You may not be able to find codes for some of your components. I've never found one for my Runco HD-852 CRT projector, and have to use the Runco remote. This past summer, I helped an installer friend with a system that included a Pioneer Laserdisc player and a Sony SACD player with an obscure model number. Sometimes Sony codes for similar products will work, but not in this case. Trial and error got us nowhere. We couldn't find codes for either product, despite intermittent days of searching. But we did compress 12 remotes into 3, and the system's owner was happy.
(In a situation that was somewhat the reverse of this, I recently replaced a dead Sony DVD player in a corporate art exhibit with a new model. The player needs to run all day, so it's on "repeat disc" all day long. Then remote for the new player didn't have a "repeat" function, but the player did, accessible by using the old remote. I kept the new remote and explained that the old one worked with the new player. Thank you, Sony, for continuity in product development.)
When you've completed programming the onscreen virtual remote, save the settings as an MX Editor file (*.mxf). Then go to the COMMUNICATIONS heading and click on DOWNLOAD to send the program to the remote. A bar graph in the bottom of the download window shows the data transfer, and in a few seconds, the display on the real remote will look like the virtual one onscreen.
Your programming is done, but you may notice some minor glitches. My MX-700 came bundled with my Halo C2 preamp/surround processor, and of course, was preprogrammed by Parasound. When I reprogrammed it for new components, the ON and OFF buttons for the C2 were inexplicably reversed—but not for anything else. Likewise, the MX-700 operates perfectly with my Panasonic plasma screen, but both the ON and OFF buttons will toggle the plasma on or off.
You'll need to learn your way around the MX-700. Right under its LCD screen, the MAIN button brings up your component selections. Choosing any one of them turns the remote into a dedicated device for that component, unless you've opted for PUNCH THROUGH (option #6 under PROGRAM), that keeps some functions "on top" no matter which mode you're in. (What Universal calls PUNCH THROUGH commands are called GLOBAL COMMANDS by most other remote manufacturers.) Audio volume is the only function I've ever punched through, although a CHANNEL UP/DOWN punch-through would make sense in a TV-centric system.
The MX-700 lets you set up "macros," or series commands executed by one button—such as turning your components on in a preferred order. The popularity of 12-volt triggers and programmable power conditioners makes this feature somewhat redundant.
MX-700 editing software allows twoway communications with the remote. You can upload a program from the remote to the computer and save it as an .mxf file—extremely useful if you want to experiment with different codes and need to go "back to zero" without having to completely reprogram the remote.
The MX-700 retails for $349, and its companion Sidekick remote lists for $79. Deep discounts reward online sleuths. Some home-theater fans are fond of Philips' Pronto, mentioned above. The latest color version retails for around $800. I can't vouch for it. Neither can I endorse Sony's RMAV2100, a technological nightmare with a dim touchscreen and multifunction buttons. I spent one unpleasant afternoon with one and swore I’d never touch another.
By comparison, the MX-700 is a dream. Send out for pizza and grab a spot on the sofa. You'll never leave the house again.