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Harmony SST-659 - Page 3  

post #61 of 227
I opted for the 659 because after comparing the specs, the only difference seemed to be that TV, CD, and MP3 listings on the remote were included in the other model
If by "other model," you mean the 768, I can tell you there are other differences. Including a key feature whose absence has considerably dampened my initial enthusiasm for my 659: the 768 can string arbitrary IR codes together to let you issue them as one command anytime you feel like it, while the 659 lets you string codes together only at the start and stop of "activities."

This lack of support for asynchronous multi-code actions (some people, but not Intrigue, would call them "macros") strikes me as a serious blemish on the 659. Much as I really like most things about it, I'm now considering returning my new 659 and going with another less elegant, but macro-capable brand (I won't consider the 768 because of its scrollwheel and its price).
post #62 of 227
If you have a short (ie: two command macro), you can often learn it to a single button in the 659 configuration. Otherwise, you're correct about the additional abilities of the 768. You can also edit the XML with the 768, which is something that you can't do with the 659. I also prefer the button access to the LCD screen over the scroll wheel.
post #63 of 227

I had independently come to the same conclusion about a power "conditioner". I am not a big fan but it will solve the power on issue as my Rotel 1095 does not have a 12V trigger. Curiously, the unit I had looked at was also the 3500. Am tracking one on ebay unless you know a great place to buy them.

post #64 of 227

Sadly I was not aware of your offering on the 659. Would have gladly done business with you. I suspect much of my setup struggle is that I am not absolutely clear as to what their setup menus are asking. Also, both my power amps are not IR controlled. I will try to get around that with a power management device. I am waiting to hear from Harmony on my wee hours email after I was bleary eyed after hours of not being able to properly load the info needed to download to my remote. At least the remote feels well in my hand, though at this point it is otherwise useless. I am sure with a little help, that will resolve.

Again, sorry not to have supported you- was not aware.
post #65 of 227
Let's say I want to program some activities, like "Listen to SACD", "Listen to CD", Listen to DVD-A". Can I nest these choices so that they appear on the screen after I press the "Listen To Music" button, or are they accessed only via the "More Activities" button (which is not as elegant)?
post #66 of 227

Are these all played by the same player? If so, would not the player recognize the format? Would you be playing through a different speaker configuration? (SACD 2 channel versus 5.1?)
post #67 of 227

You'd likely have to program under "More Activities", since they'd have different setups. I don't find that to be a problem. I have one of my activites listed as "Watch 58". It's the only OTA DT station in my market with the transmitter at 280 degrees. So, for that activity, on my 659, it powers up my TV, goes the correct input, powers up my STB, inputs the correct channel (58), powers up my antenna rotor, inputs 280 degrees (so my antenna is pointed in the right direction), powers up my receiver, inputs it to digital audio, and I'm on my way! I have a separate activity called "Watch STB" which handles all my other DTs in my market (five other stations - all with their transmitters in one direction, 170 degrees). So I have the same process set up (without punching in a channel on my STB).
post #68 of 227
Anyone else having problems with other existing USB device's after installing the 659 software?
I'm now getting lockups on the computer and one USB printer now won't connect reliably at boot up.

Computer was perfectly stable for months prior to installing the Harmony software yesterday.
I'm using Win98Se.
post #69 of 227
Well.....after finally getting to talk to a tech (really wasn't that long, just impatient to get my remote working perfectly), I have my 659 working just great! I was having a little bit of problem setting up the inputs via the TV menu, but the tech guy did his thing and "poof", after a remote update everything worked great. I'm still "fiddling" with this new gadget, but am now a happy customer. Only one remote on my table now!

By the way.....I really like the TV listings that appear on the remote screen. Very handy. However, this is evidently only free for 2 months. Anyone know how much this little service will cost in the future?
post #70 of 227
Are these all played by the same player? If so, would not the player recognize the format? Would you be playing through a different speaker configuration? (SACD 2 channel versus 5.1?)
Jscopus, I'm using a DVD player for SACD and DVD-A, but need to have the receiver switch to analog connects rather than the digital coax. Likely could use the same settings for both now that I think about it.

What I'm really trying to confirm is whether or not I can nest menu choices to appear after clicking on "Listen to Music" or do I have to put them in "More Activities"? I listen to CD music, DVD music, vinyl records and cassettes. I want those choices to appear when I click on "Listen to Music".
post #71 of 227
BrownBR, from my limited playing around on my 659, you can't do what you want. You'll have to set up activities for each action.

