You have not met a true universal remote control until you have been introduced to Logitech’s Harmony line of remote controls. We’ve had a Harmony in our house for several years, and I will say that the first time I touched the remote it changed my life! The reason is that you have no idea how badly you needed this remote until you start using it.
The way our home theater system is set up in our family room is extremely complicated. We have several systems attached to the TV (DirecTV, Xbox, PS3, Wii, DVD Player, Audio Receiver and an HDMI switcher!) Needless to say if we had to use a separate remote control for each device there would be several to choose from, and we’d have to have a sheet of paper laminated and posted near the TV to try and explain it all.
We recently purchased a new TV for our bedroom, which already had DirecTV hooked up to it, and brought our extra DVD player upstairs to hook up to it. It’s a much simpler setup, and yet I find myself completely frustrated with having to constantly push either “dvd” or “TV” at the top to either change the volume or pause the show. It wouldn’t need a diagram like the downstairs system would, but now it’s just annoying, since I know how much easier it can be.
So what makes Harmony so great?
First, is the setup. When you open the package it comes with the remote, a cable and software. You install the software onto your computer and plug the remote control in with the included USB cable. Next you will enter the devices you own. You need to look on your devices and write down the model numbers of each device. This information is typically located on the back of the machine. Once you have entered each device (TV, DVD Player, Cable box, etc), then you set up different activities. When you create an activity such as “Watch TV” the software will ask you what you want to happen. It will ask you which devices will be used for the activity, and which devices will be used for the various functions. Such as “which device do you use to control the volume”. Once you have created the various activities, you only need to synchronize the remote control. Now your remote is ready to get to work!
This is SO much easier than trying to find different codes for each system, which is how most universal remote controls receive their information. They come with a large book of codes and you have to guess which code to use for each device. Setting up some of the other universal remotes could take HOURS to setup. Once you get them set up, it’s still going to make you select which device you want to control, which you will have to constantly change as you switch devices.
Not only is the initial setup of the remote super easy, upgrading the remote has been even easier! We had a Harmony 880, and when I received the Harmony Onefrom Logitech in the mail, my husband said “Have fun setting it up!” I informed him that I really didn’t have to do anything to set it up except for plug it in and click a couple buttons. I plugged the remote into my computer, and clicked “upgrade remote”. It took all of the settings I already had and loaded them onto the new remote control. It really could not have been more easy, and the new remote was up and controlling our family room in literally MINUTES!
Now that the setup is completed, controlling your home theater setup is so easy. My babysitters love me because I just tell them to push what they want to do. If they want to watch TV, then push “Watch TV”. The remote will do all of the work for you. As soon as “Watch TV” is pressed it will turn the TV on, turn the DirecTV on, and turn the Audio Receiver on. It will then make sure that the TV is set to the HDMI 1 input, and the receiver is set to CBL input. When I press the volume up on the remote it will change the volume on the receiver. When I press guide it will bring the guide up on the DirecTV. I never have to press a button on the remote to change which device I’m trying to control. It will automatically control exactly what I want it to control!
We gave our old Harmony 880 to my Mom and Step-Dad. I went to their house to set it up for them. My Mom had a list of instructions from her husband on how to control the TV/DVD/Cable. I looked at the list and set up the remote according to the specifications on the list. My Mom, who had given up trying to ever watch a DVD if her husband wasn’t around because it was too complicated for her to figure out, now has freedom to watch a DVD whenever she wants! She simply presses “Watch DVD” on her Harmony and she is set to go! She has been raving about it ever since.
With one touch of the remote control it can change everything in your setup, and help you control it without pressing additional buttons, or trying to figure out exactly which buttons need to be pressed. So with one touch of the Harmony Remote it will also change your life and you will say “Where have you been all my life!” The Harmony One is rechargable, and feels GREAT in your hand!
Here’s the GREAT news! Logitech was kind enough to provide me with a Harmony One remote control to facilitate my review AND one to give away!
I will also be having a Twitter party this Wednesday about Kids and Entertainment! Come and sound off your opinions on Kids & TV, Games, Music and Computers! If you participate in the Twitter party you will be entered to win a Harmony 300!
To enter to win the Harmony One ($249 value!), simply comment on this post. To be in accordance with FTC regulations there are no other methods of entry, and you are limited to one entry per person! Good LUCK!
Giveaway will be open until Sunday, August 29th at 8 PM MST.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com