Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > DVD Discussions > DVD & Home Theater Gear
Reload this Page >

Buying a Universal Remote -- anything better than Harmony 676?

DVD & Home Theater Gear Discuss DVD and Home Theater Equipment.

Buying a Universal Remote -- anything better than Harmony 676?

Old 03-21-05, 05:04 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Docking Bay 94
Posts: 14,259
Buying a Universal Remote -- anything better than Harmony 676?

So, I'm ready to finally take my 10+ remotes and toss them for a universal model. I've read amazing things about the Harmony 676... any thoughts (pro/con)?

Is there anything better out there? If I'm spending $100+ for a remote, I'd like to just do it once.
bboisvert is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 05:06 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Western PA, Central Florida
Posts: 1,930
You could wait for the Harmony 880.
kayak99 is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 05:11 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Docking Bay 94
Posts: 14,259
Originally Posted by kayak99
You could wait for the Harmony 880.
Oh, crap... I forgot that was coming out. They showed that at CES, right? Any proposed release date yet? (I don't mind waiting a bit, but I wouldn't want to wait forever...)
bboisvert is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 05:59 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 3,835
Get a Philips Pronto. I have the TSU3000, and have even programmed it so i can select individual albums and tracks from my 400 disc cd changer. I got it for around $200 refurbished, as i recall.
uberjoe is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 06:07 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,031
I have tried a couple other universial (sp?) remotes, and I find my Harmony 676 to be the best of the ones I have used.

Other remotes that I own include the Sony AV-3100, RCA 1010, Kameleon 9960, and the Sony RMVL 1000. With the set up being done on the pc, I had it up and running in minutes. Only thing that is a drawback to the Harmony is if you are a guy who uses all the features of the stuff you own, you will be disapointed by the lack of depth that you can do with it.
tjr2mental is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 07:49 PM
  #6  
Cool New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 35
I like my MX-500. It's got some presets, but I like programming my own buttons (I'm a nerd). Here's a link:

http://www.remotecentral.com/mx500/
geodi is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 08:49 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Western PA, Central Florida
Posts: 1,930
Originally Posted by bboisvert
Oh, crap... I forgot that was coming out. They showed that at CES, right? Any proposed release date yet? (I don't mind waiting a bit, but I wouldn't want to wait forever...)
I believe it was at CES. Its supposed to be out in early April. Haven't seen any sign of it yet though.
kayak99 is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 09:21 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Earth
Posts: 5,865
I went with the Unifier from Universal Remotes. http://www.universalremote.com/urc/
I almost went with the Automator but the difference in price didn't seem worth it to me especially since I'd have access to more learning keys on the Unifier without having to scroll through pages on the LCD. If you're not set on the Harmony you might want to look into these. I got the Unifier for 80 from Tweeter.
Cardiff Giant11 is offline  
Old 03-21-05, 09:56 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Bluegrass State
Posts: 1,271
Originally Posted by bboisvert
So, I'm ready to finally take my 10+ remotes and toss them for a universal model. I've read amazing things about the Harmony 676... any thoughts (pro/con)?

Is there anything better out there? If I'm spending $100+ for a remote, I'd like to just do it once.
I am in the same boat. So many choices. I have narrowed my decision down to one of the Harmony remotes or Universal Remotes (like the MX-500). I would prefer programming it with the PC but that is not a must. My biggest requirement is to retain all the functions of the OEM remotes for my various devices.

I will be watching this thread carefully for more feedback.
cajun_junky is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 08:32 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Western PA, Central Florida
Posts: 1,930
BTW, the 880 is going to be costly, at least in the beginning. I have a Harmony 659 which I love. Only bad part is that some of the control buttons often needed are on the bottom. The good part - its usually available on sale for under $100.

