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Looking for good all-in-one remote?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by NoVa, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. NoVa

    NoVa Member

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    Feb 26, 2006
    NoVa
    Looking for good universal all-in-one remote to handle TiVo, AVR, & BluRay.

    Prefer RF but will consider IR.

    Help please.
     
  2. dallastx

    dallastx New Member

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    Sep 27, 2007
    Good luck in finding one, but I think the Logitech Harmony One is the ticket. I've programmed my two TiVos so that all functions are accessed by physical buttons allowing to to use it by feel.
     
  3. jadziedzic

    jadziedzic Member

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Keep an eye on eBay - there is one seller on eBay with a bunch of refurb Harmony Ones listed for $112. I bought a refurb recently from another seller and it came in what *appeared to be* a factory-sealed retail package, and was in excellent cosmetic condition; works great, too.
     
  4. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Active Member

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Yea, the harmony remotes are hell to program with the worlds most annoying setup provided by logitech, but once programmed can be made to work very conveniently.
     
  5. HenryFarpolo

    HenryFarpolo New Member

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    Dec 1, 2008
    Andover Ma
    I concur with the Harmony One recommendation. I own one and am very happy with it. If you are looking for RF, the Harmony Ultimate may be a good choice. The ultimate is pricy at $349, and since it was just recently introduced, discounts from list price are nearly impossible to find.
     
  6. takeshi

    takeshi New Member

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Budget? Are the needs in the OP the only concerns? We'd have a better understanding of what you mean by "good" if you can tell us what you've used in the past, what you've liked and what you've found lacking.

    Harmony remotes seem to be popular but if you can deal with the learning curve and price tag I highly recommend Universal Remote. Their remotes are typically used by system integrators. Even my older, low-end MX-350 is much more versatile than it would appear to be from just looking at it. It's the first remote I've used that has been able to replace all others. My newer MX-980 is much easier to deal with since it can be programming with their Complete Control application. Complete Control won't be anywhere near as easy to use as Harmony but I didn't find the learning curve all that daunting. As always, YMMV.

    Don't overlook prior discussion on remotes as a resource as well.
     
  7. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    +1 for the Harmony One. Logitech sells refurbs quite often for $99. Just check the deal websites like slickdeals.net or dealnews.com on a daily basis until the deal gets listed.

    FWIW, they're not as difficult to program as some have indicated. You just have to understand how the activities are configured to operate. You simply start a new activity to program and then select all of the devices that need to be turned on to perform that activity. You select which devices need to have inputs set and specify what they are.

    An activity on a Harmony remote is basically a macro. It will only turn on the components required to perform the selected activity (i.e., Watch TV turns on the TV, A/V receiver, cable box, etc., and selects the input on the TV and the AVR and anything else required to perform the activity). If you select a different activity the remote will just turn on whatever additional components are required and send the necessary switch commands. When you hit the Power button to turn everything off, it remembers which components have been turned on and only issues the OFF command to those devices.
     
  8. WO312

    WO312 Active Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Finger...
    +1 for Universal. I love my MX-700. IR though, and no longer made. I went through a couple of MX-850's, which is basically the same thing ( I think it adds RF), but the buttons would go bad. So right now I actually have an MX-700 shell with MX-850 innards. Works great, and I can program it to do anything I want.

    Edit: I bought a Harmony One after I had the troubles with the MX-850's, but gave up on it. Doesn't compare to my MX-700. But maybe that's because I was so used to the MX.
     
  9. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    Look at the URC WR7 -- amazing features for around $21:
    http://www.amazon.com/URC-Universal...&qid=1372342557&sr=8-1&keywords=universal+wr7

    I retired a perfectly functioning Harmony 880 and have been happily using the WR7 for 3+ months now.

    Two advantages of the WR7 over the 880:

    1. No rechargeable batteries or charger to fuss with. I had to replace the battery in the 880 once and it cost almost as much as the entire WR7.

    2. All programming is self-contained. The 880 required hooking up to a PC and using a Logitech web-based program and was very tedious.

    From what I know about the Harmony One, these same two advantages would apply - plus the huge price savings.

    Devices I control are:
    TV, TiVo, Sound Bar, BluRay player and Logitech Revue

    I still use the Tivo remote (because it's nicer) and the Revue Keyboard (because it's a keyboard) but the WR7 will control those devices.
     
  10. WO312

    WO312 Active Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Finger...
    Wow, looks great for the price. They also have some reasonably priced RF models.
     
  11. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    4,358
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    Ellicott...
    I had the opposite experience. I had a MX-700 that I reluctantly replaced with a Harmony 880. The MX-700 and every remote I had tried previously lacked sufficient memory to hold all of the commands I needed to operate every single component in my home theater system. That was back in the day when I had separate components for every possible function you could imagine (i.e., A/V component switching, Dolby Digital processing, Dolby Pro Logic processing, preamp, multiple VCRs and Tivos, satellite receivers, tape decks, laserdisc player, CD player, etc.)

