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clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
Reviews:
·Comcast

A bit off topic, but I have a question on universal remotes

I need a new universal remote, and I want to make sure it is compatible with WOWs boxes. I've been using a Phillips model, but it sucks batteries, and doesn't seem compatible with my new Hisense TV.

Are the Harmony remotes worth the money? I can't fathom paying more than $100, but the 650 and 700 seem within that price range.

Any advice greatly appreciated. thanks!

pparks1

join:2002-01-01
Westland, MI
The Harmony remotes are really nice. I've owned a few of them over the years. I would not want to go back to not having one. For me, I have kids and with the plethora of devices that I have (tv, cable box, PS3, 360, av receiver), it seemed like every time I wanted to watch a movie or do something, I always had to hunt for 1 of the other remotes as it would go missing. With the Harmony One, I was able to put all other remotes away and just keep track of the 1.

The really nice thing, is you use software on your computer, which ties to a database in the cloud of components to program your remote. You simply go into the software and pick your make and model of device, and it knows all of the codes. Then you create "macros" which are graphically driven and easy to use. For example, you "Watch TV", means Turn on TV, Turn to HDMI1, Turn on Cable Box, set volume at 25, etc. Then you connect the remote to your computer, and push the configuration onto it. Also, if you later decide to upgrade to a nicer Harmony remote, there is an option right in the software to replace remote and it can easily push right into the new model.

On the remotes with an LCD screen, there is a great help menu right on the remote. So, lets say you want to "Watch a DVD", but when you pressed the button, it didn't turn on your DVD player. You click on Help and it says, "Is your TV on? Yes or no". Then, is your DVD player on, yes or no". You simply answer the questions as they are presented and it fixes the issues. Makes it super nice for company or guests who might otherwise not be able to figure out your setup.

Now, my previous Harmony (670) seemed to chew threw AAA batteries as well. Was replacing them about once every 2 months. My current Harmony (One), is a rechargeable model and it has a dock that it is stored in to charge. This has been nice.

One word of caution, these LCD screens seem to be easily susceptible to damage. Care must be taken to not drop the remote, sit on the remote, lose it in your couch cushions, etc. I experienced multiple issues with my 670, and recently had the screen break on my Harmony One. Logitech won't replace a remote if the LCD screen is damaged from abuse.

The last thing I will mention, is that if you have kids that like to actually push the power button on the tv itself, the remote can drive you crazy. It remembers what it last did, so if you manually intervene and push buttons manually, it may not do what you want the next time because it may think you are already there. It's easily resolved with a push of the help button, or a press of a physical button on the TV. If you always use the remote, it will be no problem whatsoever.

Hope this helps.

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
Reviews:
·Comcast
Thanks for the comments. Logitech seems to be the only game in town for the most part, when it comes to universal remotes. Not sure I want to pop for a Harmony One, but I will continue to look at the 650 & 700. The main difference seems to be that the 700 comes with rechargeable batteries in it (no dock though).

I could actually probably use two, so maybe I will start with a 650, and get familiar with it. If I like it and better understand the advantages, I can buy a different model for the upstairs.

ray2

join:2004-01-15
Des Plaines, IL
reply to clocks11
i got a logitech Harmony 300 and it dont have a screen on it some do some dont but the4re same way to hook them up jsut different buttion on eatch model some model have screen some dont
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sorry so bad spelling and hard to understand im austic person thanks

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
Thanks Ray. I'll check out the 300 model also. Not sure I really need a screen, and I'm betting the remote gets better battery life without it.


Big Jimmy

@wideopenwest.com
reply to clocks11
I've got a 700, the fiance has a 650, and my parents have the Harmony One. The most important thing you'll want to check is how many devices that they support, since different units will only store a certain number of devices. The 700 is rechargable, but it's by a cable and not a dock, while the One has the dock which is super convenient. On the 650 I bought a pair of rechargable batteries (check out the Eneloop series, they hold a charge a LONG time) and just use an external charger, and I think I've charged them once in the past six months.

Overall, the Harmonys are GREAT. If your device isn't in their database (which is highly unlikely) then you can just capture the commands by pointing your existing remote and hitting the buttons. Unless you ONLY have the cable box and TV, get one with a display so that you can see what's going on.

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
Reviews:
·Comcast
Thanks for your comments. The two most important things are compatibility with my devices, and ease of programming. I looked at the 300, 650, and 700.

I have plenty of rechargeable batteries at home, so I couldn't really justify the price diff between the 650 & 700. That left the choice between the 300 & 650, with the main difference being the screen. I only need it for about three devices, so that is a non-issue. As I said in my earlier post, I do not need an LCD on my remote. So $27 for the 300 versus $58 for the 650. Being a frugal finance professional, I went with the 300.

It appears they all program the same way, so starting with the low end model will allow me to check out a Harmony remote with little risk. Like I said, at some point I make pick up a second one, and if I find I miss having a screen, I can buy the 650 then.

Body Count

join:2010-09-11
Columbus, OH
i have the harmony one and with ultratv, I just use the supplied remote they gave me since it's so specialized.

I loved it when I had normal cable service though.

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to clocks11
Tempted to try one of these. Sells for $97 on Amazon.

»www.thingfling.com/
As one of its daily deals, ThingFling offers the Acoustic Research Xsight Touch Universal Remote, model no. ARRX18G, for $34.99 plus $6 for shipping. That's the lowest total price we could find by $56, although we saw it for $6 less last summer. This remote supports up to 18 devices and features a 2.2" color LCD, macro functions, learning ability, and more. Deal ends today.


