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Alternative to Logitech Harmony remote control

elcano

Active Member
I have given up on the Logitech hardware crap. I love the activity-based logic, but they have a very poor hardware quality. After discarding my third Harmony I'm back to using the pletora of original controls, but my parents, children, wife and parents in law are facing huge challenge and frustration when I'm not at home.
A cheap universal control does not solve the issue of selecting the right inputs. On the other hand, I would not like to be programming all the macros required to switch from one activity to another. Some people complain about Harmony bad software (yes, it is horrible), complexity and lack of customization. But for my last remote I programmed everything that I needed in about 30 minutes. Actually, everything that my relatives needed, since this remote is more for them than for me.

My needs are not extraordinary:
Yamaha receiver
Samsung TV
DirecTV Latin America SD receiver (Tompson, I think)
Samsung Smart BlueRay (not recommended!, my wife got it)

and the non-IR, non-interoperable-RF-remotes from these:
Wii
Xbox360
Roku

I'm also considering a WD Live, since none of the above meet my local NAS uPnP music and movie streaming needs.

Right now I'm looking at the Xsight. My objective is to spent at most $150, or maybe a little more if the product deserves it, but staying below $150 is preferred. I hear about the build quality if the URC remotes, but I hate the idea of clicking zillions of buttons to program the remote, plus having to program every macro neede to turn on/off the activities, plus the transition from activity to activity. I know that it is possible and there are work-arounds, but remember, the target audience is my mother in law. Actually, old eyes prefer hard buttons to tiny LCD icons.

What would you recommend? Is the Xsight good enough (hardware, software, programming and usage experince)? Are my fears on the URC remotes unfounded? Is my budget unrealistic? Are there other contenders that could better meet my needs?
 

Neurorad

Senior Member
I bought a consumer URC unit from Amazon for $20 a couple weeks ago, thought I'd see how it compares with Harmony.

Haven't done anything with it yet.

I bought it on a rec from CT and AVS member jautor, who gives very good advice.

I have a couple Harmony units. Seems that if you put a lot of time into online research and troubleshooting, they're pretty powerful, in terms of delays and macros. Neither unit has failed, after 3-5 years, but they don't get much use, honestly; kids don't touch them (yet).

I reprogrammed 1 last week, after switching to DirecTV. Started over, with a new Harmony account. Took 10 minutes to program. Haven't tweaked it at all yet, but working without too much trouble. If I bought another Harmony, it would be RF, without question.
 
I haven't found anything (consumer accessible) that compares to the Harmony stuff. Some of the URC offerings are good, but I'm not as impressed.

Though my issue with Harmony is the software, not the hardware. :angry2:
 

elcano

Active Member
Were you having trouble with the buttons?

Remote #1 - LCD screen started to fail. Initially it was possible to turn it on by pressing the control in specific place, but it eventually died.

Remote #2 - Button 8 failed very soon, but we found ways around it (should have returned, but that is another story). Then it stopped charging. I opened the base and invented a fix by adding some wedges below the contacts. Finally it stopped charing again and I gave up. I think other buttons started to fail too.

Remote #3 - It used to reboot after a sudden movement. Everytime that this happened we were required to complete that silly tutorial that my children and parents/inlaws do not understant. They just set the control aside and use another or just find another activity out of frustration. I assumed that it was a problem with battery contacts and pulled them as for making the batteries contact stronger. However, the problem continued and increased in frequency and sensitivity. Just repositioning, and eventually, just pressing a button would make it to reboot.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
Have you guys looked at the Pro Control line of remotes? I haven't played with any first hand, but they look to be pretty nice and very flexible. http://procontrol.com

They're not as directly accessible to consumers but I or others could help in that area.
 

elcano

Active Member
I have a couple Harmony units. Seems that if you put a lot of time into online research and troubleshooting, they're pretty powerful, in terms of delays and macros. Neither unit has failed, after 3-5 years, but they don't get much use, honestly; kids don't touch them (yet).

Software/programming has never been a problem for me. The problem is the low construction quality. The first 2 remotes were in my bedroom, with practically no kids usage. Remote #3 was downstairs and saw some kids usage, but nothing out of ordinaty treatment. None of the other remote controls that they toss around have failed. Only Logitech Harmony remotes fail. They have a pretty consistent record.
 

gatchel

Senior Member
Following this thread. I too have had a few harmony remotes but they always seem just a bit underpowered and they are a pain in the ass to customize.

The best remote I ever owned was a Philips Pronto Neo. Unfortunately they are long gone...
 

Waynedb

Active Member
I haven't found anything (consumer accessible) that compares to the Harmony stuff. Some of the URC offerings are good, but I'm not as impressed.
Though my issue with Harmony is the software, not the hardware. :angry2:

I never had any problems getting URC remotes or the software for programming them, I bought from Surf Remote here in California.
I use the URC MX-980 and it is a really good remote, it was more expensive than a harmony remote but it is also a much nicer remote.
 

Neurorad

Senior Member
If you want to step up in quality, and don't mind the learning curve of the programming software, mike at surfremote is the way to go, for pro URC.

You get what you pay for, in this case.
 
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