Pioneer Elite SC-09TX A/V Receiver User Interface
My expectations have changed quite a bit when it comes to the remotes included with AVRs. In the past, I thought they should be the cat's meow, but with aftermarket models from Logitech, Philips, and Universal Remote Control, the supplied remote should offer basic functionality to get the unit up and running and then be relegated to the junk drawer while the day-to-day use is handled by a true universal remote.
The remote included with the SC-09TX is certainly functional. I found it to be very responsive, and the important buttons—inputs and volume control—are backlit. It fits nicely in my hand and is easy to use in a dark room. It does offer "universal" functionality, but in a direct comparison with the aforementioned universal remotes, its WAF (wife-acceptance factor) is nonexistent—at least in my home.
The front-panel LCD display is one of the coolest features I have seen on an AVR. It measures five inches diagonally, and it's easy to read when looking directly at the screen, though it's not so easily read from off-axis—the Achilles' heal of LCD displays. The OSD (onscreen display) is text-based and viewable on the front-panel LCD or the connected display (via HDMI in my case). The information is well organized and easy to navigate, but a trip into the well-written (yet often footnoted) 157-page manual may be necessary given the complexities of this flagship AVR. Unfortunately, the LCD display is difficult to read from across the room due to the small font size, and the volume indicator isn't output over HDMI.
The LCD displays the video image from analog sources, which is very handy if you want to see the channel guide from TiVo or other cable/satellite boxes to search for a show without turning on your entire system. Unfortunately, there are a couple of issues with the implementation. First, HDMI sources aren't viewable on the screen, so you need an analog connection from your source component to enjoy this feature. Second, the video display times out too quickly (only 10 seconds), requiring another push of the Video button on the remote.
With the exception of the LCD display, the front panel is similar to other AVRs, with a source-select knob on the left and a volume control on the right. A flip-down panel hides some other functions, including a headphone jack, the MCACC setup-mic input, inputs for audio/video (presumably for a video camera or game console), and controls for the OSD and remote zones.