(I'm an occaisional reader of AVS, but never really posted here before. This thread was helpful in selecting the One, which I bought last night. Here's my early and quick review)
The new Logitech Harmony One is available in stores: I bought one tonight. Here's a quick review.)
This is my first high-end remote. My remote for the past 8 years is the marvelous Radio Shack 15-1994. But as much as I like it, it's showing its age: it doesn't support my new Tivo and my wife gets frustrated the limited macros I can create for it.
So, thanks to gift cards and coupons, we decided to upgrade to the One. I'm a fan of hard-button remotes; touch-screen remotes have never appealed to me. But their flexibility is not to be denied. The One looked like it might strike near perfect balance: well designed hard-button layout with an attracive touch-screen LCD for to complete the control system.
Setup was easy: After installing the control software and having charged the remote in its base station, I plugged it in with a USB cord and ran the control software. It walked me through setting up an account -- this is all done with a web-driven app, so internet access is necessary it seems.
The software asks for the model numbers of my electronics. Five minutes with a flashlight peering at the back of my TV, etc got that data. It identified correctly my TV, DVD, and receiver. It had troubles with the Tivo.
It took me through a series of steps to determine what I the device was: it told me to aim the Tivo remote at the rear of the One and press the power button. And here is a very clever feature: the input sensor, to read codes from other remotes is at the tail of the One. Rather than facing them head to head and trying to press buttons upside down on one of the remotes, you aim the old remote at the bottom of the One, so they are both easily managed.
After pressing a few more buttons, the software asked me a couple more questions, and then gave me its, correct, recommendation for what it thought the Tivo was.
With my four devices identified, it asked what activities I'd like to have. It suggested: Watch Tivo, Watch DVD, Listen to Radio, and Listen to CD. I accepted these as is. It programmed my remote, and I unplugged the cable.
And the One gave a tutorial on its LCD!
Tutorial over, the remote went to its normal activity screen. Three LCD buttons were shown for Watch DVD, Listen Radio, Listen CD; tapping the side arrow took me to the second screen with Watch Tivo. And activities are the magic, the feature that my wife wanted. The One is smart, tracking what's on and off, and what their settings are.
Pressing Watch Tivo turns the TV and receiver on, and sets the various inputs correctly. The LCD then changes to show Tivo-specific options. And the hard-buttons control the Tivo. Volume "punch-through" was correctly set -- that is, controlling the volume by the receiver is also automatic, setup during the software process. Tapping the Activities hard button and then the Watch DVD toggles receiver and TV inputs and turns on the DVD player. Changing to Listen Radio turns off the TV and DVD, and sets the radio to FM.
A quick test of buttons for the DVD, Tivo, and Radio found that all the important features were set correctly and sensibly. There remain a few secondary buttons that I need to determine how to set; for example, the "info" button to show the time-remaining on DVDs did get programmed.
Next, I need to learn how to add custom buttons and rearrange buttons on the LCD screen.
It took about 30 minutes to setup the One; most of that was simple button clicking in the guided software tool. It was almost disappointing, it was so easy. My old 15-1994 was practically a hobby, programming it could take hours of trial and error. I created custom button maps to remember what the half-size "LAST" button did in the various modes. In contrast, the One just worked. There's a bit more work to do to get it just right. But I could leave it alone and probably be just fine.
The One is pricey at $250. But if you need a good remote, partcularly one the whole family can use without cheat sheets or remembering arcane button mappings, the One is a good way to get to just one remote.