remote, but for some reason I could never find one that fit my needs. Some didn't have enough capabilities while others were too big or just too expensive for any real added value to my system. The folks at Universal Electronics produce a line of remotes called One-For-All which is licensed to the Hudson Access Group in Twinsburg, Ohio. Universal Electronics is a well-known OEM for remote control technology and licenses its products, which can include IR (Infrared) libraries, to third parties manufacturers.

The One-For-All Home Producer 8 (model URC-8090) is the top-of-the-line model offered under the One-For-All line. The Home Producer 8 consists of an IR/RF remote control and an RF receiver. In addition to infrared (IR) capabilities, the remote also transmits RF (radio frequency) commands to a receiver module up to 100 feet away. This receiver module will then retransmit the IR commands. Behind the tinted front, the RF based receiver has four IR transmitting devices that spread the secondary IR signal to nearby components. There are several different applications that make this feature useful. For instance, a bedroom television connected to a DSS box located in your family room can now be controlled from the bedroom. In addition, the same DSS box can now work without having to be in plain view. Since users rarely need to physically touch a DSS box, you have the option of placing it inside of a cabinet. An indicator on the front of the receiver lets you know when a command is being transmitted.

Other features include an Electro-luminescent (EL) back lit keypad and LCD display that provides ample readout capability in the dark. In fact, the illuminated keypad is impressively uniform across all keys and produces a beautiful blue color. In addition, a real-time clock is displayed on the LCD readout. Setting up the remote is fairly easy and requires the user to punch in codes for each component used in the system. Once this is entered and verified, the remote is ready to use. While most of the controls are accessible on the URC-8090, there were a few functions that I couldn't get to work. Since my Yamaha DSP-A1 is a relatively new unit, these commands may have not made it into the last code revision. To be fair, it is virtually impossible for any one remote to have all the variations of buttons across all products. However, the URC-8090 covers all of the common ones. If you happen to get a new component that the URC-8090 doesn't support, Universal Electronics will update the codes if you send your remote to them.

Any home theater system usually involves many components, all of which need to be controlled by a remote. The URC-8090 has a mode called Home Theater that provides the user with the ability to define specific buttons on the remote to control different units in the system without having to bounce back and forth between component buttons. The Home Theater mode in my system allows me to use the volume control buttons to adjusts the level on the Yamaha DSP-A1, while the play, stop, forward and reverse buttons control the functions on the Panasonic DVD player. This feature makes using a complex system quite simple. The remote can even be programmed to generate a sequence of commands, known as macros to simplify common button sequences. In addition, macros can be set up to generate commands up to seven days in advance for those events that you just can't miss. As far as ergonomics go, the URC-8090 feels good and doesn't require two hands to operate.

One concern consumers have with any programmable remote is what happens when the user has to change the batteries. Fortunately, Universal Electronics realized that the user would be pretty upset if memory was lost, so they placed all critical data into an internal EEPROM which isn't affected by power loss. After pulling the batteries out and replacing them, all functions appeared to still work as programmed. The only function that required updating was the clock, which is to be expected. If you're worried about future product compatibility, Universal Electronics provides a connector on the back of the remote that allows the unit to be upgraded in the future.

After having experienced the URC-8090 for a couple of weeks, using the original manufacturer remotes has increasingly become a hassle since I have to locate the correct remote for a specific component. I can now operate all the components in my system with a single remote and one hand. Does it get any better than this? Thanks to the team at Universal Electronics, your system just became easier to control and at a reasonable price.
- Kevin Nakano

Review System:
Panasonic CTP31XF40 Television
Yamaha DSP-A1 Processor/Amplifier
Pioneer Elite CLD-99 laserdisc player
Panasonic DVD-A110 DVD player
Mitsubishi HS-U82 S-VHS VCR
RCA DS-4430RA, Digital Satellite System
Sony CDP-X220, 200 disc CD carousel

All components listed worked on the URC-8090.

Review - At a glance:
One For All - Home Producer 8
Universal IR/RF Remote Control System

Transmitting Frequency (RF): 430 MHz
Transmitting Range: Up to 100 feet

MSRP: $119.99

The Hudson Access Group
1864 Enterprise Pkwy West
Twinsburg, OH 44087

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