Other than the button issue, its works great for my HT setup.
kayak99 is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 09:39 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Triangle, NC, USA
Posts: 8,784
Originally Posted by tjr2mental
Only thing that is a drawback to the Harmony is if you are a guy who uses all the features of the stuff you own, you will be disapointed by the lack of depth that you can do with it.
To me, that is the entire point of spending 100+ on a remote. I've tried some of the various sub-50$ ones, and they don't do everything I need, including basic stuff like FFing through recorded things on the DVR. And that's if they even recognize my components.
Do you mean that it doesn't allow a lot of customization [which is not a big deal for me], or that it doesn't fully replace the original remotes?
tonyc3742 is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 11:25 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 2,708
The Harmony remotes are fully customizable (along with a learning remote if it doesn't do something that you want it to). You can even add your own menu's to the six buttons around the LCD screen (at least on the 680 that I have). I've programmed my xbox remote to the Harmony also. I had to add in the power on and power off buttons (I added a remote on/off to the xbox) to the LCD screen so I can remotely turn it on and off. Works like a champ. I'd say give the Harmonys a try. I was a little skeptical at first, but I use it for everything now.

The CSRs are fantastic also. I couldn't get the discrete HDMI connection working correctly. I was on the phone with the CSR for about 10 minutes as we worked through what it could be, and he fixed the problem. Very helpful, and completely unlike most other CSR experiences.

The only thing I would say is, make sure, if you do decide on the Harmony, to pick the remote that best suits your needs. I use the PVR functions all the time, so the 680 button layout was perfect for what I used. Some people don't need the time-shifting buttons (ff, rew, play, etc.) right in the middle of the remote, so the 659 or 676 works better for them. Here's a good picture comparison for you to see which you like the best
http://www.lewishq.com/images/harmon...comparison.jpg
Lampei is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 12:02 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Triangle, NC, USA
Posts: 8,784
Cool, thanks. PVR functions are an essential, but on my current remote, they are toward the bottom as well, so I'm somewhat used to that.
tonyc3742 is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 01:10 PM
  #14  
Cool New Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 36
Right now I have a Sony 3100 and I am not completely happy with it. I have thought about either going with a Pronto or a PDA. I think I will wait until the 880 is out before I decide.
westie7 is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 01:25 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Mpls, MN
Posts: 6,831
The MX remotes are great for tech types, really nothing better among button remotes. And they aren't bad for non-tech people, either.

The Harmony is kinda the opposite. Nothing better among button remotes for non-tech people, and not too bad for tech people.

Which are you?

On the other end is the Pronto. Perfect for both types of people if programmed correctly. But touchscreen isn't for everyone.
Spiky is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 01:34 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Docking Bay 94
Posts: 14,259
Originally Posted by Spiky
The MX remotes are great for tech types, really nothing better among button remotes. And they aren't bad for non-tech people, either.

The Harmony is kinda the opposite. Nothing better among button remotes for non-tech people, and not too bad for tech people.

Which are you?
What if you're "both". That is, YOU are technically savvy and want to program in every button.

Your WIFE wants to be able to pick up one remote and just watch TV or a DVD without having to take a graduate level course on what buttons to use.

That's pretty much the situation I'm in... I'm looking to get everything into one remote for convenience, but I also have to make sure that my wife can easily watch TV or a DVD without getting frustrated.
bboisvert is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 01:51 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
uteotw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: WI
Posts: 4,431
Originally Posted by bboisvert
What if you're "both". That is, YOU are technically savvy and want to program in every button.

Your WIFE wants to be able to pick up one remote and just watch TV or a DVD without having to take a graduate level course on what buttons to use.

That's pretty much the situation I'm in... I'm looking to get everything into one remote for convenience, but I also have to make sure that my wife can easily watch TV or a DVD without getting frustrated.
That's the boat I'm in and the Harmony 676 has exceed my every expectation. It's got buttons that make it so simple it's ridiculous (1 push turns on all the rights and to the right inputs), but it also can do everything all your other remotes can do.

