TiVo Community Forum Archive 1
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TiVo Community Forum Archive 1 (http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/index.php)
- HDTV TiVo Powered PVRs (http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/forumdisplay.php?forumid=36)
-- Good Universal Remote (http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?threadid=168950)


Posted by markw on 04-05-2004 05:25 PM:

Good Universal Remote

What is a good universal remote to look into? My setup includes a Sony HDTV, Yamaha Receiver, will include a Zektor Component Switch, a Panasonic DVD Recorder, a JVC D-VHS, and very soon, a HD TIVO. I looked highly at the Harmony because my fiancee often has a hard time knowing what to turn on to watch a dvd, tv, etc. I looked highly at the Harmony but I almost felt it could over too much control and won't always do things quite like it should. I hope that made sense but I guess it's hard to have the best of both.
When I was reading here though I saw the MX-700 mentiond and something like the UC300 or so. Where can I get information on these and any other universal remotes. I want something that will work well with all the equipment I have.


Posted by midas on 04-05-2004 05:30 PM:

Remote Central is a great place to find out tons of information about remotes. I personally recommend the MX-700 very highly. I previously owned the MX-500 and am very happy I spent the money to upgrade.


Posted by itsmeitsmeitsme on 04-05-2004 05:35 PM:

The mx-500 here. Its the best $100 i ever spent. Very easy to learn and to program. Im sure the mx-700 is even better.


Posted by ToddHealy on 04-05-2004 05:42 PM:

A good place to look for information on remote controls is Remote Central. They have helpful reviews and an active forum.

Don't know if this helps at all or if it is just me rambling...

I used them in my quest to find the right remote. My short list consisted of Home Theater Master's MX series, Harmony Remotes, and Philips Prontos. I ended up with the MX-800 and it works great for me.

I discounted the Prontos because they are mostly buttonless. This means you need to look at the display to be surely of hitting the right 'button'.

The Harmonies are great for other people to use because they are very user friendly. It can also remember the state of devices for toggle buttons. The power button is an example of a toggle. If you are programming macros you need to know whether the device is on or off, otherwise you may turn it off (or on) when you don't want to. Harmony remembers this for you.

My equipment supports discrete codes (e.g. separate code for on Vs. off), so the Harmony's state memory didn't matter. Nobody else needs to use it, so friendliness was not a critical issue. Given that I preferred the greater power & flexibility of the MX's

That left me with with choosing between the different MX models (500, 600, 700, 800). The 700/800 had greater programming flexibility and more macro power. The 800 had an RF base station that I really wanted.


Posted by whsbuss on 04-05-2004 05:54 PM:

I've been looking for a good universal remote and WAS considering the Sony AV-RM3000 (or soon to be released RM3100). However, it does not allow inputting of discrete codes. You need to have a universal remote that can send the discrete code so the Sony can learn it.

How dumb is that? Spend $200 for a remote and you need a 2nd to program it! I am considering the MX-700. Are the any B&M stores that carry it?

__________________
Samsung HLN-467W
HR10-250 HD-Tivo
Kenwood VR-6070 Rcvr.
Pioneer DVR-520H
Sony NS775V DVD


Posted by yogre on 04-05-2004 06:01 PM:

Pronto Remotes

Personaly, I have always wanted a Pronto remote. Ever since the TSU2000 came out but could never justify it. When the hype about the HD TiVo started growing, I decided it's time to get an HDTV (I have a PJ which does HD but it can't be used as a mainstream TV because of light restrictions) and figured it was time for the Pronto to enter the household.

I got the TSU7000 and I love it.


Posted by chris_h on 04-05-2004 06:57 PM:

I have (2) MX-500s and the IRClone gizmo for programming them via the computer. Love them all. Also another vote for remotecentral.com, great site with many useful resources.

__________________
Chris


Posted by sonnyducks on 04-05-2004 07:03 PM:

Not many B & M stores carry them (I wish they did b/c that's what has been holding me back from getting one). Go check out their website, there may be some stores in your area that carry them.


Posted by dcushing on 04-05-2004 07:11 PM:

I have seen the MX-700 in Magnolia's (division of Best Buy).

Dave


Posted by btwyx on 04-05-2004 11:27 PM:

I'm in the Pronto camp. It takes some effort to get the best out of one, but I think its worth it (and fun in its own right). I have a Pronto 3000, now setup to control 2 DTiVos.

__________________
HR10-250 Upgraded to 600GB. (77Hr HD, 515Hr SD.)


Posted by fripp on 04-05-2004 11:59 PM:

I've had pronto and a MX-500, but in my opinion the Harmony-659 is the best remote I've ever had. It has a totally different philosophy - activity based rather than device based structure - which works for me.

I've heard some TIVO users complain that the 659's transport controls (play, pause, FF, etc) are cumbersome at the bottom of the remote, but I've had no problem adjusting to this placement.

So far I haven't had to program a single button. I just went online and entered all my devices, then downloaded the configuration into the remote. My only concern with this is how quickly Harmony will add the HD-Tivo to their database...


Posted by weidheimer on 04-06-2004 12:18 AM:

What universal remote best incorporates the TIVO remote's functions? I have always planned on purchasing a Pronto, but it doesn't seem to fit as well with TIVO. Any thoughts??
Mike


Posted by whsbuss on 04-06-2004 12:23 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by btwyx
I'm in the Pronto camp. It takes some effort to get the best out of one, but I think its worth it (and fun in its own right). I have a Pronto 3000, now setup to control 2 DTiVos.


I like the pronto as well. However, both the TSU500 and 3000 didn't get a raving review at remotecentral.com

How is the contrast and backlight on the LCD?

__________________
Samsung HLN-467W
HR10-250 HD-Tivo
Kenwood VR-6070 Rcvr.
Pioneer DVR-520H
Sony NS775V DVD


Posted by ajlevine on 04-06-2004 12:40 AM:

I've got a Harmony 659 and love it. If you don't need to go too crazy with customization, it's great. The new 688 has better button placement for those who don't like where the transport buttons are.

-Andy


Posted by btwyx on 04-06-2004 12:43 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by whsbuss
How is the contrast and backlight on the LCD?
They look fine to me. The backlight has to be on though, it sucks with the backlight off.

__________________
HR10-250 Upgraded to 600GB. (77Hr HD, 515Hr SD.)


Posted by btwyx on 04-06-2004 12:44 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by fripp
I've had pronto and a MX-500, but in my opinion the Harmony-659 is the best remote I've ever had. It has a totally different philosophy - activity based rather than device based structure - which works for me.
Which is why we try to program our Prontos as activity based, which is part of the setup required. Out of the box a Pronto is pretty lame, if you're not going to program it, you should look else where.

__________________
HR10-250 Upgraded to 600GB. (77Hr HD, 515Hr SD.)


Posted by fripp on 04-06-2004 12:56 AM:

Which is why we try to program our Prontos as activity based, which is part of the setup required. Out of the box a Pronto is pretty lame, if you're not going to program it, you should look else where.

This is true.

The activity-based structure is more of a differentiator between the Harmony and the MX-500. I think the hard buttons vs. the touch screen is why I prefer the Harmony over the Pronto.


Posted by RDJR on 04-06-2004 01:36 AM:

I have the Harmony. Great remote and the usb connectivity allowing it to be programmed on-line makes it real easy to set up.


Posted by Stephen Tu on 04-06-2004 01:56 AM:

quote:
I've had pronto and a MX-500, but in my opinion the Harmony-659 is the best remote I've ever had. It has a totally different philosophy - activity based rather than device based structure - which works for me

quote:
The activity-based structure is more of a differentiator between the Harmony and the MX-500.


I disagree. It's trivial to set up the MX-500 in an activity based fashion. E.g. to make the Tivo page an activity page rather than just a Tivo device page, you can just stuff whatever additional TV & audio receiver functions you tend to use with Tivo onto the LCD buttons. The MX-500 has a much better button layout IMO, esp. the transport keys for Tivo, plus it's easier to access more obscure functions since it has 10 LCD buttons accessible on a page, vs. something like 4 on the Harmony.

