Saturday, February 25, 2006

My new remote


I've been considering getting a fancy remote for awhile, but the one I wanted (Harmony 880) was a bit more than I was willing to spend. I couldn't justify spending $300 CAN on a remote, so I kept my eyes open for a sale. Last week I spotted the remote on for $180 (CAN), still a bunch of money, but luckily I have some money from Christmas that I haven't spent yet. The remote arrived on Tuesday, and now I'm in heaven.

I was able to get rid of 6 remotes with the arrival of the Harmony 880. My coffee table looks a lot cleaner, and my girlfriend doesn't have to ask me which buttons to press to get things to work (though I think she was getting the hang of it). The Harmony works using "Activities." You select "Watch DVD" and it'll turn on your TV, set it to the "DVD" input, then do the same with the receiver, and finally turn the DVD player on; it's almost foolproof. The remote is configured through a website, and the commands are uploaded to the remote through a USB connection. The first time you log onto the website you're asked to list the equipment in your setup (make/model). The site pulls the remote codes from its database and then allows you to assign them to any key. There are defaults, but you can tweak these until you have the settings you want. The LCD screen allows you to assign other commands to 8 buttons along the edges, but you can have multiple pages of commands as well. This probably sounds more complex than it really is. I discovered that the Harmony remote includes remote commands that aren't on my original remote, which makes the remote even handier. If, for some reason, they don't have a command that exists on your original remote you can add it yourself by holding the two remotes a few inches apart and then uploading the command. It's very, very cool.

My other remotes are off my coffee table, and have been for 3 days. Now that I have the Harmony configured to my satisfaction I haven't had to get one of them. It took me a few days to configure, but I'm alot happier having one remote.

11 Comments:

At February 25, 2006 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds like heaven. Sounds like a wonderful set-up between a Website aswell - I wish I could have my remote and such interact with a computer, maybe in the year 2020 I could afford that remote ;)

 
At February 25, 2006 4:43 PM, Anonymous Andy said...

I got one of these, but since I have 3 dvd players, it was hard to program is correctly, so I sent it back. Hope that you like it.

 
At February 25, 2006 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my wonderful boyfriend got me a Tivo for Christmas, I got to cut down on my remotes as a side benefit. The Tivo remote has an on/off switch and a volume control, which got rid of my TV remote. It also controls the channels, which got rid of my cable remote. And since it's a DVD player and my old player was retired to another room, it took care of that too. Now the only extra remote I have is for the VCR. I love you, Tivo!

 
At February 28, 2006 11:27 PM, Blogger Geonn said...

Wow! Install it in the arm of your chair, and you're Captain Kirk!! ;-D

 
At March 01, 2006 3:28 PM, Blogger Richard "nightc1" said...

I've used a one-for-all remote for the last 5 years. It handles my TV, Satelite, VCR, a Reciever, and a DVD player. All in all, it's been pretty wonderful and only cost $20'ish at the time of purchase. These fancy remotes are cool though. Still it's nice only having to change batteries once every year or two. Oh, and it still retains it's codes when the batteries are out.

I've considered upgrading to a better one for all ( http://www.ofausa.com ). But as long as the one I have works... I guess i'll keep using it.

 
At March 04, 2006 9:20 PM, Blogger The Thomas Montalto Blog said...

Man, that looks awesome and I think I may pick that up myself now. Just a question, does it control any Delphi XM Systems as well?

 
At March 07, 2006 11:35 PM, Blogger Gord Lacey said...

Thomas, if the thing is controlled using IR then it can work with this. You'd probably create a new activity like "Listen to Radio" and then select the XM radio hardware you have. In the unlikely event that it's not there you can just learn the remote buttons, but I'm sure something like that would already be on the site.

 
At March 09, 2006 1:28 AM, Blogger Nathaniel said...

We have a lesser model back at home, though I'm at college right now. My mom, and especially my Dad (who, strangely, is more easily confused by this kind of stuff) have it a lot easier now. Thing is... I like doing the complex whatnots to get everything on, so I'd never buy one for myself. But dang, those things are nice, and to that more premium model you have... wow. Just wow.


Also, responding to an earlier comment and building on Gord's response, I know my parents use theirs on their Bose stereo, too, so I think it'll probably work for the XM system.

 
At May 13, 2006 9:00 AM, Blogger Steve K. said...

Couldn't agree more. The Harmony 659 remote was the best $99 I ever spent!

 
At December 26, 2006 6:31 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I got the Harmony 520 today it is wonderful. The sales clerk when ringing me up was telling me how he wished he could have on too. It was my Christmas gift to myself.

 
At August 11, 2007 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an RCA remote out there that will do the same thing for $20. I use it and it works quite well.

 

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