Something better than the Harmony 900 out there??? - AVS Forum
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I swallowed my thrifty instincts and bought a Harmony 900 a few weeks ago and have never used it for one evening of TV. The reason is that is unrelaible as hell for RF. All of components are in a cabinet and I NEED RF. I am currently using a stock NON-RF DirecTV remote with a "battery radio" to RF/IR blaster setup. To explain, I have a little dummy battery that "listens" to any brand remote you put it in and sends the codes in RF to a little IR blaster you put in the cabinet. Truth is it works GREAT, way better than the Harmony 900 and it cost me like $30 on e-Bay.

My dilema is now I have a HTPC to control, and I want one power button instead of switching off my stereo seperatly, etc. I want something universal like a Harmony w/ custom screens for HTPC buttons etc. Since the 900 is a dud is there anything else out there that does all the HTPC functions well and has RF ability that works further than 15' reliably? I thought I would be easy to please, I really only have 3 components a DTV box, a HTPC and my stereo. The 900 is hit or miss and I noticed that there is no "list" button when I am in Satellite mode. I did only invest 30 minutes time into programming it though.

What about the MX-450 MX-880, etc.???
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:06 AM
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if you have an itouch or iphone there are quite a few apps that will do this along with hardware solutions.

ours will have the macro piece soon so it would handle what you are talking about although it is not near $30.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1234898

http://totalcontrolapp.com/index.php...=108&Itemid=92

there are some others though that may fit your budget if that is a major piece.

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Old 03-17-2010, 05:45 AM
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I went from a Harmony 890 to a URC MX-980 with an MRF-350 and I like it a lot. I tried the MX-880 and sold it to get the MX-980. The graphical limitations of the MX-880 are annoying since it is limited by design to hit a certain price point and feature set compared to other products they sell.

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Old 03-17-2010, 07:43 AM
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FWIW, you can use your next gen with just about any harmony that takes regular batteries, like any 5xx, 6xx or 7xx series and still get the custom screens you're after. You can save a lot of money that way.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syner View Post

if you have an itouch or iphone there are quite a few apps that will do this along with hardware solutions.

ours will have the macro piece soon so it would handle what you are talking about although it is not near $30.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1234898

http://totalcontrolapp.com/index.php...=108&Itemid=92

there are some others though that may fit your budget if that is a major piece.

I don't have an I-phone. I have a G1 Android but I need a dedicated remote anyway since my wife and 3 kids will be using it as well. My oldest kid has a I-touch so I may do that for her, she would love it.

I know that $30 is USUALLY not enough to buy anything reasonable. But I got to admit, that cheap little thing would meet the needs of a lot of people. The range is about 2-3 times greater than the Harmony and it always works. I use it on my back patio to control my DirecTV while grilling outside and I have even taken it to the property line with good results. It just amazes me that a no name chinese company can make something no one has ever heard of for $30 that works better than my $400 remote.

BUT as I said, I need a good Media Center/Satellite remote to put it in, HMMM Maybe I will turn the RF on the Harmony 900 off and try the cheap thing in it.....
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

I went from a Harmony 890 to a URC MX-980 with an MRF-350 and I like it a lot. I tried the MX-880 and sold it to get the MX-980. The graphical limitations of the MX-880 are annoying since it is limited by design to hit a certain price point and feature set compared to other products they sell.

I was looking at the MX-980 It looks like it does all that the 900 does and I had a MX-500 years ago that I was real happy with until I need RF and switched to the stock remote with add on.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

FWIW, you can use your next gen with just about any harmony that takes regular batteries, like any 5xx, 6xx or 7xx series and still get the custom screens you're after. You can save a lot of money that way.

By "next gen" do you mean the battery transmitter thing I have? Some people call it a UFO due to the shape of the IR blaster/battery charger part.

I need to look and see if those remotes have the 4 colored buttons for DirecTV and Media PC.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEQuest View Post

By "next gen" do you mean the battery transmitter thing I have? Some people call it a UFO due to the shape of the IR blaster/battery charger part.

The company is called a "Next Generation" and you can do a quick search on Amazon.com and see it.

Using this on a Harmony 900 will not work since the 900 uses a battery pack. You would need a Harmony listed in mdavej's post.

The colored buttons aren't much of an issue if you have a remote with a screen since you can just add them there instead of to a physical colored button.

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Old 03-17-2010, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEQuest View Post

I need to look and see if those remotes have the 4 colored buttons for DirecTV and Media PC.

I prefer hard color buttons to soft ones too. All the recent ones have them (510, 600, 650 and 700). Click the thumbnails in THIS chart and see.

