univ remote recommendation - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-19-2013, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking for a Universal Remote that is not too difficult to program/setup, and is family/kids friendly.

Fairly standard HT set up:
TV - Panny TC-65GT50
Receiver - Denon 1713
Cable Box - Uverse VIP 1225
BluRay Deck - Sony BDP-S570
Stream Box - Apple TV3 (a bonus if univ remote runs it, but not a priority)

I will probably be upgrading my blu-ray deck to either ...
Panasonic DMP-BDT 500/330/230
Oppo 103 (possible but not too likely)

The two remotes I've found so far are the ...
Logitech Harmony 650
URC WR7

But, I really have no idea what I'm doing ; )
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-19-2013, 11:24 AM
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Both will work. Harmony is easier to program.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-19-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.

Is there another remote you would recommend?
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-19-2013, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

Looking for a Universal Remote that is not too difficult to program/setup, and is family/kids friendly.

Fairly standard HT set up:
TV - Panny TC-65GT50
Receiver - Denon 1713
Cable Box - Uverse VIP 1225
BluRay Deck - Sony BDP-S570
Stream Box - Apple TV3 (a bonus if univ remote runs it, but not a priority)

I will probably be upgrading my blu-ray deck to either ...
Panasonic DMP-BDT 500/330/230
Oppo 103 (possible but not too likely)

The two remotes I've found so far are the ...
Logitech Harmony 650
URC WR7

But, I really have no idea what I'm doing ; )

I would go with the Harmony 650, especially for the family/kids factor. The "Activities" format is a blessing for the family/kids, and the "Help' button saves all the "Dad!?!" cries.

The programming is straightforward, but as a suggestion, start pulling all the model numbers for your devices. You will need these to program the remote.

However, please note that the Harmony tops out at five devices. If you plan to add more, you may think about investing in a higher model. But, the Harmony remotes do get expensive.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-19-2013, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info! Picked one up at BestBuy - will be snagging the model #'s and programming tonight ; )

Just out of curiosity - will it also run the AppleTV (3)?
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-20-2013, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

Thanks for the info! Picked one up at BestBuy - will be snagging the model #'s and programming tonight ; )

Just out of curiosity - will it also run the AppleTV (3)?

Yes, the Harmony will run the AppleTV, though you may need to "tweak" the remote, or "learn" some functions. Don't worry though, the Harmony remotes do this very easily.

The Harmony remotes will control many devices that people are unaware of, for example, my kids lost the remote to the Bose Sounddock (for iPod). I went in and found the device under digital music players, and they were back in business. You may have to hunt a bit for the device under "other devices" but it will be there.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-20-2013, 06:26 AM
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I just setup a harmony 650 for the in-laws...

Not a horrible remote for the price, it is pretty easy to setup but does have annoying limitations if you are type A like me.

My biggest gripe about the remote is you can't order the activities buttons. You add all your activities and it displays them in some order I haven't figured out. With only showing 2 activities per page, having less used buttons on the first/default page and more used buttons on the 2nd is annoying and for "in-laws" causes user issues and limits WAF imo.

I also just replaced my URC 810 with a URC 880 (Here), me and my wife absolutely love this line of remotes. My opinion is that for a home enthusiast/theater it is a great remote that fits in-between a harmony and the more professional lines that can automate anything. We like the size of the remote, the buttons are the perfect size and number (not many buttons are wasted, and are big enough to find and read (imo the harmony buttons are too small). The buttons to us are layed out in logical fashion, and the size/shape was well thought out for "lookless" control by feel.

Another great feature of the remote... it uses both RF and IR. I was able to put all my equipment behind the wall my tv is mounted to, RF goes through the wall and I don't have ANY line of sight issues. The catch here is if you want to use only RF and have IR only devices (99% chance I would guess), you have to get a base station like the MF-350, which costs about as much as the remote itself. Though you can configure the remote to send the same codes via RF and/or IR to meet your exact needs.

There are a few problems with this remote...

1. It is a professional line. You have to buy it from an authorized dealer to receive warranty/support. Also URC does not provide the programming software, you technically should only get it from an authorized dealer. Some dealers won't sell you the remote and give you the software, either they don't know the official URC policy allows them to give the software away or they intend of charging service fees to program it for you. Now you can get an "unsupported" remote off ebay for ~$200, but you generally have to find the software (easy to find via torrent). I did try and support my local business but they wanted $450 for the remote, they were willing to give me a copy of the software though.

2. The programming software is not nearly as easy to use as logitechs/harmony. Its not really difficult if you are used to using "more professional level" software (aka not just wizards). Though what you will get is an insane amount of flexibility. you pretty much can customize it any way you want (nice if you are type a like me).
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-20-2013, 05:51 PM
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The Harmony 650 works great except for the device limitation and a couple other problems. Five devices is not adequate. I have a good modern set up but not a particularly complex one. I have: 1. A projector. 2. A cable set top box 3. An AV receiver 4: A Blu-ray player 5: A flat screen TV (for daytime viewing). I have a Roku which I can't attach and I would like to also control my air conditioner - no soap, not enough devices available. Fortunately I can get most of the Roku functions through the Blu-ray player but it takes a lot more time and navigation.

Another annoyance is that on my Windows 7 PC with IE, most of the time the software won't run. I have to use Google Chrome.

I have never quite gotten the flat screen to be properly controlled. I have tried to program it so that it it switches directly on with one button but I can't make that work. I always have to poke lots of of buttons on the Device menus. Even just switching to the Blu-ray player takes a half dozen key presses. The Harmony doesn't remember which HDMI channel I have set up so I have to enter them manually each time I switch.

My projector an Acer HD9500 doesn't recognize the various 3D formats automatically ( Side-by-Side, Top and bottom, Blu-ray) so I have to go into the the device sub-menus to set it manually every time. I made up a macro and set it to one of the programmable keys. It worked for awhile but no longer.

I fooled around with iRule on my Samsung 7" tablet for awhile but physical buttons work better than a touch screen in the dark. I tried a URC remote too. The Logitech programming system is far superior. I would encourage them to continue investing in there product line. Alas for me the next model up with more devices is a whole lot more money.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-23-2013, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Both will work. Harmony is easier to program.

That is true but I find that several buttons on the Harmonys stop working after about a year or two whereas the remotes you are replacing with the Harmony last almost forever. Is there another option to the Logitech remote that will last more than 2 years?
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-23-2013, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesd3rd View Post

That is true but I find that several buttons on the Harmonys stop working after about a year or two whereas the remotes you are replacing with the Harmony last almost forever. Is there another option to the Logitech remote that will last more than 2 years?
URC and UEI last almost forever and are much more programmable than harmony. I personally prefer UEI due to their much lower price.
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