Best remote thread #1,000,001 - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 08-06-2012, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Drahthaar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I just recently went from a pretty bare bones entertainment setup to a new LG Plasma, a blu-ray player with wi-fi, sound bar and hd/digital cable box.

I now have 4 remotes... 2 of them are "universal" but one doesn't work with the sound bar and the other is still a rather large pain to navigate because of the lack of macro ability.

I have been combing through threads here for several days looking at options and almost everything that I see except the Harmony line appears to be out of production... meaning the prices have gone from rock bottom clearance to sky high enthusiast prices already. I'm also not sure how long the companies would support those devices.

Ideally, I would like to stay in the $100+/- range given that my setup is still pretty basic compared to a lot of people and I have a 7 year old that will be using it as well.

Is the Harmony line the only game left in town or are there others out there that are easy to use in day to day function that I'm just not aware of? There seems to be mixed reviews of the quality and reliability of the Harmony remotes on here. What about the remotes with macro ability that have gone out of production in the last year or so?
Drahthaar is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 Old 08-06-2012, 10:03 AM
Senior Member
 
JD NC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 269
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 40
I'm in the same boat. I have a Harmony 650 and I'm not very happy with the build quality or the customization options. The Acoustic Research XSight line has similar functionality to the Harmony, but looks to be a bit more customizable. MSRP for the backlit version is $250, but price on Amazon is just over $100. I'm going to give it a shot in the near future.

If you don't mind manually programming and teaching a lot of buttons for each device, the Sony RM-VLZ620 is an excellent cheap option at only $20. It's device-centric rather than activity-centric, but it still has a lot of macros. I "upgraded" to a harmony 650 from the Sony, but if the XSight doesn't work out, I'm probably going back to the Sony even though I have to manually program it.

JD NC is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 08-06-2012, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Drahthaar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I have looked at the Xsight remotes myself but I hate to spend over $100 for an electronic device that is not in production (or perhaps even supported) any longer. I'm not sure if a new one would even be under warranty.
Drahthaar is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 08-06-2012, 10:56 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mdavej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 9,439
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked: 282
The best value by far is JP1. They range from free with your cable box to $3 on ebay to $20 retail. With free JP1 software and a cheap JP1 cable you buy or build yourself, they run circles around harmony. They do unlimited macros, 5 functions per key (short press, long press, double press, shifted and double shifted), nested macros, unlimited devices, conditional branching, variables, custom protocols, signal analysis, pronto hex import, fast macros, custom key group mapping, the list goes on. Your cable remote may be JP1 and you may not even know it, since the advanced capabilities aren't usually documented in the manual. Many cable remotes these days do macros, key moves, key copies, volume punch thru, channel lock and device specific macros.

As for Xsight, they are great remotes as well and a much better value than a similarly priced harmony. The 12G starts at around $30. And the 18G, while near $100, has the same capabilities as a $250 harmony. New ones are still under warranty. I had one replaced myself not long ago. While Xsight may be discontinued at some point, UEI, the maker of Xsight is one of the largest remote makers in the world and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. They make millions of remotes for cable companies, DirecTV, Dish, One-For-All, Acoustic Research, RCA, Audiovox, and many, many OEMs.

The Sony recommended earlier is a fine remote, but for the same money, a JP1 remote is completely customizable where any function can be added without learning. For example if you want to add discrete power or discrete input codes, that can't be done on Sony or Philips or GE or cheap URC's like the WR7, but it's trivial on a JP1 remote, even if you don't have a programming cable. The best value JP1 remote at the moment is the RCA RCRP05B which is $15-$20 most places.

If you get a $100 harmony, you can still do macros if you use the old 7.7 software. The 600/650/700 are also pretty reliable. The only known issues are lose battery contacts on the 6xx series. For 4 devices any of those models will work fine and are easy to use and program. The 900 and 1100 can't do macros at all, so avoid those if that's an important feature. They're outside of your budget anyway. Most people don't seem to care about macros, only a few loud-mouths like me. I don't like pressing a dozen buttons to toggle captions on my TV, so I must have macros and am angry at logitech for removing them. Just take my rants with a grain of salt, and decide for yourself.
mdavej is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 08-06-2012, 03:37 PM
Member
 
rliebherr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 55
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

