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Suggestions for a decent universal remote


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35 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:59 PM

Perhaps you could be more specific than "universal remote" and "a bit more functionality" in terms of what you need the remote to do.

Do you need extensive macros?

Do you need something that is largely pre-programmed to control multiple devices?

Do you want activity-based configuration?

If you don't need to be heavy into the activity based stuff, Sony makes some excellent remotes for under $30 that can do macros and learn a full set of buttons (but also include a large library of built-in code sets).


What would be ideal [ I think] is a remote that has a "learning eye" where you point a existing remote at it and it copies all the button functions of that remote [ easily]

Is there such a device?

I am only familiar with pre-programmed at this point. GE to be precise, and it is sorely lacking.

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#22 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:01 AM

What would be ideal [ I think] is a remote that has a "learning eye" where you point a existing remote at it and it copies all the button functions of that remote [ easily]

Is there such a device?

I am only familiar with pre-programmed at this point. GE to be precise, and it is sorely lacking.


Logitech Harmony. The codes that are not in the database can be easily learned from the original remote.

Tivo Premier XL4, Tivo Premier, Tivo HD whole home on Xfinity HD, DirecTv Whole Home with 39" high gain KaKu dish, Roku3,SageTv 8 TB Win8 Server -> DVDO Edge-> Denon AVR, Klipsch KB15's/Panasonic 55ST60 plasma"


#23 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 06:47 AM

Thank you much for this generous info. I will use your advise and look for refurb. [ or NIB if I can find an older one] as far as key failure, I find that those soft ,gooey, rubber buttons fail quickest. What type of buttons are on the logitechs?

I read some about the "URC" remotes, but also heard the support is mostly non existent. Can you recommend a model # in case I can't find the right logitech? I need to control at least 5 devices, my current universal is very limited, and on my CD player tied into the avr, it will only turn it off and on [ play would be nice]! on the avr, off/ on and volume, tv, off/on volume and some limited settings, and nothing for the dish reciever. I don't need a complicated set up, just a good workable one.

Many harmonys have a mix of rubber buttons and dome contacts (ones that click). The rubber buttons can usually be repaired when they start to fail, but the dome contacts cannot. Unfortunately the dome ones are the what wears out first on harmony.

You are on your own with most URCs because they are sold and maintained by pro installers. So you either have to pay someone or find the software on your own. They do have lower end models for end users, like the R50 which are quite good.

If learning is all you want/need, nearly any universal remote $5-$20 will work fine, but will take a little more time and effort to set up the macros (activities) and aren't quite as intuitive to use on complex systems. If cost is your main concern, remotes like the URC WR7 (backlit) and RCA RCRP05B (not backlit) suggested in recent threads will do everything you need for less than $20. Harmony's are easier to set up and operate thanks to the LCD and programming via PC, but cost more. It's money well spent IMO since you can be up and running in just a few minutes.

If you have no need for macros, you may as well stick with a learning Dish remote like the 21.0 suggested earlier. But IMO, the buttons on the Dish remote are too stiff and they are a little more difficult to program than other similarly priced universals.

#24 OFFLINE   puckwithahalo

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:57 PM

What would be ideal [ I think] is a remote that has a "learning eye" where you point a existing remote at it and it copies all the button functions of that remote [ easily]

Is there such a device?

I am only familiar with pre-programmed at this point. GE to be precise, and it is sorely lacking.


The 20.0/21.0 remotes that came with your receiver has that. That was what I was talking about.
The postings on this site are my own and don't represent Dish's positions, strategies, or opinions.

-Puck

#25 OFFLINE   puckwithahalo

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 01:29 PM

Steps to use the learning functions.

1) On the dish remote hold the mode button (tv, dvd, aux) your are trying to program to down until the other mode buttons light up. When you let go that mode button should start blinking.

2) Hold the record button until the mode button lights up solid

3) push and let go of the button that you want to program to on the dish remote (ie, volume +, channel +, menu). The mode button will go out and come back on when you do that.

4) Point your original remote (for the tv, dvd player, etc.) at the ir receiver on the front left of the dish remote and hold down the button your are trying to program for until the mode light on the dish remote goes out and comes back on.

5) repeat steps 3 and 4 for every button you want to program.

6) once you have programmed all buttons desired, hit the mode (tv, dvd, aux) button on the dish remote. It will blink 3 times.

Should do the trick for you.
The postings on this site are my own and don't represent Dish's positions, strategies, or opinions.

