Date: Monday, November 20th, 2006, 11:14
I purchased what I thought was the ultimate home entertainment system remote control about a year ago (the Logitech Harmony 880, pictured) for a whopping US$249 and it sucks.
The promise of a programmable remote is that it will control all of my various video components: TV (Dell W5001C), DVR (DirecTV HR10-250 HD TiVo), DVD player (a lame Pioneer DV-525). Sure it sounds great in theory, but in practice it doesn’t work.
I’ve tried numerous times to program the Harmony 880 and it still doesn’t switch the inputs correctly on my TV. I am forced to pull out the TV remote any time I need to switch from DVD to TV. All the programming is done via the Web site (which is drudgery) which then downloads a configuration file that you sync to the remote via USB.
The 880′s form factor is decent because it’s basically a clone of the popular TiVO “peanut” remote but that’s where the the similarity ends. The 880 doesn’t have the peanut’s rubberized buttons, instead the buttons are shiny and slick – and not in a good way. The buttons are slippery and hard to press.
To add insult to injury the 880′s volume up/down and channel up/down buttons are atrociously thin. It’s almost impossible to find them without looking and pressing them requires a delicate touch. And these are the buttons you use the most!
The 880′s range is pretty poor too, forcing me to point it directly at my DVR to work. There’s also a lag from when you press the remote button and when it actually executes the command, which is annoying. And to wrap up a horrendous experience the 880 has to be placed on the charging cradle ever so perfectly or it won’t charge. Sheesh.
Rob Parker likes the Home Theater Master MX-700 remote control (US$349) but I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.
My question to you: what universal remote control do you use with your home entertainment rig? Does it work with the Mac?