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jeffluckett
2006-10-13, 10:35
In my entertainment room, I'm currently drowning in remotes.

I have:
1. SB Remote
2. Receiver Remote
3. DVD Remote
4. Cable Box remote
5. VCR Remote
6. Television Remote (required in active service to change input sources and display modes for various sources and programming)

This is a pain, and inevitably the ONE remote I need at any given time has been kicked under a couch, or hidden somewhere by my toddler.

Has anyone here had any experience with universal remotes, and can recommend one that can at least tackle the "Everyday" tasks these devices require?

I know they range in price from about $50.00 to $500 or $600. I'm hoping someone might have had a good experience with a device in the ~$100.00 (or less) price point that they could recommend.

Here's one I'm looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100709

jncraig
2006-10-13, 10:44
>
> Here's one I'm looking at:
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100709
>

I got a Harmony 880 (about $150 now from eCost.com. It's solved my multiple
remote problems, though in all honesty my TV is a fit finicky, and I really
should spend another half an hour figuring out some things so that switching
from Tivo to TV to HDTV to DVD really is a one-button operation.

The 880 has a USB interface and you program it from the Logictech/Harmony
web site -- a nice feature.


--


Joe

erland
2006-10-13, 10:58
Here's one I'm looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100709
I have the silver version of 688 and is really happy with it, it was quite easy to get it to work with all standard functions. With some more work I have got it to work with every function I use on the original remotes. The activity based approach works really good, just push "Watch TV" and it will turn on the TV, turn on the the receiver and select correct input. The same work with "Play Music" but then it turns on the SqueezeBox and receiver and selects the correct input on the receiver for the SqueezeBox. It has worked with every device I have tried it with besides the iMon IR in the HTPC which doesn't work with any universal remote.

radish
2006-10-13, 11:26
All the Harmony remotes are awesome. Pick the one which suits your budget, they all have the same basic functionality. The significant differences to choose between them (other than price) are mainly the number and location of the buttons, the size and quality of the screen, and overall design. I use the 880 in my living room and an older model in the bedroom.

SteveEast
2006-10-13, 11:53
I have the Harmony 659. Even my wife is beginning to like it.

Steve.

neilcoburn
2006-10-13, 12:08
I've got the 525. It's brilliant. It's easy to get it working with basic functionality, but if you invest a bit more time and research (and use the support line if necessary) you can fine-tune the set-up to work perfectly. www.remotecentral.com has a good harmony forum and also reviews of other remotes, including the Philips Pronto range which in my view is too much hassle, and the touchscreen is a pain.

jeffluckett
2006-10-13, 12:08
Thanks all for the vote of confidence in the Harmony line. I guess that's where I'll target my research.

-J

Jim Larson
2006-10-13, 15:54
I'm using this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100601

It takes some time to set up, but it does EVERYTHING I need it to do. Macro's, each device can have 10 extra user-defined buttons w/ custom labels, nice backlight, and incredibly powerful double IR beams (you can bounce the beam off the back & side walls of a large room).

Mark Komarinski
2006-10-13, 19:00
On 10/13/06, Joe Craig <jncraig (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote:
>
> Here's one I'm looking at:
> > http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100709
> >
>
> I got a Harmony 880 (about $150 now from eCost.com. It's solved my
> multiple remote problems, though in all honesty my TV is a fit finicky, and
> I really should spend another half an hour figuring out some things so that
> switching from Tivo to TV to HDTV to DVD really is a one-button operation.
>
> The 880 has a USB interface and you program it from the Logictech/Harmony
> web site -- a nice feature.
>

Another vote for the 880. It's as spouse-friendly as the Tivo and
Squeezebox. We almost always use the activities, and I've programmed the
soft buttons to work with most of the things that we want to do. It's good
enough that if something gets stuck (the TV doesn't power on, etc.), the
help buttons will let you navigate through and fix it easily.

-Mark

808htfan
2006-10-16, 18:49
I'm using this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100601

It takes some time to set up, but it does EVERYTHING I need it to do. Macro's, each device can have 10 extra user-defined buttons w/ custom labels, nice backlight, and incredibly powerful double IR beams (you can bounce the beam off the back & side walls of a large room).

