Logitech Harmony 880 Remote
Cheshire Dave Isaacs writes:
I just got a Logitech Harmony 880 Remote for my birthday last week, and I think it’s the kind of product you’d want to promote on SvN: it’s smart and relatively simple: if you want to watch a dvd, one you press one button and it turns on the tv and sets it to the correct input, turns on the dvd player, and turns on the receiver and sets it to the right mode. And it even has a little menu that asks you if everything turned on ok and actually helps you remedy the problem if something didn’t turn on correctly. Awesome UI, and it’s a pretty little device, too. It took me only about 30 minutes to get it set up with my system, and the whole thing is handled online. It beats the crap out of every other universal remote I’ve had. I’ll never have to photocopy my remote and draw little circles and arrows for houseguests anymore.
Update: Some commenter dissent on this one…”I can handle using it but my wife hates it and threatens to throw it often when it doesn’t work.”
Go Light On My Lips
“Go Light On My Lips is the new generation of Mascara and Lip Gloss. Our unique micro-lighted applicator gives you illumination whenever you need it with up to 10,000 lights and comes with its own mirror built into the cap…giving you the versatility to apply color in any lighting situation.”
A Flickr photoset of Paula Hayes’ Terrariums. [via MM]
The Heads of State
The Heads of State is a design firm that creates groovy posters, packaging, etc.
The Douche Card
The Douche Card: “Tired of arguing with complete morons? Tired of getting into bar room brawls? Well now avoid the confrontation with our glorious Douche Card.” Related: Coudal “Shhh!” cards for noisy cell phone users.
Tomon 23 Jan 07
After a few days use of our Logitech Harmony 880, we sent it back! The buttons are awful for day-to-day use of this thing.
There are a bunch of comments on Amazon about how bad the buttons are, and I didn’t heed this advice before my purchase.
The software to program the device is a wizard like thing on the web (with a local control to actually send the commands to the device). This is just not the way to program x devices with y features. The software has some pre-defined settings but these are buggy, e.g. Down, Right and Left work for one on screen menu, but Up doesn’t.
Sending commands to my Comcast DVR was also very slow – noticable extra lag – the Comcast box has a whole bunch of issues of its own that the 880 made much worse.
In 10 years, this is the first item I purchased on Amazon that I returned, it is that bad.
Paulon 23 Jan 07
I had an early version of the Logitech Remote (back when Harmony was independent). At the time, it was better than anything out there. My biggest issue, and I don’t know if they fixed it with the newer versions was that you would have to be very precise in aiming the remote and make sure you held it in place for at least a second or two to make sure every device picked up the signal. It wasn’t a big deal once you got used to it, but the main reason I bought the remote was to make it easy for first-time users (e.g. the parents and grandparents). From that perspective, it failed miserably because they wound up in the help screen everytime and then had to call me for help. I don’t think my setup was out of the ordinary in that the devices were located right below the TV. Great concept though. I’m back to 3 remotes and an instruction sheet and the parents are just bringing books to read.
Tomon 23 Jan 07
I got the 890 and I couldn’t be happier. It worked on two unique setups- so I can take it into different rooms and make it work in different ways. It does take a little while to setup and perfect, but it’s a LOT cheaper, a LOT easier and a LOT more customizable than any other remote out there.
890 is awesome because it also blasts through furniture with the IR option.
The first time I set it up, it took a while…maybe an hour. When I had to reprogram it after moving into a new apartment it took 20 minutes for 4 activities and 6 devices.
I’d buy another, but this works well for everything. And it’s rechargeable. I could go on and on.
Hunteron 23 Jan 07
Wow, I have the 880 and I would say it is the Windows of uni-remotes and I haven’t yet found the Apple.
It almost works in a lot of ways but there are frustrating bugs, the online setup thing lost my config a few times, the base they shipped with the first production run would only recharge units about half the time (I believe they have fixed this now – the contacts weren’t long enough).
I dunno, I wouldn’t buy another one. I can handle using it but my wife hates it and threatens to throw it often when it doesn’t work.
Jeff Crofton 23 Jan 07
I have the Harmony 520 (I think it’s the 550 now), and I think it’s freaking great. I love the thing.
Hunteron 23 Jan 07
Let me just add to my previous comment by saying that I’m interested in trying a model that uses RF instead of IR since that would make usage all over the room easier… Plus the new Harmony 1000 looks interesting. It’s the size of a tablet type thing.
Despite the problems we’ve had with ours, I admit that I see some promise in the device and if Logitech fixes some of the problems it could be awesome… Maybe I am cursed with an early model that has issues.
Foleyon 23 Jan 07
I’ve got an older version, the logitech 659, and it’s amazing. It’s a remote that my wife loves.
I have heard other complaints about the 880, and I find the UI a bit on the weak side.