Big Jimmy

@wideopenwest.com
A guy I do some work for on the side (I'm a computer guy) tried to use one of them, and he gave up after a month or two. I'm sure it's doable, but you never know.

A big reason that I advised against the 300, unless you're in a very basic setup, is because even though you can program buttons, there's no options for soft buttons (the custom buttons on screen). This isn't usually a big deal for something like a TV, but if there's a button that's not on the remote, then it's a little rough.

For example, the standard WOW remote has buttons for the DVR, the A/B/C buttons, and the button for Live TV (to jump to real time). The ABC buttons are easy because you can use the color buttons, but I don't know if there's a button for the DVR, and I doubt there's a button for the Live TV button. There also arne't activity buttons, so the differences between it and a normal universal remote is just the ability to program it easier. Again, it's probably no big deal, but it's something to consider.

On that note, you can get a refurbished 300 on Newegg for around $15 refurbished, or a 650 on Tigerdirect for around $40, so if cost is the big factor that's an easy choice to make.

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000

1 edit
Those are some good prices. I guess I should have shopped around more before going with ol faithful Amazon.

Only problem is Tigerdirect and Newegg seems to be selling open box items, which I have read mixed things about.

pparks1

join:2002-01-01
Westland, MI
reply to clocks11
As a followup to the button comments, this is one of the things that I love about the LCD screen on my Harmony One remote.

When I am watching TV, the cable box buttons A/B/C actually show up on my remote, in the LCD window, are shaped correctly and colored appropriately.

Same thing goes for my PS3, the buttons on the LCD screen are the Circle, Square, Triangle and X and they are shaped properly and colored properly.

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by pparks1:

When I am watching TV, the cable box buttons A/B/C actually show up on my remote, in the LCD window, are shaped correctly and colored appropriately.

I didn't realize that. That's def a selling point for getting a model with a LCD screen. Maybe I'll return the 300, and get a 650 instead.

kingofspain

join:2012-06-27
Naperville, IL
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
Try a JP1 remote. The RCA RCRP05BR 5 Device Cable Replacement Universal Remote can handle 10 devices and be had for about $10 at menards.

Here is the JP1 UltraTV gateway profile: »www.hifi-remote.com/forums/dload···_id=9933

The pre UltraTV remotes are JP1 remotes and can be programmed to talk to anything thing.

pparks1

join:2002-01-01
Westland, MI
said by kingofspain:

Try a JP1 remote. The RCA RCRP05BR 5 Device Cable Replacement Universal Remote can handle 10 devices and be had for about $10 at menards.

The 5 device remote can control 10 devices? Is that what you are saying, or am I reading this wrong?

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
reply to kingofspain
It sounds the same as the WOW remote that I have. The problem I have with the WOW remote, it sometimes I have issues trying to get my devices programmed in.

pparks1

join:2002-01-01
Westland, MI

1 recommendation

reply to clocks11
I find the big advantages with the Harmony's are the ease of building in the macros. For example, I have buttons for the following on my LCD screen of my Harmony One;

1). Watch TV: That turns on my TV, set's it to HDMI2, turns on the cable box, etc

2). Watch Movie/Play PS3: Turns on my TV, sets to HDMI1, Turns on my Harmon Kardon receiver, set's input to DVD, mutes the sound on my TV

3). Watch TV through surround sound. That turns on my TV, set's it to HDMI2, turns on the cable box, mutes the TV, turns on the Harmon Kardon receiver, sets input to Video 2.

4). XBOX360 through TV. Turns on my TV, sets to Component 1 input, turns on the Xbox.

5). XBOX360 through 5.1. Turns on my TV, sets to Component 1 input, mutes the TV, turns on my Harmon Kardon receiver, sets auto input to Video 1.

So, any time I want to do any of the above, I simply press 1 button and my devices are all setup on the right items.

I don't think any bog standard $10 universal remote can do this type of thing.

Badonkadonk
Premium
join:2000-12-17
Naperville, IL
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Dish Network
Not a big advantage--HUGE advantage!

Sometimes the kids/wife forget which button on the amp is required for the mode of viewing they are trying to do. With the Harmony, one press and *boom* everything is set.
--
No more corruption, lying and unremitting stupidity. Impeach the clueless socialist Obama now.

clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to clocks11
I decided to setup my Harmony 300 tonight, and after some initial disappointment, I think it should work fine. At first I was disappointed to find that Logitech didn't recognize my new HiSense 42h26 LED TV. Also, some Roku commands didn't seem to program into the remote, at least not that I could find.

I hooked the remote back up, and manually mapped the missing features to the remote, and now all seems well (so far). I was able to manually map the TV Input button, and sleep function, both which were probably make or break for the controller.

I am hoping I can check back in a few months, and find that the HiSense tv is natively supported, but time will tell.

I checked my four devices downstairs, and they all seem supported, therefore I am thinking about ordering a Harmony 650 for down there.

kingofspain

join:2012-06-27
Naperville, IL
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
reply to pparks1
There are 5 device buttons, but internally it has support for 10 devices. The hidden 5 devices can be activated my hitting a shift key and then the device key.

Like the harmony, you can add macros, and discrete keys (goto directly to input 7) that usually are not included with most universal remotes (and subsequently have to use much longer macros).