Program a Remote for Windows MCE Buttons? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am looking for a programmable remote that I can setup to mimic the Microsoft Remote. Let me give you some background to understand my needs.

Wife LOVES the Microsoft Remote...the one MS no longer makes. This one:



She loves the dedicated buttons for the Guide, Recorded TV, and DVD Menu (never uses the Live TV button though). I also use HDMI CEC currently to turn on/off the AVR when the TV is turned on/off and I have the volume buttons programmed to control the AVR volume. This means she only has one remote control for everything.

My setup is soon going to be more complicated. I am almost done building a dedicated theater room...but I cannot get rid of my plasma TV because you cannot use the Wii or do exercise videos with the projector due to standing in the beam and seeing your shadow on the screen.

To solve this issue, I am designing my own movable ceiling mounted track system to store the TV on the side wall and then pull it to the center of the room and rotate it 90 degrees and then use the TV for those items. I have a HDMI splitter (to use until I can afford a new AVR with two HDMI outs) so I can send the HDMI signal to both projector and TV. No problems there.

The problem is that I can no longer use HDMI CEC to turn on the TV, as I do not want it on all the time...nor can I use it to turn on the projector for the same reason. So I now need a new remote.

In that light, does anyone have a remote which does the following:

1. Has a button I can program to turn on the AVR and projector, labeled Projector.
2. Has a button I can program to turn on the AVR and TV, labled TV (or Plasma or such).
3. Uses the same volume buttons for all sinks, as the AVR is used for all sound.
4. Has buttons labeled Guide, Recorded TV, and DVD Menu.
5. MUST work with the Windows Media Center.

It must be at least IR, it can also be RF, but I have no RF devices.
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 09:33 AM
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You need a Harmony remote. I have a Harmony 880 that does all that stuff. The Harmony remotes actually use activities which are basically a series of macros. So you can set up activities for things like listen to music, watch HTPC, etc. and it walks you through selecting your inputs and devices so this would allow you to do things like specify you control your volume with your receiver.

Using activities, it switches the TV to the appropriate input, sends commands to my receiver to control the volume while I use the other buttons to change channels and navigate around WMC, Hulu Desktop, Netflix, and XBMC. You can customize the activities to send certain additional commands when you start or exit an activity.

In my case, I send a command to close WMC when I switch to another activity like playing PS3 or turn everything off for the night. Then when I execute the activity to watch my HTPC it sends commands to turn everything on, switch inputs, and I send an additional command to start WMC. There are hard buttons on the remote but there are additional keys you can program that shows up as pages where you can flip through them and then click the corresponding hard button.

The Harmony One is a nicer model but I already had the 880 before that one came out and don't see the sense in spending more money when I have something that works already.

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post #3 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

In that light, does anyone have a remote which does the following:

1. Has a button I can program to turn on the AVR and projector, labeled Projector.
2. Has a button I can program to turn on the AVR and TV, labled TV (or Plasma or such).
3. Uses the same volume buttons for all sinks, as the AVR is used for all sound.
4. Has buttons labeled Guide, Recorded TV, and DVD Menu.
5. MUST work with the Windows Media Center.

It must be at least IR, it can also be RF, but I have no RF devices.

That sounds like pretty much any activity based remote.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1318737

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wonder why your thread, bryansj, did not come up as an item when I started this one? It popped up with a few, but all were of no use. I will look it over.

After looking over that thread, I am back where I started. Bascially, I need one button that turns on/off the AVR and TV and one button that turns on/off the AVR and Projector. Then all the other buttons control the MCE.

None of them seem to have the needed Big Green Button that you use to pop back to the main Windows MCE screen.

What is the recommendation of everyone as to one that easily controls MCE and has buttons which can be relabeled as Recorded TV (which then goes to the recorded tv selection in MCE), etc? For example, can the Harmony One allow me to create two top level Macros called Projector and Plasma, with each turning on the AVR and the Projector/TV (based on which I select)? If so, does it then drop to a new screen (which is the same for both top level choices) which contains four simple selections Recorded TV, Guide, Live TV, and DVD Menu? If so, can I make each of them do what the buttons on the Windows MCE Remote does?

