Harmony remote: a disappointment

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by the2130, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. the2130

    the2130 Active Member

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    I decided to try a Harmony 650 universal remote after reading reviews and some posts here. Could not get it working properly and their phone support was no help. The setup was pretty easy - connect it to a PC and run the setup program - but it just didn't work properly. It [SIZE=12pt]would not control my Roku 3 at all. The Roku 3 worked fine with its own remote, but would not respond in any way to the Harmony - none of the buttons worked. When I selected the Roku 3 on the Harmony remote, it was controlling my older Roku HD, while the Roku 3 was completely unresponsive to it. I tried the "Add or fix command" option in the program, but it had no effect. The Harmony remote wouldn't even acknowledge that the commands were received. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=12pt]The phone support agent couldn't do anything but walk me through the same stuff I had already done, configuring and re-configuring the remote, but it had no effect. He did have me try removing and re-adding it to the configuration, but it made no difference. [/SIZE]At one point, he suggested I just use the Roku 3 remote instead, which is ridiculous, since it would defeat the purpose of using a universal remote.

    I was able to control my DirecTV HR54 with the Harmony, but some of the buttons I use weren't pre-configured - the SkipForward, SkipBack, and Mini-guide buttons. I used the "Add or fix a command" to program those buttons and this time the Harmony gave me the "Command received successfully" response for each of the buttons. After syncing it again, I tested the remote, but those buttons still didn't do anything.

    I finally gave up and sent the Harmony 650 back for a refund. Anyone else have a similar experience with a Harmony remote or have any idea what the problem might have been?
     
  2. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

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    I have a 620 and love it but don't have a Roku. Mine doesn't work with my Amazon stick, but I knew that going in, since the stick isn't IR.

    Others use remotes from URC, though there's a bit more of a trick to it. You have to buy one over the phone from a dealer (no online sales allowed) and have to get it from a dealer that will give you the software to program.
     
  3. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    You shouldn't have had to learn anything for the HR-54. You probably just needed to go into that activity and make sure the commands were mapped to the buttons, I'm betting they weren't.

    As for the Roku 3, the remote that comes with it is based on WiFi. It sounds like it can work with IR though, you just have to go through a strange series of steps to get it to work. I found this thread on it that might help.
    https://forums.logitech.com/t5/Harmony-Hub-Based-Remotes/Turn-off-WiFi-Control/m-p/1279298/highlight/true#M12662

    Although it sounds like you have already given up.

    I personally love my Harmony remotes. I have 4 of them in my house now, and just bought 2 more the other day. I've also bought multiple of them for presents to my parents, siblings, in-laws etc. The software does have a bit of a learning curve to it, and once you set up a few you learn a few tricks and it gets much easier/quicker. I actually find the new online software to be more difficult than the older stand alone software I was used to, but I might just need to work with it a bit more. I usually give them as a gift and set them up myself since I am more electronically minded. Once I have them set up everyone loves them. I actually used to even volunteer on a forum helping people out with setting up their remotes. I had them set a temporary password like 12345, and then email me their login and password and then I would login as them and set everything up and email them back when I was done. I probably did that for a couple hundred people until I started getting too busy with my personal life and didn't have the time anymore.
     
  4. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    I replaced my old Roku 3 with a new one (the voice activated/4 buttons on the remote (although the rdio button is official 'dead')) several weeks ago.

    My Harmony 650 worked fine with my old Roku 3 (and XD). I just now tried the Harmony with the new Roku and there are some issues.

    On my Harmony, I pressed my "Watch a Movie" button and the TV came on, changed to the appropriate HDMI input and the Roku screen came up. I tried my Crackle button, and I had to press that twice to get Crackle to start.

    And after that, I couldn't control the Roku 3. Menu/Exit/Up/Down/Left/Right buttons not working.

    But I haven't updated this remote since I got the new Roku 3 (but I wouldn't think that would make that much of a difference).
     
