"Capable, good value, easy set up"4.0 starson by Don-FL
Pros: Easy web based set up (PC and Mac), one button control of multiple components
Cons: Database on AV Receiver did not include codes for Zones 2 & 3, just the primary Zone 1
Summary: Overall I’m very satisfied with the remote capabilities, and relative ease in setup.
The remote is used to control a plasma monitor, AV Receiver, digital HD cable box with DVR, DVD, and DVD/VCR combo unit. The multiple remotes were driving my wife crazy (and me too). The AV equipment I have is of good quality but I could not bring myself to buy one of the high end remotes, for about $400, and then have to pay an additional $400 to have someone program it. Future changes would still depend on someone doing the programming and cost more money. The Monster controller was a good solution. It has one-button capabilities and was something that I could set up and modify.
The basic setup went pretty smoothly. Monster’s web based “set up wizard’ was easy to use, and the component database with the various codes seemed extensive. The user guide included with the remote however was about as minimalist as possible. There is a user manual that can be downloaded from Monster’s web site but all I received was a web site error message when I tried. Maybe if I had the user manual, I would have better understood the relationship between the “activities’ and the related components. Once I got the basic system working, it took a lot of experimenting with the setting to customize the remote. The component and activity settings are buried a number of screens deep on the web site. It was confusing to decide whether to use the trouble shooting screen or the activities screen.
After setting up the cable box and the TV, I went to use the cable guide to pick a station. I could not figure out how to move up and down or side to side within the guide. I felt like an idiot when, by accident, I realized that the Monster remote select button also functioned as a mini joystick. It moves up and down within the guide. I am sure that information was in the user guide that I was not able to download but I did not see this information on the web site or anywhere else.
The remote advertising indicated that the remote’s surround mode button would access the surround sound and DSP modes. I have a Yamaha RX V1500 receiver and none of the surround sound buttons appear when I use the surround mode. I will have to set them up or have to use the remote’s component control button to access the buttons for the AV receiver (all 14 pages worth).
Another issue relates to the AV receiver and its multiple zone capability. The receiver’s primary zone is used for the cable/TV/DVD in the family room. I have zone 2 powering speakers outside, and zone 3 powering speakers in one of my rooms. The receiver can play the cable/TV in zone 1 and in zone 2 use the receiver’s turner to play FM. The codes for the Monster remote do not recognize the other zones. I needed to use the learn code function to get zone 2 to work. I still haven’t figured out how to control the volume in zone 2. This is a major pain for people with AV receivers with multiple zones and needs to be fixed.
I am still having problems switching the monitor’s inputs (AV1 to AV2) when I start an activity. Even though the activity says to switch to AV2, the monitor does not recognize the command. I am still playing with time delays in sending the codes but do not have a solution yet.
The last gripe that I have is that Monster’s web site has a download titled “Setting up your monster controller” and it indicates a 24hr turnaround on contacts to their customer service. I used their web site for the contact and three contacts later am still waiting for an answer to any of my requests. This is a problem since Monster sets the expectation of a quick turn around and then does not deliver.
Problems aside, I still think that this controller was the way to go. It truly has one button capability and allows me to make changes to the remote’s functionality. Most of the issues I have will not be a problem for the majority people. Monster’s support is still a little rough around the edges. I am confident that I will get the remote to handle my needs.