The main advantage of the Harmony is the "smart state" technology, which deals better with equipment that doesn't have discrete codes, e.g. only commands to cycle between inputs or toggle on/off rather than jump directly to an input, or force power off. The MX-500 can usually get by though, although sometimes a cheap auxilliary JP1-capable OFA/Radio Shack remote to teach it discrete codes is necessary. Even with the add-on JP1 remote, the MX-500 is cheaper than the Harmony. Or one could opt for the much more powerful MX-700 instead for not much more than the Harmony.

The Pronto was never in the running for me, since I like tactile feedback, being able to operate the remote without looking at it, keeping my eyes on the TV.


Posted by joegolf68 on 04-06-2004 02:00 AM:

I have the SST-688 on order. I may be stupid, ignorant, whatever. I just wanted the very best universal remote that I could get, and after some research, I decided to wait for the SST-688. It should be here soon, so I have no idea if it is a dog or not. But my research indicated it was supose to be the best.

Happy hunting.


Posted by bkdtv on 04-06-2004 02:08 AM:

quote:
I disagree. It's trivial to set up the MX-500 in an activity based fashion. E.g. to make the Tivo page an activity page rather than just a Tivo device page, you can just stuff whatever additional TV & audio receiver functions you tend to use with Tivo onto the LCD buttons.
Macro setup for "activity-based" operation on the MX-series may be trivial for you and it may be trivial for me, but it is not trivial for many first-time buyers of universal remotes. Many individuals on this board have never programmed IR codes, let alone macros, on their remotes. Others have in the past, and just don't have the patience for it.

The fact that Harmony does essentially all of this for you is a big selling point for many people. In some cases, Harmony also provides discrete IR codes, which saves having to locate these codes in another fashion, be it a JP1 remote or Pronto CCF files.

quote:
The MX-500 has a much better button layout IMO, esp. the transport keys for Tivo, plus it's easier to access more obscure functions since it has 10 LCD buttons accessible on a page, vs. something like 4 on the Harmony.
I definitely agree with you here. The button layout on current Harmony remotes is flat out inferior.

One has to wonder why Harmony can't come up with an intuitive button layout on their remotes. From their button layouts, one has to wonder whether the folks at Harmony have ever actually used a DirecTV receiver or Tivo. The layout of the 659 is awful. Just compare this top-of-the-line Harmony to URC's latest budget remotes. Both remotes are about the same size (Harmony is 0.4" shorter but 0.3" thicker).

If Harmony could just produce a remote with the button layout of the URC-200 or MX700, but with their own web-based programming and activity-based operation on the LCD, I think they would have a real hit on their hands.


Posted by bkdtv on 04-06-2004 02:15 AM:

As a MX500 and URC200 fan, I do agree that the Harmony 688l has real potential for PVR users. This "PVR friendly" remote is slated to ship in quantity on April 15 at $229 MSRP.

Harmony still made a number of obvious mistakes (see RemoteCentral) with the design of this remote, but at least they have heard and incorporated some feedback from Tivo users.


Posted by RANSOME on 04-06-2004 10:56 AM:

I have a mx500 and a harmony 659.The Harmony set up all my equipment with discreet codes quickly and correctly in about an hour.Liked the mx500 love the Harmony..


Posted by Darin on 04-06-2004 02:57 PM:

I have an MX700, and love it. I think the PC programming interface could be better, but the remote itself is WAY flexible, powerful, comfortable to use, and durable.

I agree with Stephen, I really don't understand all the fuss about "activity" based programming. It's just an issue of how you organize your commands... any reasonably flexible macro capable remote can be activity based. The way I have my MX700 programmed would be considered activity based. And I also agree that Harmony's "smart state" feature is probably their strongest advantage. Fortunately, it's not an issue for me. Most of my components have discreet commands. I do have a receiver that I use to separately power my rear channels that does NOT have discreet commands, but you can usually get around that anyway... many products automatically turn on if given a certain command - for this receiver, if you select an input source, even if the power is off, it will turn on. From that, you can derive discreet commands: select an input to turn it on. Select an input, followed by "power" to turn it off. Works every time, even if for some reason it didn't receive the command from the remote (which WOULD screw up the Harmony).

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Tiros2 on 04-06-2004 07:59 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by weidheimer
What universal remote best incorporates the TIVO remote's functions? I have always planned on purchasing a Pronto, but it doesn't seem to fit as well with TIVO. Any thoughts??
Mike



Just one:

URC-6131!

Only $19.00 and JP1 moddable


Posted by yogre on 04-06-2004 08:24 PM:

The nice thing about the new prontos (NG) is that they have a lot of hard buttons as well as the huge touch screen. I think 17 programable and maybe 2 that arn't.

This enables me to to 90% of my remote activity using hard buttons so I don't need to look at the remote. The other 10% I use the screen but it's really nice everything is labled nicely. I have buttons with channels that have the channel logo on them etc'


Posted by markw on 04-06-2004 11:56 PM:

I have definitely decided to get the MX-700. I have two home setups so decided to get a remote for both and even have a 3rd TV I may use one with. I read that these are sold in a 3pack with just the one cable and manual which is fine for me and I'm sure it would save money over buying 3 separately. My question, I can't find any place online to buy the 3 pack they sell. Any idea where I can get this?


Posted by tbirdman on 04-07-2004 12:46 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
As a MX500 and URC200 fan, I do agree that the Harmony 688l has real potential for PVR users. This "PVR friendly" remote is slated to ship in quantity on April 15 at $229 MSRP.

Harmony still made a number of obvious mistakes (see RemoteCentral) with the design of this remote, but at least they have heard and incorporated some feedback from Tivo users.



I like the MX500 as it was fairly easy to switch between HD-200, SD TIVO and DVD with the 3 system macro buttons. However the purchase of a Panasonic DVD with no discretes for power makes things more difficult. The Harmony 659 with the ability to remember component states, may be a better solution. I do hate the "peanut" which I have in the bedroom TIVO. The Sony remote is so much nicer and I always switch to it when watching the TIVO. But why don't throw some backlighting in the remotes that come with these boxes.

The Harmony 688 may be a solution. Waiting to see someone else bight the $ bullet first?


Posted by midas on 04-07-2004 12:51 AM:

Most Panasonic DVD players can be tricked to make it like they have discrete on-off. If you hit the play button, even if the unit is off, it will turn on. So power on would be PLAY then STOP. Power off would be PLAY then POWER.

Sometimes you just have to be creative.


Posted by Darin on 04-07-2004 12:52 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by tbirdman
However the purchase of a Panasonic DVD with no discretes for power makes things more difficult.

Will it power on if you hit the play button, or perhaps something else?

EDIT: Ooops, Midas beat me.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-07-2004 07:13 PM:

Most Panasonic DVD players do have discrete on/off commands available. Which model number do you have?

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by BDIAS on 04-09-2004 02:26 AM:

I purchased the MX-700 based off of many recommendations from people around here. Got it refurbished from Bluedo for $150 off list price. It is one of the best purchases I have ever made for my home entertainment system.


Posted by Chris Gerhard on 04-09-2004 02:58 AM:

Consider one of the inexpensive UEI manufactured remotes before spending a lot of money on something expensive. I have much of the same or similar equipment. A Yamaha HTR-5490, JVC D-VHS, Sony XBR, TiVos including the HDTV version on order, Samsung SIR-TS360, Hitachi SD D-VHS, ReplayTV, and other pieces. With The Robman's website and Avsforum guidance I expect to keep my UEI JP1 programmable remotes able to control all of it. One for the upstairs system and one for downstairs. The Radio Shack $10 15-2104 or RCA $20 RCU810 are able to take care of it and I don't worry too much about dropping them or having the kids handle them. UEI makes several very powerful remotes for not much money. Several TC members use the URC6131 with great results. Various key layouts are available from UEI and the company offers great support but most issues are handled by the avsforum remote forum, the Yahoo JP1 group, Robman or Remote Central.

Visit the AVSforum remote control section and other websites for additional information.

Chris


Posted by RANSOME on 04-09-2004 08:02 AM:

Got my Harmony 659 on ebay for $88.I have tried almost every high dollar remote except pronto,the Harmony works as advertised..just buy one.


Posted by joegolf68 on 04-09-2004 08:05 AM:

Great buy

quote:
Originally posted by RANSOME
Got my Harmony 659 on ebay for $88.I have tried almost every high dollar remote except pronto,the Harmony works as advertised..just buy one.


