Need Windows Media Center remote that'll work with Harmony 659 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-21-2014, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Need Windows Media Center remote that'll work with Harmony 659

Hi all,

I'm setting up a Home Theater PC and so far can't find a remote receiver/command set that's fully compatible with either Windows Media Center or my Harmony 659.

My first MCE remote was a Mediagate HA-IR01SV. There's nothing I can find anywhere that will map its commands to my Harmony. There are hundreds of manufacturers in the setup, but Mediagate isn't one of them.

My next remote purchase was an ORtek VRC-1100. And while this maps OK to Harmony, about 10% of its commands aren't properly recognized by Windows Media Center, resulting in the wrong thing happening on screen, and the color buttons bring up all sorts of stuff that they shouldn't. For example, pause doesn't pause, play doesn't play -- I had to re-map both keys to the keyboard spacebar using LMRemote software on the HTPC. I cannot program any command to invoke subtitle toggling, which I should be able to map to a colour button; pushing any colour button instead ends up invoking things like "my pictures" or "my videos" in Windows Media Center, while a movie is still playing. So basically the VRC-1100 is only semi-compatible.

So the object here is getting a 100% compatible RC that works with both my Logitech Harmony software and Windows Media Center. My trusty Harmony is working fine--but I just need an IR receiver and command set that's 100% compatible. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-21-2014, 11:17 AM
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Hmm, I have an Ortek and harmony and have no problems toggling subtitles or reassigning the colored buttons. Subtitles are a simple 3 or 4 command sequence assigned to the button of your choice. Have you ever actually customized any buttons on your remote. No matter what dongle, you have to tweak your harmony for it to work like you want.

Play is a play/pause toggle. But what does it matter?

Any MCE or RC6 will have the behavior you want, but comes with new issues. I think if you did a little more programming, you'd be fine.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-21-2014, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
Hmm, I have an Ortek and harmony and have no problems toggling subtitles or reassigning the colored buttons. Subtitles are a simple 3 or 4 command sequence assigned to the button of your choice. Have you ever actually customized any buttons on your remote. No matter what dongle, you have to tweak your harmony for it to work like you want.

Play is a play/pause toggle. But what does it matter?

Any MCE or RC6 will have the behavior you want, but comes with new issues. I think if you did a little more programming, you'd be fine.
Can you perhaps point me in the right direction of how to customize the ORtek commands? I did try to map the colour buttons from the ORtek to the Harmony in the "additional buttons" sections (Device = Media Center PC/Command = Yellow, for example) but the end result is My Videos or something like that coming up. Even pushing the yellow button on the original remote does that.

I don't know enough about the technology to do this on my own without assistance, and any would be tremendously appreciated. I don't mind throwing money at a problem until it goes away, but obviously if I can spend an hour tweaking a configuration to do the same thing even better.

I am controlling Media Browser Classic on top of Windows Media Center on my HTPC.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-27-2014, 10:53 PM
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Don't think in terms of customizing commands, but instead think of customizing buttons. The Yellow "function" on the Ortek will never change. It will always open My Videos, like it or not. But the Yellow "button" on your Harmony can be assigned to do anything you want. So ask yourself what "function" you want the Yellow button on your Harmony to perform, and pick that in the software. I personally don't use the colored functions at all because I can't remember what they do.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess I still haven't made the leap of understanding necessary here. The HAMA/ORtek remote has very few actual physical buttons that I can remap into Harmony, and with XBMC now part of the equation, I'm finding I need a way to send keyboard commands mapped to certain keys--and I have absolutely no clue how to do it. The manual for the ORtek, for example, has one button named as DVD Menu, but that choice does not appear in the Harmony mappings. Neither does Recorded TV (Record TV does but the two send different codes).

Am I making this unnecessarily complex or is it really that messed up? Basically, all I'm trying to do is map the MENU button on my 659 with keyboard-equivalent of "T", to toggle subtitles, map GUIDE to keyboard "W", map INFO to keyboard "I" and map the first 6 top buttons to various other commands, all using the ORtek IR receiver. I don't particularly care what buttons are on the ORtek original remote, just so long as the receiver can correctly interpret commands sent by the 659. My reason for using the YELLOW, BLUE, etc, were because there were only 8 buttons (well 9 if you include RECORD, which I don't need) that weren't critical functions.

So, I ask you kind Harmony gurus here, what should I do in this case? I'm completely turned around at this point. Please and thanks.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 07:49 AM
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WMC has keyboard shortcuts. WMC remotes actually send "Virtual Keys". WMC will react to either. You can use a little program to explore what the IR receiver is getting from the remote. Then using all this information, attempt to program your Harmony with the Virtual Keys so that the Ortek receiver will understand it. Or if your Harmony is a "learning remote" then you could point the Ortek into the Harmonty and learn the keys directly from it.

