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Alternative to Logitech Harmony remote control

elcano

Active Member
elvisimprsntr said:
Get a redeye unit from thinkflood.com. iOS and android apps for control and has a rest API for integration.
Nice option. However it does not meet my requirements. I need a mother-in-law-friendly solution. She needs hardware buttons. One labeled POWER, and the typical VOL-/+ and CH-/+. She barely managed the Harmony. :) 
 
Gearhead said:
Been living with the Harmony Link for over a year an I absolutely love it. My wife and daughter have their own "remote" since we all have iPhones so there's no fussing about who took the remote. Integration for my Pioneer Elite Plasma, Integra Pre, DirectV DVR, and Blue-Ray took all of 15 minutes.

As you can expect, there is the delay cranking up the app but, I can live with a 5 second launch time. I'll sometimes switch back and forth with the DirectV remote (which is hard to beat anyway). Also, the wow factor of the iPad app with the integrated DirectV guide feature is off the chart.
I tried the Link, probably one year (or more) ago. The iPad version of their app was nice, but if I'm not wrong I think that their Android App was a very poor after-tough. The current rating in the Play Store is 2.5 stars. Anyway, thanks, but I need a traditional controller.
 

mikei-ma

Active Member
I'm wrestling with the WAF factor on remotes and frankly think I'll be moving back to a 'button' remote quickly. I've tried Roomie and iRule based solutions for iOS and while very robust I still get the 'look' when I hand her the iPad to control netflix.. "because nothing else does it" currently.
 
I'm a real fan of the two way communication that these solutions provide from Yamaha, Pandora, DirecTV, etc..  Can I get the same feedback on a URC or other 'button' remote?
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
I actually ordered an URC remote myself, because I got tired of the bad qualify of the low-end harmony remotes, but haven't had time yet to play with it :(
 
I miss using my old Radio Shack RS-2117 (or something like that) remote, could be programmed via JP1, backlit buttons, great remote.
 

RichardU

Active Member
In many cases with touchscreen remotes, the costs outweigh the real benefits. One big cost is you need to look at the remote. I can use my hard button remotes in the dark without looking. Not so for touchscreens. One supposed benefit of a touchscreen is you can scroll through media, but I can do that just as easily on the giant screen in front of me. The only times I prefer my touchscreens are when entering text via a virtual keyboard.
 

jwilson56

Senior Member
Well so far the button fix for the Harmony 880 seems to be working fine although I have reprogrammed it for my family room and use the Harmony One for my main HT room. The Harmony One seems like it has a lot more quality (at least hoping it does)
 

Mario23

Member
I have the Harmony One and the Harmony Touch.
The touch is real nice with the graphics and swipe friendly layout.
I still kind of prefer the One probably because I'm more comfortable with the button layout.
 
I had a Harmony 1100 for a while but really missed the hard buttons!
I hear the URC remotes are really nice.
I don't know of any other alternatives in this price range that would suit our needs and I can't really justify the high price of some of these high end units when the Harmony does actually work fine.
 

etc6849

Senior Member
Like others, I prefer real buttons to touch screens.  Premise allows you to use virtually any touch device to control things, but 99% of the time, I use a hard button remote as I don't want to look down and away from the movie.
 
I also find that touch screens do not work well if you have a projector.  Once your eyes acclimate to the dark room, I think it's better not to saturate them again with a touch screen.
I'd recommend URC's professional line (called Complete Control), but only if you can get the full updatable version of the CCP software from your dealer.  The MX-780 is one of the newer remotes and looks nice, but it has a color LCD screen instead of the larger monochrome screen of the MX-900.  I think it's at the right price point if you look around on ebay though.
 
The MX-900 is a good remote, but lacks critical buttons like RGYB and a record button.  I guess they don't use those in Korea?!?  Really though, why hasn't URC added these to the MX-900; maybe make a revision 2 or something?!?  That said, I have two MX-900's from before the newer remotes came out with the RGYB buttons.  They are ok, but the problem is there was initially a defect on the back of the rubber buttons where the magnetic epoxy would was wearing too quickly.  Just make sure you don't buy an old one!  One of my MX-900's is from 2007 and works great (after URC replaced my rubber keypad for free due to this defect)!
 
Aside from the button issue and some initial firmware issues with the MX-900 that seems to have mostly been fixed, URC makes a good one-way RF remote with great range!  If you want to interface with a home automation system via RS232,  you'll also want an MSC-400.  As a whole URC products are over priced for what they do IMHO, but are one of the last options left if you like real buttons like I do.
 
Here's a thread on my MX-900 setup with Premise: http://cocoontech.com/forums/topic/18691-advanced-rf-and-ir-control-for-premise/?hl=%2Bmx%26amp%3B%238208900#entry189974
 

DaveL17

New Member
I see the MX-980 remote recommended twice, but man, that is an expensive remote! How about the MX-450 or the MX-780? What am I loosing if I dont want RF? I dont find a simple comparative table at URC's site.
I am extremely happy with my MX-450. My only complaint is that you need installer grade software to access the higher levels of programming. But for learning, macros and build quality, I've found nothing that compares. I use mine with RF, and it's nearly bullet proof.

Just wish I could get my hands on the programming software...
 

etc6849

Senior Member
I guess the software would let you use the IR database, everything else should be the same right?
 
I don't think the MX-450 will work as well with the MSC-400 if the OP needs RS232 or advanced macro capabilities.  However, my understanding is that you can use the MX-450 with an MSC-400, but you need a PC programmable URC remote (MX-900 etc...) to teach the MX-450 the trigger code.
 
Definitely the MX-780 is probably the best choice for the OP, but it's still $160+ on ebay and you will need software to program the remote and this is not typically included.
 

Mario23

Member
I was looking at the newer MX890...really nice.
I just can't stand the fact that I can't set it up though.
 
I may have to get the Harmony Ultimate for my wiring closet just because there's really nothing else to choose from!
 
I picked up two Monster MCC AVL300-S for $60.00 and I love them. Easy setup, can easily customize them to a point. I have one for master bedroom and master bathroom via RF mode (all the gear is in the in wall rack in the family room.) The other I use for theater room via normal IR.
elcano said:
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?
 
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