That's a great buy!!!! You might want to resell it for much more once the SST-688 comes out. It is nnow on their web site and today they stated it SHOULD ship April 15th. for TiVo owners, this looks like a winner, but we have to wait and see. Was your unit used? there will probably be many of them out there when the 688 ships. I don't know if Harmony is going to keep the 659 in their line. Many good things have been said about them. enjoy and let us know how well it works. I am envious, as I have nothing yet.


Posted by RANSOME on 04-09-2004 08:14 AM:

joegolf68

I don't know if I like the shape of the buttons on the harmony 688,and other than the extra activity button the software is identical.I will wait to see what the reports are on the new remote.
As for my remote, some guy had a bunch of the 659's new in the box..going for $79 to $98..got lucky


Posted by Thess on 04-11-2004 07:08 PM:

Just as a warning, Harmony is very picky about only honoring warranties from "authorized" online retailers. I have read many anecdotal reports of people running into problems with this. Harmony has a disclaimer about this on their website:

http://www.harmonyremote.com/APR_2004_US/policy.htm


Posted by bdlucas on 04-12-2004 03:40 AM:

Just "auditioned" the Harmony 659 and the MX-700; the MX-700 wins hands-down. The Harmony's button layout is terrible - in particular the "transport" buttons are in a very awkward place - best I could figure out was to kind of balance the remote on the middle finger of one hand while operating them with the thumb, and then re-grip to use any other buttons. The MX-700 software is much nicer than the slow web-based Harmony software. The Harmony "task" buttons are nice, but not that big a deal, and you can program the MX-700 to do the same thing if the device has discrete (i.e. not toggle) codes. And in the case of devices without discrete codes the fact that the Harmony remote has to remember what state the device is in can make it too fussy to really be desireable anyway: if the remote and the device get out of sync - for example, someone turns the TV on or off without using the remote, or if the remote is mis-aimed and the TV doesn't pick up the signal - then you've got to fuss with getting them re-synced. I do wish the MX-700 were slightly smaller, but with its grippy texture it's still pretty nice to handle.


Posted by bkdtv on 04-12-2004 04:54 AM:

quote:
I do wish the MX-700 were slightly smaller, but with its grippy texture it's still pretty nice to handle.
That's why my SO likes the URC-200. It's the same essential MX-700 button layout, but with a smaller profile. It measures 0.5" less tall, 0.5" less wide, and 0.3" less thick, as compared to the MX-700. It also has a dedicated select button.


Posted by DavidTigerFan on 04-12-2004 06:50 PM:

I seem to be leaning towards the Harmony 688 so that my SO can have a nice "Watch a Movie" function. I'd love to try out the MX-700 but I don't want to drop that amount of cash and not use it.

-DTF


Posted by bdavidson on 04-12-2004 09:20 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
That's why my SO likes the URC-200.


Is the URC-200 readily available yet?


Posted by bkdtv on 04-12-2004 11:27 PM:

bdavidson,

The URC-200 should now be available from Good Guys, Cambridge Soundworks, Onecall, Sound City, and Stereo One. It's expected to be carried by Best Buy and other stores later this spring; they are still in negotiations.

Of course, you can always order directly from Universal Remote Control and pay MSRP.


Posted by Toeside on 04-13-2004 01:40 AM:

I just went through the online demo of the Harmony 659. I have to say I like how easy the activity setup is.

I always wanted a Pronto, because they just seem cool, but the lact of hard buttons is a real turnoff.

I think I'm going to get a Harmony. Is the Harmony 688 really worth the extra money over the 659?

Another question: Can the Harmony easily support 2 TiVos? I'll have a DirecTiVo and HD TiVo in the same room.

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by bkdtv on 04-13-2004 02:11 AM:

If you don't mind the lack of warranty, Buy.com has the Harmony 688 for about $160. There are also some authorized dealers taking orders in the $189-$199 range.

Nobody has the 688 yet (ships in volume on April 15-16), but it has buttons for the major Tivo functions, whereas the 659 does not.


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-13-2004 02:41 AM:

Well, it's not that the 659 doesn't have all the Tivo buttons, it's just that they're not as optimally placed as they are on the 688. They are all there though, it's just that the "Replay" and "Advance" buttons are on the LCD-labeled buttons (unless you assign the elsewhere. The two remotes are operationally identical.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by bdlucas on 04-13-2004 02:44 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
If you don't mind the lack of warranty, Buy.com has the Harmony 688 for about $160. There are also some authorized dealers taking orders in the $189-$199 range.


My view on the warranty: it's like insurance - you pay a fixed price to avoid the unacceptable risk of a large loss. First, for $160 risk I'll happily self-insure. Second, $30 for insurance on a $160 item is a losing proposition unless something like one out of five or six units will go bad within the warranty period. I haven't experienced anything near that failure rate in many years of buying dozens of electronic gadgets. (In fact, I'm hard pressed to recall ever having one fail within the warranty period, although I suppose it must have happened once or twice.)


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-13-2004 02:47 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by bdlucas
sparco.com $120.79.



That's the 659, not the 688.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Toeside on 04-13-2004 02:50 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
Well, it's not that the 659 doesn't have all the Tivo buttons, it's just that they're not as optimally placed as they are on the 688. They are all there though, it's just that the "Replay" and "Advance" buttons are on the LCD-labeled buttons (unless you assign the elsewhere. The two remotes are operationally identical.


Mike,

Since you are from SRC, you probably have a good understanding of what the Harmony remotes can and can not do. I have 2 DirecTiVos...one will be replaced by the HD Tivo when it arrives. Will I be able to easily use both of these with the 659 or 688? For instance, can I have two "Watch TiVo Television" activities? That would be ideal...

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-13-2004 02:57 AM:

Yes, you can. In addition to the hard labeled activity buttons, there's a button labeled "More Activities" that will display additional custom activities two at a time on the LCD screen. I currently have two Tivo activities plus an HDTV activity on a 659. There are currently multiple Tivo codes available in the Harmony database to cover you if you have two Tivos and need to change the remote addresses to operate them separately.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Toeside on 04-13-2004 02:59 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
Yes, you can. In addition to the hard labeled activity buttons, there's a button labeled "More Activities" that will display additional custom activities two at a time on the LCD screen. I currently have two Tivo activities plus an HDTV activity on a 659. There are currently multiple Tivo codes available in the Harmony database to cover you if you have two Tivos and need to change the remote addresses to operate them separately.


Perfect. Exactly what I needed!

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by subspace100 on 04-13-2004 03:05 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by bdlucas
My view on the warranty: it's like insurance - you pay a fixed price to avoid the unacceptable risk of a large loss. First, for $160 risk I'll happily self-insure. Second, $30 for insurance on a $160 item is a losing proposition unless something like one out of five or six units will go bad within the warranty period. I haven't experienced anything near that failure rate in many years of buying dozens of electronic gadgets. (In fact, I'm hard pressed to recall ever having one fail within the warranty period, although I suppose it must have happened once or twice.)


I'm with you. I just placed an order for a 688 at buy.com!

__________________
DirecTV R10 (unmodified)
DirecTV HR10-250 (unmodified)
Sony SAT-T60 DirecTiVo (225 hours)


Posted by Toeside on 04-13-2004 03:07 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by subspace100
I'm with you. I just placed an order for a 688 at buy.com!


Silver or black?

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by subspace100 on 04-13-2004 03:12 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Toeside
Silver or black?


I thought I was going to have a hard time deciding the color but when I went to the buy.com site and did a search for "688" the only remote that came up was the silver one.... so I got the silver.

__________________
DirecTV R10 (unmodified)
DirecTV HR10-250 (unmodified)
Sony SAT-T60 DirecTiVo (225 hours)


Posted by Toeside on 04-13-2004 03:16 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by subspace100
I thought I was going to have a hard time deciding the color but when I went to the buy.com site and did a search for "688" the only remote that came up was the silver one.... so I got the silver.


Yeah, the search shows the silver, but if you click on "Harmony" to show all products, they do have the black as well. Silver is SST-688S, black is SST-688B.

I'm going to wait for Mike's price on it, since he's been so helpful in this thread.

Craig

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by subspace100 on 04-13-2004 03:19 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Toeside
Yeah, the search shows the silver, but if you click on "Harmony" to show all products, they do have the black as well. Silver is SST-688S, black is SST-688B.