I've got a few activities that are very similar:
Watch DVD (optical input, THX movie mode, SB in "auto" position)
Watch DVD in EX (force surround back speakers on for badly flagged discs, optical input, THX movie mode, SB in "on" position)
Listen to CDs (Stereo mode, optical input)
DVDA SACD (multi-channel input mode)
**all of these activities use my DVD player as the source**
I have the activities set such that the default condition of the receiver is in thx movie mode (DPL-II) with the SB mode set to "auto" when each activity ends, regardless of how each activity may modify the behavior (use the "send this command when the activity ends" options).

All of these are very similar in function, with a few extra commands sent between them.

It was maddening to get the EX to work right; I ended up having to play with the delays to get it to take.

Getting things working the way I wanted was upsetting, and the Harmony is --> <-- close to being perfect. I'm really picking nits when I say this though...

post #72 of 227
"Watch a Movie", "Watch TV", and "Listen to Music" Activity buttons can be assigned 1 Activity each - they are shortcuts to that Activity rather than an entrypoint to a sub-menu of Avtivities. "More Activities" is the only button (of the 4 Activity Buttons) that brings up a listing of Activities without being a shortcut to any particular Activity.
post #73 of 227
So it would seem that if you're picky about your "More Activities" to prioritize them beforehand, then download them to the remote?

I just ordered my 659 today, can't wait for it to arrive. What sold me on it over the Pronto TSU3000 was:

1. Abilities
2. Customer Service
3. Price

I've got everything ready to roll through my Test Drive, though I'm sure I'll have to tweak slightly.

A couple of questions:

1. My Comcast Motorola DCT-5100's remote has "Page Up" "Page Down" "Info" and "Exit" buttons that are used quite frequently, can these functions be programmed into the 659?

2. My Rega Planet 2000's remote has a "Display" button which can be used to turn the front panel display off, will this be possible with the 659?
My Rotel RSP-1066 has a similar function but requires the user to hold down it's "Menu" button for several seconds. My Denon DVD-2900 has the standard "Dimmer" feature which steps down the brightness of the display. Will any of these functions be possible with the 659? Can any of them, especially the DVD and Pre/Pro ones be programmed into my one-touch Activities for each?

post #74 of 227
Originally posted by Bill_B4
1. My Comcast Motorola DCT-5100's remote has "Page Up" "Page Down" "Info" and "Exit" buttons that are used quite frequently, can these functions be programmed into the 659?

My DCT-5100 worked seemlessly after the intial setup. Page Up, Page Down, Exit - everything. It's on the initial setup list that you'll see once you get and program the remote. Have fun.
post #75 of 227
Bill, you can program any of the buttons to perform any function that one of your current remote's buttons performs (the holding-for-2-seconds may be a little tricky though). Also, for each device, you can program additional functions that will be available in the LCD (the LCD has 3 buttons on each side which are used to select from 6 functions per page - up to 6 pages worth of functions I believe) in case you do not want to overwrite the default programming of the hard buttons. The IR learning feature is pretty easy and automated in the online setup.
post #76 of 227
Aaaargh!!! I've been having fits with the online interface for defining and labeling the custom buttons for devices and activities!

First, the web interface is badly designed. And more annoyingly, it doesn't actually work the way it's supposed to.

I don't know how many times I've entered and re-entered my custom buttons in the order I'd like to have them displayed with the ATM buttons, only to discover that the buttons are NOT set up how I had them, by the time the information is downloaded to my remote. And when I go back to the page, sure enough, things are not the way they were when I hit the Save button. Sometimes, things get shuffled around, sometimes one or two commands disappear, sometimes a whole bunch of buttons get summarily dropped. And I have to start the whole thing again, with no guarantee that my changes will stick this time. And once in a while, I could swear that the ordering changes between downloads even if I had gone nowhere near an activity's custom buttons page in the interim. Very frustrating.

The *only* way I've had some limited success with this interface is by blanking out *all* the current choices, saving that, and then going back in to add my new choices in the order I want them, saving after every couple of new entries, just to make sure my changes are taking, at least until the next arbitrary and mysterious reshuffling. It's just outrageous for this relatively simple task to be so time-consuming for the simple reason that the interface is buggy. Something that should take about 10 or 15 minutes winds up taking hours! Intrigue simply HAVE GOT TO FIX THAT INTERFACE. Grrrr!

