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Lizard1977

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#76985 9-Feb-2011 10:57
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The day for unboxing my new home theatre setup is rapidly approaching (Friday), and I'm starting to contemplate the little extras I may need.  Probably the most important is a universal remote.  I've no idea how simple (or complicated) the supplied remotes will be, but I've heard only good things about Harmony remotes, and so this has been the focus of my research.

The Harmony One looks quite good.  I've found it for ~$240 through Computer Lounge, but I would have to wait for delivery (though they are pretty fast at that).  I've also seen the Harmony 700 for $129 from CL, so I'm wondering what does the extra $110 buy?  Looking through Pricespy for comparisons, it seems to be little more than the touchscreen and the number of devices it can control.  I doubt I would ever have 15 devices to control, so I'm not sure that's a major consideration.  However the touchscreen is intriguing.  I quite like them, though SWMBO often points out that if the touchscreen fails the whole things is useless.  In those situations I contemplate a counter-argument that even physical buttons are susceptible to failure, but I usually bite my tongue as the argument's not worth the grief...

So my question to you is - which Harmony remote do you recommend, and why?  The equipment it will be controlling is all new - Panasonic P50V20Z, Pioneer VSX-920K receiver, and Panasonic DMR-BW880 Blu Ray/HDD recorder.  There may be an Apple TV in the future, and possibly an XBox 360, but not much else.

Cheers

Lizard

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wreck90
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  #437182 9-Feb-2011 11:05
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I have 3 harmony remotes....great things.

880, 785, and harmony one.

The 785 is pretty good, as with the harmony one. I actually like the 785 better as it has the 4 colour buttons like on the Sky remote red/yellow/blue/orange.

But, not a huge deal, i programmed the colours into the customised button screen.

I personally wouldn't worry too much about the touch screen - the 785 buttons work ok. Dunno about the 700, must be a new model.

timmmay
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  #437185 9-Feb-2011 11:10
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I have a harmony one. It's fine, but controlling my ps3 there's a much bigger lag than with the native remote, and you have to buy an adapter.

For basic things it works fine, turning on and off all the devices and setting up inputs etc. It gets it wrong occasionally and I need to check the sequences it's sending. Doing anything other than the basics means using a slower touch screen menu, but you can program buttons to do common tasks.

Overall it's decent, but I definitely keep the native remotes close by.

 
 
 
 


bazzer
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  #437187 9-Feb-2011 11:14
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timmmay: I have a harmony one. It's fine, but controlling my ps3 there's a much bigger lag than with the native remote, and you have to buy an adapter.

For basic things it works fine, turning on and off all the devices and setting up inputs etc. It gets it wrong occasionally and I need to check the sequences it's sending. Doing anything other than the basics means using a slower touch screen menu, but you can program buttons to do common tasks.

Overall it's decent, but I definitely keep the native remotes close by.

That's a real shame and defeats the purpose of having a Harmony.  Have you considered maybe your remote or adapter is faulty?  I have no problems with my setup (it's a 785 with PS3 adapter).

Jaxson
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  #437193 9-Feb-2011 11:24
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bazzer: That's a real shame and defeats the purpose of having a Harmony.  Have you considered maybe your remote or adapter is faulty?  I have no problems with my setup (it's a 785 with PS3 adapter).
+1

I have a Panasonic TV, JC Matthew PVR, PS3, a crappy Akai CD player and have had a range of satellite boxes on and off.  I never once go near the original remotes, they don't even leave boxes often.  You can always switch to 'devices' mode to replicate the original remotes should you need to for some reason.

Re the remote selection, a lot comes down to personal taste.  I've heard a few mention the coloured teletext buttons and agree these are used more now for a lot of PVR type functions too.  ie selecting series record via the freeview EPG etc.

Programming wise there is not a lot between them all, just some have the coloured screen and some are more basic screen wise, and some are touchscreen vs side buttons.  Your profile is stored online so you can get a replacement (hopefully under warranty/CG act etc) if it ever fails and then download your profile to the new one for a very quick replacement. 

I have the bog standard older 525 and have had no issues with it in a couple of years.  Takes a bit to set up perfectly and is limited by gear if you don't have discrete video input commands etc.  Most new stuff should be fine though.....

Did you replace your aerial by the way, how's the new house?

timmmay
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  #437195 9-Feb-2011 11:29
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bazzer:
timmmay: I have a harmony one. It's fine, but controlling my ps3 there's a much bigger lag than with the native remote, and you have to buy an adapter.