List of WMC Keyboard shortcuts

List of Virtual Keys

Showkey Utility
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been using Showkey and the computer is receiving what's shown in the WMC Keyboard shortcuts. The big question is how do I change it? The desired result, as I said, is when I press MENU on my Harmony 659 it sends "t". It's that mapping that has me confused.

By default, the MENU button, like all others, is blank and has to be mapped to something to send any code at all. So the question becomes what do I need to do in the Harmony software to map the menu key to something the ORtek IR receiver will interpret as "t" (and I'm just using this as an example - it could be any WMC or XBMC command that I would want mapped).
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 09:38 AM
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I don't know anything about LMRemote, but I do know if it only works with MCE, then the Ortek won't work. I don't think you really need anything like that anyway. Make yourself a subtitle toggle macro (sequence consisting of right, left, ok, exit) and assign it to your Yellow button on your Harmony. The Ortek dongle only recognizes the commands on the remote, nothing more. There is no additional or subtitle command it could possibly send or receive, not from the Ortek remote or from Harmony.

Can you specify exactly what you are trying to achieve? You've mentioned play, pause and subtitle. Is there anything else? Seems like this is much more complicated than it needs to be.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
Can you specify exactly what you are trying to achieve? You've mentioned play, pause and subtitle. Is there anything else? Seems like this is much more complicated than it needs to be.
OK, as of now, here's what I'm trying to achieve. I am using XBMC Gotham 13.2 as my player now. XBMC uses key strokes sent from a traditional keyboard to perform certain functions, such as toggle subtitles on/off, select the next sub language, toggle a movie or show watched, jump forward/back, bring up onscreen displays and an awful lot more. Hundreds of commands, actually.

Since I won't have a keyboard or mouse physically connected to the HTPC once this setup is done, nor will I be using the original ORtek remote control, the end result must be to find a way to send a few of those keystroke commands to XBMC from my Harmony 659.

Of the hundreds of possible commands, the only ones I really need to invoke while watching a movie or TV show that are not currently accomplished with existing buttons on the Harmony 659 are subtitles on/off (keystroke t), toggle watched status (keystroke w), fast forward and rewind (keystrokes f and r respectively), Media Info (i), and onscreen display player controls (m).

LM remote
is partially working, and it's how I mapped the ORtek Start key to launch XBMC from the desktop. It will not re-map the hardwired colour buttons of the ORtek remote, despite my giving it alternate commands. Those 4 buttons are fixed and I believe interpreted by Windows directly rather than anything else. So it seems the ORtek IR receiver's available command set is far too limited for what I want to do, unless I'm completely mistaken.

Basically, the way I understand it (and I could be way off base here), XBMC needs to see certain keystroke commands to do specific tasks. An MCE remote sends the equivalent of keystrokes, but different ones that I need for the desired functions functions. The translation of these IR commands occurs inside the PC at some point. The ORtek/HAMA remote is only partially MCE compliant and is missing some key functions that maybe a more fully-functional IR receiver has. The Harmony's interpretation of the HAMA/ORtek commands is not 100% either.

I think that about covers the situation I'm in right now.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 11:18 AM
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In that case you'll need an MCE (RC6) dongle and the Windows Media Center SE profile in Harmony (not possible with the Ortek dongle). That profile doesn't have those apha commands either, but does have the normal MCE behavior of More(i) and a few others. Plus it has lots of others you may be able to remap.

http://forums.logitech.com/t5/Harmon...ur/td-p/374844

FWIW, I've plugged an Ortek dongle into a Raspberry Pi running XBMC, and all of the above (except subtitles) work fine. So somebody has figured out a way to map it properly. Why don't you just pick the Ortek/Adesso profile within the XBMC software. That's all I had to do on my Pi. Sounds like you're trying to use the wrong remote profile in XBMC.
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
In that case you'll need an MCE (RC6) dongle and the Windows Media Center SE profile in Harmony (not possible with the Ortek dongle). That profile doesn't have those apha commands either, but does have the normal MCE behavior of More(i) and a few others. Plus it has lots of others you may be able to remap.

http://forums.logitech.com/t5/Harmon...ur/td-p/374844

FWIW, I've plugged an Ortek dongle into a Raspberry Pi running XBMC, and all of the above (except subtitles) work fine. So somebody has figured out a way to map it properly. Why don't you just pick the Ortek/Adesso profile within the XBMC software. That's all I had to do on my Pi. Sounds like you're trying to use the wrong remote profile in XBMC.
OK, this is out of left field, but how do you do this in XBMC. First I've heard of that ability.
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post #12 of 12 Old 08-28-2014, 12:05 PM
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OK, this is out of left field, but how do you do this in XBMC. First I've heard of that ability.
Sorry, but I haven't used XBMC in years, so I don't remember exactly. But it wasn't hard to find in XBMC in OpenELEC as I recall. Just dig into the settings, and you should find remote types in there somewhere. Otherwise, this may get you on the right track:

http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=Remote_C...views#VRC-1100

And here's how to customize the keyboard.xml file (don't know if that's still necessary or not):

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=55406
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