Remote for all my gear

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Hi Guys

im fed up with having anything up to SEVEN remotes in use at one time and I really want to merge them all into one device. I have tried those cheap "Universal Remote"s in the past without much success and figured this time I might spend a little more.

To that end i was looking at a Harmony but will happily accept other recommendations!

I need to control the following:

Sky HD
Samsung LE46M87
Yamaha AV-5009
Helios X3000 network/dvd upscaler
BenQ 6210 projector

Addional nice extras but not essential:
X360-HD DVD playing control (obviously not for games)
Media Center PC


Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:
 

Cynar

Well-known Member
My personal recommendation would be a Harmony.
I've owned various universal remotes over the years including an expensive touchscreen Pronto and I reckon the Harmony 525 I have now beats them all hands down and cost a mere £45!
It isn't perfect, but I use it to control everything on a daily basis and never feel the need to use any of the original remotes so it can't be bad!
 

badbob

Banned
Do you prefer hard button remotes or touchscreen, or split touchscreen/hard button.

Controlling that lot isn't a problem, finding one that fits your preference is. Ie a Pronto will do, but in use you might not like it. I use a URC MX-700 and control same TV and HTPC, URC have discrete IR (power, input and aspect) codes so you might want to consider that. I use mine to control two systems, with six "activities"

checkout remote cental. And also requirement of Harmony remotes (net connection)
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Do you prefer hard button remotes or touchscreen, or split touchscreen/hard button.

Controlling that lot isn't a problem, finding one that fits your preference is. Ie a Pronto will do, but in use you might not like it. I use a URC MX-700 and control same TV and HTPC, URC have discrete IR (power, input and aspect) codes so you might want to consider that. I use mine to control two systems, with six "activities"

checkout remote cental. And also requirement of Harmony remotes (net connection)

Thanks for both helpfull responses. I like the idea that Harmony remotes can download settings but it does seem there are a lot of posts from people complaining/requesting information, is this system not as good as it seems?

Whats the URC discrete IR stuff? Controlling power and input is a must.

And tbh, complete touchscreen would be the best .... well its the cool factor init :thumbsup::rotfl: Although, I would happily take a mix but prefer not all hard button.
 

badbob

Banned
I would recommend you borrow a couple of remotes. Touch screen look "cool" but under normal HT use they're a pain in the bum. I find hard buttoned remote works better. I've owned touchscreen remotes in the past.

URC (Home Theatre Master) now have discrete IR codes built into latest pre-programmed database. You have discrete power on, power off, HDMI 1, HDMI 2, S-Video, SCART 1, SCART 2, Component and VGA IR commands. Rather than power & input cycles with the standard remote.

Read as many remote reviews as possible. Download each editor to get a feel of programming.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
.....
URC (Home Theatre Master) now have discrete IR codes built into latest pre-programmed database. You have discrete power on, power off, HDMI 1, HDMI 2, S-Video, SCART 1, SCART 2, Component and VGA IR commands. Rather than power & input cycles with the standard remote.

Read as many remote reviews as possible. Download each editor to get a feel of programming.

HI Bob,

again thanks for the response :thumbsup:

But whats the diference between a normal power on/off etc than a discrete?

I have to be honest, the thought of programming a remote makes me feel ..... well ... not good. I think this is why i like the idea of the Harmony's BUT i am not sold on them I am open to opinions or, indeed, any other manufacturer that does similar.

I really am getting to be an old lazy *^^%%rd before my time and i emphasize the LAZY there :D
 

badbob

Banned
Discrete IR codes are exactly that. If I press "power on" on my remote it switches it on. If I press it again nothing happens, as the TV is on, and that code is specifically to power it on. To power it off I have to press "power off" button. Or I could create a macro, switching everything on or off at a press of a button. For example, I have a Squeezebox, av pre-amp, Samsung TV, DVD player. I have discrete codes for all of them. I have "all off" macro

"All Off"
TV power off
Squeezbox power off
DVD player power off
AV pre-amp power off

Likewise you could create a "all power on macro"

Also discrete input codes means a single button press will go straight to that input. No messing around with pressing "source" button 4 times. So I have activities with the following

"Watch DVD"
TV power on
Av pre-amp power on
DVD player power on
TV HDMI 1 input
av pre-amp DVD input
then opens a page with all buttons required, short linking volume to av pre-amp, and transport controls for DVD player, and some other common dsp modes 2ch, Logic 7 etc. A unused button is set for lights.