For basic things it works fine, turning on and off all the devices and setting up inputs etc. It gets it wrong occasionally and I need to check the sequences it's sending. Doing anything other than the basics means using a slower touch screen menu, but you can program buttons to do common tasks.

Overall it's decent, but I definitely keep the native remotes close by.

That's a real shame and defeats the purpose of having a Harmony.? Have you considered maybe your remote or adapter is faulty?? I have no problems with my setup (it's a 785 with PS3 adapter).


I'm talking to Logitech support but they're a bunch of muppets making stupid suggestions. For examplemoving the adapter closer to the ps3. It's only 1m away now. Maybe I should re pair it or something.

andrew027
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  #437197 9-Feb-2011 11:34
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Are any of the remotes that will come with the home theatre gear you're getting capable of controlling other devices? My Sony recevier remote also controls basic TV and blu-ray player functions so for the most part I only use two remotes to control the receiver, TV, BD and MySky. Maybe the Panasonic BD remote will control the TV as well?

That said, I used to have a Harmony 785 controlling a more mixed environment (Samsung TV, Sony DVD, NAD receiver and Sky Digital box) and it worked really well, although I had to adjust quite a few delay settings, for the TV in particular.

Jaxson
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  #437198 9-Feb-2011 11:35
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Yeah man mine is fine, but you have to remember it's sending individual go down type commands so it's not as smooth as the hand game controllers analogue controls etc.

For watching movies etc it's all responsive as, not real lag as such, just sometimes a bit jerky in the huge lists of music sections of the XMB. I'd be thinking that something is iffy if you really hate using it as mine, and Bazzers, is not that bad.

 
 
 
 


Jaxson
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  #437200 9-Feb-2011 11:40
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andrew027:  I had to adjust quite a few delay settings, for the TV in particular.
Yep that's a sneaky killer one right there.

If the start up delay time is too short it will start sending the next commands before the device has 'warmed up' enough to be ready for them.  Then you wonder why it's all turning to sht.  I had to extend this delay time for an old school analogue DVD/HDD recorder. 

Often you can optimise your setup by getting a stop watch out and timing this yourself.  Most of the time it's already fine in the harmony database but occasionally you get a situation where the remote waits a lot longer than it really needs to, just to ensure the TV is really turned on and ready etc.

The delay time and the discrete TV input selection codes for AV1, Tuner, hdmi1 etc are really the keys to making this stuff work well.

numfarr
329 posts

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  #437207 9-Feb-2011 12:03
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I have the 700 on pragmatic grounds. It may get broken and having that happen to a cheaper remote is less painful, and it has rechargeable AA batteries so it won't suffer from lithium ion capacity fade after a few years.

Lizard1977

1457 posts

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  #437209 9-Feb-2011 12:06
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Jaxson:
bazzer: That's a real shame and defeats the purpose of having a Harmony.  Have you considered maybe your remote or adapter is faulty?  I have no problems with my setup (it's a 785 with PS3 adapter).
+1

I have a Panasonic TV, JC Matthew PVR, PS3, a crappy Akai CD player and have had a range of satellite boxes on and off.  I never once go near the original remotes, they don't even leave boxes often.  You can always switch to 'devices' mode to replicate the original remotes should you need to for some reason.

Re the remote selection, a lot comes down to personal taste.  I've heard a few mention the coloured teletext buttons and agree these are used more now for a lot of PVR type functions too.  ie selecting series record via the freeview EPG etc.

Programming wise there is not a lot between them all, just some have the coloured screen and some are more basic screen wise, and some are touchscreen vs side buttons.  Your profile is stored online so you can get a replacement (hopefully under warranty/CG act etc) if it ever fails and then download your profile to the new one for a very quick replacement. 

I have the bog standard older 525 and have had no issues with it in a couple of years.  Takes a bit to set up perfectly and is limited by gear if you don't have discrete video input commands etc.  Most new stuff should be fine though.....

Did you replace your aerial by the way, how's the new house?


Hi Jaxson - thanks for your email but haven't had a chance to reply yet.

