Originally Posted by xb1032
I've had 3 harmony remotes and have mixed feeling about them. The Harmony H659 was a good remote but the buttons wore out too fast. Still have the 880 and it's been a good remote but rarely ever use it now. I also had the 1000 which was the most expensive yet the worst Harmony remote I've had. It had to be "rebooted" by removing the power often and the hard buttons seemed to stick on occasion. The Customer Service was poot to say the least. Unlike most I work for a company where I had to have Harmony put codes for hardware into their database and their support would have to pass you up the chain to talk to a higher level support who would never call you back.
I've since bought iRule for $50 on my iPad and it's a MUCH superior product IMO. Harmony does macros and such but turns on devices by power toggles. With iRule I can use discrete commands and use more advanced macros than the Harmony can do. Plus I don't have to aim and hold my remote whereas with iRule you simply press the button with no aiming involved. You can customize your own interface and use discrete commands on my AVR such as settings a specific volume level by one press of a button rather than the press and hold option on the Harmony. I can e-mail iRule's customer service and they typically respond faster than about any support I've ever dealt with. Personally, it's not likely that I'll ever use another Harmony product again. There's just much better out there. Just to note, most of my devices are controllable via IP with the exception of my projector and for that I purchased an iTach.
Just my 2 cents.
I'd agree with the cust service... it can be hit and miss.. The first tier support is usually like talking to a wall, but eventually there ARE people at higher tiers that know what they are doing....if you don't mind waiting a while to finally reach them.
You can use discrete power on instead of power toggle with most Harmony remotes too.. it just takes some trickery.. I only had to do so once, and the way I think I did it was to tell the software to keep that particular device "on" all the time.. This tricks the remote into not sending the "toggle command".. THEN you need to add a step to the "start" of each particular activity you use that device for.. In this step, you just have it give the "discreet on" command. THEN in the end/switch activity, you would do the same thing with the "discreet off" command. It's a bit of a work around, but it works.. The only flaw is that it turns the device off and back on between activities that use the same device...basically if you are watching TV and switch to watch a blu ray, the tv would turn off and back on, where if you use the default version, the tv would stay on, just switching inputs(which is why I've stopped using it this way).
As far as aiming, it really depends on the device.... I agree IR controls, especially if you have several steps with lag between inputs, can be a pain to hold the device pointed at your equipment... BUT I've used the RF remotes as well, and it solves this issue...albeit more expensively. Most equipment does not have discreet volume controls (if they do you could map those on the remote, or even add them to start up sequence to start at desired level).... having no discreet volume control, I'm curious how the iRule approaches this? You CAN create a sequence(on most harmonies) that will send a volume up or down several times in a row, quickly.. Depending on the device, that can help a lot.
My only beef with iRule is that I want a physical remote. not a tablet, not a phone, a remote. Considering I want a remote, and I want it to do activities- this is about the best option that is available without needing someone else to program (or obtain and learn software yourself)..
The 1000 and 1100, I agree are not fun. The concept seems like a great idea until you have to hold a square remote with an unfriendly button layout..
As far as the iRule, I like the idea of using a phone and tablet, but still want a physical remote.. What happens when I'm on the phone, phone dies, I'm not home and others want to use it, etc.... and I just don't think I could get used to using a tablet all the time. The new harmony ultimate and smart DOES allow you to use these devices while still providing a physical remote as well. I'm curious to see how the user interface works with the new hub/smart harmony system on phones and tablets and how that compares to the iRule for people who don't necessarily need/want a physical remote.
I would imagine using a tablet (such as with your iRule) would be a pain much of the time... like at night and you just want to increase the volume- doesn't grabbing that tablet and lighting up the room blind/bother you?