Plus another activity

"Watch HTPC"
TV power on
Av pre-amp power on
HTPC MCE start button
TV HDMI 2 input
av pre-amp HTPC input
then opens a page with all buttons required, short linking volume to av pre-amp, and transport controls for HTPC, and some other common dsp modes 2ch, Logic 7 etc. A unused button is set for lights.

So you never need to press that sources power, or the amp input buttons, the discrete codes & macros does it for you.

The remote is configured for the Hi-Fi too, so it has Squeezebox & pre-amp controls

I don't like Harmony "must have net connection" or "can't save profile offline" standards.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
...Also discrete input codes means a single button press will go straight to that input. No messing around with pressing "source" button 4 times. ....


That sir is the killer paragraph with the killer line! :thumbsup: Now I understand :smashin: Yes, I agree, pressing each source is a real pain in the rear end on a major scale. Seems so simple but yet it IS so annoying :) But, if the remote can be programmed, can they not be programmed to "switch device" and send out the correct signal in that macro - discrete or not? I know nothing about this sort of thing so please excuse a possibly very stupid question.

I will check out the website your talking about and in particular will pay attention for discrete "doofers" as we call em in my house :D

Again, thanks a shed load for your help, its been interesting and above all, usefull!:clap:

Now, can I be cheeky and ask why you found touch screen doofers bad?:lease:
 

badbob

Banned
I'm not sure I get you on the first point, but if you create macros on your activity pages you can switch input on the TV and av amp without user intervention. A bit like saying "I'm going to go to the car" and the macro opens your bedroom door, front door, garage door and car door automatically, and switchs the engine on. If you then say "going back in" it'll switch engine off, open door, wait 10 seconds, close car door, close garage door, close front door and close bedroom door.

You just need to know what you want it to do. Of course discretes are a must, as it's impossible to do otherwise (well there is a work around but bit messy)

As for touch screen. Get a piece of paper 4"x4" Now draw boxes in that space for usual commands, ie audio/angle/subs/menu etc etc. Now (without looking at the paper) press the "buttons" you won't be able to do it, without hitting the wrong buttons. Also if a touchscreen isn't calibrated, or you press slightly off skew it'll press the button next to it.

Pickup a standard remote, in this case the Samsung TV. You can probably use it by feel whilst watching the TV without looking down.

Like I said, I've had touchscreens. They appear great initially, but once you've had them a while they start to become annyoing..you didn't think of it at the time.

If you can download the URC MX Editor I can send you my MX-700 profile, so you'll be able to see what exactly I've done.
 

bertha

Well-known Member
One thing to consider also is if you have a wooden floor - my family drop each and all the remotes, ps3 controllers you name it half a dozen times a day..sigh... otherwise a sexy looking touch screen would be nice but it's rubber bricks for me..


berth:)
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
I'm not sure I get you on the first point, but if you create macros on your activity pages you can switch input on the TV and av amp without user intervention. A bit like saying "I'm going to go to the car" and the macro opens your bedroom door, front door, garage door and car door automatically, and switchs the engine on. If you then say "going back in" it'll switch engine off, open door, wait 10 seconds, close car door, close garage door, close front door and close bedroom door.

You just need to know what you want it to do. Of course discretes are a must, as it's impossible to do otherwise (well there is a work around but bit messy)

As for touch screen. Get a piece of paper 4"x4" Now draw boxes in that space for usual commands, ie audio/angle/subs/menu etc etc. Now (without looking at the paper) press the "buttons" you won't be able to do it, without hitting the wrong buttons. Also if a touchscreen isn't calibrated, or you press slightly off skew it'll press the button next to it.
....
Like I said, I've had touchscreens. They appear great initially, but once you've had them a while they start to become annyoing..you didn't think of it at the time.
....


Basicaly, surely all programmable remotes can do a discrete input? i.e. a macro mode otherwise they wouldn't be programmable. :confused:



I never thought about the "tactile" element. Very good point. And kinda compliments exactly Bertha - one drop its dead! I think you have both convinced me, no matter how good looking screen displays are, they are possibly more trouble than worth.

edit: yes, we do have a wooden floor :)
 

badbob

Banned
You might have a £2000 learning remote, and lots of devices, but you need discrete IR commands (from somewhere)

ie for the Samsung TV URC latest database have included 2007 Samsung models. URC database also has Lexicon discretes. Same for Squeezexbox. For the Oppo you have to use the discrete codes from the website. They're in hexidecimal format. The MX Editor doesn't allow direct importing of hex codes....sooo I installed the Pronto software, and imported hex values into a profile, then CCF. The MX editor does import CCF Pronto profiles, so that way I could drag and drop the codes into my MX editor.