The best value by far is JP1. They range from free with your cable box to $3 on ebay to $20 retail. With free JP1 software and a cheap JP1 cable you buy or build yourself, they run circles around harmony. They do unlimited macros, 5 functions per key (short press, long press, double press, shifted and double shifted), nested macros, unlimited devices, conditional branching, variables, custom protocols, signal analysis, pronto hex import, fast macros, custom key group mapping, the list goes on. Your cable remote may be JP1 and you may not even know it, since the advanced capabilities aren't usually documented in the manual. Many cable remotes these days do macros, key moves, key copies, volume punch thru, channel lock and device specific macros.
As for Xsight, they are great remotes as well and a much better value than a similarly priced harmony. The 12G starts at around $30. And the 18G, while near $100, has the same capabilities as a $250 harmony. New ones are still under warranty. I had one replaced myself not long ago. While Xsight may be discontinued at some point, UEI, the maker of Xsight is one of the largest remote makers in the world and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. They make millions of remotes for cable companies, DirecTV, Dish, One-For-All, Acoustic Research, RCA, Audiovox, and many, many OEMs.
The Sony recommended earlier is a fine remote, but for the same money, a JP1 remote is completely customizable where any function can be added without learning. For example if you want to add discrete power or discrete input codes, that can't be done on Sony or Philips or GE or cheap URC's like the WR7, but it's trivial on a JP1 remote, even if you don't have a programming cable. The best value JP1 remote at the moment is the RCA RCRP05B which is $15-$20 most places.
If you get a $100 harmony, you can still do macros if you use the old 7.7 software. The 600/650/700 are also pretty reliable. The only known issues are lose battery contacts on the 6xx series. For 4 devices any of those models will work fine and are easy to use and program. The 900 and 1100 can't do macros at all, so avoid those if that's an important feature. They're outside of your budget anyway. Most people don't seem to care about macros, only a few loud-mouths like me. I don't like pressing a dozen buttons to toggle captions on my TV, so I must have macros and am angry at logitech for removing them. Just take my rants with a grain of salt, and decide for yourself.

I'm really intrigued with the JP1. How easy is it to program? How easy is it to set up macros? I had recently been looking at a Harmony One, but if the JP1 can do the same functions (and what appears to be many more), I may go a different route. Are there any drawbacks?
rliebherr is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Drahthaar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I am going to need something that is easy enough for a 7 year old to use without a manual. biggrin.gif I am thinking having a display with an icon labelled "watch tv" along with another icon for her favorite channels is probably going to be the way to go.

Any preferences of the Harmony One or the Xsight?
Drahthaar is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 11:19 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mdavej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 9,439
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked: 282
Hopefully this addresses the questions raised by the last couple of posters.

Back when my kids were 3, they had no trouble with my JP1 remotes. Press TV to watch TV, press DVD to watch a disc, etc. Can't get much simpler than that. It's as simple or complex as you make it. I keep things simple.

Also, you could run over it with a truck or throw is across the room and it would still work. On the off chance it does get lost or broken, you can replace it for $15 and download the config in about 3 seconds. Of course your 7 year old probably couldn't program it, because it requires a lot more thinking to set up than Harmony. Since you have complete control over every aspect, that means you have to think about every aspect to program it. There are drawbacks, like no display, so you have to remember where you put each function. For things with hundreds of functions like my AVR, I have to keep a cheat sheet handy. On harmony I can just scroll through the screens until I find the function I want. But the main advantages are price and the fact you never have to depend on the manufacturer's web server to program it. The config is stored on your local PC and the software doesn't have to connect to the internet.

I think they're pretty easy to program. You just pick a button for your macro and pick the steps from lists. There is a learning curve to the software however, and it can get really complicated depending on what you want to do. Since you have virtually no control over the steps in Harmony activity macros, Harmony is much simpler by comparison. Xsight builds your macros using a wizard like Harmony, or your can build them yourself (I always do the latter). While we've made the JP1 software as user friendly as possible (drag and drop functions to button on a graphic of the remote), some things are unavoidably complicated, like custom protocol design. You'll love JP1 if you are a cheapskate and have some basic programming skills.

Considering other options, I'd at least stay away from the touch screen models with small kids. They get grimy and get dropped often and are very sensitive. I'd go for something with buttons like the 700. If your kids are especially careful and neat, then go for the One. My personal preference is Xsight due to the additional features and the colored buttons. But harmony is more popular by far and easier to program and use, and automatically does state tracking, which Xsight and others lack (JP1 does it, but you have to program it at the bit level to do it).
mdavej is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Drahthaar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks.

The JP1 may be something that I look into in the future and as a backup. The channel favorites is a big thing for me after going with the new set top box and cable package. I now have about 3 times as many channels as I had previously and they are spread from channel 1 to 800 with no real grouping. Having a visual interface for my girl is probably the direction that I need to go at this point until everyone becomes familiar with the new components.
Drahthaar is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 02:30 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mdavej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 9,439
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked: 282
No favorites to speak of in the JP1 world. You can do maybe 30 practically (shifted 0-9, double shifted 0-9 and triple shifted 0-9). I personally find on-screen favorites lists easier to manage anyway. Fav lists on a most cable boxes suck though. It's not too bad using Window Media Center as my cable DVR. Favs on Dish and DirecTV work great though.

FYI, both Harmony and Xsight can use squareeyes icons. They look great. IIRC, you get 6 per page on the One and the Touch.
mdavej is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 08-09-2012, 07:51 AM
Senior Member
 
JD NC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 269
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 40
For a 7 year old, I'd go with the Harmony. I prefer the VLZ620, but its not as intuitive to just pick up and use, and it can be a pain to program depending on your components. You could also get a harmony 650 for $50 and a more traditional remote like the VLZ620 or JP1 for $20-30 for when you use the system and still be under your total budget. There's no rule that says you have to use one remote exclusively.

Good luck!

JD NC is offline  
Reply Remote Control Area

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off