I'm going to wait for Mike's price on it, since he's been so helpful in this thread.

Craig



What company is Mike with?

__________________
DirecTV R10 (unmodified)
DirecTV HR10-250 (unmodified)
Sony SAT-T60 DirecTiVo (225 hours)


Posted by Toeside on 04-13-2004 03:36 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by subspace100
What company is Mike with?


It's in his signature, but you may have those turned off....

surfremotecontrol.com

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by subspace100 on 04-13-2004 03:45 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Toeside
It's in his signature, but you may have those turned off....

surfremotecontrol.com



Oh Geeze! No I don't have signatures turned off... I'm just retarded! I don't know why I didn't see that.

__________________
DirecTV R10 (unmodified)
DirecTV HR10-250 (unmodified)
Sony SAT-T60 DirecTiVo (225 hours)


Posted by subspace100 on 04-14-2004 03:00 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
If you don't mind the lack of warranty, Buy.com has the Harmony 688 for about $160. There are also some authorized dealers taking orders in the $189-$199 range.

Nobody has the 688 yet (ships in volume on April 15-16), but it has buttons for the major Tivo functions, whereas the 659 does not.



They just dropped the price futher! It's now $153.97 at buy.com. I guess I'm stuck with the $159.47 from when I placed my order on Monday. Still not a bad price.

__________________
DirecTV R10 (unmodified)
DirecTV HR10-250 (unmodified)
Sony SAT-T60 DirecTiVo (225 hours)


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-15-2004 12:23 AM:

Update: The 688s were in Customs at L.A. this morning, so they should be shipping out tomorrow.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Toeside on 04-15-2004 12:27 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
Update: The 688s were in Customs at L.A. this morning, so they should be shipping out tomorrow.



Thanks for the update. I'm ordering from SRC right now... silver...ground shipping.

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by markw on 04-15-2004 03:48 AM:

I posted about 2 weeks ago when I was asking which remote to go with, Harmony or MX-700. Of course the 688 wasn't out but when I posted it was a easy decision to go with the MX-700. Well I haven't ordered yet and now I see the 688. Now I don't know what to go with. It seems great for TIVO and I like the screen it has. Between the two which is better to go with? I like the 688's TIVO capability but in addition to the TIVO I have a JVC D-VHS, a Sony HD LCD TV, and a Panasonic DVD Recorder


Posted by markw on 04-15-2004 04:04 AM:

As well, I have a MX-700 manual and from what I see of the Harmony online it doesn't give but so many details. Does anyone know where I can get a 688 manual online?


Posted by bkdtv on 04-15-2004 04:53 AM:

You can download the 688 manual right here. You can also click the free test drive link on their web site, to setup the remote online, just as you would if you owned it.


Posted by markw on 04-15-2004 05:19 AM:

Thanks. I just pulled it up.


Posted by markw on 04-15-2004 06:58 PM:

I've been reading up on the Harmony 688 but have a few questions:
1. does anyone know if it controls the Zektor Component Switch?
2. Also, I know it's supposed to be good with TIVO but what I like about the MX-700 is you can have a favorite channels list and just press a button to go to that channel. Does the 688 have that?
3. The way I use my smaller HD system, I often listen to the sound through the TV, not stereo (When I get a new surround sound system this will change) and it sounds like the MX-700 would always use sound through the reciever, not the TV, but does the 688 use the sound through the TV for the DVD player and the TV. As well, sometimes when playing movie through the DVD player or on the TV I do choose to play sound through the stereo instead of TV. Would it be easy to select this option at times or can I even set it up as a additional activity on the screen as play dvd through stereo, play tv through stereo so I can choose that activity when I want that.
Last, I know this is a very new product. Who is expected to sell it first and who should I order from?


Posted by Toeside on 04-15-2004 07:09 PM:

Mark, I don't have the answers to many of your questions, but here's what I know (not being a previous Harmony owner, and just waiting for my 688)...

When you configure the activities, the wizard asks if volume control is through the TV or AV receiver. Based on the answer, that's what the volume control buttons will control. You could set up another activity, or maybe you could just go into the devices and select AV Receiver and manual control the volume. Just a guess. However, that's now how the remote is intended to function, so multiple activities would probably be better.

As far as controlling the Zektor, I'm sure it does. If the IR codes aren't available online, then there's a learning function, so it will. If you do teach it, then your codes will be validated by Harmony and added to the online database. Pretty cool, eh?

You can order from many places, some are authorized, some are not. I chose to buy from an authorized dealer and paid only slightly more than buying from an unauthorized dealer (buy.com).

Craig

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by Darin on 04-15-2004 07:09 PM:

I don't know about the 688, but I have the MX-700. As far as sound through the TV or the receiver, that's going to be completely dependent on the remote controllable features of your TV, and the way you program the remote. Assuming you can easily turn your TV speakers on/off through the remote (and I would think you can, I know I can with my Sony), then it would simply be an issue of programming it with duplicate device pages... one where the volume controls the TV volume, and another where it controls the receiver volume. If you structure your macros and device page layout well, it would be fairly seamless.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-15-2004 07:39 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by markw
I've been reading up on the Harmony 688 but have a few questions:
1. does anyone know if it controls the Zektor Component Switch?
2. Also, I know it's supposed to be good with TIVO but what I like about the MX-700 is you can have a favorite channels list and just press a button to go to that channel. Does the 688 have that?
3. The way I use my smaller HD system, I often listen to the sound through the TV, not stereo (When I get a new surround sound system this will change) and it sounds like the MX-700 would always use sound through the reciever, not the TV, but does the 688 use the sound through the TV for the DVD player and the TV. As well, sometimes when playing movie through the DVD player or on the TV I do choose to play sound through the stereo instead of TV. Would it be easy to select this option at times or can I even set it up as a additional activity on the screen as play dvd through stereo, play tv through stereo so I can choose that activity when I want that.



1. The Zektor component video switch is in the Harmony database.

2. Sort of. If you pay for the channel guide, you can have Favorites listed and access them directly, otherwise no.

3. You can set up different activities to use the sound from different sources with either the H688 or the MX-700.

Update: the 688s cleared customs and shipped yesterday.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Toeside on 04-15-2004 07:58 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
Update: the 688s cleared customs and shipped yesterday.


Shipped to you yesterday? When will they ship to us?

I don't want this to turn into a HR10-250 sort of order issue, but since you mentioned it, I thought I'd ask.

And what's this about paying for program guide? Is that an additional feature of the remote?

Craig

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by markw on 04-15-2004 08:02 PM:

I'm definitely interested then since I can use the Zektor and use the different activities. I don't like I can't have favorite channels and like that about the MX-700 but yet there's only a few channels I watch and I have the channel numbers memorized so it's not that hard to go to a channel so I can do without that feature.


Posted by sonnyducks on 04-15-2004 08:03 PM:

Yeah...that program guide has alwasy seems like a useless feature (esp. w/ the dish and digital cable receivers available today).

Any of you that are getting a 688 please post a reveiw or at least PM me your thoughts.

Thanks.


Posted by Toeside on 04-15-2004 08:06 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by sonnyducks
Yeah...that program guide has alwasy seems like a useless feature (esp. w/ the dish and digital cable receivers available today).

Any of you that are getting a 688 please post a reveiw or at least PM me your thoughts.

Thanks.



Will do, but keep in mind that I chose ground shipping (just couldn't justify the extra cost). Ground from LA to STL is 4 business days.

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by markw on 04-15-2004 08:19 PM:

I left this out earlier but since the speakers are in the back of the room sometimes I use the receiver's sound as well as the tv's sound while watching tv. Is it possible to have the volume control both of these?


Posted by bkdtv on 04-15-2004 08:23 PM:

Mark,

When you press the volume up button on the remote, you want it to increment sound volume for both your TV speakers and your surround receiver?

I don't think the Harmony 688 can do that, though I'm not certain. I believe you could do that MX800 remote, which apparently allows macros on any remote button.

Note you can probably do this on most universal remotes, just not with the dedicated volume button. On most remotes, you'd have to put a macro for this on a different button.


Posted by DavidAsher on 04-15-2004 08:37 PM:

controlling both tv and stereo volume

markw,

I think you COULD do this with the harmony. The trouble would be the "sometimes" part of your question.