And while they're at it, they should rethink the interface design. Even assuming everything works the way it should (which of course it doesn't), it's MUCH too cumbersome to insert a new command that you'd like to appear in a specific location on the list. If for example, you'd like a new command to be first, then you have to go and modify EVERY SINGLE ONE of the entries and drop-down commands in the list to reflect this change. That's just bad design.

A *much* better way of doing this would be to have an input field right next to each dropdown command where you could enter the number where you'd like to have that command appear in the ordering. The input field should accept arbitrary numbers, including repeats. Then it should simply sort based on those numbers, with ties getting broken arbitrarily. That way, if you wanted to insert a command between the 4th and 5th command in the current list. You can enter 4.5 in the field next to the new command. Then the list would get sorted once you've saved, with your command becoming the new number 5, the old number 5 becoming number 6, and so on.

Simple, elegant and a cinch to order the list however you feel like. I'd love to see that kind of change implemented. That's a nice-to-have.

But I *need* the current interface to be fixed so that I don't have to spend time everyday monkeying with it.

I'll say it once again: the 659 is such a nice product that its shortcomings are that much more frustrating.
post #77 of 227
Wow, I've changed the Custom Labels around a lot and added Custom Buttons and rearranged their order a lot and haven't had any problems. That would be frustrating, though.
post #78 of 227
Originally posted by bartucz

I also have the D1 - do I need to email Harmony, or should I just re-download the codes?

J [/b]
I haven't had time to check the forum for a few days but if you haven't already done it, I would certainly just go online and download your setup again by doing an update. I really don't know if tech support changed their stock codes for the D1 which would make sense, or if they patched my setup. I would guess they've updated their library but if not, send them an email, they seem pretty serious about making sure their remotes work.
post #79 of 227
I just got my 659 yesterday. Having spent the last two years looking for a reasonably priced remote (below $200) that can control all of my HT gear, I would have to say that I have finally found the remote that controls everything at my fingertips with the simplicity that enables everyone in in my household to use it as well.

I have purchased several universal remotes in the past with high hopes, including the Pronto Neo, the One for All URC-6131, and the RCA-1010. Of all these, I have been using the Pronto NEO for over two years. While it is highly customizable, and will allow you to control any of your gear after doing a bit of programming, at the end of the day, the LCD display becomes quite a hassle. It's like working your HT gear using a PDA screen. Hard buttons are much better. After accepting that drawback, I spent the next two years of use hoping for a substitute that had hard buttons. It is that very reason I wasted considerable time on the RCA and One For All remotes hoping that they could do everything that the NEO did with hard buttons instead of an LCD screen.

Unfortunately, they did not. The Pronto NEO's power resided in its customization, whereas the other remotes I tried lacked capability, which is what makes the remote feel completely like your own. Based on my experience, the only two remotes that I have found that provide both the customization as well as the appropriate number of hard buttons are the Home Theater Master Series (ie MX-700) and the Harmony SST-659.

If there is anyone else in your household that doesn't have the same enthusiasm as you to try and figure out how to do what used to be routine tasks on your remote, I would advise you to narrow down your search for the perfect remote to one of the two. Based on my research, I would recommend the SST-659.

While the MX-700 and its derivatives are very nice remotes, I feel that the Harmony remote wins out in terms of price/performance. You can get an SST-659 for between $125 and $150 including shipping, if you do the necessary research on-line. Ergonomicaly, it feels right in your hand, and the web interface is a lot easier to use than the Home Theater Master software interface. If you want a remote that just works and is easy to program, this is your remote. However, if you are a power user that enjoys programming macros that go to a specific channel or whatever when you turn on the TV, then perhaps the Home Theater Master is better for you.

The only gripe that I would have with the 659 would be specific to people that are heavy DVD/VCR or Tivo users. As I watch most of my televison using Tivo, I would have preferred that they placed the VCR buttons (eg Play, FF, WR Stop, Rec) above the numeric keypad rather than at the very bottom, as they are heavily used when you are controlling a PVR. Overall, though, this remote has enabled me to shelve all of my other remotes for a long time to come.

I would give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
post #80 of 227

Excellent review. I can't wait until my remote arrives early next week!

Everyone else,

How have you found your 659 to be on batteries? Does the backlight operate off of a sensor or must you push the "Glow" button? I'm hoping it's the latter as the remote that came with my Rotel RSP-1066 activates the backlighting every time unless under significantly bright light and the batteries die every 3-5 months.

post #81 of 227
Originally posted by Bill_B4

Excellent review. I can't wait until my remote arrives early next week!

