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harmony remote
Posted by: davemchine
Date: December 16, 2006 02:17PM
I am interested in reducing remote control clutter but would like some advice from the harmony owners here before I bite. My biggest concern is controlling my receiver's stereo/surround sound buttons. Any advice would be great. Here is my small system:

Hitachi plasma tv
Pioneer receiver
Panasonic dvd recorder
dish receiver
eyehome

Thanks for any advice,

Dave
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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: davemchine
Date: December 16, 2006 02:20PM
Oh, and are there different versions of the harmony remote that I should consider? I might get one for the other tv room which just has a tv, vcr/dvd combo and eyehome. Thanks,

Dave



Ukulele music I couldn't find anywhere else.
[colquhoun.info]
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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: raz
Date: December 16, 2006 03:29PM
If you STF, this comes up fairly regularly.

We have one, and it has a high SAF (Spouse Acceptance Factor).

In retrospect, I'd've gotten the one with the charging base - they eat batteries and it would be nice to not have to turn over the living room to find it.



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Re: harmony remote
Date: December 16, 2006 04:27PM
Harmony 880's can be had for $140 on sale. I have had one for over a year and it has been wonderful. Easy for the wife to use, and easy to update if you decide to upgrade components.
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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: December 16, 2006 04:51PM
I have the 688 and love it.

The Harmony remotes are quite flexible. You'll do a Watch TV setup, and a Watch DVD, and a Watch EyeHome, and a Music setup, yeah?

Mine, for example, is set up so that usually, my center speaker is turned on, for when we watch DVDs. So let's say I'm watching teevee and I decide I want to listen to music. When I hit Play Music, it turns off the teevee, turns on the receiver, and runs through a macro that turns the 5.1 center speaker off. If I then decide to watch a DVD, it's smart enough to know to leave the receiver on, and then it turns the 5.1 center speaker on, and turns the teevee's speakers off.

And if I'm not happy with the sound from the DVD, I've programmed buttons on the remote that function like the receiver's Setup buttons, so I can tweak the setup.

I can't speak to all the models. I can think of two limitations on the the 688 worth mentioning. One, it can only perform a macro only when changing from one mode to another. And two, it has six buttons straddling the lcd screen, so you can make labels for your own button. Now, there are Pages, sort of, so 1-6 are whatever, and you can click on Next on get 7 - 12. What bothers me about it is, you do not get to decide the order in which they all appear, and I dislike paging through lists of commands I don't use to get to one I use frequently.

Anyhow, nearly all the buttons can be programmed, and each button's programming can be different in each context. The setup webpage software knows the codes of all the major brands and models, but you can also hold the two remotes together for learning.

My remote needs new batteries about every three months. Bigger screens and color screens use more juice.

After about a year of use, I heartily recommend the Harmony. When something bugs me now, it's because of a limitation of the other equipment, not because of the remote. Like a Sony TV, you shouldn't have to press the caption button 8 times to turn the captions off. And my receiver has buried turning the center speaker on/off deep in a setup menu. A remote with more macro capability would fix those problems.
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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: davemchine
Date: December 16, 2006 07:02PM
I've been looking over the selection of remote's and it is quite confusing trying to decide which model would be best for me. I'm leaning towards the 880 simply because it's the more advanced model but the price is pretty steep. How did you guys decide which one to get?

It's funny looking at the harmony comparison chart because every remote has the same capabilities in their chart. No difference at all exceptd dimensions and screen.

I noticed they all claim to be osx compatible. Can you program them from your computer?

Dave



Ukulele music I couldn't find anywhere else.
[colquhoun.info]
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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: December 16, 2006 07:58PM
Quote
Mike Johnson
Now, there are Pages, sort of, so 1-6 are whatever, and you can click on Next on get 7 - 12. What bothers me about it is, you do not get to decide the order in which they all appear, and I dislike paging through lists of commands I don't use to get to one I use frequently.

You can go into the Harmony setup and create your own "pages". Once I set my 880 up to use all my components I found that I had pages and pages of commands I NEVER use. So I went into the app and deleted and rearranged the commands until I got a good selection to choose from.

The one problem I have with their software is that they don't really "show" how your commands will "look" on the remote once you finish programming. In other words, in the software, all the commands are top to bottom. Whereas on the actual remote, the commands are left ot right and top to bottom. Just a minor pet peeve I guess. I re-set it up so infrequently, i just never remember which order to put the commands in.

Oh and i LOVE the 880's chargable base. Thats the ONLY reason i got that one. When i see the little battery indicator about to go, it sits on teh base over night and the next day, its as good as new.



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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: December 16, 2006 08:02PM
Quote
davemchine
I've been looking over the selection of remote's and it is quite confusing trying to decide which model would be best for me. I'm leaning towards the 880 simply because it's the more advanced model but the price is pretty steep. How did you guys decide which one to get?