All decent programmable remotes should have macros, but to make your system "idiot proof" you need discretes. Otherwise you will still need to power TV on, and cycle sources.

So you need to find out if and where discrete codes are available. If you only have the bundled remotes, you won't be take advantage of a decent learning remote.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Ahhh I see .... finaly :D

Thanks again for your time, I will look into the remotes and websites you've suggested and again, defo steer clear of display remotes :thumbsup:
 

Cynar

Well-known Member
I agree that discrete codes are far better.
However, you should remember that the ability to use discrete codes is dependant on the equipment and NOT the remote.
Any decent universal remote can use discrete codes, they're just the same as any other IR code.

You first need to establish if your equipment supports discrete codes and if it does then try to find them. The remote central website is a good source.

Like the URC, the harmony doesn't support hex codes but you can email them to the excellent Logitech support who'll add them to your configuration for you.

I also agree about the advantages of real buttons over touchscreen. Touchscreens look cool but are a complete pain in the ars* to use. Give me a real button every time!
 

tiresias

Active Member
I don't like Harmony "must have net connection" or "can't save profile offline" standards.

I was on the verge of getting a Harmony but I don't understand the above. Can you explain what it means?

TIA
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
In order to program a Harmony you need to connect it to the Harmony website. By doing this everyone shares there remote control setups and in theory, unless you have some uber rare equipment or brand spanking new, it should be easy to download the programming for it.
 

ryart

Active Member
I wouldn't be too hasty in rejecting touchscreen remotes because some people don't get on with them. If possible try the various types yourself.

I have had two Harmonies, a Sony, a Marantz, and a Philips hard button learning remotes. None of them were fully satisfactory for my setup. I finally took the plunge and invested in a Pronto RU980. This beats the others hands down. With hard buttoned remotes you still need to glance at them to see which button to press and then try to remember what is programmed to each button. If you look at all the buttons on your existing remotes you are unlikely to find a corresponding button for every one of them. With the touch screen you can label every soft button as you choose, and of course there are also hard buttons for the most common operations such as volume, channel etc.

The biggest snag with Prontos is that they take a lot of time and experience to programme and get the best out of them - a hobby in itself!

It is best to use discrete codes if you can find them but not essential.

Hope this hasn't confused matters too much. There has been much debate (some quite evangelical) on these forums which should help you decide which is right for you. With a Harmony you should have little difficulty getting up and running. With a Pronto it is more difficult but the end result far better IMO. I suspect peoples opinions on the merits of the two systems may come down to how good they are at programming the Pronto.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Very informative, thanks very much :thumbsup:
 

badbob

Banned
If you look at all the buttons on your existing remotes you are unlikely to find a corresponding button for every one of them

On split LCD/hard button you stil get 40 renamable buttons (MX-700) ie audio/angle/subs/Logic 7- granted it's not as pretty as a touch screen, but the button next to the LCD makes it impossible to press the wrong button. And then you have the hard buttons which cover multiple sources.

The newer touchsreens have up/down/left/right/select, play/pause/stop, volume, which are much better than all LCD design (ie Lexicon from a while ago)
 

Cynar

Well-known Member
I suspect peoples opinions on the merits of the two systems may come down to how good they are at programming the Pronto.

How patronising. I actually became very adept at programming the pronto. Getting the remote working at a basic level out of the box is easier and a lot quicker with the Harmony, but I found the ProntoEdit software much easier to achieve more complex requirements and fine tuning than the Harmony setup. It takes a lot longer though. The reason I prefer the Harmony is mainly down to the real buttons. I think touchscreens look cool and the idea is great but in reality touching a flat piece of non tactile glass is much inferior to pressing a real button.

If you look at all the buttons on your existing remotes you are unlikely to find a corresponding button for every one of them. With the touch screen you can label every soft button as you choose, and of course there are also hard buttons for the most common operations such as volume, channel etc.


You rightly say no remote will have all the buttons from your original remotes, but look at the Harmony and see how many it does have - I count 34 plus the navigation button comapared to the Pronto's 13. There's also the facility to add any not available to the buttons next to the LCD screen.
Yes you can label every soft button as you choose on the Pronto, but how many can you fit on the screen if you make them a useable size? In my experience not that many and you end up constantly flicking from screen to screen to find the button you want.
You say the Pronto has common buttons but it doesn't have transport buttons or teletext buttons. Not even number buttons. I had to have a seperate page for each device with all the numbers on and even then it was easy to press the wrong one as they're all close together.
The Pronto is also big, heavy and unwieldy compared to the Harmony making it an awkward one hand operation at best.
Add all this to the fact that the Pronto 980 is roughly 12 times the price of the Harmony and it's a no brainer!
The fact that you can even compare the two is amazing. It's like directly comparing a Bentley and a Hyundai and genuinely not being sure which is best!
 

ryart

Active Member
Hi Betty

"How patronising" Not intended to be, just trying to post a comment which might help the OP make a balanced judgement. I suppose if you think I was being patronising your aggressive reply might be excusable;).