-Puck

#26 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 12:57 AM

Many harmonys have a mix of rubber buttons and dome contacts (ones that click). The rubber buttons can usually be repaired when they start to fail, but the dome contacts cannot. Unfortunately the dome ones are the what wears out first on harmony.

You are on your own with most URCs because they are sold and maintained by pro installers. So you either have to pay someone or find the software on your own. They do have lower end models for end users, like the R50 which are quite good.

If learning is all you want/need, nearly any universal remote $5-$20 will work fine, but will take a little more time and effort to set up the macros (activities) and aren't quite as intuitive to use on complex systems. If cost is your main concern, remotes like the URC WR7 (backlit) and RCA RCRP05B (not backlit) suggested in recent threads will do everything you need for less than $20. Harmony's are easier to set up and operate thanks to the LCD and programming via PC, but cost more. It's money well spent IMO since you can be up and running in just a few minutes.

If you have no need for macros, you may as well stick with a learning Dish remote like the 21.0 suggested earlier. But IMO, the buttons on the Dish remote are too stiff and they are a little more difficult to program than other similarly priced universals.


will practice on the dish remote, but I really won't use it in the end because I do not care for the lay out. I looked at a harmony 550 on amazon, but the buttons are realy small. There was also a 620 on ebay, like new, larger buttons, dogbone shape which I like, no retail box, but I am leary now after what you mentioned.

#27 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 02:22 PM

Found one at Kmart, RCRN06GR, [RCA brand] works with ALL my components, [ the dish remote did not recognize my avr, even with the "learning" function] It has learning,and macro capabilities, and is backlit, 6 device, 15$.

Looked at WR7, the button layout was not as user friendly, so far, for the $, this one suits my purpose.

Someone on one of the forums I go to said there is no universal that will work with the Dish 222k reciever, and they are incorrect, this one does.

Thanks for all the input, I realy was leaning towards a Harmony, but too many negatives for the $.

#28 OFFLINE   bobnielsen

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:19 PM

I realize I'm opening up an old thread but thought I'd offer some comments.

I had a Harmony 880 for ~6 years and it worked well, except for the charging issue (Logitech even replaced it for this although it was out of warranty). It finally died after some liquid was spilled on it :( .

I replaced it with a Harmony 650 and found the Harmony 650 to work well and have only changed batteries twice in 6 months of regular use.

The issue I have is that after making some changes recently and re-flashing the software using the Harmony software, the remote lost functionality of some keys, including functions which weren't changed. After I re-flashed again, some of those keys came back but some others were not functioning (I tried this several times with no improvement, leaving me to believe that the remote had failed).

I think that somehow the memory got messed up and contacted Logitech via the support link on their web site. After a couple of exchanges (they wanted further information) I was informed that since I had the remote for over 90 days I would have to pay for support. Since there are 6 months left on the warranty I find this quite unacceptable. I don't know how much they charge for support, but new 650s are available for $50.

I picked up a URC R50 for ~$75 and it is working fine but it looks like it will be somewhat challenging to program any macros (this is done using the remote keys rather than a computer), however I will give that a try in order to gain some of the advanced functionality that the Harmony remotes have. Since they don't remember the device states, it will still take more keystrokes to switch from one function to another. The R50 has a somewhat strange key layout but appears to be very solidly built.

#29 OFFLINE   1953

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:08 PM

I highly recommend a Harmony One.

#30 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:12 PM

The only drawback of the One is the lack of colored buttons for DirecTV. They take up valuable screen space that could be used for other things. So I find the 700 and 900 better overall thanks to more hard buttons, but they have their own drawbacks too.

I don't understand the comment about more keystrokes to compensate for no state tracking. DirecTV has discrete power commands, so state tracking is unnecessary.

#31 OFFLINE   bobnielsen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:22 PM

The colored buttons are one of the reasons I chose the 650 (my Samsung Blu-ray uses them also). My concern about the command states was for devices other than my Directv DVR (some of which only have a power toggle).

I have written to Logitech again trying to get them to replace the 650 (yes, I know they are only $50 at Costco, but it's still under warranty and they should stand behind their products).

