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Thread: Universal Remotes

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    SeanB's Avatar
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    Universal Remotes

    What kind of universal remote do you have?

    My wife got me the Harmony (logitech) 880 for Christmas this year and I absolutely love it! It's very intuitive. Someone unfamiliar with my system can come over, pick up the remote from it's charger base and see the lcd display that clearly describes the different functions. If they want to watch TV, the they press the button labled "Watch TV" then the tv comes on and goes to the correct input, the receiver comes on and goes to the correct input, etc.

    What I really like is that programming is done online by hooking the remote up via a usb cable. All you have to do is select your specific components from drop down menus on their website and the rest is done for you!

    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/remot ... 2&cl=us,en
    (the street price is about half what the website shows)
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    TripleB4me's Avatar
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    I have one of the older Sony remote control commanders, which isn't bad, but I wouldn't buy anything other than a Harmony if mine were to bite it tomorrow.

    That's one great wife you have!!!
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    SeanB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleB4me
    I have one of the older Sony remote control commanders, which isn't bad, but I wouldn't buy anything other than a Harmony if mine were to bite it tomorrow.
    I have one of the Sony's too - we use it in the bedroom. It works OK, but it's huge!

    That's one great wife you have!!!
    I agree. I was suprised because she usually stays away from the tech toys.
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    I also have a Harmony 880 and feel it is the best value in a system remote. Ecost has them for under $150.00 now. I don't know of another remote with a charging base and seemless control of 8 components, and I have spent a fair amount of money on learning remotes over the past decade.
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    KurtV's Avatar
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    I have a Sony RM-AX4000. It's a little bulky but very usable, has long battery life, and is very programmable through a PC. Best of all, it was brutally affordable from Amazon at $69.00.

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    I also have a sony RM-AX4000. It is a replacement for the two AV-3000's that I've gone through. I like the programmability of it and the macros that you can program (which comes in handy with my Westinghouse 1080P 42" LCD. I have things connecdted to DVI, HDMI, component, and S-video inputs and the macro function makes it easy to have the right input selected for the signal source. Also, it's one of the few remotes that I have come across that can do ALL the functions on my DishNetwork DVR and my Pioneer Elite AV reciever. The only downside is that it is a two handed remote (I went through two of its predicesors because I dropped them and ruined the LCD display!) but it's backlight feature makes it very easy to use in the dark!

    I looked at the Harmonys but for the price vs. features I liked the sony better. I almost long for the days when the One for ALL 8 was the fanciest remote you could get! Still have two of those kicking around.

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    Will it actually perform EVERY function of EVERY component you have?

    I have a DVD/Surround Rec'vr, VCR, & a Dish Network DVR reciever all hooked up to my Sony Wega LCD tv. All of thier remotes are programmable to each other but there is always at least one thing that each remote will not do for a different component.
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    Yes, because it will learn from the other remote itself if it doesn't have the code in its database.

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    Yes, as long as the remote code is an IR code. It is a learning remote so if there is not a preprogrammed code you can teach the code to the remote and then create a button on the lcd screen and label it with the proper name. That is the main reason I like it. My old DVD player was an Apex and NO remote on the market had codes for it back when I got my first AV-3000 but I was able to teach all the codes to the remote. When I had cable and a DVR box (Scientific Atlanta) I had to create a cable box and a DVR 'page' in the remote to have enough buttons available (There are 12 user defined buttons in addition to a LOT of 'hard' buttons on the LCD and the remote itself) but I was still able to duplicate EVERY button on my existing remotes. I need to teach some keys off of all my remotes to it but once I do it's the only remote I need to access every feature on all my equipment (Westinghouse LCD 1080P monitor, DishNetwork satelite DVR, Pioneer Elite 7.1 AV receiver--Dolby and DTS, Sony 100 disk CD jukebox, Pioneer Dual cassette deck, Sharp VCR, Teac 5 cd changer, Fisher VCR, Radio Shack AV switchbox that switches input by remote--use it to select the SNES and the PS1 and the VCRs, Sony progresive scan DVD, I even taught it the remote codes for my TV tuner card in one of my computers when I hook it up to the VGA inputs on the Westinghouse to watch internet content in HD!)

    I will say that programming it is NOT as easy as the Harmony remotes (There is a bit of trial and error involved, to say the least) but the flexibilty is has is only matched by remotes costing MUCH more, such as the Philips Pronto, and once you get it programmed it works flawlessly!

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    SeanB's Avatar
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    I use mine to control a Sony rear projection lcd tv, a yamaha receiver, an hd tivo, and a dvd player. The database on the website already had the codes for every component and I did not have to teach it anything, although it does have that ability.
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    Yes, but when I looked at the Harmony it did not duplicate every function on my existing remotes (especially the Scientific ATlanta HD DVR that I had before I went satellite nor my Pioneer AV receiver, only more commonly used ones!)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    One of the nice things about the Harmony line is that you program the unit through their web site. When new devices come out they don't always have the full set of codes available automatically, but a couple of months later you can go back and often a much more complete set of codes will have appeared. For my Comcast DVR they even had a few extra codes available which were not on any of the Comcast remotes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    When new devices come out they don't always have the full set of codes available automatically, but a couple of months later you can go back and often a much more complete set of codes will have appeared.
    For me this was one of the big negatives about the Harmony remotes!

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    And you thought SWGs were a hot-button topic.

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    TripleB4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    When new devices come out they don't always have the full set of codes available automatically, but a couple of months later you can go back and often a much more complete set of codes will have appeared.
    For me this was one of the big negatives about the Harmony remotes!
    That's one thing that I like most about the Harmony remotes. If you don't want to sit there and program/teach every function to your remote you can simply download them.
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    The Harmony also remembers what state (on/off, input 1, etc.) devices are in and can be programmed to turn off devices not in use. Programming a new device that might not be in the database can be as simple as picking a similar device and donating the commands that are needed. I also remember a friend of mine called the tech support line and they assisted in setting up a device that was not available on line. I have set up 4 880's and a couple of their other models for friends and family and the best part is the number of calls I to get asking "how do I" has dwindled to almost zero. It's easy to use.

    Pro's for Harmony 880:
    Fits in hand nicely
    Color screen
    Includes recharging base(never change batteries)
    Activity based programming
    Sensor turns on light when you pick up the remote

    Cons for Harmony 880:
    Takes longer to program if device not in db.
    Web interface is slooooww on dial up
    IR broadcast can be narrow (bad if equipment is spread out across multiple cabinets)
    Buttons could be raised more (not as easy as some to feel the correct button)

    I'm not selling anything here, I just a big fan. It's not the perfect remote,but its closer than most for the money.
    7500 Gallon Kayak, 1HP Sta-Rite Pump, Pool Pilot DIG-36 SWG, AquaCal H100 Heatpump

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