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578 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 240359 4-Sep-2018 09:00
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Hello, 

 

I am getting sick of the flaky standard remote for our Panasonic Blueray/PVR/receiver (and the wife is ready to launch it out the window), so am looking for a universal remote to solve world peace. 

 

I would be looking to see if I could control - TV, Blueray/PVR/receiver thing, AppleTV, would be cool if it could also control (just turn on/off) the heatpump in the same room, maybe a Yamaha amp/tuner/etc.

 

Is Logitech the way to go? Is there any awesome place to get these from that mean it doesn't cost an arm and a leg? I was looking on Amazon for a refurbished unit (about $90USD) which seemed good (obviously would need adapter for the charger/hub), but *shrug*

 

Keen to hear peoples thoughts/guidance/experience/etc. 

 

Cheers


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2083564 4-Sep-2018 09:21
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Harmony remotes are fantastic. 

 

Steer clear of the ones that take AA's (like the 650's) cause you'll be changing batteries all the time. 

 

I have a Harmony one, a harmony 650 (used for testing things) and a harmony 885.  The 885 was my original and is still in use daily but looking a little worse for wear (the buttons are pretty stuffed now).  Its had a battery replacement at some stage and can easily get a couple of weeks between charges.  The One on the other hand rarely gets used extensively (turns on my TV/Media Computer/Soundbar - everything else is run via an app on my phone) but needs charging at least once to twice a week.  


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  Reply # 2083585 4-Sep-2018 09:46
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Logitech Harmony. I wouldn't bother with any other universal remote and I've tried a few over the years. I'm running the Harmony Elite with the hub which allows you to control not only Infra Red devices but also Bluetooth and Wifi. I think this is important these days with the amount of connected devices we want to control. For this reason I wouldn't consider one of the cheaper versions that only control IR devices. The other advantage of the Elite with the Hub is if the remote is out of reach you can just used your phone in its place.

 

Logitech really cornered the universal remote market years ago when they introduced the concept of activities. It just blew the competitors away


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2083587 4-Sep-2018 09:49
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askelon:

 

Harmony remotes are fantastic. 

 

Steer clear of the ones that take AA's (like the 650's) cause you'll be changing batteries all the time. 

 

 

I have the Harmony 650 and love it. It is at least a month between recharges for me.


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  Reply # 2083589 4-Sep-2018 09:51
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Strange. My 650 is a battery eater hence why I use it for testing purposes.

Banana?
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  Reply # 2083592 4-Sep-2018 09:53
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I also have a 650. It is for our bedroom TV, so doesn't get used all day (but does, every day). I change the batteries about once a year.


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  Reply # 2083683 4-Sep-2018 11:16
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If I was getting a universal remote I would definitely go for one with bluetooth and Wifi capability.

 

TVs seem to be headed that way.

 

 





Mike

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  Reply # 2083709 4-Sep-2018 11:54
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I have used Harmony remotes for years. So just a few things to be aware of.

They are activity based, which means that you program them to do a particular activity, like "watch TV". It turns on the appropriate equipment and sets it to the correct input etc.

Logitech has a huge database of device codesets so you don't have to 'teach' your remote all the codes, although there is option for the remote to 'learn' if there are codes you need that are not present.

It assumes everything is off initially and has no feedback from the devices. So it can get confused if something is already on and gets toggled off instead. There is generally a help button which takes the user through each piece of equipment to set things right again. Where it can also get confused is if you use CEC for some of the start up or shutdown functions.

Programming the remote is via the Logitech website whether you use the PC/Mac software, or in some cases (hub based), the app. The programming can be frustrating, but to get the most out of the remote you need to put the time into the setup.
The lower end remotes are ir only, so anything you want to control will be line-of-sight. Not sure about the heat pump as ir control tends to send strings rather than discrete commands. Stepping up on the models (and associated cost) to hub based systems gains you Bluetooth and WiFi control as well.

The only limitation I have struck with my setup (Harmony Elite) is that the new LG smart TV's 'Magic Remote' uses accelerometers to move the onscreen cursor and a microphone to voice control. Neither of which are present in the harmony remotes. The same would apply to voice control of other TV brands as well. The Harmony can still do all the things on the LG TV that involve ordinary ir commands.




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  Reply # 2083716 4-Sep-2018 12:01
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We have 3 x 650s and our batteries last at least 3 months. 