It's funny looking at the harmony comparison chart because every remote has the same capabilities in their chart. No difference at all exceptd dimensions and screen.

I noticed they all claim to be osx compatible. Can you program them from your computer?

Dave

Like I said in my other post, I bought the 880 b/c it can be charged from a base unit. no batteries needed. I'm sure I would have burned through more than enough batteries by now to compensate for the higher cost of the unit.

And yes, I plug mine into my wife's ibook and run the software from there. They have a standalone OSX compatible app now (they didn't before) but its kind of buggy in my experience. Its stopped mid update, or crashed all togehter or not updated the remote at all. BUT...you can always got to their website and do your configuring there. Thats how it was when i first got my remote. The online version works better IMHO.

And finally, for me there was a bit of a learning curve. It sat unused for a LONG time while I tried to figure out how to get things "just right". But now that I have, i love it.



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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: eeyore
Date: December 17, 2006 12:19PM
I have a Harmony H659 remote and I'm growing to love it.

I had some trouble from the start with updating the Firmware. It just wouldn't work using my iBook G4. I had a PC available and was able to get it done there. I'm not sure whether or not it would've worked for me eventually with the iBook, but I was getting frustrated and wanted to try something else.

Since I got the firmware updated, things have gone well in the programming. You use the software to gather all of your various components' remote control settings (have make and model #s of all components ready). Once you've done that, then it has you set up "Actions", such as Watch TV, Listen to Music, etc...

I had to tweak the "timing" a bit on a couple components to get the macros working just right. I had some trouble with the power on/power off of my Panasonic 32" (CT32D10B) TV to work right, but it's ok now. I agree with the others that say scrolling thru a bunch of commands to get to the one I want is a bummer, but overall, it's nice to have one remote that is capable of handling all functions. I'm not quite there yet, but I've only had mine for a few days.

Be prepared to spend some possibly head-scratching and frustrating time with your Harmony, but if you struggle through it, I found it to be worth the trouble. Though the wife did make a comment during my struggle that the name wasn't very fitting.

There is a forum area on the Logitech website that you can reference for help.

eeyore
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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: December 17, 2006 12:44PM
Quote
eeyore
I agree with the others that say scrolling thru a bunch of commands to get to the one I want is a bummer,

As I mentioned, you can adjust what you see in the specific controls for each device. For example, my receiver had dozens of commands available after initial setup. Dozens i didn't need. So i just went into the software and customized the device control further. By removing unneeded commands or rearranging the ones that where there. So i don't have to scroll through several "pages" of commands to get to the one i want.



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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: December 17, 2006 08:37PM
Quote
bazookaman
By removing unneeded commands or rearranging the ones that where there. So i don't have to scroll through several "pages" of commands to get to the one i want.

Of course, I have gone through and deleted all the obscure commands. What I can't do -- and the manual makes this very clear -- is decide the order they go in. For example, if I want a Caption button, I can't always make it the upper right button. The placement is not up to me. Either I have learn where it is when I'm watching teevee vs. watching a DVD, or read the display. And what's more, it means I sometimes have to delete all but six commands if I want to ensure Caption is on the first page.

LIke I said, I have the 688, and can't speak to other models. If your 880 lets you arrange the programmable label buttons at will, in my opinion that's a valuable feature.
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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: December 18, 2006 05:51AM
yep. Its a massive PITA, but i can arrange them where I want. Its just a matter of reassigning all the buttons to the commands you want for all your devices. I gave up after a while. I did the "gotta have these commands" but fell well short of the "would be nice to have commands". ; )



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Re: harmony remote
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: December 18, 2006 09:28PM
I *love* my Harmony, a 658. It's primitive by the Logitech versions, and maybe one day I'll upgrade to the rechargeable version. That's a really worthwhile upgrade.

It's *easy* if somewhat tedious to set up macros, and *much* easier than any other remote I've ever seen.

It's possible that some equipment may be too old to download it's remote command profile, but there *is* an extensive database.

The newer HRs are light years ahead of mine in fit, finish, and features.

One great feature common to all HRs is the "realignment" or "resynching" of a macro. The devices don't talk to each other, so if someone turned on a device manually (at it's own power switch) or took the remote into another room, the original devices won't respond properly.

Press the Help button, and the remote asks you "Is the TV on? Is it set to "DVD"? Is the Amplifier on? Is the DVD player on?" or whatever is relevant, depending on what/how you're watching.

I heartily recommend the product. I don't know that I'd take a Philips or Pronto or other $300-$400 remote over any Harmony.

One thing that it doesn't do, and no remote *I've* seen does, is maintain the previous channel so that you can hit "Previous" or "Jump" and go back and forth between two channels with just *one* button, on any IR TV.

That would be very cool.






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