New home theater set up requires universal remote - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-15-2012, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I'm a total noob at this stuff, so hoping that you guys can help me out. System as it stands is:

Samsung UN60ES8000 TV
Sony BDP-S790 Bluray
Time Warner Cable DVR (brand is Samsung)
Denon AVR-2312CI

I also have a Soundfreaq iPod dock that I'd like to be able to control with it. That's all that I have right now, but I would like to have the scope to expand it in the future.

The remotes I'm considering at the moment are:

Harmony One (can be got for $139.99 on Amazon)
Xsight Touch ($87.50)
URC R50 ($64.08)
URC R40 ($149.99)

I'd rather have a rechargeable unit, but that's not a deal breaker. I'd like it to be reasonably easy to set up so that I can push a button and have it turn the TV, the Bluray and the AVR on, set the AVR to the bluray, the TV to the bluray, then have the volume controls change the AVR and the FF, RW, Play etc change the bluray. From what I've read that would be either an activity or a macro depending on the remote.

Price is not too important, but I'd rather not throw money away (not planning on going over about 250 unless it really would make a difference and I suspect the ones above are probably a little more than I need anyway).

I'm a little leery of the R50 on account of how small some of those buttons in the middle bit look and I can't find one out and about to try. The R40 looks pretty good, but it's most expensive and I'm not sure if it's got enough to warrant the extra money.

Lastly, I am new to all of this, so I suspect that programming macros without any guidance available might prove challenging, but I'm also pretty good at picking stuff up, so that's not a dealbreaker either. Basically I've read a few reviews and the like and looked at some threads, but I can't find anywhere something that says these are the pros and cons of this model versus that model and I've also seen a few people say "setting it up took a long time", but with no hint as to how long a long time is. An hour? A day? A week?

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far) and thanks in advance for any help.
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-15-2012, 10:31 AM
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My vote goes for the Xsight, with Harmony a close second. Either URC would be fine too, but I personally like a PC programmable model for ease of config and updatability.

I like Xsight better than the One for the following reasons:
- Cheaper
- Unlimited macro length
- Lasts much longer between charges (Xsight goes about a month, the One only a few days)
- RF capable
- Ability to edit activities, not just add steps
- Hard colored buttons

One advantage of the One is state tracking, which may come in handy on your cable box. But it's easy to get by without it. The One also works on a Mac whereas the Xsight doesn't.

URC are very reliable and great remotes as well. So any of your choices would work fine.

Macros are pretty easy to program on all of them. Harmony is the easiest, but least flexible. Don't be afraid of macro/activity programming. Essentially all you do is make a list of all the steps you take manually today. Harmony and Xsight builds them automatically by asking questions. You can build macros without the wizard on Xsight if you prefer (that's what I do). URC has no wizard AFAIK.

Initial setup on any of them is probably less than an hour, though you may spend the next few weeks/months refining and tweaking. For example you may find in a few days you wish you had put an Aspect button on the first screen or want to add a Sound Mode toggle. Or you may find some delays that may need to be tweaked to make your macros more reliable.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-15-2012, 01:07 PM
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I would use roomie.

(which is what I use.)
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-15-2012, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Hampton View Post

I would use roomie.
(which is what I use.)

+1 smile.gif

You mentioned having an iPod dock - if you have an iTouch (or iPhone) you're golden! If you are interested in going down this path (versus a dedicated remote) there are several very competent iOS apps that would fit the bill (Roomie, iRule, DemoPad, etc.) - they all have their own pros/cons, but (IMHO) nothing can beat Roomie from the perspective of getting up & running with the shortest learning curve. I have a very diverse set of components (Lexicon, Bryston, Oppo, Epson, B&K, Makita drapes, custom IR screen masking, etc.) and I was able to achieve a very workable config in a couple of hours, from scratch.

Without looking deeper I don't know if any of your listed devices are IP controllable - if they are, all you need is the Roomie app + some form of network connection. If your devices are not IP-enabled you'll have to use IR or serial and will need extra hardware, such as a Global Cache iTach or GC-100 - either can be picked up for around $100. The Roomie website has details on IP/IR/serial compatibility with the app. Adding devices that they don't list can be pretty simple too.

Dave
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-15-2012, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the replies. Gotta be honest, I'm concerned about all the negative reviews on the Xsight on Amazon. It sounds like a lot of people have struggled with the software. The Roomie sounds interesting, but I'm a little concerned about what it's going to cost all in. The basic app is 10 bucks, but what does it cost for more than 2 items and what does it cost to do anything that's not supported by the wifi stuff?

Thanks everyone for your help. Much appreciated.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-16-2012, 05:25 AM
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Roomie "really" costs $30 or $39 if you wind up using anything ir. the itach adapters cost about $100 but a single ir adapter can be stretched pretty far. It has several outputs and using an ir repeater which you may already have can stretch it father. (using 1 for two rooms for example)

I have roomie setup on my iPhone, my iPad, my kids iPod touch, and my wife's iPhone so you can get a lot of value that way.

-Brian
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-16-2012, 05:29 AM
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Looks like your blu ray player and avr are ip control capable so for the $10 you can get started right away.

That what I did,... I used the $10 version for a while to control my bdp and avr and by using hdmi control it also turned on my display.

Eventually, I wanted more so I bought the $20 ht pack and a itach wifi2serial.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-16-2012, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Brian,

Did you have to buy the app again to put it on your wife's iPhone? If I do go down this route I'd like to be able to put it on my girlfriend's iPhone but I'm not so sure about that if we'd have to pay for it twice

Thanks
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-16-2012, 06:16 AM
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If you haven't already, try the Denon and Sony apps for your gear. They are free and they aren't bad. They will give you a preview. Roomie is much better but those will give you the taste.

I didn't have to buy it twice to put in on my wife's phone even though she has a separate iTunes account. (She buys iTunes music but I do not.) I just had to sign into the store using my account on her phone.

-Brian
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