Hi Mark, I purchased the MX-500 a few weeks ago and I love it. The remote is very easy to program and even my wife is able to use it with a little help . I have never used a pronto so I can't compare the 2 but I don't think you can go wrong with the MX-500. Check out www.remotecentral.com for the reviews, hope that helps.
I have the Marantz version of the Neo (RC-3200) AND a MX-500 AND a wife. I can tell you with no reservations, go for the MX-500. After you configure it, it is very comfortable and extremely easy to get used to, due to the large number of hard buttons. My wife will not normally pick up the RC-3200, (I find myself rarely picking it up also).
The only negative to the MX-500 is that you don't have the ability to back up your programming to a PC. That said, I (to this point) haven't needed to, and I've changed batteries twice!
I bought a MX-500 a few months ago. Wife was not happy with 5 remotes sitting on the coffee table and a list of instructions on how get coponents running. Wife is now real happy. I have a few macros to fire up different combinations of components and all our favorite channels set up for the satelite system. She can even run the lights with the X-10 units.
I am currently in the market for an uber-remote. Does anyone use the MX-500 with a digital cable box by General Instruments or Motorola? I see GI is listed on the list of codes but not Motorola. I have a Motorola box (the resulting box after Motorola bought GI) and it is the number one problem when trying to find the right remote.
The digital cable box has peculiar requirements. For instance, you need a button to bring the guide up, you need a button that shows Info. You also need a channel selector that changes channels and another set that change the Guide only.
I'm afraid that I won't be able to duplicate the functionality. I guess you can teach certain buttons to do things but then you won't have correct labelling, would you?
This is something I assume you really have to try out.
the mx-500 (which i have and love) has a button already labeled for each cable function: guide/info/exit/menu
this remote is EXTREMELY flexible. any "unique" function on your original remotes button can be learned and labeled on the mx-500.
there is literally no button that you cannot program onto the 500. it's that good. it replaced 8 of my remotes without a hitch.
very highly recommended. i assume you've read the review at remotecentral.com: http://www.remotecentral.com/mx500/index11.htm
along with simplifying my life, i need to simplify my MOM'S life as well. when she comes over to babysit, i have to give her a list of instructions to put on a DVD for my daugher. i'd like to simplify this as much as possible.
the mx-500 will learn any sequence of keystrokes into it's macro. it will do what you ask, but there is a caveat you should know about...discrete codes.
examples of discrete codes are SPECIFIC power-on or power-off commands.
by default, the 500 does not know "discrete" codes. that means, when you send a power-signal to the receiver, it really "toggles" whatever state the receiver is currently in.
so, if it's off, it turns on. if it's on, it turns off.
what most people do is purchase an inexpensive remote that has discrete code capability (i think radio shack has one that's like 20 bucks) then program the discrete codes from the cheap remote into the 500.
i did something a little different.
my "m1" macro button turns on receiver, switches input, turns on tv, turns on dvd and ejects the tray. then when i hit the m1 button again, it turns off everything. what's cool is that the dvd receives the power "off" signal BEFORE it receives the "eject" command, so it never gets a chance to eject the tray.
hope that makes some sense. let me know if you have any questions.
[EDIT] oh yeah...i got my remote from http://www.rrdeals.com i know many other people also get it from this place. i had quick service...would recommend without reservation. he also hangs out a lot at the forum at remotecentral.
In addition to the hard, labeled Guide and Menu buttons for cable, I have also taught them to the buttons next to the LCD so I can see them at night with the backlight.
Macros are fantastic. I have 4 macros and they were easy to create. I highly recommend that everyone with an MX-500 use the spread sheet found at the bottom of the FAQ page. It makes set up easy.
a good tip if you use the lcd buttons a lot is to put the most frequent ones closest to the bottom. that way your thumbs (or whatever) do not have to "reach" to the top section to hit the buttons. it just makes for easier navigation...
of course, i didn't do this until after i programmed all my bottons, but oh well...if i ever get bored i know what i'll be doing.