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Would the Harmony Smart Control be sufficient for my needs?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I will have my AV equipment hidden and I am considering the Harmony Smart Control, but I am not sure how much I can do with just the included remote. I have an android phone, but I would prefer not to use it as a remote, or to use it only occasionally. (I know that the Ultimate would be better but I don't want to spend so much money)

Here is what I will need to control:

- TV
- Projector

- AV Receiver
- Apple TV
- TV Set Top Box
- Blu-ray player

So the activities I will need are things like:

- Watch Apple TV on TV
- Watch Apple TV on Projector
-Watch Set-top box on TV
- Watch Set-top box on Projector
etc

I will also have a PC, which I will control with a separate RF keyboard, but I will need a way to set the source on the Receiver and choose output (TV or Projector).

Additionally I might need to do things like say listen to the radio from my AV Receiver.

How much of the above will I be able to do with just the included basic remote? Is there anything from the above I will not be able to do even by using a smart phone?

And one last question: I understand that the Harmony Smart Control doesn't emit IR signals itself (only through the hub). I guess that this means that one of the IR emitters from the hub should stick out from the closet so that the TV and the Projector can be controlled?

Thanks!
post #2 of 11
It will work. But it's not a good solution IMO. Realize the smart control is very basic. To do anything but channel/vol, menu and transport controls, you'll have to use a smart phone. That is not ideal, IMO. If you don't plan to use the smartphone as your primary control, the smart control is not a good fit. To avoid using a smart phone, you need a fully functional remote.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Would I be able to turn on and select the correct input / output as described above for all my devices with just the basic remote?

Beyond that 90% of the time I will just need the basic functions. Volume from the AV receiver, the Apple TV buttons (so few I guess all of them should be available?), changing channels, EPG on the set-top box, and the basic play, pause, stop, fast forward etc on the blu-ray.

Can the basic remote do these?

Also, is this a learning remote so I can set specific functions for specific buttons?
post #4 of 11
Sure. Activities will work fine, as will assigning specific functions to buttons (no learning required since most functions should be built in). The problem is the limited number of physical buttons. That's what makes a harmony with a screen so much more useful. It gives you unlimited functions on the remote itself, without having to pull out a smart phone that other 10% of the time. I prefer to use my remote 100% of the time. I do the same thing a smart control does today (minus the iPhone integration) with a $10 universal remote plus a cheap RF system. But for $100, smart control isn't bad.
post #5 of 11
As I look at what you describe, you have 6 devices and 6 activities. Two each for Apple TV, STB and Blu-ray player. The Smart Control would work for that just using the basic remote.
You don't mention how you switch from TV to projector for output, but assuming it's something that accepts remote commands, you can add that as well.

That would leave you with music streaming without an activity button on the basic remote. Add that to your phone or tablet and you're set.

I didn't think that I'd use the app at all, but I actually am. I'm mostly reliant on the basic remote, but the app is quite handy.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 4
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I do the same thing a smart control does today (minus the iPhone integration) with a $10 universal remote plus a cheap RF system. But for $100, smart control isn't bad.

Thanks. Can you suggest some specific models of remotes and RF systems? If I can get the same thing for less it would be great, and I would actually prefer to be able to do everything with the remote without the need of a smart phone. But from my initial research I couldn't find anything that would meet my needs and would be cheaper from the Harmony Smart Control.
Quote:
You don't mention how you switch from TV to projector for output, but assuming it's something that accepts remote commands, you can add that as well.

I bought a receiver (onkyo tx-nr717) which has 2 HDMI out and I think it outputs to both at the same time. So I don't think I need to do anything to switch from one to another. It should just need to turn the TV or PJ on.
Quote:
That would leave you with music streaming without an activity button on the basic remote. Add that to your phone or tablet and you're set.

And I also have the PC. All I need for this is to switch to the correct input on the receiver (the PC itself will be controlled with a wireless keyboard). Is it possible to assign a specific function to a button on the remote for selecting a specific input?

And what about this: "I understand that the Harmony Smart Control doesn't emit IR signals itself (only through the hub). I guess that this means that one of the IR emitters from the hub should stick out from the closet so that the TV and the Projector can be controlled?"

Is this how I am supposed to do it?

Thanks!
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom123 View Post

Thanks. Can you suggest some specific models of remotes and RF systems? If I can get the same thing for less it would be great, and I would actually prefer to be able to do everything with the remote without the need of a smart phone. But from my initial research I couldn't find anything that would meet my needs and would be cheaper from the Harmony Smart Control.
I bought a receiver (onkyo tx-nr717) which has 2 HDMI out and I think it outputs to both at the same time. So I don't think I need to do anything to switch from one to another. It should just need to turn the TV or PJ on.
And I also have the PC. All I need for this is to switch to the correct input on the receiver (the PC itself will be controlled with a wireless keyboard). Is it possible to assign a specific function to a button on the remote for selecting a specific input?

And what about this: "I understand that the Harmony Smart Control doesn't emit IR signals itself (only through the hub). I guess that this means that one of the IR emitters from the hub should stick out from the closet so that the TV and the Projector can be controlled?"

Is this how I am supposed to do it?

Thanks!
My cheap remote is an RCA RCRP05BR programmed via Remote Master. Cheap RF is Next Generation. This does take more programming effort and some learning curve, but will save you some money, but only about $40. It works out better for me because I already know Remote Master, have a programming cable and only needed to add RF. It may not be the best fit for you. I think the best option for you is to bite the bullet and go for an Ultimate or Touch, if you want to avoid using your smart phone on occasion.

You could assign buttons for input switching, but Harmony won't work correctly if you do that. You need to make activities for all input switching or the input tracking will get out of sync and your other activities won't work correctly. So even if your activity essentially changes just one input, it still should be an activity rather than a button. That's just how Harmony works.

As for IR, you can accomplish it any way you like. The hub itself is also a blaster. So you could leave the hub outside or have a blaster outside, your choice. If there are any windows on your cabinet, you could just aim a blaster out the window as well, leaving it inside. So long as the hub or a blaster is line of sight with your TV and projector.

Take all this with a grain of salt though. Many people seem to happily get by with just the smart control system just fine. It's probably best just to try it yourself and see if it's sufficient. Just because it wouldn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for you.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Can you give me some examples of the most useful functions that you can accomplish with your setup (or a remote with a screen) that can not be accomplished with the remote of the Smart Control?

I am trying to figure out if I will need that kind of functions, and if yes how often, so I can decide if the Smart Control would be sufficient or not.
post #9 of 11
The smart control remote itself has 3 activity buttons, num pad, menu/arrow keys, transport (playback) keys, vol/chan and colored buttons, same as a $10 universal from walmart. Now look at your AV remote for example. It probably has 100 functions or so, about 20 of which would go on the buttons of a smart remote. You could not access those other functions without resorting to your phone. Repeat this exercise with your other remotes, and decide how important those functions that won't fit on the smart remote are. Better yet, buy a $10 universal remote from walmart and try it out. If it does everything you need most of the time, then so will the smart control, because they have essentially the same buttons available.
Edited by mdavej - 9/12/13 at 7:27am
post #10 of 11
Does the phone app duplicate every function on the various remotes it supports?
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorVideo View Post

Does the phone app duplicate every function on the various remotes it supports?
Yes.

The question is would the smart control alone be sufficient. I would say no. Add the app, and you've got access to everything of course. But how often would you have to use the app for everyday control? Each individual user would have to answer that question. My personal preference is to have access to all functions on the remote itself rather than have to use 2 devices. If you always keep your phone handy anyway, then the smart control system would work out fine.
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