Logitech Harmony Remotes

Of particular interest to me is the 670.

These remotes are pricy, no doubt.  But what you get is the ability to select from Logitech’s database what devices it can control.  This means the list of things it can control is not confined to the time-period when you bought the remote.  That is what a universal remote should be like — not something I have to put end-to-end with my new remote and spend hours programming buttons individually (though you can do that too, if you really want).

My complaints about it are…

  1. They don’t play with Linux at all — not even the cheat approach of a VM running Windows under Linux.  Linux doesn’t recognize the device and has to be coerced.
  2. The button delay can be frustrating
  3. The UI to program it could be worlds better
  4. The UI to program it MUST connect to the Internet

That is a mere 4 items, but I can go into length about each one; and each one is very frustrating at times.  Even with those complaints, I like it.  It is the best programmable universal remote I have found.  I have paired it with every piece of electronics that has sat in my entertainment center, and I haven’t lost functionality that I knew about.  Of course, there was some functionality that was a little harder to get working (like for my ancient VCR), but it worked.

It handles a variety of setups for each device as well.  For example, when I watch TV, it not only turns on the set-top box (STB) and the TV, but it also puts the TV on the correct input, HDMI-3.  When I watch a movie, it turn the devices on, sets the TV to HDMI-1, and the Stereo to the proper input selection.  And so on.

I have never seen another universal remote do that — or do that so smoothly.

This is what a universal remote should be.  They are pricey, but unlike their competition, the only reason to get rid of it should be device failure, not incompatibility with remote technology (e.g., completely RF based remotes instead of IR).

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About John

I write about technology interests, cooking, and my own writing (sci-fi and fantasy... sometimes both). I try to keep things light, but sometimes I get side-tracked on an issue that I feel strongly about. No offense is meant, I'm just like any other person who feels strongly about something when I write. View all posts by John

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