Everyone else,

How have you found your 659 to be on batteries? Does the backlight operate off of a sensor or must you push the "Glow" button? I'm hoping it's the latter as the remote that came with my Rotel RSP-1066 activates the backlighting every time unless under significantly bright light and the batteries die every 3-5 months.

you can set up how you want the backlight to work on the customization page of the website. it can be activated by certain buttons only, or by any button, or you can turn it off altogether. as for batteries, i've only had my 659 for a few days, so i can report about battery life just yet.
post #82 of 227
bkaz - I agree about the placement of the REW, PLAY, FF buttons. I, too, am a TiVo user and this just feels weird sometimes, but I am very happy overall with the remote and this really isn't that big a deal once you get used to it.
post #83 of 227
I've changed the Custom Labels around a lot and added Custom Buttons and rearranged their order a lot and haven't had any problems.
Consider yourself lucky, then. I understand from another board that others have had the same problems. And apparently Intrigue is aware of them and should be fixing them at some point. I hope, soon.

As for the too-low transport buttons, yeah, as a ReplayTV owner, I'm not crazy about their location either. But setting my +* and Enter buttons to be, respectively, Replay and Advance has gone a long way towards making life easier for me.
post #84 of 227
replayed - thanks for the heads up. I'll watch for these problems (hopefully, Harmony will have them fixed before I need to change my settings again).
post #85 of 227
My SST-659 was delivered Friday and I finally had a chance to set it up yesterday. It took about 45 minutes to setup my gear correctly and customize the activities.

The only problem I have is involves anything with my TV ("Watch TV", "Watch Movie", and "Play PS2"). When I hit any of these buttons the remote cycles my TV through the inputs but always stops on the wrong one. I press "Help" and answer the questions. The only one I answer "No" to is, "Is your TV's input set to DTV?" It then cycles to the correct input. If I switch to "Watch a Movie" rather than going over two inputs to Component-1 it switches to a different input.

I wanted to watch some movies last night so I didn't mess with it much. I printed out the "Why does the TV go to the wrong input when I select and Activity?" FAQ and plan to go through it step by step when I get home. My TV, a Mistubishi WS-55411, remembers the last input the TV was on when you turn it off. The orig. remote has a button similar to the "CH up/down" on the 659 that lets you go through the inputs.

Other than that (which I'm sure will be fixed) the remote's great. The ability to turn the backlighting off/on at will is great for battery consumption and the remote has been easy for me to learn so far. I didn't find the transport contols to be too bad, within reach of my thumb. For any components that I didn't need the up/down, left/right, ok/select buttons for I moved the transport controls up.

I'll keep you posted as to the TV input problem.


EDIT: I think I figured out what's throwing the 659 off. I've deleted any inputs in my TV's menu that I don't use so that I can cycle through faster. The Harmony's probably thinking I've still got all of the inputs active. I'll try to remove them in my device's "Adjust Inputs" menu!!!
post #86 of 227
Anyone here have a LG LST-3510A dvd/receiver/stb ? I just did the test drive on Harmony's site and did not see this piece of equipment listed. I am hoping someone uploads the codes before I my HT room :)
post #87 of 227
Bill - I think you've got it...

In the Harmony setup, it cycles through the inputs as you have them listed - if your cable/sat input is on AV1 and DVD is on AV5 for example, the remote sends the cycle IR code 4 times to get from "Watch TV" to "Watch a Movie". If you have deleted AV2, AV3, and AV4 from your television, the remote will cycle past AV5.
post #88 of 227

I went through the same learning curve Sunday with my SST-659, which arrived Saturday -- couldn't get the TV inputs to synch until I discovered all seven or eight were listed in the Harmony settings. Deleting the unused inputs on the Harmony site, so that they match the inputs I use on the TV, seems to have solved the problem. I've a hunch the same problem may exist with my receiver settings, but I didn't have enough time to investigate.

Other than that my first impressions are good, although I'm still learning some of the finer points of the remote. My biggest complaint is the Harmony site itself -- quirky, unreliable navigation, although eventually it seems to get you where you need to be.

post #89 of 227
Well, came home and updated but I still can't get the TV's inputs to sync up correctly. Any suggestions?

post #90 of 227
Bill - make sure the Inputs listed in your Television setup are in exactly the same order as they are on the television. Also, does it only happen when the TV is off and you press an Activity button, or does it always happen? The reason I ask is because some TVs need a few seconds to turn on before you can send a command to cycle inputs. You can try raising the Speed Settings on the TV setup also (maybe try Power On Delay and Input Delay).
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