The installer spotted pretty quickly that it was an old VHF aerial (I had no idea) so we did need to put up a UHF aerial.  The cable routing didn't go in through the roof like I suspected, but outside the far side of the house, under the floor, and up into the second lounge.  Because we also needed a new phone jack in the main lounge (for the router) and I was keen to have an outdoor aerial for FM on the receiver, he just drilled through from the second lounge, fed the existing VHF aerial cable, phone cable, and a new UHF aerial cable through to the main lounge, and fronted it with a 3-port PDL wall plate, complete with an silver-aluminium fascia (to match the black/grey patterned wallpaper we're putting up).  So the old VHF aerial (which is slightly broken, but should work for a few more years yet) provides the FM reception, the new UHF aerial feeds the freeview signal (79db signal strength at the wall), and the phone jack will feed the internet into the router, which will get hooked into the TV, Receiver, and Blu Ray recorder.

The wallpapering is scheduled to be finished on Thursday, so the big unboxing will happen on Friday.  I've managed to restrain myself from tearing open the boxes, which are taunting me from across the room.  I expect I'll be able to manage everything myself, and have set aside most of the day to get things right.  If I do hit any snags, I may contact you for advice.

On the wider house front, we're encountering the standard homeowner's experience.  We had the new gas/electric oven installed on Monday, only to find that the existing electric socket wasn't rated for the current draw of the new oven, so had to get a sparky in to lower the socket (which was mounted too high for our freestander), and to fit a new, dedicated socket with a direct line to the mains.  We managed to get a sparky at short notice, but he had to tangle with the underfloor maze, and then navigate the crowded circuit box in the hallway.  That added a few hundred to the cost of installation.

We also found that the bookcase we wanted to remove from the main lounge was not only not wallpapered behind, there was no carpet underneath or gib behind.  So we've had to get gib installed and plastered before the wallpapering could begin.

On the whole, though, it's great.  Loving the fact that we're beholden to no landlord (except for the bank), and can do pretty much whatever we like.  Still lots of boxes to unpack, but hopefully we'll be a bit more settled in a few days...


Lizard1977

1457 posts

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  #437210 9-Feb-2011 12:08
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andrew027: Are any of the remotes that will come with the home theatre gear you're getting capable of controlling other devices? My Sony recevier remote also controls basic TV and blu-ray player functions so for the most part I only use two remotes to control the receiver, TV, BD and MySky. Maybe the Panasonic BD remote will control the TV as well?

That said, I used to have a Harmony 785 controlling a more mixed environment (Samsung TV, Sony DVD, NAD receiver and Sky Digital box) and it worked really well, although I had to adjust quite a few delay settings, for the TV in particular.


In my experience, Panasonic remotes are pretty good at working in with other devices.  I think my biggest issue will be working in with the receiver.  I'm planning to have most things driven through the receiver.  I may wait for a few days before deciding about the Harmony, and see how complicated things are with the native remotes.

Jaxson
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  #437220 9-Feb-2011 12:28
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Lizard1977:  see how complicated things are with the native remotes.


The big thing with the harmony remotes is the complete removal of any required knowledge about how the system is connected.  You group on activities like watch a DVD and by pressing that button, that activity happens. 

You can merge remotes into one universal remote, but you still need to select this input on the TV and on the receiver and adjust the volume on the receiver and mute the TV etc etc.

Personally, for the benefit of everyone in the house...., I'm never going back to individuals, even if I can squeeze a few commands onto an existing remote with a few learning keys etc.  The help function steps through everything as well and anyone can use this button.  If you're spending the money on a new system then some sort of ease of use remote will just cap it off.  ha, end rant.

Oh yeah, everything must be in off standby prior to use if the devices don't have discrete on and off commands.  however you don't need to turn things off to switch between activities, so if the TV is required for the next activity then it won't be turned off and then back on again etc.  Reason I mention this is it's almost a don't go there situation to try and mix the original remotes with the new harmony one.

Good stuff with the house, congrats.

clevedon
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  #437222 9-Feb-2011 12:28
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We have a Harmony 785 as well and it's great, chose it over a few others because of the hard coloured buttons for Sky as Jaxon mentioned. Very handy with up to 15 devices able to be controlled.

mattwnz
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  #437249 9-Feb-2011 13:22
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clevedon: We have a Harmony 785 as well and it's great, chose it over a few others because of the hard coloured buttons for Sky as Jaxon mentioned. Very handy with up to 15 devices able to be controlled.


 

I don't think it is sold anymore as it is an old model. Maybe some places still have old stock. They were $99 from DS last year.

clevedon
1059 posts

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  #437254 9-Feb-2011 13:26
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Yeah there is still a few places around that have them, was tempted to get one at $99 in case the current one crapped out - had it for nearly three years but still going strong.

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