Harmony 550 or URC MX-500 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-19-2007, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I am trying to find a universal remote to control the following components:
- Sony Bravia HDTV
- Pioneer Receiver
- Comcast Set Top Box
- Panasonic DVD Player
- HTPC with Vista MCE

I am thinking of going for either a Logitech Harmony 550 or URC MX-500 (looking for sub $100 remote)

Anyone have an opinion of what I should choose? I am pretty tech savvy and don't mind the extra hassle in programming researching on using the remote.

thanks,
Arun
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-19-2007, 12:30 AM
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Hi,

I have no experience with the MX-500 but I picked up the Harmony 550 about 2 weeks ago. Coming from a guy who has never had one all I can say is wow! I probably wouldn't have bothered to buy one had my new receiver's (Onkyo) remote been able to work with my DVD player. I love pretty much everything about this remote and was blown away by the level of customization available. Some have complained about the ergonomics of this remote, but I don't have much to complain about, and the wife likes it too
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-20-2007, 12:22 AM
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Dredd hit the nail on the head

I love the 550. Ive also had it for a couple weeks and have no complaints. My girlfriend likes the fact that 1 button will turn everything on and shes ready to go. She works at BB so I got it for $60. Love the BB discount!
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-20-2007, 06:56 AM
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Guys, don't be promoting just the Harmony remotes!

The MX remote is MUCH more powerful then the Harmony remote.

It is a little more "difficult" to program but the manual will walk you through everything.

You can program macros yourself. You can hide macros, meaning when you press a button quickly it does its main function, but if you hold that button for the time that you specify in the macro it'll fire the macro.

I'd recommend whichever feels better to you. I personally would go with the MX-500 for its added power.

Just to let you know I have a Harmony 880. I'll be switching to an MX 850 soon
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-20-2007, 07:52 AM
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I would second the MX500. You can also get the MX700 for about $50 over your budget. It can be programed on your computer and if you buy from an AD the software is continually updated.
I've had my MX700 since 2001 and love it. I've tried the Harmony and even the Pronto and keep coming back to the MX700. It has all I need

Mike

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post #6 of 13 Old 02-20-2007, 12:17 PM
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Quote:


The MX remote is MUCH more powerful then the Harmony remote.

The MX-700+ PC programmable models from URC are more powerful in certain areas (and too expensive for original poster's < $100 budget), but the MX-500 is definitely less powerful than the Harmony models. MX-500, you need another remote to find discrete codes for macros, unless lucky enough to have OEM remotes that have all the discretes you need. Harmony has "smart state" for dealing with devices w/o discrete codes, and has exit activity macros. Plus w/ MX-500 w/o PC programming you have to learn a ton of keys, and relearn every time you move stuff around on the LCD.

The strength of MX-500 is button size/shape/feel, and the large LCD w/ 10 commands per page. Downside is overall size, inability to get discrete codes, and non-PC programming. Also could use a few more dedicated labeled keys; the dual labeled transport keys around the menu pad never were a great idea & the concept was properly abandoned in their later models.

I used MX-500 for 6 years, it was the best at the time & I was quite happy with it, but these days I would pick a Harmony 670/720/550 in that $100 +/- $20 price range.
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-20-2007, 05:48 PM
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Coming from an older SL-8000 Home theater master URC remote, I went to the 550. It's not that great folks. It's purdy, but it's super slow at sending commands (my biggest complaint)and the entire thing is designed upside down. Its the only way I can describe it. And I'm not sold on the activity idea just yet. I think I like URC's hard buttons/pass through combinations better. Then there's the "click". Everything bloody clicks. Volume up/dwn, channel up/dwn, ok button and more. click click click.....ARRRRG.

Setup was painfully slow. Yeah it's web based, but I still find it very tedious, and it has troubles learning commands from some other remotes in the house, i.e xbox, infocus etc. I hated having to setup the device and each button, then repeating that same task in the blessed activity again.

Overall I'm going to keep it, but it's not a "keep forever" type remote. And I feel one drop on the floor, and it'll be dead.

Why do I say upside down? Well, the number keys are in the wrong spot, and too small. The menu/info/guide//up and down arrow/exit buttons are too big ( actually take up the same space all 10 number buttons do!!?!!). The play/ff/rw etc buttons are in the wrong spot and are all the same shape. Spongy feel to some buttons. The list goes on. Then there's the shape. With the batteries on the bottom backside, you hold them in your hand all of the time. It's the widest part of the remote. Anyone that owns it, do this, take the remote, hold it upside down so that the skinny part is in your hand. That feels better to me. Also, when sitting on a table, the IR sensor points down rendering it useless, when it should point upwards at your equipment.

It lights up very nice, it is light, battery life seems good. Works with the next gen ir-rf products, the help button is handy as is the new a/b buttons not found on the 520. I would like more control over arranging activites and devices as well as a clock on the darn thing ( something nobody every thinks of). The glow button is very handy....also clicks See, I do like it, but it's not as good as the remote it replaced and which lasted a good 8 years.
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-20-2007, 05:54 PM
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I'll second the MX-700 suggestions.

Don't bother with the authorized dealer. Buy it from the cheapest place online that you can.

I'll help you with the software.
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-20-2007, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfmp3 View Post

Coming from an older SL-8000 Home theater master URC remote, I went to the 550. It's not that great folks. It's purdy, but it's super slow at sending commands (my biggest complaint)

The speed it sends command is adjustable. Read the sticky at the top of the forum!

Quote:


Then there's the "click". Everything bloody clicks. Volume up/dwn, channel up/dwn, ok button and more. click click click.....ARRRRG

If the clicks bother you maybe 670 where only the d-pad clicks would be an improvement. Or maybe 676/680/659.

Quote:


I hated having to setup the device and each button, then repeating that same task in the blessed activity again.

Most can/should probably get away with only customizing the activities.
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-21-2007, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Tu View Post

The speed it sends command is adjustable. Read the sticky at the top of the forum!


If the clicks bother you maybe 670 where only the d-pad clicks would be an improvement. Or maybe 676/680/659.


Most can/should probably get away with only customizing the activities.

The speed is still too slow on the highest setting. You literally have to wait after you push a button, or you get the dreaded 2 button push annoyance. For stuff like Volume or channels, it's not too bad.But for anything like my xbox where I'm scanning through hundreds of mp3's, it's painfully slow.

Didn't like the look and feel of any of the other remotes. I needed something that used AAA's to use with my Next gen IR-RF converter.

you can arrange activites, but you can't arrange devices the way you want.

Bottom line, I should have gotten another URC. They are simply the best remotes, period and I'd have RF built in.
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-22-2007, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for your comments. I found a sweet sub-$100 deal on a used mx-700 on ebay and bought it. Awaiting it's delivery.

I only got the remote though, no software or serial cable.

I found this link where there are instructions for a DIY serial cable for the MX-700
[DIY Serial Cable for Mx-700]

Unfortunately, I can't locate a place where I can get the latest software. I have link to an older version, another option I see from reading the posts on this forum is that I could call up URC and hope they'd email me the software. Other than these 2 options, is there any other place I could get the software?

thanks.
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-22-2007, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW I found manuals for the MX-700 remote at this website. The one for programming is pretty comprehensive.

Manuals
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-22-2007, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfmp3 View Post

The speed is still too slow on the highest setting. You literally have to wait after you push a button, or you get the dreaded 2 button push annoyance. For stuff like Volume or channels, it's not too bad.But for anything like my xbox where I'm scanning through hundreds of mp3's, it's painfully slow.

Well that's not normal... I've got mine set to 0ms, and commands are sent instantaneously.
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