 

We also have one Harmony rechargeable remote which cannot recharge or reprogramme because the micro USB socket is stuffed.

 

We also have a few Flirc USB recievers for devices without built in IR





Rob

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  Reply # 2083774 4-Sep-2018 12:49
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I have the Harmony One. It's pretty old now, and the software is AWFUL. I find the screen pretty pointless, it's always dirty (toddler) and a button would work fine. I've been considering replacing - are the newer remotes and software better?





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2083811 4-Sep-2018 12:57
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+1 for Logitech Harmony.

 

Had a Harmony One in the HT - but I err managed to drop and break it. Was marvellous before this - best piece of tech I ever brought - esp given it controls 10 different devices and 8 different activities.

 

Replaced with Harmony Touch which is just as good. Tempted to get a Hub for its wifi and BT functions - just because.

 

Also have a 700 for the family room set up - 7 devices and 6 activities - which is maybe a bit long in the tooth as a couple of buttons need a couple of presses. But have just ordered a 650 as a replacement - bargain @ $55.

 

Great gear - could not live without them - especially once you have set up your various activities - highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2083819 4-Sep-2018 13:16
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As most who have posted above I'm also a Harmony user - we have Ones for both HT set-ups, and they work well.

 

That said, I'd agree with looking at a model that supports other interfaces like Bluetooth. It's frustrating having to also use our Amazon Fire TV's remote as well, as getting that device destroyed the 'one remote to rule them all'  benefit.

 

I don't find there's generally a big issue with Harmony remotes getting confused as to the on/off status of devices, as in my experience most devices have discrete codes for power on and power off, and the remote can be programmed to use these instead of the toggle on/off (if it doesn't use these by default?).

 

I'm not sure what the programming of the newer Harmony remotes is like (given the One must be eight-10 years old?); while I agree the One software was a terrible, terrible experience, nowadays when I find I do need to re-programme it due to switching out a device I find it far less frustrating than I once did (I'm sure this is due to improvements in the software, not me!).


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  Reply # 2083830 4-Sep-2018 13:48
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Using the App with the Harmony Elite is breeze to program. Open up the app and click edit. save changes and it syncs with the hub. Next time you pick up the remote it then syncs with the hub. Couldn't be easier.

 

The one thing I would say when using a Harmony. Take the time to look through the database for each of your devices. The Harmony database often holds more discrete codes than what is available on the manufacturer remote. An example is discrete on/off vs a toggle, save the confusion of which state the device is in before starting an activity. Also input selection, many manufacturer remotes only provide an input next button to cycle through the inputs. The Harmony database will often have discrete codes for each input again negating the need to understand current state when launching an activity.

 

Its customisations like this and others that really make the Harmony remotes shine. I have favourite channels stored in my "watch skytv" activity complete with TV channel logos on the screen.

 

I honestly don't remember the last time I used a factory remote. I don't think any of mine even have batteries in them.


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  Reply # 2083834 4-Sep-2018 13:56
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My vote also goes to the Harmony. Best hardware and worst software in the world. Once you get a feeling for it, nothing else comes close but setting it up initially can be a pain depending on what you want it to do, mainly because the setup user interface is so god-awful. 

 

I only have experience of the Harmony One. When the time came to replace it, I didn't like the features of the newer units as I understood them from the web sites. What I really wanted was another Harmony One, so that is what I ended up getting. These have served me well for many years. Bluetooth is no problem. I just use a Flirc for that. The result is I can control anything and everything from the remote. It works beautifully. I couldn't live without it. 

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 2083861 4-Sep-2018 15:07
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As far as consumer remotes go, Harmony remotes are the best of the bunch.

 

The software is slow and annoying, but my Logitech Ultimate works nicely and can control everything in my rack (even my MacMini via RemoteBuddy software)... it has impressed me on a regular basis. The app is a little slow, but it works over 3G/4G and is handy when the remote control is charging.

 

One place to buy Logitech's is TradeMe - a few people will buy them and then fail the IQ test involved in setting them up... so you can snag a deal from time to time.


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  Reply # 2083863 4-Sep-2018 15:10
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Rikkitic:Bluetooth is no problem. I just use a Flirc for that.

 

And at $39 for Flirc v2 it might be cheaper than the extra cost to get a bluetooth capable Harmony remote.





Rob

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