You can include the receiver as a device in any activity (even ones where you said the audio was through the TV) and you could set the volume up down to send the correct volume up/down to both the TV and receiver, but you'd have to have use one of the custom buttons to turn the receiver on and off if you didn't always want it on.

Alternatively, you could have 2 separate activities: one with the receiver on and one without it.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own this remote yet, I preordered a 688 and have just been reading about it -- so I have no practical experience.


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-15-2004 08:50 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Toeside
Shipped to you yesterday? When will they ship to us?


Today.

quote:

And what's this about paying for program guide? Is that an additional feature of the remote?

Craig



Yes. It's free with the 768, but with the 659 and 688, it's free for the first 60 days only. I've found it to be pretty useless though, especially with Tivo.

Here's an actual photo of a silver 688. I won't hang up this thread by posting it here (178K), but you can view it or download it at the following link:

http://surfremotecontrol.com/H688.JPG

BTW, the center "OK" button is separate from the surrounding ring.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by markw on 04-16-2004 06:40 AM:

I was reading the manual for the 688 and one thing I was concerned with is how it notes at the bottom of the page for watching video and for watching DVD how if your vcr or DVD player automatically turn on when you insert a tape or DVD to turn them off or it'll get out of sync. I think almost any of these would automatically turn on. I know it's not a big deal to turn it off but is it possible to program something into the remote to select if this device stays on so that after inserting the tape or dvd you can just leave it on and the remote would work correctly? Then again maybe this isn't as complicated as it seems and I would get used to doing this but it just seems they could add this feature.
I know as well when you insert a tape or DVD into most players it automatically starts or goes to a main menu. Would this present any problems iwth teh Harmony? Maybe it doesn't get out of sync as easily and it seems that it may.
Also, I'm curious, when selecting any activity how long on avg. do you have to point the remote for all the commands to be sent?


Posted by bkdtv on 04-16-2004 12:38 PM:

Warning: Remote Rant...

I think URC (the makers of the MX500, MX700) have really made a big mistake in ignoring the DVR community. The MX500 was first released more than three years ago, and what have they done to improve the PVR capability of their remotes since then? Absolutely nothing. Some would argue they've taken a step backwards.

I asked URC back in January whether they had plans for a more PVR-friendly remote. Their answer? According to URC, makers of the MX500, there was no demand for a more PVR oriented remote. I asked them again last week. The response? They said the MX500 is as good as it gets for DVR. They even gave this board as a reference for that claim. They implied no PVR-friendly remotes were planned, but we might see something in the "next 18 months."

Clearly, Harmony sees a demand for more PVR-friendly remotes, or they would not have designed and released the H688.

No doubt, URC is one of the leaders when it comes to button layout and design. But even the best layout in the world can't compensate for major design flaws, like the absence of dedicated buttons for common PVR functions. Certainly, if the MX500/MX700 didn't offer customizable LCD buttons, we all would have abandoned them long ago.

When is Universal Remote Control (makers of MX500, MX700) going to recognize that TIVO and DVR have become essential components in every serious home theater? When will they realize that they can't remain a pioneer and industry leader in the HT remote industry without a product that is optimized for TIVO and DVR use? What happened to that vision and leadership that came up with the MX500 and MX700 in 2001? Where is that vision today?

No one is going to buy a universal remote without volume buttons. No one is going to buy a universal remote without dedicated transport buttons for a DVD player. Yet URC expects us to continue to pay $200 to $350 for new remotes without dedicated hard buttons for instant replay, 30-sec skip, record, and List -- core TIVO and DVR functions that we all use on a daily basis.

If you're a fan of the MX- or URC- series from Universal remote, or are simply in the market for a PVR-friendly remote, please contact them at swellington@universalremote.com (marketing) to make sure they know that you are interested in a more PVR-friendly universal remote, with dedicated buttons for TIVO functions. They are under the impression that no significant demand exists for additional DVR/TIVO buttons. If you use the MX500/MX700 now, let them know what improvements for TIVO/DVR you want in your next remote.

If they are not made aware that they're missing out on your business, they'll continue to release products like this new $150 remote, when they should be putting out remotes more like this. This $150 remote is the sort of product we all expected in 2001, when PVR and DVR was just a dot on the map. This is not the type of remote that we should encourage in 2004 and beyond, with 6+ million PVR and DVR users.


Posted by midas on 04-16-2004 12:44 PM:

I completely disagree. I think the MX-500 and MX-700 work great with Tivo. The menu and exit buttons work perfectly for instant replay and 30 second skip. And frankly, I almost never use the list button. I don't care that the buttons don't have the proper labels. The beauty of this remote is that I almost never have to look at it. The only thing that I didn't like was that they moved the play button from the top to the bottom. When I upgraded to the 700 it took a little getting use to.

Frankly, from looking at the pictures for the Harmony, that thing would drive me crazy. With the buttons all being so close together I'd always have to be looking at it. I don't think it would ever reach the point where I felt comfortable using it blindly. I could be wrong, but that's my impression looking at the photos.


Posted by bdlucas on 04-16-2004 12:48 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv

No doubt, URC is one of the leaders when it comes to button layout and design. But even the best layout in the world can't compensate for major design flaws, like the absence of dedicated buttons for common PVR functions. Certainly, if the MX500/MX700 didn't offer customizable LCD buttons, we all would have abandoned them long ago.



What do you think is missing? I have my MX-700 set up for my TiVo, and the functions on the LCD buttons are thumbs-up, thumbs-down, record, clear, instant replay, and skip. Personally I find this quite satisfactory. I can see if you use "skip 30 seconds" frequently (I don't - I find double-FF to work better for me) you might like to have a more conveniently placed button for that, but you could (say) program the otherwise-useless stop button for that (I have it programmed for slow).


Posted by bkdtv on 04-16-2004 01:31 PM:

quote:
The menu and exit buttons work perfectly for instant replay and 30 second skip. And frankly, I almost never use the list button. I don't care that the buttons don't have the proper labels.
Can't do that with my HD DVR from Comcast, as it won't function without exit, and info is commonly used too. Nor will it function without guide or menu. And when we had the DirecTivo, my SO preferred to use the sloooow program guide, despite my protests, so she wants those buttons too.

Why can't we have correctly labeled hard buttons in the first place? Even if you can remember what keys you've relabeled in your head for certain tasks, it's not intuitive for other family members and guests.

Your attitude is the very reason that URC is unwilling to make further changes to benefit TIVO users. Just because the MX/URC series is the best of the limited choices available, that doesn't mean we should settle for the status quo.
quote:
I have my MX-700 set up for my TiVo, and the functions on the LCD buttons are thumbs-up, thumbs-down, record, clear, instant replay, and skip.
I can only reach one LCD button without moving my hand on the URC-200. That means I am constantly shifting the remote in my hand. I used the stop button on the URC-200 for instant replay, but of course that doesn't make sense to the SO. It makes sense to have well-placed, labeled hard buttons for instant replay, skip, and record, don't you agree?

I'm not saying the MX-700 won't work with the Tivo. Of course it will. The URC-200 and MX-700 work better with the Tivo than any other remote I've tried (I haven't tried the new Harmony 688). But in all honesty, most universal remotes are rather pathetic companions for the Tivo.

That said, we still haven't seen any changes from URC in the past three years to benefit Tivo or other DVR users, when there are clearly some positive changes that could be made. There are now about half as many PVRs/DVRs as there were DVD players when the MX-500 was released. It's becoming a standard piece of equipment in home theaters, yet not one change has been made for the better since 2001.

For instance, who uses a stop button these days? And why does it need to be right there by the joystick? Why can't we have a record button?


Posted by bdlucas on 04-16-2004 02:10 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
It makes sense to have well-placed, hard buttons for instant replay, skip, and record, don't you agree?


All else being equal, sure. But as my undergraduate philosophy professor was fond of saying, the caeterises are very seldom paribus.

In fact, what I'd really like is a remote just like the TiVo peanut remote, but with the ability to operate my DVD as well. 'Course that would require some must-have DVD-specific buttons. I'm not a fan of fancy home theater audio, but if I was I'm sure there are some must-have audio buttons I'd like. Do you see where this is going? I think they've done a pretty good job of balancing the needs of the diverse customer base they're aiming at by assigning hard buttons to really important functions and functions that are useful on a large
range of devices. Personally I'm ok with i.r., skip, and record on LCD buttons.


