What are the "best" (affordable) Universal Remotes these days? Is Harmony still king?

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by lokiju, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. lokiju

    lokiju Lifer

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    TLDR Version:
    • Old Harmony not working 100%, need replacement.
    • Don't want touchscreen remote
    • Have 3 functions (macros) currently, would like the option to do 4
    • Would like one that can control bluetooth devices if possible
    • Open to other brands

    Long version:

    I've been using this Logitech Harmony 680 remote for 7 or 8 years now.

    It's done fine and I can't complain but it's starting to fail on a regular basis lately.

    It has weird quirks like sometimes a button will remain engaged even though it's not physically stuck down. Happens a lot with volume and on a number of occasions it's cased my receiver to get cranked up to ear shattering levels.

    Also the backlight has died out many years ago and I find it annoying when the lights are off and I'm trying to find a button I don't normally use.

    So I think I've probably gotten all I could of asked for out of this remote and am now wondering, do I just default to finding another Harmony or are there now better bang for the buck options?

    I'm not a fan of touch screen remotes. I don't want to have to look down or turn a light on to see what I'm hitting. I much prefer to physically feel the buttons I want to use and go off memory.

    I saw a deal over at FatWallet.com that says the Harmony One is currently $106 at Costco. Looks like it's usually a full retail price of $200 though can be had for $150 easily online.

    This is the prior model. There's now some new model out that looks like a fancy cordless home phone that's more touch screen focused, but it's to much money for my liking and doesn't have the 30 second skip buttons from what it looks like, which is a must for me since I use it all the time with my DVR.

    Then again, I don't care about the LCD screen and only use my current Harmony to control 3 Functions/Modes which is
    1 - PS3
    • Turn TV on (if off) set to proper HDMI input
    • Turn receiver on (if off) set to proper digital input.

    2 - TV/DVR
    • Turn TV on (if off) set to proper HDMI input
    • Turn Receiver on (if off) set to proper digital input.
    • Turn DVR on.

    3 - Roku
    • Turn TV on (if off) set to proper HDMI input.
    • Turn Receiver on (if off) set to proper digital input.


    That's it and I don't see my need growing for more than maybe one additional function in the future (if that).

    So that said, is something like the super cheap Logitech Harmony 300.

    I would actually love it if Logitech had a Harmony remote that also controlled via Bluetooth so I could control my PS3 when in use for Blurays and streaming services without switching over to another physical remote.

    Are there any alternatives to the Logitech Harmony brand/line that anyone is aware of that would meet my wants and needs better?
     
  2. JackBurton

    JackBurton Lifer

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    I was going to suggest iRule, which is a great app that allows you to control just about anything with an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android base device. That includes A/V equipment, lights, thermostat and even your PS3 (requires an adapter). But then I saw you didn't want a touchscreen. Too bad though, it's a MUCH better solution than a crappy Harmony remote.

    And no, Harmony was never king. The kings were companies like URC, AMX or Crestron. Harmony was just the Bose of universal remotes.
     
    #2 JackBurton, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  3. purbeast0

    purbeast0 Lifer

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    i saw Roomie ( http://www.roomieremote.com/ ) in person when i went to demo someone's projector, and it was running on an ipad.

    i have to say that thing is fucking awesome. he was dimming his lights with it, pushing the "play xbox360" button on it and it set it all up, etc., and it just has a really smooth interface. it was cool how when he changed the volume manually on his receiver, you see the instant feedback on the ipad with the volume dialer changing on ther as well.

    chances are when i get my HT set up i am going to be purchasing an ipad (possibly a mini) and running roomie on that to control everything.
     
  4. poofyhairguy

    poofyhairguy Lifer

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  5. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

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    Affordable is relative. I'd only go back to Harmony One on the clearance sales they have now. It's not very robust compared to the Universal Remote Control brand just more consumer-friendly. Mine fell ~18" and broke.
     
  6. boomhower

    boomhower Diamond Member

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    I love my Harmony One. It's a little rough around the edges since the dog got ahold of it but it still works great. Even the wife likes it.
     
  7. Auric

    Auric Diamond Member

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    What is the telly input being switched for? In any case, what's wrong with the AVR remote? It should easily handle such a simple setup.
     
  8. queequeg99

    queequeg99 Senior member

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    I had the same problem with mine (and it fell on carpet). The Costco near me is selling the One for $110, which is an awesome price.
     
  9. ManBearPig

    ManBearPig Diamond Member

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    Loliju (or anyone for that matter): if you contact harmony support with an out of warranty claim they'll give you a 50% off coupon for their online store. Good luck!
     
  10. lokiju

    lokiju Lifer

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    Worth trying. Thanks!
     
  11. ManBearPig

    ManBearPig Diamond Member

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    Np, but if it works, in the future you owe me. When the time comes I shall call upon you. o_O
     
  12. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

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    This was the deal I was trying to remember earlier. You can get a replacement H1 for about $100. My LCD got jacked up...it still works and the repair is about $80 once shipping and everything is done. Plus you are without a remote for at least a week.

    The funny thing though is I had forgotten I had my H1 replaced under warranty day one for a loose piece of plastic on the front bezel. Logitech just overnighted me a new one and deactivated the old one. I am going to transfer the LCD from it to my broken one.
     
  13. ManBearPig

    ManBearPig Diamond Member

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    I'd be interested to see it when you're done! They gave me a new one for some minor annoyance I had too. Good warranty service when it's active.
     
  14. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

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    I didn't realize there was soldering / desoldering involved. While I can do that work, I don't have a good station at my home to use. I have a quote request into Quin at HarmonyRR. He replied VERY FAST and he is without power still due to the storms. He needs both PIDs so he can quote it accurately and ensure my two units are compatible.