  5. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    Yeah reading through some of the threads I found it definitely sounds like Roku and Harmony have a bit of trouble working together. Can't say I'm all that suprised though when Roku is using such a different control scheme.

    I personally have Apple TVs and I find they work fine with Harmony remotes. Even the new Apple TV 4th Gen works fine, I just miss out on being able to do voice searches when using the Harmony (and since I have never even tried using the voice search I'm not all that upset about it).
     
  6. the2130

    the2130 Active Member

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    The setup program showed the SkipForward and SkipBackward buttons not programmed, and there was no button for the mini-guide. As noted, I went back into the setup and tried programming those buttons, but it had no effect. The Harmony remote reported "Command received successfully" each time, but it had no effect as far as getting the buttons working. If reprogramming the buttons doesn't get them working, I'm not sure what else could be done. And I wasn't able to reprogram it for the Roku 3 - it never even acknowledged the commands were received. If these remotes don't work with the most popular streaming device on the market, I'm not sure what good it is. And yes, I gave up and sent it back for a refund. I'm not paying $60 for something that doesn't work.
     
  7. the2130

    the2130 Active Member

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    That's basically the issue I had. When I selected Roku 3 on the Harmony remote, the Roku 3 was completely unresponsive to it. And there was no way to reprogram it - the Harmony was unresponsive to the "Add or fix a command" in the setup.
     
  8. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    Yes. Exactly what I had happen last night -- Harmony not acknowledging the programming from the Roku remote (but the Roku itself was doing everything). So I hit the Cancel button and then the Harmony said 'programmed'. And it worked. But not very well. The Harmony is IR (the Roku remote is RF) so you need to have direct visual on the Roku..... but even then not all the commands worked.
     
  9. mdavej

    mdavej Hall Of Fame

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    Harmony works fine with Roku. The key is to answer no when asked if you have the orig remote during setup. The Roku remote is RF, so any learning or confirm from it is futile.
     
  10. the2130

    the2130 Active Member

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    Well that's interesting. I knew the Roku remote was RF, but the setup program just says you have to point it at the Roku when using it. Nothing to indicate it won't learn or confirm changes - in fact, it instructs you to point the Roku remote at the Harmony to re-program it. And the agent I spoke to on the phone had no clue, either. The only thing he could suggest was not using it with the Roku.

    Any idea about the DirecTV remote? The setup program definitely showed the SkipForward and SkipBackward buttons not programmed, and they still didn't work after I re-programmed them. And there isn't any mini-guide button, either. I could probably live without the mini-guide, but not having the SkipForward and SkipBackward buttons would be a deal-breaker for me.
     
  11. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    You shouldn't be trying to teach commands to the Harmony Remote at all. That should be a very seldom used feature for extremely rare devices, or brand new devices that aren't in the database yet. You should have gone into the activity for Watch DirecTV and just assigned the skip forward and skip back commands to those buttons, then updated your remote. You should not need to use the DirecTV remote to try to teach the Harmony anything.
     
  12. mdavej

    mdavej Hall Of Fame

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    Regarding the now incorrect instructions from Logitech for Roku, I can only assume that they have simply failed to update them since Roku went RF. Older Roku remotes are indeed IR, so the confirm step would work (although it's entirely unnecessary). I control my Roku 3 from many universal IR remotes, including Harmony, without issue. If you're interested in the technical details about Roku IR protocol and codes, see this thread:
    http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14040

    You'll see that Roku responds to both NEC2 and a variation which is unique to Roku. but the NEC2 version is not as robust. I haven't analyzed any Logitech Roku signals lately, so I'm not sure which protocol they use.

    The last few pages of that thread have several new Roku commands you may want to add to your Harmony. Simply email the codes to datasupport@logitech.com .

    Regarding the DirecTV issue, follow Beerstalker's advice.
     
  13. the2130

    the2130 Active Member

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    Dec 17, 2014
    Bottom line: the buttons I mentioned were not pre-programmed on the Harmony 650 and I was not able to program them using the setup program.
     

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