Can another company do that? The One is a bit long in the tooth, and Logitech is dragging their feet with a replacement model.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 01:07 PM
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My Harmony 880 does all that since you can teach it the IR signals of the MCE remote and select either to use one of the default buttons (I use Menu as my Big Green Button) or you can use one of the additional buttons that shows up in pages on the screen with a corresponding hard button.

You can create different activities so you can have one called Watch Projector which includes all the devices you use in that activity so it would turn on the projector, HTPC, and receiver as well as switch to the appropriate inputs. You can also click the Device button which basically switches the remote to mimic the remote for whatever device you program.

I really think the Harmony 880 or One would work for what you're trying to do. You just have to add all your devices and go through the program steps to create activities and customize buttons. Since you have an HTPC, using the Logitech remote manager program should be pretty easy, then once you have everything set up, you just have to familiarize your wife with the new buttons.

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post #6 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 01:08 PM
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I'd recommend the harmony one. You can add the MCE remote as a device. You could have one activity to start your MCE TV activity and another to start your MCE Projector activity. Underneath the activities you can add buttons on the touchscreen that would mimic the green button from the MCE remote. or add them as additional sequences after the activity button is pressed.

You could also add buttons to turn on off the TV/projector within the various activities. It's really up to your imagination. (Sounds cheesy, but it's true.)

I'm sure other remotes would also do the things you describe, but I can't comment as I don't have experience there.

I'm confused too.

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post #7 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm....as an alternative, maybe have two remotes...one for use with the projector and one for use with the TV. They can both be Windows Remotes. Just pick up whichever one you want to control and use it for the entire process. Not sure if the wife will like that more or less than losing the comfort of the current Windows remote.

EDIT: Should have refreshed before replying, as I just saw the two Harmony replies, above. I will look at both models.
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

I wonder why your thread, bryansj, did not come up as an item when I started this one? It popped up with a few, but all were of no use. I will look it over.

After looking over that thread, I am back where I started. Bascially, I need one button that turns on/off the AVR and TV and one button that turns on/off the AVR and Projector. Then all the other buttons control the MCE.

None of them seem to have the needed Big Green Button that you use to pop back to the main Windows MCE screen.

Using Harmony One as an example, your remote will be on the Activities screen. On that screen you will select Watch TV or Watch Projector. That will then turn on all your devices and switch to the correct inputs. Your keys will then be mapped for WMC commands as needed and Vol+/- assigned to your AVR. If you want something custom then you add it to a softkey on the touchscreen (again, I'm using the Harmony One as an example).

To switch to using the Projector you hit the Activities button and select Watch Projector. When shutting down you hit the global Off button. Everything then turns off and the remote returns to the Activities screen.

On my remote (URC MX-980) I've simply mapped a green Start button to a softkey as well as RecordedTV, Live TV, and whatever else I needed.

If you are looking for the latest HTPC remote from Harmony then you might want to consider the Harmony 800 QWERTY.

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post #9 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 01:47 PM
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What does Flirc mean?
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That new 800 looks interesting! That should do exactly what I want! It also adds a keyboard AND mouse!
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 02:21 PM
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You are probably going to be well served by the Harmony advice you have been given, but I will just mention that another option is a JP1 remote:

http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/vi...=103157#103157

More if you want to make it into a project

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post #13 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 02:24 PM
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-24-2012, 02:41 PM
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Yeha, FLIRC is pretty cool. I wish I found out about it before I bought my cheapo MCE remote which sends keyboard presses and isn't as customizable. I tried using the MCE Remote plugin in XBMC and it made changes to my registry but still did not work. I had to create a custom keymap and trick XBMC into recognizing the right click that the Info button sends as keyboard press I which allowed me to use the Info function in XBMC while watching shows and movies.

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post #15 of 15 Old 07-27-2012, 01:48 PM
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Ah the Flirc. Conceptually great but can't for the life of me keep it working consistently. I use the Harmony 880 and the only consistent setting via Flirc is to open Media Browser shortcut. I've used the WMC setting page of the Flirc interface and recorded simple keys like Play, Stop, Pause, etc...nothing fancy. Works once and ONLY if I double press the remote buttons. Once I close Media Browser it seems that 95% of the settings go bye bye. Very finicky and not sure what gives.
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