Best universal remote for TV/home theater

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daveydoo
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by daveydoo » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:12 pm

I see an old thread from 2014 on this topic; unfortunately, I already have the highly recommended Logitech Harmony and am looking for something a little less infuriating.

We're running a flat screen and Pioneer A/V receiver (both use IR signal for remotes) and a PS3. The PS3 is Bluetooth-only and we have an IR-to-Bluetooth adapter for that one that lets us use the "universal" IR-based Logitech remote. I was OK with programming it. We've already replaced the battery in the Harmony for the famous swollen-and-stuck battery issue and it seems to hold a charge OK with the aftermarket rechargeable cell. And we're only 6 or 8 ft from all the devices (BH home) so distance is not a factor. We just get such erratic performance out of it -- need to be even closer or works ~ every third time. I do OK with it (within these limitations) but others in the household are losing their patience with it (and me).

Anything newer, better, or more reliable than the Harmony in the past few years that BH have come across? Thanks!
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

user5027
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by user5027 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:30 pm

When I read the title I was going to suggest what we have, the Logitech Harmony One. Ours is probably 5 years old and has worked well controlling the tv, dvd player, receiver and projector. :?

jasg
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by jasg » Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:07 pm

I have used a Harmony Smart Control for several years, supports 8 devices. $100 on Amazon. It is a simple RF remote that talks to a hub that is an IR blaster - fills the room with the IR signal as the IR bounces off the walls. No need to point the remote.

Mine sits on the top of a rack with my AV equipment, TV on opposite wall. Everything 'sees' the IR signal.

There are also free phone / tablet apps that mimic the remote. Works with Echo and Google Home voice control.

IR codes are downloaded from Logitech so new equipment has always worked for me.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:09 pm

user5027 wrote:When I read the title I was going to suggest what we have, the Logitech Harmony One. Ours is probably 5 years old and has worked well controlling the tv, dvd player, receiver and projector. :?
Harmony Ones are long gone. And greatly missed by many. I have one as well as two other Harmony models.

I love them, but OP obviously isn't interested in another Harmony. I can't blame him much as my wife refuses to "think like a Harmony." DS picked it up in a hurry though.

bluebolt
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by bluebolt » Mon May 01, 2017 5:00 am

jasg wrote:I have used a Harmony Smart Control for several years, supports 8 devices. $100 on Amazon. It is a simple RF remote that talks to a hub that is an IR blaster - fills the room with the IR signal as the IR bounces off the walls. No need to point the remote.

Mine sits on the top of a rack with my AV equipment, TV on opposite wall. Everything 'sees' the IR signal.

There are also free phone / tablet apps that mimic the remote. Works with Echo and Google Home voice control.

IR codes are downloaded from Logitech so new equipment has always worked for me.
I have a Harmony Home Control (got it on sale for $100) and I love it. Like jasg said, the hub blasts an IR signal and the remote is RF, so you don't need to point it anywhere. Most of my equipment is in a closed cabinet so this works great for me.

It also automatically integrates with Echo, so I can control everything by voice also.

Setup was slightly frustrating, but once it was set up it's been fantastic.

lazydavid
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by lazydavid » Mon May 01, 2017 5:24 am

Agreed on anything that uses the Harmony Hub. I have both the Ultimate and the Smart Control. I actually prefer the simpler/less expensive Smart Control. I too had issues with the PS3 Bluetooth adapter back when I had my Harmony One. But I solved that particular problem by getting a real Blu-Ray player. :P

At any rate, as others have said, the Hub is a fixed device that's plugged in, and permanently located in a place where the IR can reach all of your devices. The IR signal is very strong, and seems to go in every direction. If a device is very particular, there are two wired outs for IR blasters that you can just attach to the front of the device. Then you can control everything from either:
1) a physical remote via RF. The fancy touchscreen ones still have rechargeable batteries, but the Smart Control runs off a button battery that lasts around 2 years.
2) your smartphone via wifi
3) Amazon Echo via voice

Programming is still a chore, but once it's done, everything works quite well. And you never have to point your remote at anything. :mrgreen:

takeshi
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by takeshi » Tue May 02, 2017 9:29 am

The Harmony line is the go-to for ease of programming.

If you're willing to deal with the steep learning curve and the premium, I would highly recommend Universal Remote's products. They're really intended for a system integrator to set up for you as part of your home entertainment system but you can program them yourself if you can find a reputable vendor that can provide the software. We used MX-350's for a long time and upgraded a number of years ago to MX-980's. They have always been extremely reliable.

mrb09
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by mrb09 » Tue May 02, 2017 9:37 am

+1 on Harmony Hub and Harmony companion. The hub and its IR repeaters make a huge difference, I have two shelves and use the hub itself on one shelf and the plugin repeater on the second.

I had a Harmony 650 before, and that was frustrating to me as well, waving the remote around to it all the IR spots. That's all gone now.

daveydoo
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Re: Best universal remote for TV/home theater

Post by daveydoo » Tue May 09, 2017 2:16 am

jasg wrote:I have used a Harmony Smart Control for several years, supports 8 devices. $100 on Amazon. It is a simple RF remote that talks to a hub that is an IR blaster - fills the room with the IR signal as the IR bounces off the walls.
Thanks, all -- I think I'll go that route. Maybe the IR blaster will help warm up that room!
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

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