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Universal Remote suggestions?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by RMBittner, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

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    Bainbridge...
    I did not have any issues with either Snow Leopard or Lion. I installed the 32-bit code and it runs normally.
     
  2. RACJ2

    RACJ2 Hall Of Fame

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    URC probably makes some great remotes. Although I can't see paying as much for a remote as a 40" flat screen TV. And I'm not sure about not being able to order online, since Amazon sells them [link]. It could be he doesn't show prices, because he wants a chance to do a sales pitch?

    I have a Harmony remote and for the first 90 days, they have great phone support. After that's over, they charge you for phone support. I still have a Harmony 659, but I can't download any changes, as it always gives me an error. I may be able to reset it back to factory defaults, but I don't want to have to add everything back in. I figure if I'm going to have to do that, I might as well get something new.

    So when I saw a great deal on a new Acoustic Research ARRX18G XSight Color for $35 (which had a list price of $259 when it was released), I bought it. So far its been great. And it doesn't have the macro limitations of Harmony or any memory issues with learning commands. I've had it learn several commands and its hardly scratched the memory available.
     
  3. mdavej

    mdavej Hall Of Fame

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    +1

    Xsight is a fantastic low cost alternative to harmony and is the only universal remote that can control a DirecTV DVR via RF natively (i.e., no RF bases or blasters required).

    If you're on a budget, a JP1 remote like the $15 RCA RCRP05B will do most of what harmony does but lacks an LCD. It's much faster than harmony and doesn't have the same 5 step macro limitations. And if the dog eats it, you're only out $15 instead of $150.

    I'm personally not a fan of the One because of the finger print magnet finish and the fact that it lacks the 4 colored buttons found on DirecTV remotes. Those functions can go on soft buttons of course, but I'd rather have the screen real estate for other things. With only 6 devices, the harmony 700 will serve the OP just as well for a lot less money.
     
  4. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Teays...
    That remote is not supposed to be there. Note it is not being sold by Amazon, but instead a 3rd party vendor. The MX+880 can be had for about half that. Plus that remote does not have a numeric pad.
     
  5. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    You picked the most expensive remote they make. I have two URC remotes and combined they're less than half the cost of that one. This is a very reasonable choice...Link, and it’s only $87. The URC WR7 is only $20.

    However, be careful about purchasing a URC remote. If the seller isn’t an authorized URC dealer you won’t get the software with the remote. You may have to find someone to program it for you. Surf Remote Control (see Herdfan’s post above) is an authorized dealer and provides everything to do the programming yourself. IIRC, Amazon is not an authorized dealer. If you don’t get it from an authorized dealer it could cost a bundle to have it programmed.

    Mike
     
  6. RACJ2

    RACJ2 Hall Of Fame

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    I'm sure its a wonderful remote, but its still the price of a 32" flat screen TV.
    Those prices are more in line with what I would spend on a remote. I was talking about the ones that Herdfan had in his link. I did pick the higher of the 2 I priced out, because I can't believe anyone would spend that much money for a remote. Maybe its just me, I would rather spend that kind of money on a cruise.
     
  7. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I have a friend at work who spent $2100 for a remote and programming services for his brand new home theater media room. Yes I said Two Thousand One Hundred Dollars.

    I told hime I'd do the same thing for a thousand. :D

    Mike
     
  8. larryah

    larryah AllStar

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    Ive used a Harmony One for 2 1/2 years with no problems. Easy to program (works fine with Lion on my mac) and even easier to use. Never need to use the original remotes! Yes it is a little expensive, but worth it in my opinion. If price is a concern, get a Harmony 700...half the cost, works great, rechargable, but only works with five or six devices.
     
  9. RACJ2

    RACJ2 Hall Of Fame

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    Ironically, I decided to email Harmony about the issue I had with my remote. Prior to sending the email, it automatically searched the online help and found the fix for my issue. I searched them several months ago with no results. So they must have added that solution since I last checked. The good news is that I now can make changes to my H659. Overall, Logitech/Harmony is a good choice for the OP since they have excellent support (although not always free). For example, any issue I've had with a mouse while under warranty, they have replaced it for free.

    I almost bought a Harmony One, since I received a 50% off 1 item from Logitech. Could have purchased a brand new Harmony One for $99, but then I saw the ARRX18G XSight Color for $35 and couldn't pass that deal up. Didn't need both so I passed on the Harmony. I like the fact macros in the Xsight allow for more commands then Harmony, so you can actually program all steps to bring up the "To Do" List. Also, that you can control an HRDVR via RF using only the remote. One thing I don't like is that it doesn't keep track of the status of all devices. It basically runs a macro. So you either have to skip using discrete on and off in an activity and use the same activity button to turn things off -or- create a separate macro for turning devices off.

    Overall I think the OP will be happy with a Harmony One, but as others have mentioned, there are other good choices. Just depends on how much you are willing to spend. (Really Mike, $2100 for a remote and programming? Yikes!)
     
  10. paulman182

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

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    I've never been really happy with a remote until I got a Harmony One. I particularly like the full backlight and the fact that I can see all the buttons without my reading glasses!
     
  11. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Yup, $2100. It controlled all the A/V equipment, the lighting, and even the shades/drapes on the windows.

    He didn't say what the remote was but the bulk of the cost was the programming.

    Mike
     
  12. RMBittner

    RMBittner Legend

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    For that price, I'd expect the remote to be a 64GB iPad2.;)

    Bob
     
  13. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    I have been really happy with my Harmony remotes and recommend them all the time. I tried out a URC and just wasn't as impressed. Sure Macro's are better on URC, but I don't really use macros outside of starting activities, and Harmony remotes do that fine.