That URC MX-500 is a great remote. URC, www.universalremote.com, has a similar one I bought from Amazon for what I think is an amazingly cheap $50. Does everything the MX-500 does but has just 5 LCD buttons compared to 10. Each device can have up to 8 pages of them, though (= 40 extra custom labeled buttons per device). It also can take a while to set up as it's not computer programmable, but it's very easy. It's gotta be the best $50 remote out there...

The URC-200 link at Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00067R5XW/ref=pd_cp_e_title/103-3399858-9563821?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=172282.

A great detailed review at Remotecentral, http://www.remotecentral.com/urcseries/index.html. Their review of the MX-500, http://www.remotecentral.com/mx500/index.html. Tons on good info on remotes there.

BTW, one thing I like better about URC's remotes vs Harmony's is the button layout. Not so crowded...

dennisd
2006-10-17, 09:13
I have a Harmony 880 and it works perfectly for my 12 devices. My goal is:

My wife can turn on the music on a Friday night after a glass of wine without talking to me.

Nothing bad about our relationship, but now she can just push "listen to Slimdevices" on the remote and:
1)The receiver is switched to optical input for the Slimdevices channel, Slimdevice turned on, Slimdevice set to Play, Receiver set to surround stereo. (Incidentally the TV, DVD player, VCR player, and Video projector are turned off with that single button push). The remote controls all work as expected, save the volume +/- controls the receiver, not the Slimdevice. Any button that is not clear is put on the LCD (e.g. Favorites)

All simply programmable on the web and downloaded into the remote. (It also controls my Roomba!) For the inveterate fiddlers amongst us, this remote hides a lot of complexity from those who think music systems should just work the same every day (especially on Friday nights). I looked for this for many years. It is perfect! WAF 100!!
dennisd

BillC
2006-10-17, 10:42
Another vote for the Harmony 880. I used a Pronto before. It worked great
but required a time investment to program it. The real problem for me was
when I replaced or added a piece of gear I had to go back through the
programming learning curve to update the remote. In contrast: I recently
moved which involved changing from satellite TV/PVR to Cable/PVR, replaced
my TV, replaced my DVD player and added a Playstation 2. The only thing that
stayed the same was my AV Receiver. I jumped on the Harmony website at
midnight after the wife and kids went to sleep and had my remote
reprogrammed and working with my newly configured system within 30 minutes.

808htfan
2006-10-17, 17:08
I have a Harmony 880 and it works perfectly for my 12 devices. My goal is:

My wife can turn on the music on a Friday night after a glass of wine without talking to me.

Nothing bad about our relationship, but now she can just push "listen to Slimdevices" on the remote and:
1)The receiver is switched to optical input for the Slimdevices channel, Slimdevice turned on, Slimdevice set to Play, Receiver set to surround stereo. (Incidentally the TV, DVD player, VCR player, and Video projector are turned off with that single button push). The remote controls all work as expected, save the volume +/- controls the receiver, not the Slimdevice. Any button that is not clear is put on the LCD (e.g. Favorites)

All simply programmable on the web and downloaded into the remote. (It also controls my Roomba!) For the inveterate fiddlers amongst us, this remote hides a lot of complexity from those who think music systems should just work the same every day (especially on Friday nights). I looked for this for many years. It is perfect! WAF 100!!
dennisd


Yeah, that's another thing missing from URC's cheaper line...discrete codes. You can easily program macros to accomplish a bunch of steps like that, but you'd have to assume the components are in a certain state...on, off, etc. Still quite workable, with maybe a couple extra button pushes here and there.

zulu
2006-10-18, 02:25
I use Harmony as well, and I'm generally happy with it. Activities are great, but it's a bit of a pain programming the thing. Mostly because their online config app truly sucks. I have it setup to watch tivo, dvd, vcr, as well as play music through SB3 and some other music related stuff I control.

Robster
2006-10-18, 12:38
I've ordered an Logitech 885 from Komplett, should be here for weekend. Looking forward to it and I hope it does all I need it to!

