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Need an IR remote recommendation

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Alright I can't make sense of anything these days with remotes. I've been out of the loop for awhile.

I'm getting close to having my basement theater finished, and I need a remote. Obviously I want 1 remote to rule them all. Here's my equipment list:

Epson 8100 Projector
Denon AVR790 Receiver
JVC XV-BP11 Blu-ray player
Cable TV Box (Right now I have Directv, but may be switching to Dish Network in the summer)
HTPC with IR receiver for a Rosewill RRC-126 remote
Lutron Spacer Light Switch Zone 1
Lutron Spacer Light Switch Zone 2
Lutron Spacer Light Switch Zone 3
Lutron Spacer Light Switch Zone 4

The equipment will be in a cabinet built into my screen wall under the screen. The projector will be ceiling mounted in the back of the room. The light switches are on the left side wall about 3 feet back from the screen wall. I'm assuming I'll have to get an IR repeater system for the equipment behind the cabinet doors. I'm also assuming the beam will bounce off the screen and control the projector, and I hope the light switches are close enough to the front of the room that they shouldn't be a problem. So it sounds pretty basic, just a bunch of IR devices.

I'd really like the remote to be fancy enough to have macros for 1 button functions like "watch tv" or "watch movie", but I also want the thing to be ergonomic. My brother has a Harmony One which is alright, but the setup was a pain and the touch screen really just seems like a novelty. I'm not a huge fan of the newer Logitech remotes with even bigger touch screens. I'd prefer the tactile feedback of buttons. Also, I'd really like to be able to access Windows Media Center. I'm assuming the IR receiver that came with my Rosewill remote can be accessed by other universal remotes?

I see some mention of the brand, Universal Remote, but I didn't really see any product they sold that's at a reasonable price. Logitech worries me with the talk of selling the Harmony division. I'm trying to keep this thing around $100.
post #2 of 11
Not to be critical, but you have a wish list list that is tough to fill. Based on your major points of equipment, and activities simplicity, the Harmony remotes seem to be the best answer. However, you may want to look at the XSight Touch as an alternate.

I can understand your feeling that the Harmony remotes are a pain to set up, but I can assure you that trying to set up a normal "macros" on a universal remote is even more work, and has a higher probablitility of screwing up.

My best suggestion is to look on E-Bay for an older Harmony, in your case an 890. The 890 allows for RF signals (for equipment in cabinets). They can be found for around $100.00 in good condition.
post #3 of 11
I'm not suggesting this is your complete solution, as this isn't including a remote control, however, Keene Electronics have solutions for every possible IR problem.
If you was to go with something like the IR Commander Matrix System http://www.keene.co.uk/electronic/keene-electronics/keene-ir-commander-matrix/ircm.html with this you could control all of your equipment using the one box and run from that multiple remote receivers extended as far as you like using CAT5.
As I said this wouldn't completely solve your problem as I understand your also looking for a remote to do all of the control, BUT we also offer a remote solution in the form of IR Anywhere Over IP http://www.keene.co.uk/electronic/keene-electronics/keene-ir-anywhere-ir-over-ip-modules-%28pair%29/kira.html which now has a download-able app to be used with either iPhone/iPad/Android devices, which would allow you to control all of your devices from your Phone, Tablet or PC/Laptop. I hope this helps...
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
I did more research and stumbled upon the Harmony 700. Refurbished units go for $60-$70. I think it does everything I'm looking for, but I'm confused about a couple things:

1 - The Lutron Spacer system........I have 4 dimmers in my room, but do these only count as 1 device as far as the remote is concerned?
2 - Sequencing.....I'm trying to understand the definition. I understand that the activities are like macros. So what are sequences? Here's a specific example I'm hoping for: While in the "Watch Movie" activity I would like the remote to command the lighting zones to a specific scene when i hit the pause button. So if I pause a movie the lights will come up so people can walk around without tripping or hitting their head. Is this a sequence? If so, other than the 5-step limit, is there any other restriction regarding sequences on any button during any activity?
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash11 View Post