As to how many buttons you can get on a pronto screen I work on a maximum of 36 and don't have any problems with hitting the wrong one. It comes down to being as consistent as possible from one activity to another and colour coding the buttons to make the whole operation clear.

My first attempt at programming the pronto was lamentable. I found myself flicking from screen to screen trying to find the right device and the right button.

My second attempt set everything up as activities - much better. From the home screen press a button which describes what I want to do, such as watching sky on the projector, and the projector switches on and selects the correct input, the Lumagen switches on. The hi-fi controller and appropriate power amps switch on and a screen on the pronto appears with all the controls required for normal operation and adjustment. Any seldom used controls could be placed on a second screen. If I want to change channel I press a button which takes me to a screen with a button for each sky programme I might watch. Press the button for the required channel and the remote changes channel on the skybox and automatically returns me to the previous screen with all the controls.

This worked well but I managed to improve things on my third attempt by colour coding the soft buttons. The buttons controlling the Skybox are light blue (sky coloured), the Lumagen purple, the projector dark blue and the hifi grey. This makes it easy to know exactly what piece of equipment you are adjusting. There is also room for a yellow and dark grey button for switching the lights on and off and the coloured Sky buttons. I personally have no trouble finding or touching the intended button, something I was often doing with the Harmony 885. The attached jpg gives an idea of what I am waffling on about.

The point I am trying to make is that the oft quoted disadvantages of the Pronto can be overcome with good design.

The Pronto is of course bigger but I leave mine sitting on the table beside me and operate it with one finger.

It is also very expensive. Betty thinks it's a no brainer (does this mean that Pronto owners are brainless - how rude;)). I think that for my use the Pronto is worth the extra. for someone else very possibly not. This is why I think someone should try the various types before buying and that way avoid having a drawerful of programmable remotes gathering dust.

Hope this helps, hope it's not patronising
 

Attachments

  • pronto for AV forums.jpg
    pronto for AV forums.jpg
    60.8 KB · Views: 76

badbob

Banned
No matter how well you've designed the screens, it still doesn't get around the limitations of touchscreens.

I can press power on and off, lights, info, play, pause, stop,1-9 without looking at the remote. From your screenshot above I would have to look at it.

I can also use the upper area LCD/button area as you get used to it you can press buttons without looking at the LCD, as the buttons to the screen are hard type. Can you press 1:85 without pressing any surrounding buttons? No.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Hi Guys

thanks very much, its all indeed, usefull info. I have to be honest and i'm not sure I can be bothered to do much programming for a remote (i can't even be bothered to do it for my job) so I am leaning towards the Harmony range - probably the 885. I also think the 885 is at the top of my limit.


Again, thanks for all the input/advice!
 

badbob

Banned
If you do get the 885, report back on the buttons. They look a bit close together to use "blind" also if the buttons are rubbery or hard plastic (existing remote are rubberised plastic)
 

ryart

Active Member
Thanks Monty, from what you say the Harmony is the best for you.

Hi Badbob. Yes you do have to glance at a Pronto screen but then I found I had to do that with a Harmony 885 (with its adjacent and not very high buttons), less so with the H655 which IMO was much easier to use albeit with less features.

You ask, or is it a statement, "Can you press 1:85 without pressing any surrounding buttons? No", actually I can, I would hardly have set it up like this if I couldn't. Obviously I have to glance at the remote but then I had to with the 885. Perhaps I'm a bit lacking in the fingertip dexterity/memory department.

Please note that I am not suggesting that a Pronto is the best solution for all people. In fact I suspect that for most, the Harmony or other universal is best. With my setup it is the best for me and I merely throw my two penny worth in to show that there are different ways of doing things just in case it might be applicable/helpful to someone else.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Star Wars Andor, Woman King, more Star Trek 4K, Rings of Power & the latest TV, movies & 4K releases
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

iFi Audio launches NEO Stream music streamer with DAC
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
Musical Fidelity launches M6x 250.7 multi-channel power amplifier
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
Is Google set to rival Dolby Vision and Atmos?
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
'Tizen TV by Samsung' brands coming to UK?
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
Denon announces five new 8K AV receivers
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom