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Universal remote ??

Old 08-20-06, 08:42 PM
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Universal remote ??

Right know I have 3 remotes(cable/DVR, DVD, and TV) Is there a good remote that can do all 3 including controlling my dvr?
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Old 08-20-06, 08:51 PM
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It may be more than you need, but I would never give up my Home Theater Master MX-500. You can get it from Amazon for about $70.
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Old 08-20-06, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by LordofWar
Right know I have 3 remotes(cable/DVR, DVD, and TV) Is there a good remote that can do all 3 including controlling my dvr?
You'll find that the world of universal remotes is as large as the world of TV's - the best place to start is to ID a price range so we're not recommending the $200 remote when you really just need one to change the channel and raise/lower the volume.
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Old 08-20-06, 11:37 PM
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You may want to check into the Harmony line of universal remotes, from Logitech. The come in a varity of prices. I have used the older 659 model for last 2 years and can't imagine living without it. http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/pr...s/en,CRID=2078

To set it up you hook up the remote through your USB port and then go to the Logitech website. You tell them the model numbers of your equipment and it walks you through setting everything up. When you are done you will literally have one button to turn on everything to watch TV, or DVD, or listen to music. Instead of needing a remote to turn on the TV, another remote to turn on the cable box and a third remote to turn on the receiver, I hit one button and they all turn on. When I want to watch a DVD I hit one button and TV,reciever and DVD player all turn on and all set to proper inputs. Once equipment is on I use the universal remote to adjust volume, change channels, fast forward etc on DVD player. When done, one button, and I can turn everything off. It really is the only way to fly!
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Old 08-21-06, 12:00 AM
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A 2nd for Harmony.

It was one of the few "full price" purchases I made for my home theater on a budget. And it was worth every penney and then some....

It is easy to set up for the basics. Then you can fiddle around and fine tune and really get detail if you want. Then is it super easy for others who "just want it to work". I don't have an over complicated set up, but it easily and quickly was able to control my,

Infocus X1 PJ
Toshiba SD-H400 DVDp with built in Tivo
Motorola Voom OTA HD Receiver
HK, HT Receiver
Dishnetwork receiver (tho I really don't have it do anything, but I can if I want).
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Old 08-21-06, 12:33 AM
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Another vote for the Harmony. I have the 880, about $250 from Best Buy. Very simple set up, and controls everything. Hell, it even controls my oscillating fan and portable air conditioner.

Edited to add: This was probably the best thing I bought for my home theater. Pushing one button to get everything on has been a dream, and I don't get phone calls from the girlfriend asking how to watch Montell.
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Old 08-21-06, 07:31 AM
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Harmony 676 has proven to be quite the good remote.
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Old 08-21-06, 08:35 AM
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I have the Harmony 659 and it's awesome.
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Old 08-21-06, 09:38 AM
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Harmony 676, excellent.

Onkyo HT-780
Philips 60PW9363
Scientific Atlanta 8250HD [I think] HDDVR
PS2
Panasonic F65K 5-disk dvd changer
Tao Xm2Go [or it did, before it got stolen]

it was easy to setup, and though it did take a few trips back and forth to the computer to tweak settings, that was just so I had things on the buttons I wanted them on.

One criteria was that I wanted full, easy DVR use--none of the sub-50 'universal' remotes could come close to operating the DVR fully. The 676 does, and I assume the others would work as well [I didn't need full color display, though the built-in rechargeable battery might have been nice; however, I already have tons of rechargeable batteries.]
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Old 08-21-06, 12:54 PM
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Not sure how much remote you need, but I got this Universal Remote Control from OneCall for $100:

http://www.onecall.com/ProductDetail...id=52&id=22373

It lets me control 10 devices total, so I have it controlling 5 devices in my basement, plus a light dimmer I installed for the room, and 4 additional devices that I programmed upstairs. Anything that currently has a remote can be transferred to this thing. Also, the macro capabilities seem endless.
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Old 08-22-06, 10:11 AM
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Has anybody used the Harmony 880? I was going to get the 688 but the reviews said the buttons were too close together and that's something that just bothers me to no end.
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Old 08-22-06, 07:38 PM
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Then IMO you'll really hate the 880 as the buttons are even closer together. I have the 680 and after using it for a while I have a good feel for where the buttons are without the need to look. On the 880 they're so close together I don't think I could ever do that.
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Old 08-22-06, 07:50 PM
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I got a Harmony 628 a couple months ago after I was finally sick of my battery-eating Kameleon. Its one of the cheaper Harmony remotes, but its good enough for what I have.

I'm still trying to get used to it though. The only thing I don't like is having to look for a specific function for a device when you have already hit the Watch Movie button or Watch TV button. Also, sometimes I watch TV with the TV speakers, and sometimes I like to through the receiver. So I have to work through switching to the receiver manually.

Too bad it doesn't have ultrasonic or I could control my ceiling fan with it too.
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Old 08-22-06, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Salty
It may be more than you need, but I would never give up my Home Theater Master MX-500. You can get it from Amazon for about $70.
That's what I have as well. I can't imagine how I got by without it.
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Old 08-23-06, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Timber
Has anybody used the Harmony 880? I was going to get the 688 but the reviews said the buttons were too close together and that's something that just bothers me to no end.
I have the 880 and love it. Tho I agree not perfect.

Cons

-The close buttons don't bother me, but some are hard to see/read particularly volume and channel changing. However I have gotten use to it and can usually do it without looking.
-Mine had a bad docking cradle, tho pretty solid customer support overnighted me a new one.
-There is a common problem with the battery not fitting tight, but this is an easy fix.
-Once you get comfortable with the on line set up, you kind of wish it could go quicker, not many short cuts if you want to make one quick change.

Pros
-easy to set up and use both the basics and more detailed stuff.
-extreme WAF - My wife and kids use our media room a lot more since getting the remote. Once programed you really don't have to know anything about what component does what or how.
-rechargeable battery is both nice and holds a long charge
-I like the one handed operation
-wide line of site. Even those I have a PJ mounted on the ceiling and behind, then the components more on the side wall towards the font, i have never had a problem with a missed signal.
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Old 08-23-06, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowmaker
I got a Harmony 628 a couple months ago after I was finally sick of my battery-eating Kameleon. Its one of the cheaper Harmony remotes, but its good enough for what I have.

I'm still trying to get used to it though. The only thing I don't like is having to look for a specific function for a device when you have already hit the Watch Movie button or Watch TV button. Also, sometimes I watch TV with the TV speakers, and sometimes I like to through the receiver. So I have to work through switching to the receiver manually.
This is true...the Harmonies are really set up for the 'activity' type viewing. For the most part, I run all audio through my receiver and the activity works, but if I want to change what disk I'm watching, I have to go Device->DVD-> next next next ->Disk -> #, then back to 'dvd' activity.
They're great if you use your devices in the same way each time, and they do allow some customization with the custom buttons [I've got "Surround Mode Toggle" as one of my customs for all activities], but if you have a lot of different use-configurations, it still requires some manual intervention. I guess all macro-enabled devices would be similar, but with some others you can set up dozens or hundreds of macros [of course, then you'd have to remember which macro is which].

Does the "Media" button on the 676 do anything, other than TV listings if you downloaded them? Ideally I would like for it to identify the disks in each slot of my DVD player [there's only five].
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Old 08-23-06, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowmaker
I'm still trying to get used to it though. The only thing I don't like is having to look for a specific function for a device when you have already hit the Watch Movie button or Watch TV button. Also, sometimes I watch TV with the TV speakers, and sometimes I like to through the receiver. So I have to work through switching to the receiver manually.

.
I believe the 880 works much the same way,

You should be able to set up different activities for this. You could have "Watch TV" AND "Watch TV-HT" and have the Watch TV-HT have the speakers on your surround work and Watch TV speakers on your TV.

Also I'm pretty sure you have some functions come up in different places. For example, I believe you can have it set up so that when you "Watch DVD" you could have Chapter Selection (for example) set for one of the buttons.