Rob

ceejay
2006-10-18, 15:48
I also have a Logitech 885 and its great as long as you haven't got a Panasonic plasma that you also want to control with it.

Ceejay

mrfantasy
2006-10-18, 16:26
The Logitech Harmony remotes are great remotes. There are no other decent universal remotes. We are not allowed to have any other remotes now.

;-)

jeffluckett
2006-10-18, 18:27
So ... does the Harmony manage to replace the SlimDevices remote as well?

808htfan
2006-10-18, 18:42
So ... does the Harmony manage to replace the SlimDevices remote as well?

I'd imagine it does.

So does the URC-200 I mentioned. I've 'taught' mine the button codes from the Slim's remote since it wasn't in the list of pre-programmed codes. I think the codes for a JVC DVD player were supposed to work, if I remember correctly. Haven't tried it though.

Looks like you're headed for a Harmony, just thought I'd mention the URC one more time. A remote w/ customizable LCD or $50, it's a steal and can do whatever you need.

radish
2006-10-18, 18:51
I also have a Logitech 885 and its great as long as you haven't got a Panasonic plasma that you also want to control with it.

Ceejay

? My panny works just fine. What's the problem?

jeffluckett
2006-10-18, 19:42
Looks like you're headed for a Harmony, just thought I'd mention the URC one more time. A remote w/ customizable LCD or $50, it's a steal and can do whatever you need.

I am leaning toward the harmony ... although you did almost sway me.

There are two things in favor of the Harmony that are shifting the balance that way.

1. It remembers the states of your various bits of equipment, so that when you decide to "Watch TV" after "Listening to Slim", it doesn't turn off your receiver while turning on the rest of the kit.

2. Programmable via USB. Most of the reviews I've read about the URC vs. the Harmony lean in favor of the Harmony for programming ease.

The URC device was indeed compelling, but I think there are some ease of use factors that are pushing me to Harmony. One of the primary reasons for looking for a universal remote was to make it easier for all members of the family to use my system, and I think Harmony has that figured out.

Got a "killer point" to swing me back to URC?

808htfan
2006-10-18, 20:22
Nah, just the price.

In order to get discrete on/off/etc codes and pc programming you'd have to get one of their more expensive models. They're really good but cost so dang much!

Actually, the MX-500 could be programmed using an IRClone-Mx and its software, but they're almost impossible to find and the website is long gone.

Good luck

jeffluckett
2006-10-19, 08:13
Nah, just the price.

In order to get discrete on/off/etc codes and pc programming you'd have to get one of their more expensive models. They're really good but cost so dang much!

Actually, the MX-500 could be programmed using an IRClone-Mx and its software, but they're almost impossible to find and the website is long gone.

Good luck

I just ordered the Harmony 688 for $69 from NewEgg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100708). Overall, I think the "state memory" is worth the extra price. The rest of the Harmony line definitely prices me out of the market though.

808htfan
2006-10-19, 17:34
I just ordered the Harmony 688 for $69 from NewEgg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16880100708). Overall, I think the "state memory" is worth the extra price. The rest of the Harmony line definitely prices me out of the market though.

Yeah, I really wish my URC-200 had discrete codes. I thought about one of the better ones, but I'm not ready to plop down a couple hundred bucks on a remote.

Have fun w/ the Harmony, it should make things easier for you.

bigjilm
2006-10-27, 11:18
In case anyone else is asking the same question, I'm going to throw out a vote for the Phillips Pronto.

I'm a programmer by trade, so I don't mind spending hours and hours tweeking the config. My old Pronto has been amazing for the better part of 6 years, and it still controls every IR device in the house.

Beware though, it took me a TON of effort to build the initial interface. Think about how much effort it would take to build a remote UI in Visual Basic, plus learning all of the IR codes, and that's comparable to the Pronto effort.

Now, if only I could convince the wife that the TSU9600 is a required addition to the household...

SadGamerGeek
2006-10-28, 11:13
In case anyone else is asking the same question, I'm going to throw out a vote for the Phillips Pronto.


Absolutely. I've got two rooms with hifi/av systems and a Pronto for each one. I can't believe any remote could be quite as flexible....