Remotes have went downhill for the last 10 years. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-19-2019, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Remotes have went downhill for the last 10 years.

I have an ailing Harmony 880 that I was looking to replace, and there is literally no equivalent. I would like for my next remote to also support RF. I love the screen because if I need to scroll over a few pages to adjust something minutely, it can be done. The remote is designed for functionality and not as a piece of art. It fits in your hand like a remote should.



So I look at Harmony remotes, and every remote with a screen is get this, touchscreen. When will people realize touchscreens are not good in 98% of daily life (at least Mazda and Lexus understand this and are not optioning any new cars with touchscreens). When my finger inevitably brushes the screen, it will change what I am doing. Ok, maybe I can live with a touchscreen. I looked at the Elite, and their are disconcerting features. The touchscreen is extremely sensitive because they used capacitive instead of a resisitive system. A capactivie touchscreens are found in phones. Very little, if any pressure is needed to follow the command. A resisitive system requires more pressure. (Prevents accidental touches). I have found it often disconnects from the hub (Which I hope Logitech won't brick anytime soon), and macros change by themselves.



The remainder of the higher end remotes is URC. Their are currently no consumer remotes on this companies website. My understanding is that the most commonly used consumer remote is the MX-450. I have looked at this, and this remote was designed for fashion, and not practical. The ergonomics are completely wrong, and I know URC knows this, because looking at their professional remotes, the button layout is completely different. There are no circular keys surrounding the directional pad.

I would have no problem buying a professional remote, but they do not include the software, forcing me to drive 2 hours, spending up to $200, to have the mute button work for the receiver and another system. This is unacceptable.



Finally, I have learned about Jp1 programmable remotes. Everyone of them is touchscreen. The most highly talked about is the C3 (AR18). I can live with the touchscreen, but have never seen one of these in the wild. I don't know how it fits, I don't know how fast it is, I don't know what the buttons press like. If I buy a used one, will I be able to even buy replacement button contacts?



Am I crazy to think these are the only remotes out there?
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-19-2019, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wallisch View Post
I have an ailing Harmony 880 that I was looking to replace, and there is literally no equivalent. I would like for my next remote to also support RF. I love the screen because if I need to scroll over a few pages to adjust something minutely, it can be done. The remote is designed for functionality and not as a piece of art. It fits in your hand like a remote should.



So I look at Harmony remotes, and every remote with a screen is get this, touchscreen. When will people realize touchscreens are not good in 98% of daily life (at least Mazda and Lexus understand this and are not optioning any new cars with touchscreens). When my finger inevitably brushes the screen, it will change what I am doing. Ok, maybe I can live with a touchscreen. I looked at the Elite, and their are disconcerting features. The touchscreen is extremely sensitive because they used capacitive instead of a resisitive system. A capactivie touchscreens are found in phones. Very little, if any pressure is needed to follow the command. A resisitive system requires more pressure. (Prevents accidental touches). I have found it often disconnects from the hub (Which I hope Logitech won't brick anytime soon), and macros change by themselves.
I use two features on the Elite remote to prevent touchscreen issues. One is Screen Lock/Timeout which locks the touchscreen after a specified amount of time. I can use any of the hard buttons while the screen is locked. If I need to access the screen I just need to swipe across the screen to unlock it. The other feature is Touch Duration which, when set, requires you to press and hold an activity on the touchscreen to start it. The Touch Duration setting makes it virtually impossible to start an activity by mistake.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-20-2019, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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mdavej, you said exactly what I said. 9 out of 42 remotes are touchscreen. What current remote is non-touch and has RF?
10 years ago:Harmony 890, 900, 890 pro
Marantz 1400, 3001, 2000
URC consumer remotes 200, 450, 500



Remotes might have voice and bluetooth, but 99% of TVs, receivers, and streaming boxes don't support it.


Todays remotes cannot even compare to remotes 10 years ago.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-20-2019, 09:08 AM
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And, sadly, grammar, too, has gone downhill.
Welcome to AVS, though.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-20-2019, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Lasbutnotleast, you added nothing to this thread. Go troll some other thread to get your post count up if you're not going to add anything useful.


Mdavej, right, that is my point. Remote manufacturers used to release remotes that would one up the other guy. There is no competition anymore. Its either an Elite, use a 10 year old remote, or spend the $1,000 on a professional remote. Companies seem to focus squarely on touchscreens which are not user friendly. You yourself use a 10yr old remote. They were far better then, than they are now.



David Oritz, If I am forced to go the option of the Elite, that is what I will have to do.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 06:30 AM
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The features that you are not appreciating are the features we are asked for and those that we see get used.
The touchscreen is there because for the majority of functions, when one scales the overall automation and media control system up, a screen is far easier to navigate than programmed buttons. Easy to navigate media content, to see coverart, song lyrics, movie and TV metadata, guide data, without cluttering up the program that is currently being viewed by the friends / family etc.

The hard buttons are still best for muscle memory / frequent tasks like channel surfing and volume control.

The capacitive screen is there for responsiveness like people are used to with their smartphone. A resistive screen is less expensive, but much kludgier to operate so it's found less often. Doesn't respond well to touch gestures like swipe.

RF has it's plus of not requiring line of sight operation and bidirectional data exchange (a need especially if there is a good touchscreen with robust content), but the downside is battery life. Wireless charging and lithium batteries make this less of an issue though.

Re: DIY vs. pro. We agree, but "pro" level systems are typically more functional and broad and complicated to install and program. The majority of customers don't have the background or interest to learn how to integrate the systems so they are daily easy to use and reliable. So the Pro always has it's place. But for more technical folks like a lot of AVSForum users, we also support DIY'rs with the tools that are needed to build a pro like system as a hobby.