#32 OFFLINE   Transplanted Yankee

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:42 AM

I've had my 650 now for about a month. I was hesitant at first, thinking I would not like it, or would fit my needs based upon all the negative posts.
Before I even used it, I took some one sided stick foam, perhaps 1/4" and stuck it on the inside of the battery cover, filling in both the top and bottom cavities of the cover. I've not had one issue with batteries coming loose, or the remote not working/acting up.
Another thing I was able to do is take my Dish 722 remote and learn a few functions over to my 650's colored buttons using the stand alone Logitech program.
I didn't think I'd like my 650 as much as I am. I find it controls all my devices very well. I setup a PS3 function on the remote to simply do all the video switching for me on the TV and Receiver, then I simply have to manually turn on the PS3. Works well enough for me without having to shell out the $$ for the PS3 adapter.
As far as batteries, so far the original ones have lasted me a month...And I use this remote a lot. Going forward, I've purchased one of those Duracell recharge units which came with 4 AA rechargeable batteries, so I will always have a fresh set for the remote.
Other than that, once setup, all I've been doing is enjoying it and not having to spend a bunch of time troubleshooting issues...It's simply working fine.
My wife says that I have never met a tool I haven’t liked. People on the other hand......

#33 OFFLINE   lugnutathome

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 12:31 PM

Harmony will (if asked) issue you a 50% off credit for a new replacement OF THE SAME MODEL and only applicable to their on line ordering. Unfortunately they are dumping this model (50 bucks at BB as well) and I don't see it as available for sale on their site anymore.

Not sure how they would handle a no longer current model but perhaps they might transfer the credit against a 700. I've heard of 880 customers getting a great deal on Ones just by asking.

I've had to get a replacement One under warranty. Handled very well and just recently a 700 off warranty. Asked for a 50% off credit and got it. Old unit is still functional too just the OK/Select key is hosed. It's now useful in my home office for controlling my Creative 5.1 speaker/amp system in there.

I recently stocked up on several of the 650s as well for use in my workout room. If I get sweat in them and they fail after a tad over a year like that 700 did, just put batteries in a new one, click replace remote, done.

I found their warranty dept to be very accommodating.

Don "course having half a dozen, Ones, and 700s might have helped" Bolton

The colored buttons are one of the reasons I chose the 650 (my Samsung Blu-ray uses them also). My concern about the command states was for devices other than my Directv DVR (some of which only have a power toggle).

I have written to Logitech again trying to get them to replace the 650 (yes, I know they are only $50 at Costco, but it's still under warranty and they should stand behind their products).


What's a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?


#34 OFFLINE   egakagoc2xi

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 12:43 PM

I have a Harmony One for almost two years and haven't had anything to complaint about. Harmony is the way to go.

#35 OFFLINE   bobnielsen

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:48 PM

Harmony will (if asked) issue you a 50% off credit for a new replacement OF THE SAME MODEL and only applicable to their on line ordering. Unfortunately they are dumping this model (50 bucks at BB as well) and I don't see it as available for sale on their site anymore.

Not sure how they would handle a no longer current model but perhaps they might transfer the credit against a 700. I've heard of 880 customers getting a great deal on Ones just by asking.

I've had to get a replacement One under warranty. Handled very well and just recently a 700 off warranty. Asked for a 50% off credit and got it. Old unit is still functional too just the OK/Select key is hosed. It's now useful in my home office for controlling my Creative 5.1 speaker/amp system in there.

I recently stocked up on several of the 650s as well for use in my workout room. If I get sweat in them and they fail after a tad over a year like that 700 did, just put batteries in a new one, click replace remote, done.

I found their warranty dept to be very accommodating.

Don "course having half a dozen, Ones, and 700s might have helped" Bolton


Of course, you can find Harmony products at ~50% on eBay (or Amazon, etc.)

I haven't yet set up any macros on the URC R50, but it will handle up to 18 devices with 255 step macros so just about anything is covered. It is very solidly built and I am getting used to the key layout.

#36 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:26 PM

lugnut,

I highly recommend JP1 remotes for your situation. They are much more powerful and reliable than harmony and can be replaced for less than $10. My JP1 remotes typically last many years (I have some over 10 years old) because the keypad design is very simple and easy to clean and refurbish. They have essentially no macro or device limitations like harmony thanks to the custom operating system we load into them. Some of my macros (activities in harmony terms) are over 30 steps and run much faster than on harmony. My $15 RCA RCRP05B controls my 12 device home theater, computer and home automation system using over 20 activities. I'm not dependent on any web server and can run the very sophisticated programming software on any platform (pc/mac/linux). If I need RF, I just pop in a Next Generation transmitter. It beats the heck out of shelling out hundreds of dollars every couple of years. If the dirt and sweat doesn't kill your harmonys, normal use certainly will because those clicky dome keys always wear out, and very quickly.




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