Using the manual, establishing the correct codes for my gear was a straightforward and relatively painless process. My Philips DirecTV/TiVo receiver took a few attempts, but one supplied code finally worked. It was nice to see that the Customizer has separate code tables for DVD players, laser disc players, DVRs, and cable boxes. Code gaps are no problem as the Customizer is also a learning remote.
The Expander was a snap to set up, and only required connection to an AC outlet and my equipment, using the included IR flashers. The Expander's RF range is rated at 50-100 feet, more than sufficient in my home. I was able to successfully use the Customizer from the upstairs bedrooms with the Expander in the basement theater. Larger homes may present a problem, but for most users this range is fine.
Although the dual IR/RF control is handy, the Customizer will only earn a place on my table if its ergonomics are up to snuff. After all, the goal with a universal is to do away with your other remotes, so the last thing you want is the sense of missing your old remote(s). The Customizer is well-designed, another winner in the Universal stable of controllers. Channel and volume controls are exactly where they should be and the most important buttons for DVD fiends (play, pause, etc.) are well arranged.
The hard buttons on the Customizer are smooth and well-rounded. I found them a bit stiff, but I expect this decreases over time. The buttons and touch-screen display are backlit, but again the side-mounted light button was stiff and a tad sticky. The well-sculpted directional cursor pad in the center of the remote has a good feel. It's easy to use in the dark, with accurate on-screen response using DVD menus.
At a total price of $275, the Customizer and Expander is a solid, simple to use and easy to program combination. With full macro capabilities, plenty of preprogrammed codes and dual IR/RF control, the Customizer is a good choice for anyone looking to master their electronic domain. I'd like to see cushier buttons next time around, but other than that, the Customizer gave me very little to complain about.
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