I spent a day really setting mine up and haven't messed with it much since, but you can also check out AVS and RemoteCentral for help./
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Old 08-23-06, 08:49 PM
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I have a Harmony 680 and really like it except that it really drains batteries fast. Very good functionality for DVR users.
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Old 08-23-06, 09:20 PM
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Personally I found the whole programming the Harmony through the web (if I'm remembering correctly I went through a series of remotes trying to find a good one) thing a bit cumbersome (not to mention I tend to be a privacy freak at times and didn't care for this approach at all). The one I use at home is the Sony, it's a bit bulky but as I mostly have Sony hardware the programming is easy. The fixed display options is really limiting at times though. I picked up a Pronto for work and that is fun. It has a VERY steep learning curve but once you get the knack of it the options are pretty much limitless. No matter what remote you go w/ though I recommend checking out www.remotecentral.com it's another forum that specializes in remotes lots of very helpful people over there.
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Old 08-23-06, 10:35 PM
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I thought the Harmony website was very easy, once you determine your hardware models. It was somewhat convoluted, the website could be laid out better, and there were a few minor details that took me a couple tries to realize [one of the custom buttons; turns out I changed its functionality without changing the label, so I was confusing myself.]
Especially when the only other two methods I had any familiarity with were the 'type in three number code until it works' one, or 'push the button on the original while aiming at the new one' method; both of which suck, especially with lots of complex devices.
Privacy--meh, it doesn't bother me that the harmony website knows what hardware I have. Hell, I've posted lists of it here often enough.
My one concern is what if Harmony/Logitech goes out of business or they take down the website.
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Old 08-24-06, 12:39 PM
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I also have a remote (MX-500) that drains batteries fast. I switched to rechargeables and have been very happy. www.thomas-distributing.com is the best place to buy a good recharger for AA/AAA batteries. Once you have a good Maha charger, it hardly matters what brand of battery you buy.
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Old 08-24-06, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dtcarson
I thought the Harmony website was very easy, once you determine your hardware models. It was somewhat convoluted, the website could be laid out better, and there were a few minor details that took me a couple tries to realize [one of the custom buttons; turns out I changed its functionality without changing the label, so I was confusing myself.]
Especially when the only other two methods I had any familiarity with were the 'type in three number code until it works' one, or 'push the button on the original while aiming at the new one' method; both of which suck, especially with lots of complex devices.
Privacy--meh, it doesn't bother me that the harmony website knows what hardware I have. Hell, I've posted lists of it here often enough.
My one concern is what if Harmony/Logitech goes out of business or they take down the website.

Yeah - matching up the hardware was the hardest part.

I do have one additional complaint about my Harmony 680 - the right (cursor) button has become less sensitive than the rest.

Last edited by Red Dog; 08-24-06 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 08-25-06, 10:04 AM
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Love my Universal Remote MX500 & MX700. I had a Pronto, but having to look at the touch screen to execute commands can become very tiresome.
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Old 08-25-06, 02:19 PM
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I've been wanting a universal remote for a long time but I've always been worried that there are buttons on my DVR, Receiver, and DVD remotes that won't be on the universal. For example on the DVD player I have a time/text button that changes the chapter time, movie time, time remaining, etc. Also I have an audio button to switch between sound tracks. What about the DVR remote which has a PIP button, guide, list, exit, etc. And my receiver has a lot of different settings with special buttons. Do most people just use the universal for basic functionality and if you need something more specialized you grab the original remote?? Should I be worried that I won't be able to change the audio track on a DVD with a universal remote? Someone, please convince me to go universal.
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Old 08-25-06, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by danicus007
I've been wanting a universal remote for a long time but I've always been worried that there are buttons on my DVR, Receiver, and DVD remotes that won't be on the universal. For example on the DVD player I have a time/text button that changes the chapter time, movie time, time remaining, etc. Also I have an audio button to switch between sound tracks. What about the DVR remote which has a PIP button, guide, list, exit, etc. And my receiver has a lot of different settings with special buttons. Do most people just use the universal for basic functionality and if you need something more specialized you grab the original remote?? Should I be worried that I won't be able to change the audio track on a DVD with a universal remote? Someone, please convince me to go universal.

I was worried about that too, but my Harmony 680 can emulate virtually every button on my remotes. I was particularly concerned about my DVRs: I have a Replay-TV and a Comcast SA8000HD and the Harmony picked up all the buttons I use.
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