Timon 23 Jan 07
those terrariums are really awesome. does anyone know where to get some affordable ones with the same style?
eli sarveron 23 Jan 07
I found the 880 on Amazon for something like $157 with a $30 amazon-only rebate. Also, I had a $100 gift certificate from my dad, so it comes out to like $32 after I turn it in.
Kerrion 23 Jan 07
My Harmony remote is currently in a drawer, covered with a layer of dust. It spewed so much IR all over the room any time it was on, it rendered any other remote inoperative.
No, you didn’t have to be USING the Harmony—but if it was on, it was spraying. Not until I lost it under the sofa cushions and could finally use the original TiVo remote again did I realize this.
Karlon 23 Jan 07
How’s this for a new remote?
From CES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZN89aBVksM
Eddieon 23 Jan 07
(thoughts based on an earlier 680 model, not sure if these still apply)
“Activity Centered” instead of “component centered” is definately the way to go in terms of remotes. The idea is 100% super awesome fresh. The implementation (as other have already mentioned) is a little lacking. The problem is an obvious one- all the components cannot express their current state to the remote. It has to guess.
You’re already walking over to the DVD player to put the movie in, so you power it on to do so. Then you have one component in “power on” while your reciever and TV aren’t yet? Or are maybe they are cause you were watching TV, so you inevitably have to go to the help screen.
In my family, some figure that while they’re up putting the DVD in the player, they might as well turn on the reciever- it’s right there…
So I have to instruct them on the “initial state” that the remote expects the system to be in (to avoid the help prompts)....which doesn’t seem all that much more easy that just explaining what the “final state” should be without it :)
I’m over-exaggerating a bit I believe, it’s been awhile since I returned mine (after the highest of hopes).
Eddieon 23 Jan 07
(cont.) ...clicking on “watch a movie” and then having to dig through the help prompts “Is the TV now on? Yes/No” didin’t seem to be too much quicker or easier than the process I had before.
Darrelon 23 Jan 07
My biggest complaint is why hasn’t the industry agreed upon a standardized remote control format?
When buying a remote control, I should have to wade through 300+ device options to find the one that works.
Recently, I bought a Phillips Universal remote to work with a Phillips TV and Phillips DIVX DVD player.
After calling support, it turns out the Phillips universal remote wasn’t capable of operating the Phillips DVD player I had.
Doug Marchon 23 Jan 07
Just did a little searching and found out that Paula’s Hayes
“The terrariums range in price from $6,500 to $12,000 depending on size. They also come with a maintenance plan- meaning that you can sign up for someone to care for them, if you are in New York.”
MichaelMon 23 Jan 07
I have an earlier version of the Harmony remote and love it. I completely didn’t appreciate how it had changed the way I use my remote till I had to setup a “universal” remote for my father -in-law.
Universal remote developer designed Harmony remote user experience/task designed
Doug Stewarton 23 Jan 07
As a happy owner of the Harmony 880, I think a couple people with previous comments would benefit from knowing that you can change the length of signal time through the online software now. Most devices I use it with (tv/dvd player/ps2 and an RCA IPTV box) don’t need nearly as long as the remote is set for by default. This also includes timings for channel up / down, etc.
Killianon 23 Jan 07
The Harmony remotes are a whole other grade above universal remotes. My girlfriend loves it and can actually watch DVDs when I am on the road without calling me. I think I have a 550.
The important thing is the Harmony software hits about 90% of the functions with little set up and then you can tweak it to 100% with a little playing around. In addition since it has a web interface they can update the remote with new IR codes for new TVs or whatever.
Most of the problems that are being brought up can be fixed with a little digging. Plus it has a learning function if you really need it.
Every other Universal remote simply stinks in comparison.
Chris Mearon 23 Jan 07
I love the idea that someone at O32 thinks that a good way of avoiding a fight is to hand someone a card saying “you are a douch”.
Anonymous Cowardon 24 Jan 07
We have a Harmony 880. It replaces six remotes, so in that respect it’s greatly simplifying.
However, just look at it. Horrific interface design. Too many buttons! Look carefully at the picture. Almost every surface on the thing-including the silver trim-is a button. It’s a perfect 37 Signals-grade example of what NOT to do with an interface.
Cheshireon 24 Jan 07
Here’s what I like about the UI, which speaks directly to some of the frustrations expressed here: Let’s say you’re in Eddie’s situation (which I’ve been in), and the DVD player goes on because you’ve put a DVD in, and then you hit the “Watch DVD” button and the remote turns the DVD player off. (By the way, I agree that it would be nice if the remote knew whether a device is already on.)
So now the DVD player is off. You hit the little button called “Help,” and the remote asks you a few yes/no questions until the problem is solved. So far I haven’t had a single situation like that that wasn’t resolved by the help screens within 30 seconds. “Yes” or “no” seem like simple enough choices, no?
