Home Theatre Remote Controls

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Date: Monday, November 20th, 2006, 11:14
Category: Accessory

logitech-harmony-880.jpgI 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?


logitech-harmony-880.jpgI 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?

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One Response to “Home Theatre Remote Controls”

  1. Dude. The one thing you should never need to do is pull out the TV remote. You find yourself needing a button from it? Okay, then program it into one of the customizable buttons. That’s what I did, because once every two months mine gets the wrong input too.
    (I have a Harmony 676, and love it. It has rubbery, distinct buttons, unlike the 880.) Also, you know you can fine-tune the time lag between button presses on the Harmony website, right? It tries to be helpful and not send your commands on top of each other. Are you sure that’s not what’s making you think it’s not sending your commands right away?
    I will agree that the programming is drudgery of the worst sort, but once it’s done, if you do it right, you’ve got a nearly perfect remote. Or at least, I do. :]