AVS Forum Addicted Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
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Puwaha, I don't know what to tell you. Your requirements are just too different from mine. Personally all I have to say to my wife is, "Sweetheart, you know that stick you use to change volume on the TV, the one with the nice clicky buttons that humans have used to control TVs for the past 50 years, the one even toddlers know how to use? If you want to watch Netflix, press the Netlix button on it"', not "well you have to use that stick for power and volume then boot up your laptop, open chrome, search for your movie on it, then cast it and control it from your laptop, and still keep that stick handy for volume control. Got enough room there?" I'll take the first option.
I don't know what you guys use for Netflix, but searching and queue management is a piece of cake on my BD player, no laptops required.
EDIT: Sorry, got a little carried away there. I've been using remotes all my life, so it's just a natural fit. The thing I like about a cheap device with buttons is you can use it without looking, or even thinking really. So I can focus on the content I'm watching rather than the controls for it. Pulling out a laptop, keyboard, mouse, smart phone, whatever, is just too much hassle when I can grab the nearest remote and press one button. I just don't see any solution that could be easier.
Anyway, as far as recommendations, your 650 should be fine. It just sounds like you need to come up with a better plan for programming it. I always go for simplicity, so if I had a harmony, I'd make the following activities that show on the remote screen: TV, Movie, Netflix, Music. TV would turn on the TV, HTPC, AVR, go to the correct inputs, map vol keys to the AVR, map nav/menu/transport keys to MCE, and start WMC. Movie would do the same except start my BD player instead (or PowerDVD if you use your PC). Netflix would do the same plus start the Netflix app. Ditto for music, starts iTunes or Spotify or whatever you use for that.
I've never paid $50 for a remote in my life. Most of my remotes cost me around $3. I use JP1 and other UEI remotes primarily. Back when I tried harmony years ago, I always bought used or refurb to keep the cost under $30. But I have to have a remote to operate my TV and other devices anyway, so HTPC control is essentially free. It's not like I have to buy anything extra besides a dongle.