My New Logitech Harmony 1000 Remote Control

In between periods of downloading apps/updates or letting installs happen while getting my computer back up, I managed to get my first set up done on the new Logitech Harmony 1000 remote control and I must say, thus far, I am impressed.

In the past, I have been a Philips Pronto remote control owner and for the most part, just loved em. They were almost completely customizable, to the point of programming how you wanted the remote to look and act. The main problems with the Prontos were the reliability, weight and speed at which they chewed through batteries. When my last Pronto finally died, I went back having 5 or 6 remotes laying on the table and hated every minute of. I spent some time do research on a new remote, but was also balking at paying another $400 for a remote control. Finally, last Christmas, I found the remote I wanted and decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, the launch date was pushed back and I never did get it. The Logitech Harmony 1000 was finally released in February and with a new bonus check in hand from work, I took the plunge.

The setup couldn’t have been easier. You simply install some software on your computer and hook up the remote to your computer via the included USB cable. The Harmony software wizard asks you some questions about which components (brand and model) that you have. I have some non standard components and yet, it knew everyone of my components, even my wife’s off the wall karaoke player. It guides you through setting up some activities. The remote defines activities as such things as Watch TV, Watch a DVD, etc. etc.. It has predefined setups for all the normal ones (TV, SAT, DVD, etc) and has a simple wizard for user defined ones. I defined new ones for the karaoke and for my infrared lights controller in about 2 minutes each. The activity macro does all the work of turning on the right components and the initial settings for the ones involved in that activity.

After upgrading the firmware and then downloading my settings, including custom background image, the remote was ready to go. That whole process took maybe 30 minutes. After a quick test run, everything appeared to be running just perfect. I was pretty amazed. The default layout looked great and the pages for each activity and remote looked nice and was pretty intuitive.

harmony.jpg

The remote has a nice size 3.5″ touch screen display and a series of fixed, hard buttons for specific commands. The weight is incredibly light. It uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery (no memory) and comes with a charging stand for when not in use. There is also an available RF Extender which I may one day get.

Out of the box and with only 30 minutes spent on the remote, I was very pleased. After a couple of nights of use, though, I was wanting to do some customizations, like adding a few more buttons to some of the pages. For instance, my TV has a day and night setting that I have calibrated the brightness/contrast/etc differently depending upon the ambient light. Yesterday, my son had changed it to day mode while playing video games. When we fired up a DVD last night, it was obviously the wrong setting. It was still pretty easy to hit about four buttons and be on the page where I can change it, but I want it right there on the first page for all activities. The ability to customize this wonderful, initial settings of the remote had me worried.

This morning, I spent 10 minutes looking at it after church and it looks like it will be real easy to do. I haven’t actually done it yet, but if the remote hangs in there with my specific customizations, it will be well worth the $400. Today, I don’t think I could be happier with this remote.

Now, let me go see about putting those other 6 remotes away… and finishing bringing my computer back up…