I did more research and stumbled upon the Harmony 700. Refurbished units go for $60-$70. I think it does everything I'm looking for, but I'm confused about a couple things:

1 - The Lutron Spacer system........I have 4 dimmers in my room, but do these only count as 1 device as far as the remote is concerned?
2 - Sequencing.....I'm trying to understand the definition. I understand that the activities are like macros. So what are sequences? Here's a specific example I'm hoping for: While in the "Watch Movie" activity I would like the remote to command the lighting zones to a specific scene when i hit the pause button. So if I pause a movie the lights will come up so people can walk around without tripping or hitting their head. Is this a sequence? If so, other than the 5-step limit, is there any other restriction regarding sequences on any button during any activity?
First of all i wouldn't recommend any of the harmony remotes not because their UI is bad but the communication over RF and IR of the harmony line is just very slow. If you are willing to spend a couple more bucks i think you'll be happier in the long run.

1. It will count as one device as long as all of the dimmers are programmed under the same IR code which i think the spacer systems already are.
2. Sequences are the order in which your devices are powered and sources/volume is changed. Also when you want the whole pause and then it will execute a command is not possible with the harmony. But with a URC or RTI remote i think (if you have the skills) could be programmed for anything you want it to do.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by diyguy818 View Post

If you are willing to spend a couple more bucks i think you'll be happier in the long run.
On what?
post #7 of 11
The response about sequences is incorrect. He is describing an activity. Using the old software (not myharmony), the 700 can indeed do 5 step sequences, 15 or so if you get creative and use raw learns. So play and dim with one button is entirely possible. I used to do this myself. I had probably 20 activities and 15 sequences on my old 700. I once got a 30 step sequence with the help of a JP1 remote that could play back macros extremely fast for learning, hence cramming 6 commands into a single learn ( x 5 for a total of 30). But it wasn't reliable because the target device couldn't always keep up. Proof of concept mostly.

All that being said, sequences on the 700/650/600 are quite limited and generally a pain to program if you need more than 5 steps. Luckily, Logitech saw the error of their ways and allows 10 step sequences on the new Touch and Ultimate. But as the other poster said, URC and others handle sequences (macros) of nearly unlimited length quite easily. I don't use harmony either, mostly due to their abysmal sequence capabilities. But I like a lot of other things about them.
Edited by mdavej - 5/7/13 at 9:37am
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Can you give me an example or two of sequences you use that needed more than 5 steps? I haven't really used a remote that is sophisticated enough to do this, so I can't imagine needing more than 5 steps.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash11 View Post

Can you give me an example or two of sequences you use that needed more than 5 steps? I haven't really used a remote that is sophisticated enough to do this, so I can't imagine needing more than 5 steps.
You sound like a Harmony software manager. Let's see, turning on closed captions on my satellite box took 11 steps, streaming Amazon takes 7, Youtube takes 7, Hulu takes 6, turning off parental controls takes 10, play/dim or pause/bright on my crappy X10 system takes 12 (because I have to send several dims), turning my tv vol all the way down takes 15. That's all I can remember right now without looking at my code. I have tons of sequences because I have a rule that anything that takes me more than 2 or 3 button presses becomes a sequence on harmony. But since I don't use harmony, they're just macros and are very easy to program.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
HAHA. I'm an engineer. I'm trained to question everything.

Anyway, after seeing your examples I'm confident I can get away with the Harmony 700 for the near future. You're way more evolved when it comes to remote utilization. Thanks for the lesson though.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
So I received my remote and started programming it. It handles everything I want to control pretty well, but I'm having trouble with the lighting. I can't figure out how to program the 4 scenes into my lutron spacer dimmers. Anyone ever do this? I don't have a lutron remote or a master controller to set them ahead of time.
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