Posted by Toeside on 04-16-2004 03:15 PM:

One thing I think we can all agree on is that remotes are personal. Especially the pricey universals (anything around $100 or more is pricey, IMO, for a remote). Another thing we probably agree on is that if someone paid $100 or more, they probably will defend their purchase. Not because they simply want to defend, but because they've taken the time to customize their remote to the point it works for them.

I looked at the MX-500, the H659, and H688 before purchasing. I didn't have any in my hands, but I researched. I decided to go with the H688 because of the easy of programming, and the fact I think my wife and other family members will be able to control the entire system w/o any problems. I was going to go for a Pronto, but the lack of buttons turned me away.

Will I like my H688? Hopefully. Probably. But only time will tell. I know I'll like it more than my stack of 4 remotes. Will I like it more than if I bought an MX-500? I don't think I can answer that unless I buy one and take the time to program it to fit my needs.

My point here is that all remotes could use some optimization, but we learn to live with what we have. If you want complete flexibility with "buttons" go for the Pronto, but then don't complain about the lack of hard buttons. If you want hard buttons with nice spacing, then go with an MX-500/700. If you want transport controls in the mid-section of the remote, go with the H688. There are other options out there, so do your research and pick the best one for you.

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by Darin on 04-16-2004 03:34 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
I think URC (the makers of the MX500, MX700) have really made a big mistake in ignoring the DVR community. ...

I'll have to agree with the others... I don't really understand your stance. I have the MX-700, and I actually prefer using it to control the TiVo over the peanut. I like having the transport keys and the menu navigation controls all in the same place... with the peanut, I was always having to jump back and forth between those two areas. I like using the thumb-pad for "select" instead of having to move to a a separate button every time I make a selection. The menu, info, and guide layout is more intuitive to me. And I was always picking up the damn peanut upside down. After a very brief readjustment after I got the MX700, I found that I much preferred it over the peanut for operating the TiVo, and it controlled EVERYTHING, automatically and intuitively, to boot. For the way *I* use the TiVo, the button layout is practically perfect. I hardly ever have to look at it... the vast majority of the things I do are all in one central location, easily discernible by feel.

As far as "missing" buttons for PVR functionality...

Missing Instant Replay button? Like you, I've reprogrammed "stop" to instant replay. Stop has no function on a TiVo, and it's in the perfect spot for that function. You know that you've programmed that button to do instant replay, and after a week you don't look at them anyway... what difference does it make if the button has a square, or a circular arrow on it? Sure, other people may not know that you've reprogrammed the stop button to instant replay, but they sure as hell wouldn't know what a circular arrow does either. Explain to them that "stop" on the TiVo lets you stop & go back 8 seconds... problem solved. To me, it's a better solution than having an extra, unused button (stop) plus a dedicated back skip, cluttering up the precious real estate where your thumb spends 95% of the time.

Missing forward skip? Well, I don't use it, 'cause I find the multiple speed FF better. But if I did, I'd simply give the FF button dual functionality. Make it so a 0.1 second press gives you fast forward, or longer gives you a forward skip. That would be very intuitive, IMO. You could do the same for RR/Instant replay if you wanted to. The only downside to this would be if you had the 30 second skip back-door enabled... but for those of you who do use this, don't you pretty much always use it six times to get through a three minute ad spot? If so, make the press longer than 0.1 seconds a macro that does six forward skips. Hell, that might even be better than having to press skip six times. I might reprogram mine that way to see if that makes me like skip better than FF. Yet another option, though this would go against proper labeling, would be to make pause a FF skip, and put pause on a press/hold for play.

Missing record? It is cool being able to press record and have what you're watching saved, but honestly, I can probably easily count the number of times I've done that on two hand in the two years I've had my TiVo. Moving it to the LCD buttons is not a big deal to me. But if it is to you, then do the press/hold rear skip on RR like I mentioned above for IR, and put record on stop. Or make record a press/hold on play.

Since I obviously don't use my TiVo quite the same as you, these three buttons aren't necessary for me. But since they are for you, there are easy work-arounds for them.

That's not to say that I think the MX-700 is perfect, but I think it's pretty darn close. There's only a few changes I'd make to the remote itself: make it slightly smaller. Get rid of the hard buttons by the LCD, make the LCD touch-screen, and make it bigger (take up the space freed up by the missing buttons). A clock with time based macros would be nice. And making it rechargeable, with a charging stand. Um, that's it! The PC programming interface is another issue. It's missing some key features, IMO (like the ability to copy commands directly from one "device" to another). But that is supposedly being worked on.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-16-2004 03:35 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
If you're a fan of the MX- or URC- series from Universal remote, or are simply in the market for a PVR-friendly remote, please contact them at swellington@universalremote.com (marketing) to make sure they know that you are interested in a more PVR-friendly universal remote, with dedicated buttons for TIVO functions. They are under the impression that no significant demand exists for additional DVR/TIVO buttons. If you use the MX500/MX700 now, let them know what improvements for TIVO/DVR you want in your next remote.



They are aware of the demand for dedicated PVR buttons and I am surprised to some extent that they weren't incorporated on the URC remotes. BTW, did you send your pictures of the "revised" URC-200 and 300 to Scott (Wellington)? I'll alert the design engineer to your AVS posting as well.

When HTM was developing the MX-700, they changed the dual labeled >>| and |<< buttons of the MX-500 to single labeled Menu and Exit buttons based on feedback from hundreds of custom installers (their target market). As Toeside alluded, there is no remote that's perfect for everyone. Choose the one that fits your needs best.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-16-2004 03:38 PM:

quote:
It's missing some key features, IMO (like the ability to copy commands directly from one "device" to another).


Actually, you can do that, but only with learned commands.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by bdavidson on 04-17-2004 05:53 PM:

I have a MX-500 and was thinking about getting an MX-700. One question I have though is if the MX-700 software can import Pronto codes?

Also, for those who have a URC remote with the MX-700 button layout, when controlling a DVD, what buttons are used for trans skip? It seems like track skip buttons are no longer in the button layout.

Brad


Posted by Darin on 04-17-2004 06:09 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
Hell, that might even be better than having to press skip six times. I might reprogram mine that way to see if that makes me like skip better than FF.

Ok, just as a follow-up, I just did this, and it works pretty well. So if you have an MX-700, and miss having forward and rear chapter skips, make your FF & RR buttons shortcuts to a "learn & macro" button on a hidden page (another shortcoming, IMO, is the inability to combine macros with pre-programmed commands... so instead of using the preprogrammed tivo FF command, you have to actually learn FF from the tivo remote if you want to combine it with a macro... at least that's the only way I've figured out how to do it). So anyway, the "learned" part is FF, and the macro is simply a 0.2 second delay, skip, and play (without play, it would continue in FF after the skip). With the FF hard button shortcutted to this "learn & macro" command, when you press FF normally (less than 0.2 seconds), it acts normally. But if you hold FF down for 0.2 seconds or longer, it skips to the next tick mark. Very intuitive in operation, to me anyway. IMO, this is easier than doing it on the peanut, especially for a rear skip, where you'd have to first hit RR, then hit the skip button over by the FF button. Now just hold RR for 0.2 seconds.

I also decided to try to incorporate the 30 second skip in a similar manner. I decided the best button would be play: press play normally, and it operates normally. Hold it down for 0.2 seconds or longer, and it skips ahead 30 seconds (or any multiple of 30 seconds, depending on how many skips you put in the macro). So I decided to do it with six skips, since I thought that a typical commercial break was three minutes. I tried it on a recording of Kingdom Hospital, and I ended up overshooting by a fair amount. I went back and timed the commercial break, and it was 2 minutes 15 seconds. Which is EXACTLY why I gave up on using the 30 second skip a long time ago... many broadcasts are now using odd timed commercial breaks, probably to make skipping a little more difficult. But, if you like the 30 second skip, here is a way you can easily incorporate it into the more convenient central transport buttons. I ended up making it a one minute skip. Don't know if I'll ever use it, as I find FF more efficient since you never know how long the break is going to be.