I've done plenty of tweaking--customized the first screen of each device so my most-used buttons appear first, but you can also press "next" until you get to whatever you want. My biggest concern was that the Harmony would have most but not ALL features of each of my other remotes, but it truly can do it all.
uteotw is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 03:17 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 1,075
I'd also add if you need true macro programming capability then the MX series are better for you. If macros aren't needed then the Harmony remotes are cheaper and easier to set up since programming it doesn't involve and more effort than answering questions on a web page and some fine tuning afterward. My Harmony 680 was everything I needed since I had no need for macros.
chipmac is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 03:34 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Bluegrass State
Posts: 1,271
Originally Posted by chipmac
I'd also add if you need true macro programming capability then the MX series are better for you.
I read that somewhere else also. I would like some macro function for down the road. I might even use it now, I just don't know. After reading alot last night it seems that I like the looks and price of the MX-500, while the MX-700 would be better as far as PC programming is concerned. It is just soooo expensive for my budget right now. BUT, the harmony DVR looks sweet also. So I guess it is between these three for now!

For those considering the universal remote. They require the purchase from an authorized dealer before they warrant their product. I respect that but it does mean the remote will cost more from what I can tell.
cajun_junky is offline  
Old 03-22-05, 03:41 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 2,708
If you are looking at authorized dealers for MX-500 or 700, they've got some good deals at http://www.surfremotecontrol.com/ (as strange as it may seem, they *are* an authorized home theater master dealer )
Lampei is offline  
Old 03-23-05, 08:38 AM
  #21  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 194
I bought myself a Harmony 659 for xmas last year and I couldn't be happier with it. It does everything I want to and does it well. I'm one of those "tech" guys who love to tinker and I find the harmonys have enough options to keep that side of me placated. The only thing that bugs me is that I can't change the graphic thats on the screen when the remotes off.
Blotto is offline  
Old 03-23-05, 11:15 AM
  #22  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Mpls, MN
Posts: 6,831
Originally Posted by bboisvert
What if you're "both". That is, YOU are technically savvy and want to program in every button.

Your WIFE wants to be able to pick up one remote and just watch TV or a DVD without having to take a graduate level course on what buttons to use.

That's pretty much the situation I'm in... I'm looking to get everything into one remote for convenience, but I also have to make sure that my wife can easily watch TV or a DVD without getting frustrated.
That was pretty much my point. They can both do this job better than anything else. So, which way do you want to lean? Is it slightly more important that YOU have instant access to advanced functions (MX), or is it more important that your wife have the slightly easier interface (Harmony)? Or else flip a coin. The MX will definitely please YOU more from the programming standpoint.

If you want some more expert opinions and advice, check out Remote Central. Or talk to Mike at Surf Remote, linked above. Mike's great.
Spiky is offline  
Old 03-23-05, 11:46 AM
  #23  
Cool New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Clemente, CA
Posts: 44
Thanks Spiky.

For those who want flexibility in customization while keeping the WAF high, the Home Theater Master MX-700 (or 800 and 850 if you need RF) will give you that. They're more expensive than the Harmonys, but you have more flexibility with macros.
MikeSRC is offline  
Old 03-23-05, 04:11 PM
  #24  
Inane Thread Master, 2018 TOTY
 
OldBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Are any of us really anywhere?
Posts: 37,939
i live for my MX-500. i tried others (Sony) but this was incredible.
i have 9 remotes programmed into it.

i can control every tv in my house (5) and even my portable heater and garage door (though i have yet to bring it outside).

i also love love the macro function. every device button i set up a macro so all i have to do is hold a few seconds and wala...

my tv shifts to the correct video output (1-4), my reciever turns on, the correct device function on reciever (dvd, cd, tuner, etc.) turns on, the device turns on (dvd player 1 or 2, vcr, etc.)

and for one dvd player i have the same macro turn the tv to 16:9 screen by going through about 10 key strokes to do so, all in all for that one macro i have 16 key presses from 3 different remotes operating like magic. it is truly awesome.

but, my one favorite macro is: tv on, cable box on, turn cable box to ESPN. so nice!!
OldBoy is online now  
Old 03-23-05, 05:49 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk God
 
Deftones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Arizona
Posts: 74,848
Originally Posted by geodi
I like my MX-500. It's got some presets, but I like programming my own buttons (I'm a nerd). Here's a link:

http://www.remotecentral.com/mx500/
definitely loving mine snce i got it.
Deftones is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.