As a hardcore JP1er, I have to put in a plug for those as well. The RCA RCRP05B is $7 shipped on ebay or $20 at best buy and walgreens. Add a $30 programming cable and you've got a poor man's harmony/URC, but no LCD. You can at least program it from a PC and do 15 step macros versus 5 steps on harmony. It's made by the same company that makes DirecTV remotes and has a similar layout, but adds learning, macros, keymoves, device specific macros, multi-macros (aka favorites), VPT, channel lock, macro pauses, and device multiplexing for an unlimited number of devices and a huge online code library and a great online support community. Not bad for $7 (ok, $37). Perfect for those with thrifty instincts
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:11 AM
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I am a long time Harmony 890 user who went to the 900 and it was a disaster because of the RF performance. I sent it back to them and bought two 890 Pro's off of Ebay that I am currently using. I will likely go back to URC when these die so I am very interested in the responses you get. Beyond the weak performance of the 900, Harmony support which used to be great is currently a joke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEQuest View Post

I swallowed my thrifty instincts and bought a Harmony 900 a few weeks ago and have never used it for one evening of TV. The reason is that is unrelaible as hell for RF. All of components are in a cabinet and I NEED RF. I am currently using a stock NON-RF DirecTV remote with a "battery radio" to RF/IR blaster setup. To explain, I have a little dummy battery that "listens" to any brand remote you put it in and sends the codes in RF to a little IR blaster you put in the cabinet. Truth is it works GREAT, way better than the Harmony 900 and it cost me like $30 on e-Bay.

My dilema is now I have a HTPC to control, and I want one power button instead of switching off my stereo seperatly, etc. I want something universal like a Harmony w/ custom screens for HTPC buttons etc. Since the 900 is a dud is there anything else out there that does all the HTPC functions well and has RF ability that works further than 15' reliably? I thought I would be easy to please, I really only have 3 components a DTV box, a HTPC and my stereo. The 900 is hit or miss and I noticed that there is no "list" button when I am in Satellite mode. I did only invest 30 minutes time into programming it though.

What about the MX-450 MX-880, etc.???

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Old 03-20-2010, 03:57 PM
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understood.
for the g1 though some food for thought down the road http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1234899

you will be able to use both apps with the same hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEQuest View Post

I don't have an I-phone. I have a G1 Android but I need a dedicated remote anyway since my wife and 3 kids will be using it as well. My oldest kid has a I-touch so I may do that for her, she would love it.

I know that $30 is USUALLY not enough to buy anything reasonable. But I got to admit, that cheap little thing would meet the needs of a lot of people. The range is about 2-3 times greater than the Harmony and it always works. I use it on my back patio to control my DirecTV while grilling outside and I have even taken it to the property line with good results. It just amazes me that a no name chinese company can make something no one has ever heard of for $30 that works better than my $400 remote.

BUT as I said, I need a good Media Center/Satellite remote to put it in, HMMM Maybe I will turn the RF on the Harmony 900 off and try the cheap thing in it.....


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Old 03-20-2010, 09:57 PM
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If all the components are inside a wood cabinet, would the "next gen" even work?
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mphfrom77 View Post

If all the components are inside a wood cabinet, would the "next gen" even work?

Of course it would. That's exactly what RF is made for.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida View Post

I am a long time Harmony 890 user who went to the 900 and it was a disaster because of the RF performance. I sent it back to them and bought two 890 Pro's off of Ebay that I am currently using. I will likely go back to URC when these die so I am very interested in the responses you get. Beyond the weak performance of the 900, Harmony support which used to be great is currently a joke.

That story sounds just like mine. Long time Harmony user(have use the 880, 890, ONE and 900).

When I downgraded from the 890 to the 900, it only lasted for a month. The 890 is a way better RF remote then the 900 will every be. And the funny thing is the 900 lost features (zwave, button sequence) from 890.

Long story short, finally ended up with URC MX-980 with MRF-350. Just make sure your URC dealer isn't a total dick/douchbag and try to bend you over when asking for the software to program your own system.

And yes JonEQuest, the URC system will do everything your wanting to do and work all the time. It just going to cost more.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syner View Post

understood.
for the g1 though some food for thought down the road http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1234899

you will be able to use both apps with the same hardware.

Thanks for the heads up on the Android plans. Although I wouldn't use it as a primary remote, it would be nice to have the capability. Currently I have a Nexus One android phone, and we have two G1s in the family as well. We are phasing out the iPhones/iTouchs in favor of the faster processors and performance (as well as more flexible platform) of the Android devices. Been VERY happy with that strategy so far.
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Old 03-28-2010, 01:03 AM
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OTOH I do not have any problems with my MX-900. RF for everything except projector (I bounce IR off the screen for that). I use press as well as press-and-hold macros and they are 100% reliable. Mind you I use rechargeable batteries which I keep topped up charge-wise.

Relentless pursuit of perfection... within budget!
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Old 04-04-2010, 02:02 PM
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I would do the mx980 mrf350 combo all day. If you need them contact me.
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