EDIT: Now I've added slo-mo to a press & hold on the pause button (never use it, but that seemed logical to me, and frees up space on the LCD buttons). The only peanut remote buttons left on the LCD buttons is thumbs up, thumbs down, and record. I considered putting record as a press & hold on the stop button, but decided that wasn't intuitive enough, it's not something used often enough bother moving it, and it's also not something you typically do where you don't mind looking down to the remote to see what button to press. With only those three tivo buttons on the LCD buttons, that leaves lots of room for other commands (like a button to dim the lights, one to change the TV's stretch mode, etc.). I also have a second LCD "page" of tivo macros that go to specific menu areas, like the to-do list, record by name, etc.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by midas on 04-17-2004 06:10 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bdavidson
I have a MX-500 and was thinking about getting an MX-700. One question I have though is if the MX-700 software can import Pronto codes?


It can import LEARNED Pronto codes.

quote:
Also, for those who have a URC remote with the MX-700 button layout, when controlling a DVD, what buttons are used for trans skip? It seems like track skip buttons are no longer in the button layout.




On the MX-700 it used the channel up/down for skip.


Posted by Darin on 04-17-2004 06:21 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by bdavidson
I have a MX-500 and was thinking about getting an MX-700. One question I have though is if the MX-700 software can import Pronto codes?

Yes, ironically, it supports Pronto codes better than saved profiles from another MX-700. If you find that someone has an MX-700 file that has a command that you can't find, you can't copy the individual command onto a "device" on the MX-700. You have to copy the entire device. The MX-700 has enough capacity that it's generally not a big deal if you have to have a whole device copied in to it for just one command (once it's there, you can hide it, and short-cut to the command you want from your existing device). It's just cumbersome, IMO. This is one of the shortcomings of the programming software that I mentioned earlier. This is one of the biggest complaints about the software, and hopefully they are working on an updated version that addresses this.

The software does, however, have a pronto import feature. And with that, you CAN import a single command into an existing device.
quote:
when controlling a DVD, what buttons are used for trans skip? It seems like track skip buttons are no longer in the button layout.

See my above post. If the DVD player doesn't "mind" receiving a FF command immediately before the skip command, you can combine FF & forward skip into one button. Press normally for FF, press & hold for forward skip (same for RR & back-skip). The TiVo actually prefers to get a FF or RR command before the skip, because it only has one "skip" (not separate forward and rear skips). So if you want a back skip, you have to hit RR before the skip button if you want to do a rear skip. Also, if you have 30 second jump enabled, the TiVo decides if you want a chapter skip or a 30 second skip by whether it's in play mode, or FF or RR. So combining into one button is perfect for TiVo. You may have to play with it to see how it does on a DVD player. But I don't know if the URC model will be able to do this... I doubt you have the programming flexibility with it that you do with the MX-700.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Darin on 04-17-2004 06:51 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
You may have to play with it to see how it does on a DVD player.

Ok, I just programmed my DVD commands just like I had done my TiVo commands, and it works perfect with my DVD player (a Pioneer DV-563). Press FF normally, and it FFs. Press & hold, & it skips to the next chapter.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by lhl12 on 04-18-2004 09:35 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC

When HTM was developing the MX-700, they changed the dual labeled >>| and |<< buttons of the MX-500 to single labeled Menu and Exit buttons based on feedback from hundreds of custom installers (their target market).



I think the MX-700 is a great product. I also think URC made a wise decision by adding dedicated Menu, Exit, Info and Guide buttons when they redesigned the MX-500.

However I think that the elimination of the >>| and |<< buttons was a terrible move. I think if these two buttons were added back to a newer version of the MX-700 then this would be a perfect remote. It would restore intuitive functionality for DVD use and would provide two additional transport buttons for PVR users to program any way they liked.

I agree with those posters who believe that the most recent configuration of URC's remotes (MX-700, MX-800, URC-100, URC-200 and URC-300) is not ideal for PVR users and that URC should be able to do better on the next version.


Posted by Darin on 04-18-2004 10:06 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by lhl12
However I think that the elimination of the >>| and |<< buttons was a terrible move. I think if these two buttons were added back to a newer version of the MX-700 then this would be a perfect remote.

You really ought to try combining them into the FF & RR buttons, like I suggested above. Operationally, it's really quite intuitive, and you may find that you like it at least as much as dedicated skip buttons.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-18-2004 10:49 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin

Yes, ironically, it supports Pronto codes better than saved profiles from another MX-700. If you find that someone has an MX-700 file that has a command that you can't find, you can't copy the individual command onto a "device" on the MX-700. You have to copy the entire device. [/B]


Just to clarify what I said earlier, the above statement is true if you're trying to copy a command that was sourced from the MXEditor IR database. Anything else (which will show up as learned with the "L" tag) can be copied from one file to another using Ctrl-V and Ctrl-P. This shortcoming is addressed in the MX-3000 software, so hopefully it will make its way to the MX-700 and 800 editor programs soon.

quote:
You really ought to try combining them into the FF & RR buttons, like I suggested above. Operationally, it's really quite intuitive, and you may find that you like it at least as much as dedicated skip buttons.


I think that's an excellent idea, Darin. The combination of both types of advance and replay makes it very handy to skip any length commercial.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by lhl12 on 04-18-2004 11:01 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
You really ought to try combining them into the FF & RR buttons, like I suggested above. Operationally, it's really quite intuitive, and you may find that you like it at least as much as dedicated skip buttons.


It might be intuitive for me but it wouldn't be intuitive for my wife (who finds everything too complex as it is) or guests (who won't know to press and hold or, worse, who might press and hold without knowing there's a difference).

I stand by my original statement. Eliminating the >>| and |<< buttons was a terrible move and I think URC should restore them on a future version of the remote.


Posted by bkdtv on 04-18-2004 11:05 PM:

quote:
You really ought to try combining them into the FF & RR buttons, like I suggested above. Operationally, it's really quite intuitive, and you may find that you like it at least as much as dedicated skip buttons.
That's a feature of the MX-700, but I can't do that on my URC-200, because it doesn't support macros on every button.

And do you really think that is as intuitive or as simple for most users as a dedicated button? For example, take a look at the shot below. The one on the far left is the shipping URC-200, and the two shots on the right are modified versions. It preserves all button sizes and spacing, but shifts the main/page buttons up, and the numeric buttons down. The MX series is a good deal larger than the URC series, so they'd have even more space to work with.



For a future URC remote, I would like support for macros on any button (like MX700) plus dedicated skip back and skip ahead buttons. That way, I could have a single click for 8sec skip back, with a click and hold for 24 seconds; and a skip ahead click for 30 secs, with a click and hold for 2 minutes. My SO would probably never use the click and hold, but at least I could use it, assuming it didn't cause problems for her.

Note I am using a cable HD DVR right now, and like most non-TIVO DVRs, it doesn't have that overshoot compensation on fast forward. On the Tivo, you can FFW right until you are past the commercials, and it will skip back so you haven't missed anything. On other DVRs, you're constantly overshooting with FFW, which means you have to hit skip back a few times, or use RW -- it's annoying to say the least. My HD cable DVR is also less responsive on the FFW button (meaning it doesn't stop on a dime, but continues on for a bit), which exacerbates the problem.


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-18-2004 11:13 PM:

I'd vote for the middle one.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by bkdtv on 04-19-2004 12:02 AM:

quote:
That's not to say that I think the MX-700 is perfect, but I think it's pretty darn close. There's only a few changes I'd make to the remote itself: make it slightly smaller. Get rid of the hard buttons by the LCD, make the LCD touch-screen, and make it bigger (take up the space freed up by the missing buttons).
It sounds like the URC-300 is almost your dream remote. It's a smaller version of the MX-700, but with a touch screen LCD. Unfortunately, it is missing software and macro-on-any-button support -- there is a connector inside of the battery department, but evidently it's not supported at this time.

I personally the smaller size with hard buttons, which is why I got the URC-200, but that may be because I am hitting them so often.


Posted by Darin on 04-19-2004 12:03 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
And do you really think that is as intuitive or as simple for most users as a dedicated button?