Not many phone booths around lately either
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Last edited by smoothtlk; 10-21-2019 at 06:45 AM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wallisch View Post
I have an ailing Harmony 880 that I was looking to replace, and there is literally no equivalent.
Don't know much about Harmony but I can tell you the URC MX-980 is in another league. It has been discontinued and replaced with the MX-990, checkout the thread on it in this section. It does require the URC Complete Control Program to program it so for DIY you have to purchase from a dealer willing to give you a copy of the program.

I would checkout YouTube videos on the Complete Control Program programming to see if it is something you would want to tackle. You could probably find someone that would give you a copy of their program for their remote so you could open it in CCP to see what they done for their setup.
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post #8 of 13 Old 11-07-2019, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post
Don't know much about Harmony but I can tell you the URC MX-980 is in another league. It has been discontinued and replaced with the MX-990, checkout the thread on it in this section. It does require the URC Complete Control Program to program it so for DIY you have to purchase from a dealer willing to give you a copy of the program.

I would checkout YouTube videos on the Complete Control Program programming to see if it is something you would want to tackle. You could probably find someone that would give you a copy of their program for their remote so you could open it in CCP to see what they done for their setup.

I have a copy of CCP that I have had for many years on an old computer, but I have never even opened the file. I know it supports the 980 and I am going to have to figure out how to use it. Luckily there are tons of guides and videos out there. Maybe I will pick up a used one and give it a go.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-30-2019, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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My girlfriend got me an Elite w/hub and it has a 90 day return plan, so I will check it out. Thanks David Ortez for the screen lockout information.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-03-2019, 01:39 PM
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With smartphone and tablet apps that can pretty much do everything an expensive remote control can do, and more, its becoming quite difficult for the average consumer to justify a dedicated remote. Just pull out your phone, open the app and control away.


Me, I just took an old tablet no one in the house was using and converted it to a dedicated remote for my home theater system. It works great. There are some hiccups....touchscreen issues at times and some apps are glitchy, but I also had issues with the Harmony remotes I have had in the past as well. Nothing is perfect. But using a smart tablet has given me the most control over my system that I have ever had.

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post #11 of 13 Old 12-05-2019, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by NuSoardGraphite View Post
With smartphone and tablet apps that can pretty much do everything an expensive remote control can do, and more, its becoming quite difficult for the average consumer to justify a dedicated remote. Just pull out your phone, open the app and control away....... using a smart tablet has given me the most control over my system that I have ever had.
But to many of us (most of us?) the inability to use a touch-screen remote device by feel completely precludes this as an alternative to a hard-button remote. I've tried it a few times in my life and i just can't deal with a remote where i have to look down at a screen to find the volume button while watching TV or listening to music.

I have every hard and soft button on my MX-890 memorized and can fully operate it in a dark room strictly by feel without looking at it, either with my thumb while holding it in my hand, or with my index finger with it laying on the arm of my couch. Even left handed. And without having to take my eyes off the TV screen even for a moment.

This is just not possible with any sort of phone or tablet remote device. I still sometimes play with the remote functions of my Tivo app and Roku app on my phone but it's not practical to use while watching TV.


__________

Randy
Sony XBR-55X900E, Panasonic TC-P55ST60, TiVo Roamio Pro, TWC Arris DCX3600-M 6-Tuner DVR, Darbee DVP-5000S, Onkyo TX-SR333 AVR, URC MX-890 Remote.
Pic of My A/V setup - http://cdn.avsforum.com/f/f1/900x900..._Img_4867.jpeg
Gallery - https://www.avsforum.com/g/a/2082686/randywalter...
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-07-2019, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyWalters View Post
But to many of us (most of us?) the inability to use a touch-screen remote device by feel completely precludes this as an alternative to a hard-button remote. I've tried it a few times in my life and i just can't deal with a remote where i have to look down at a screen to find the volume button while watching TV or listening to music.

I have every hard and soft button on my MX-890 memorized and can fully operate it in a dark room strictly by feel without looking at it, either with my thumb while holding it in my hand, or with my index finger with it laying on the arm of my couch. Even left handed. And without having to take my eyes off the TV screen even for a moment.

This is just not possible with any sort of phone or tablet remote device. I still sometimes play with the remote functions of my Tivo app and Roku app on my phone but it's not practical to use while watching TV.


__________
I do get that.

volume can usually be controlled by the physical volume buttons on the phone or tablet. it works on both of my devices within both the Roku app that controls my tv and the Denon app that controls my AVR (unsure if it works in the Harmony app. I will test that later) but everything else would require you to look at a touch screen which definitely takes you out of the experience.

but I also have Alexa voice control through the Harmony hub so I can pause, play, change volume, change inputs and turn on and off the bias lighting all with voice.

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post #13 of 13 Old 12-07-2019, 02:29 PM
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This new universal remote (link below) is not as versatile as the Harmony remotes, but it definitely looks interesting to someone like me who has used the "lower end" Harmony remotes (650, 700, etc.) for many years and wants something different but functional. I have a fairly simple system with 6 or so IR devices; no home control needs, etc. The current Harmony Desktop software for Mac has made programming my Harmony very frustrating.

I've ordered one and will test it out:

SofaBaton U1 Remote Control with OLED Display and Smartphone APP, All in One Universal Remote Control for up to 15 Entertainment Devices, Compatible with Smart TVs/DVD/STB/Projector so on
by SofaBaton
Learn more: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07XG1HT..._kzb7DbMEHQ3ZF
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