Logitech Harmony Remotes are Awesome

I am a sucker for sales and Best Buy had one on Logitech Harmony Remotes so I decided to try them out.  I heard good things in forums and there were many good reviews on various electronic sites so, $65 dollars later I have the Harmony 650.  The main difference in the different remotes are the number of devices that you are “allowed” to control at a given time.  You can of course change your mind and change which devices are controlled.  Logitech claims that is is about memory in the device, I think that it is really just a limitation imposed on you due to the cost of the device.  That being said, I opted for one that can control 5 devices.  Turns out I would have liked 6 or 7, but not for an extra $100!  I ended up getting 2 of them one for the living room and one for the bedroom.  Have not opened up the bedroom one yet in case I find I don’t really need it since the setup in there is not as complex.

Living Room

What I have…

  • AV Receiver
  • DVD Recorder / Digital Tuner
  • Blu-Ray Player
  • HD DVD Player 🙁 (I was an early adopter)
  • Apple TV
  • Projector
  • Projection Screen

I had learned about home automation control options with the Harmony and though perhaps I could control my projection screen too.  Who would not like to press one button and have the lights dim, screen lower, pop corn machine start and movie play right? LOL.  I am exaggerating a bit of course.  You need to watch the popcorn, but a auto grinding coffee maker…..hmm.

Software

There were many “advanced features” I wanted and was able to read about in online discussions.  After talking with level 2 support, they were not able to assist me.  I did however find a link to an old version which I installed.  Sadly, it did not work with the web site it was supposed to enable, but I was able to just open up the application file on my Mac and was ready to go.  It scared me a bit because it insisted on updating itself before it allowed me to use it.  If I did not allow the update, it would just close.  I was concerned because the version I was using seemed like just a few minor revisions away so it would likely be updated.  For example I installed 7.1.3 based on what I saw online to get the functions I needed and when it was done updating I was at the current version 7.1.6.  It was not like I installed 6.0.1 and upgraded to the latest 6.1.2 in which case I would not have been worried.

To my happy surprise the application opened and viola!  I had access to so many more advanced features.  Granted the software is not nearly as intuitive as the new online version, but for the advanced features, is quite necessary.  Your average user would do well with the simplified and very quick to setup version.

End Result

So I needed to choose the devices that I controlled with the remote and came up with the following.

A nice thing about the remote as there is an “All Off” which turns all devices off and puts up the projection screen.

If you switch an activity the appropriate devices are turned on (if not already) and any that are not used are turned off.

  • TV Activity
    • Screen
    • Projector and Select Input
    • DVD Recorder
    • AV Receiver and Input
  • DVD Activity
    • Screen
    • Projector and Select Input
    • Blu-Ray DVD
    • AV Receiver and Input
  • Music Activity (Apple TV – Manually Control)
    • Screen
    • Projector and Select Input
    • AV Receiver and Input
  • Custom Activity (HD DVD – Manually Control)
    • Screen
    • Projector and Select Input
    • AV Receiver and Input

As you can see I was limited on the 5 devices I chose to use, but have the other settings automated on the HD DVD and Apple TV.

GRRRREAT Product Logitech!

So I would highly recommend these remotes to those with lots of devices that need to be used for multimedia systems, but not for the user with TV speakers.  HDMI control of the TV input by new HDMI devices would make that input switching on your TV automatic and not really worth the money 🙂

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