Gadget review: Logitech Harmony 700
One of the biggest complaints my wife has about the setup in our lounge is how many devices I have connected to the television set, and how many remotes there are to control those devices.
It's a valid complaint, and over the years, our collection of remotes has swelled to something like five or six sitting on the lounge coffee table, controlling various pieces of hardware.
In an effort to restore matrimonial peace, enter Logitech's Harmony 700 universal remote ($199), said to replace up to six remotes and supporting 225,000 devices from more than 5000 manufacturers.
The Harmony has a bright and colourful LCD screen with navigation buttons set around it. The display is crisp and clear and the instructions are easy to follow.
Be prepared to invest about 45 minutes setting up the Harmony, however, because you have to visit Logitech's website, open an account, install the software specific to your model remote, then "pair" the Harmony with the remotes you want to replace.
This involves plugging the Harmony remote into your computer via a USB cable, then placing each remote you want to "replace" about 4cm from the Harmony's sensor unit, which then "learns" what the remote does.
Then you have the following on-screen questions asking about what the remote is used for and which manufacturer it is from and which model number. Then you press certain buttons (play, on/off) on each remote when prompted.
Generally, it worked well, although it's trial and error at times, as you need to adjust the distance between the two remotes to get a strong signal.
Once it is set up, you run through a series of tests to make sure that everything is set up as desired and working correctly, but for some reason the Harmony insisted on assigning my TV to my TV's HDMI 2 (high- definition multimedia interface) connection, rather than the HDMI 1 connection it's set to.
I'm wondering if having my TV signal running through a Freeview HD set-top box might have confused things, but if things aren't working correctly, the remote runs you through a series of troubleshooting options to see if they solve the problem.
Operation-wise, the Harmony did just as it was supposed to: switching off my DVD recorder and DVD player, as well as switching on and off the three devices I'd programmed into it.
Even my wife noted how easy it was to control all three devices with one remote.
While I couldn't get my TV channel problem sorted, everything else worked smoothly, so, if you're looking for freedom from multiple remotes, an all- in-one universal remote is an answer.