    I wasn't sure about the Harmony remote initially as the programming and functionality were completely different than what I was used to with the MX-700 and all prior remotes that relied on macros. After using the 880 for a while I started to appreciate it better. Now I can't see going back to any universal remote with standard macros. I eventually bought a Harmony One on sale, but could never seem to bring myself to swapping it out with the 880. What's funny is that I actually had the Harmony One sitting in the charging cradle for a year before trying it out. I'm glad I finally made the switch because it's the best remote I've ever owned (and I've got a box full of old universal remotes to prove it :D ). It's also the simplest remote to use once you've got the activities configured. This is the one remote I'd hand to my wife and feel confident that she could figure out how to use without her bouncing it off the wall out of frustration. It's got a huge WAF.

    FYI - the utility used to program a Harmony remote does require access to the internet and requires you to set up an account online, free of charge. What happens is that the app connects to the internet and will download any firmware updates for the remote. It also stores the remote's configuration online in case the remote needs to be reprogrammed or is replaced. You simply connect the remote to a PC via a USB cable and program it any way you like. You can experiment with the settings before saving the configuration.

    I've used several URC remotes in the past and liked them up to a point. I haven't used one recently so I'm hoping that the quirks I experienced have since been ironed out. One of the major issues was the lack of sufficient memory. With memory prices so low these days there's no excuse not to have ample memory for programming commands. The one major caveat with the URC I had (I forget the model but it was their top unit at the time) was that the internal library of remote codes turned out to be somewhat limited. If I needed to control a device that wasn't in the library I had to ship the remote back to the manufacturer along with $10 to have the code programmed into the remote. There was no provision for teaching codes to the remote.

    I had used several other URC remotes prior to this one and they all had issues. Mostly they were just inadequate as universal remotes for the setup I had. I'm sure the current models used with a more spartan setup than mine would work just fine for most people. What's ironic is that I'm down to just two major components in my HT system these days, a HTPC and a preamp/processor, so most of the remotes I panned as being inadequate back in the day would probably work fine with my current setup.
     
  12. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Active Member

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    Jul 22, 2010
    By the way, if you want so much information on remotes that you'll never be able to make up your mind, then visit: http://www.remotecentral.com/
     
  13. WO312

    WO312 Active Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Finger...
    Hmmm, you must have had an early one. My MX-700 has learning capability. In fact the majority of my buttons are learned because I agree that the internal database isn't very good. BTW, I'm controlling 3 Tivos, a TWC DVR, a Denon receiver, an HTPC, 3 DVD players, a Wii, a TV, and I have room for more. So I'm guessing I don't have a memory problem either.

    I do agree that the Harmony One can probably be set up for my wifes' use more easily, although I really haven't fooled around with macros on the URC.
     
  14. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    I was referring to the URC remote, not the MX-700.
     
  15. NoVa

    NoVa Member

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    Feb 26, 2006
    NoVa
    Thanks every1 for chining in.
    I should have stated that I do have a Harmony One that was a champ to use.
    Still lying around as we are still unpacking from the move.
    However, in my new house , all the equipment will be hidden.

    But the H1 is an IR remote...what to do except to look for a new remote?
     
  16. XIBM

    XIBM New Member

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    Mar 9, 2013
    Another option is to buy a Powermid unit pair that consist of a transmitter that receives IR and transmits RF and a receiver that receives the RF and converts it back to IR. Put the transmitter near the TV to pick up your remote IR and the receiver in the closet. You may need a mirror or fiber optic links (I think one was included) to drive all your closet units but you can keep using your Harmony IR remote. I ordered one of these to use this approach for a closet for $40 a few years ago. I had a early big screen cabinet TV. With a new flat screen I came out of the closet (much easier to insert DVDs and see what is going on) and now in addition to the tv in the Tivo room, I drive a tv on a different floor via component and set the transmitter next to it and the receiver across the room from my Tivo. You can also use more than one receiver with one transmitter...
     
  17. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,998
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    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    The URC WR7 has learning capability -- works fine.
     
  18. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    I figured the newer models do. The model I'm referring to is probably about a decade old. I must have sold it on ebay because it's not in my box of old remotes. It was a nice remote except for having to send it in to be reprogrammed every time I got a new piece of A/V equipment. That was the straw that finally broke the camel's back. I must have sent it in at least 3 or 4 times and it was getting old real quick, especially at 10 bucks a pop plus shipping, not to mention the down time while it was in transit.

    I've gone through dozens of universal remotes over the years in search of the perfect remote. The result of my quest is that such a beast simply doesn't exist. There is no such thing as the perfect remote for everyone. There is, however, at least one remote out there that will best suit your needs. It's all a matter of deciding what features you want and how much you're willing to pay.

    The Harmony One turned out to be the remote that works best for me and it's probably one of the most popular remotes among home theater enthusiasts. The layout is uncluttered and the buttons are large enough to operate it via tactile feel alone, even though it does have backlighting. One huge bonus is that it's rechargeable and never needs the batteries replaced. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to use a remote with weak or dead batteries and then finding that you don't have any replacements on hand.
     
  19. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Active Member

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    Jul 22, 2010
    All my remotes are now rechargeable :). I keep a box of various size rechargeable batteries that are already charged up around (the new ones marked "low self-discharge" actually work well these days, unlike the older generations of rechargeable batteries).

    When I need to swap in new batteries, the old ones go in the charger, then back in the box.
     
  20. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    I used to do the same thing. The upside of the Harmony remotes is that the more advanced remotes come with a charging cradle so the battery is always being charged when the remote is set in the cradle. You never have to swap out the old battery for a fresh one.
     

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