    I like the 880 but the buttons are a bit hard to distinguish from each other without looking at the remote at first. Eventually you learn to use the bumps on the remote keys like the bumps on your keyboards F and J keys to center yourself on the buttons and work from there. The big advantage I feel of the 880 was buttons next to the screen for the soft keys.

    The Harmony One (and 900) have a great layout. Extremely easy to use the remote without looking except for the soft keys. I never have cared for the touchscreen. While it looks great, I hate having to look down at the remote to make sure I am touching the screen in the right place to get it to do what I want. In my opinion a good remote should be able to be used without looking at it.

    The new Harmony 650 and 700 are great. They take the buton layout of the One, and add back in buttons next to the screen. I really like this. The cost of these remotes are great too. The only complaints I have is the limits on the number of devices. If you have a large home theater system you may have too many devices for these remotes. I also liked the charging bases for the 880 and One, but the 700 has to plug into a USB cable to charge. Not a huge deal, but I do miss it a bit.

    For now I'm using a One in my theater room and living room, and an 880 in my bedroom. The 880 is starting to act up though and will most likely be replaced by a 700 soon. I am also thinking about replacing the One in the living room with a 700 (I can probably sell the One used for enough money to cover the 700). I'm pretty much stuck with the One in my theater room though since I have too many devices in there for the 700.

    I personally hope that Harmony comes out with an 800 that has the layout of the 700 and adds in RF and more devices and prices it in between the 700 and the 900. Maybe they could add in a couple more soft buttons too (but don't go touchscreen). I would definitely pick it up for my theater room then.
     
  14. mdavej

    mdavej Hall Of Fame

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    Every time I toggle captions on D* I remember how grateful I am for macros. A universal remote that can't do macros is like a phone that can't do speed dial. I'll never own a remote that can't do such a simple task.

    I still say the best universal for D* and the biggest bang for the buck is the Xsight Touch. It has no macro limitations plus it talks native RF to D*. It's also much cheaper than the 700 and does 18 devices versus 6 on the 700, and has a charging cradle and touch screen. The only thing it lacks is device state tracking. All my devices have discrete on/off, so it's not an issue for me, but could be an issue for some. Overall, it's a killer remote. Still nowhere near as good as my $15 JP1 remote in terms of power, speed and flexibility, but not bad at all.
     
  15. SledgeHammer

    SledgeHammer Icon

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    Yeah, at this point just get an iPad or iPhone. The Phillips Pronto is a cool remote thats customizable, but at that price point just get the iPad.
     
  16. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    Considering I toggle captions on and off about once a month or so it isn't that big of a deal to me.

    I realize that a lot of people do use them though. That's why I wish DirecTV would just add a couple of IR commands to their IR database to toggle DirecTV captions and regular captions on and off. Then pretty much anyone with a programmable remote could add those commands and have one touch access to captions.

    A lot of CE companies include IR commands on their devices and don't have a button for that command on the included remote. It's not like this is something out of the ordinary to be asking DirecTV to do.

    That's neat an all, but once again I have to say I wouldn't be a fan. I don't want to have to look down at the remote every time I want to change the volume, bring up the guide, etc. It's much nicer just to be able to grab the remote and hit a button blindly because you know that buttons function by feel. Touchscreens have their place, but I don't think it's for remotes, and yes I do own a iPhone and an iPad, and I enjoy them, but I have no interest in using them as remotes.
     
  17. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I’m currently using both (Harmony & URC) and from a user standpoint they are nearly identical in functionality. The startup macros are identical. Push the activity button and everything comes on and the inputs are set.

    IMHO, someone looking for a universal needs to decide what compromises they want to make. Let’s face it; something that’s designed to try to control “everything” will have compromises of some kind... e.g. programming interface, macro/sequence steps, etc.

    Personally I like the URCs because tweeking is easier. Drag and drop, boom yer done. It takes longer to download the program then it does to build a macro from scratch. :grin:

    However, Harmonys are easier to initially configure. If there’s not tweeking to be done or no macros to build then the Harmony is the perfect choice.

    How you’re going to use the remote has a lot to do with which make/model you buy. When I was looking for remotes I posted questions on several different forums to find out what people did not like about the remote they were using. I actually found that info more helpful than what they like about them. They all do the same things in the same ways so I tried to whittle down the compromises and decide what I can live with.

    My 3.34¢ FWIW. :grin:

    Mike
     
  18. SledgeHammer

    SledgeHammer Icon

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    That is a complaint people have, yes. I believe they are working on tactile touch screen remotes to solve that. Personally, I just use my DirecTV HDVR remote 99.9% of the time. It can turn my DVR on & off, it can also turn my TV on & off. It can control volume and most other features I use on a daily basis. The only thing it can't do is turn on my amp.
     
  19. RACJ2

    RACJ2 Hall Of Fame

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    Unfortunately, if you have an Home Theater setup, that one thing it won't do is a big one. I like everything about the NFL remote I purchased, except not being able to program buttons. If the stock remote had any learning capabilities, I probably would use it more often. Especially so you could program something in that infamous "Active" button.
     
  20. SledgeHammer

    SledgeHammer Icon

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    Yeah... I wish it could turn on my amp. I haven't looked into it too hard, but I actually suspect its possible to get it to turn on the amp, but it might entail switching the remote mode or having some random button re-mapped. Just seemed easier to have a 2nd remote on the couch... push one button on it and toss it aside.

    I seem to remember when I had my HR10-250, it was turned on the amp, but that was a long time ago, so I could be wrong.
     

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