@Anonymous Coward: sometimes it’s actually helpful to have all those buttons (personally, I use a large number of them). But if you want simplicity, you can assign your favorite menu items to the slots on the screen at the top. This remote is far and away the most customizable I’ve ever had.
@Matt: Thanks for featuring my recommendation!
engtechon 24 Jan 07
I love my Logitech Harmony (my review of it here: http://engtech.wordpress.com/2006/09/21/the-best-remote-in-the-world-logitech-harmony/)
I didn’t understand why people had problems with it until I switch TVs… you can hit some pretty weird power up scenarios where there lag with the DVD player power-up that prevents the TV from switching to the DVD player, etc.
They can be fixed by tweaking the activity buttons and inserting delays… but if I hadn’t had no hassle with my old TV I know it would have affected what I think of the remote.
igoron 24 Jan 07
Its all about functionality: more functions – more troubles.
Chrison 24 Jan 07
I’ve had a Harmony Remote 885 for about 18 months. Initially it only liked being programmed via a Windows PC, but now the Mac OS X programmer works fine. Now I have one remote instead of five, and the activity-based operation is brilliant.
I used to have a Philips Pronto, but binned it because it didn’t have enough buttons. The Harmony provides tactile location and feedback so you can operate it without looking at it. That’s something you don’t get with the Harmony Remote 1000.
kodiaon 24 Jan 07
I went a step further with my remote. When I watch tv, the signal enters through a digital receiver, the video is displayed on my tv screen and the audio is send through my audio set. Which means 3 remotes for simply watching a show. I set out to find a miracle remote: when adjusting the volume button the audio set should react, and when switching channels the setup box should react. The tv doesn’t need to do anything, except switching on and off. I solved it by purchasing a ‘one for all’ remote which is a bit similar to the Logitech, but simpler. Less buttons. It’s one of the most flexible remotes on the (European) market. I then fooled the remote by letting it ‘learn’ the volume feature from my audio remote, the channel switching feature from my setup box remote and the on/off feature from my tv remote. Works perfectly. It’s a truly universal remote: doesn’t even need to toggle between different devices.
Kevinon 24 Jan 07
I’m like Jeff above – I have the Harmony 520 and absolutely love it, find it easy to use and can now send the 7 remotes (I know, it’s insane) into the kitchen drawer of shame. However, setup was a bit of a pain – I have a Panasonic LCD that has 6 AV Channels, that you access via the Colour buttons on the standard remote, over two pages (with blue to go the second, and then red to go back to the first). This was difficult to set up and required a little hacking, but since then I’ve had no problems.
The only other comment here I’d echo is that of other users – if we’ve programmed the device ourselves, when something goes wrong it’s quite easy to remedy. But to someone unfamiliar with the line of action the remote can take to launch an activity, when something isn’w working right it can be very frustrating. My sister used to unplug the TV, plug it in again and start from scratch when something didn’t work right.
Kara J.on 24 Jan 07
If I might comment briefly on the lighted, mirrored makeup items, I’d like to express my displeasure with yet another unnecessary, disposable trifle that will end up in landfills. Millions of discarded mascara tubes are bad enough, now they’ll carry batteries, LEDs, and mirrors, too.
Is a small, lighted pocket mirror really so insufficient for applying makeup? I can’t see any added benefit of having it built into the applicators, but the disadvantages of cost and waste are obvious. And anyway, if it’s so dark you can’t even put the stuff on does it really matter that you’re wearing it?
Deckon 24 Jan 07
I have the Harmony 688 model, and I call it “one remote to rule them all.” Friends and family used to make fun of the half-dozen remotes on my coffee table, but now those are stashed safely out of sight (and out of mind). The Harmony is living up to its name.
Hunteron 24 Jan 07
I complained about my 880 above, and the ‘device state’ issue is one of the reasons my wife wants to drop kick this thing…
Even with all the complaints, I do think that the Harmony is the top of the heap of Uni-remotes. It’s just a sorry field right now. The Pronto costs WAY more and really isn’t very good, plus programming it is a pain.
Hopefully next generation home electronics components will have a smarter, two way interface to talk to other components, remotes, etc…
Breton 24 Jan 07
The problem with the Harmony remotes is that they have a predefined layout. Sure, you can use the buttons to the left and right of the display to mimic the functionality of the remotes you replacing, but two horizontal rows aren’t nearly as useful as the (often bad) layouts of the originals. Perhaps the iPhone is the solution ;-)
Miles WIlsonon 30 Jan 07
Out of interest… doesn’t shining bright lights in your eye with a mascara brush sound like a recipe for disaster?
The light would blind you, causing you to have serious issues with applying the mascara correctly….
This discussion is closed.