I understand what you are saying. Everyone is going to have their own preference. For ME, the most important thing is that I can easily do all my most used commands completely by feel without looking at the remote, and without much thought. I'd like to be able to pick it up in the dark, and easily do my most common things. So for ME, fewer buttons, in a very central area, with good tactile feel, is better than more buttons where I have to start counting how far away my thumb is from the reference point (the thumb pad). That's why I'm not that crazy about the look of the 688... that ring of buttons around the thumb pad doesn't look like it'd be as easy to instinctively know by touch exactly which button you're on. But other people will obviously prefer dedicated buttons instead of combining commands into one. Especially people who may have other people who frequently use the remote that may not be as familiar with the way it's programmed (though I'd argue that people not familiar with the programming also may not even know about or understand things like "skip to tick, instant replay, etc.)

Your modified pix are good, and would be a great alternative for people who prefer the dedicated buttons. For ME, I still think I prefer fewer (but enough) buttons and smaller remote size (keep in mind that one of my few complaints about the MX-700 is that I think it's SLIGHTLY too large). I realize that you're not making the remote larger, but the space below the numbers is there for a reason... because they are harder to get to with one hand if they are at the very bottom.

The thing that seems odd to me is, I often see people recommend the MX-500 over the MX-700 for TiVo use because it has the dedicated skip buttons. But if you use those for skip (and also use the record and pause buttons), you loose menu, info, guide, and exit. I use those a TON more with TiVo than the skip and record. I wonder what people would think if they did the press/hold thing, and silkscreened the "hold" function next to the button like they do "guide", etc., on the MX-500?

Anyway, as Mike says, it's all just personal preference. Fortunately there are several good options out there regardless of what your preference is.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Darin on 04-19-2004 12:08 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
It sounds like the URC-300 is almost your dream remote.

Yeah, I saw that on their site. But the incredible flexibility of the MX-700 is what caused me to get it over the MX-500. And the URC-300 just looks cheaper than the MX series... I love the way they feel in the hand, with the rounded edges and soft texture. The sharper edges and smooth plastic look doesn't look as comfortable, or as "nice". But I've never seen one in person, that's just going off the pictures on the web. But if they came out with a remote like the MX-700, with the larger touchscreen like the URC-300, I'd probably buy it if I could justify it.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Darin on 04-19-2004 12:22 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
Just to clarify what I said earlier, the above statement is true if you're trying to copy a command that was sourced from the MXEditor IR database. Anything else (which will show up as learned with the "L" tag) can be copied from one file to another using Ctrl-V and Ctrl-P.

Thanks Mike. You know, I think I've read that before, but every time I sit down to tinker with it, I forget this... I don't think they have copy/paste available if you right-click, or in an edit menu, so I just assume it's not available, and never try using the keyboard shortcuts. As I said, I think the MXEditer could really use some enhancements... if copy/paste works, then show it in the program instead of making you remember.

Another thing that bugs me... when doing my press/hold macros, as far as I can tell, the "base" command (the one that is the initial command, before the hold) must be learned. There's a "learn & macro", but no "pre-programmed & macro". So even though the commands I want to combine are in the MXEditor database, I still have to get out my device remote and learn the command in if I want it combined with a macro. That's ESPECIALLY troublesome when you run in to discreet commands that may not be on your original device remote. For example, the only device I have that has discreet on/off on the original remote is my receiver. Just about everything else HAS a discreet on/off, but it's not on the remote. Most of my devices I have set up so if you press the "off" button very fast (0.1 seconds) it only turns off that device. But if you press it normally (longer), it turns off the whole system. To do the press/hold, I need a learned command, but my remotes don't have discreet off functions to learn from. So I end up having to scour pronto files on the web for discreet offs to import from (they always seem to show up as "learned", fortunately). If they'd just add the "pre-programmed and macro" option, I could use the built-in command.

Ok, rant over.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Toeside on 04-19-2004 01:12 AM:

I have to admit, I haven't read the last two posts by Darin yet, but I'll add this: A remote, to me, has to be intuitive. Right now, while we are building our house, we are living with my inlaws. They've given me the flexibility to have a 55" HDTV and soon a HD Tivo and the rest of my home theatre crap. I'd love to tell them to use it anytime, but I simply don't have the energy to "train" them on the current setup.

This is why I ordered the Harmony H688. The activity buttons "Watch a DVD" or "Watch TiVo Television" will easily get everything switched to the appropriate inputs. Plus, the relocated transport controls should put the power of TiVo where it belongs. They are already DirecTiVo users, with an HDVR2. I really do hope that the H688 will simply "work" allowing everyone in the house to "Watch a DVD" or "Watch Tivo Television" on the new TV without a problem.

Craig

__________________
~Toeside

Philips DSR6000r x2
Hughes HR10-250 05/08/04
Harmony H680
Mits WS-55413
Mits DD-8040 with DCDi


Posted by Darin on 04-19-2004 01:21 AM:

Yeah, without even playing with it, I have no doubt that the Harmony is likely easier to program than the MX-700. The MX-700 can be set-up to be "activity based" like the Harmony, but getting there is probably a lot harder. Of course, it was designed to only be available through professional a/v installers, who would program it for their customers, so ease of set-up probably wasn't as high on their list.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-19-2004 01:22 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
Another thing that bugs me... when doing my press/hold macros, as far as I can tell, the "base" command (the one that is the initial command, before the hold) must be learned. There's a "learn & macro", but no "pre-programmed & macro".


With a preprogrammed command and a macro, all you have to do is add the macro to the button that the preprogrammed command's on and you'll get both. You only need the "LEARN & MACRO" for a learned command and macro (see pg. 50 of the programming manual).

Re: the URC remotes, I like the 200 better than the 300. I don't like having to "find" the commands on the touchscreen, but then I've always preferred a button remote to a touchscreen. I've been testing the MX-3000 for months now and while having color animated gif and sound abilities is cool, at the end of the day I still wind up using my MX-800. If they could add the "push-and-hold" a single command and the individual database command saving abilities to the MX-700/800 editors, I'd be a happy camper.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Darin on 04-19-2004 01:44 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
With a preprogrammed command and a macro, all you have to do is add the macro to the button that the preprogrammed command's on and you'll get both. You only need the "LEARN & MACRO" for a learned command and macro (see pg. 50 of the programming manual).

Thanks Mike, but I must still be doing something wrong. When I do that, the "device" drop down in the "edit and label buttons" dialog changes to macro, and in use, the macro is all that works. A press of the button under the time period designated in the macro results in nothing happening. But if held for the time period, the macro runs. The pre-programmed code is completely ignored. The "IR Code" field still has the base command, but it's grayed out. The only way I've been able to get two separate commands on one button, differentiated only by the amount of time that the button is pressed, is with "learn and macro". What am I doing wrong?

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Darin on 04-19-2004 02:19 AM:

Ok, I think I know at least PART of what I'm doing wrong... in the manual, it says that it won't work on short-cutted commands. And that's what I've been doing. So then the next question is, how do you NOT use shortcutted commands, if the command is something that's on the hard buttons? I'm probably just doing it all wrong, but when I import codes from the IR database, it puts all the hard button commands on the hard buttons, and any extra commands on the LCD buttons. So how would you get FF, for example, into an LCD button without a shortcut (or learning)?

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by lhl12 on 04-19-2004 02:30 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
I'd vote for the middle one.


I prefer the one on the right, but with different labeling. I would put "Pause" and "Stop" on the two new buttons immediately above the numeric keypad and put the two Chapter Skip buttons (">>|" and "|<<") on the row above (to the left and right of the "Play" button. I would eliminate "Record" because I use it infrequently and I don't like hitting it by accident. I'd just put it up on the LCD.


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-19-2004 02:59 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
So how would you get FF, for example, into an LCD button without a shortcut (or learning)?


As you noted before, that's a limitation of the software. You can't get a preprogrammed code onto an LCD button without a shortcut or learning. You'd just have to learn it unless you don't have a working original remote.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Darin on 04-19-2004 03:05 AM:

Ahh, ok. So to do what I want to do, I DO have to use learned commands, just not for the reason I thought. I guess my argument about the difficulty with discreet commands goes away, since even though they are pre-programmed, the software would put them on the LCD buttons. I guess I probably just tried it with the hard buttons first, discovered I couldn't make it work without learning, and just never tried it with pre-programmed codes on the LCD buttons. Thanks for your help.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Darin on 04-21-2004 03:15 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
I like the 200 better than the 300. I don't like having to "find" the commands on the touchscreen, but then I've always preferred a button remote to a touchscreen.

I meant to reply to this, but forgot. I too much prefer hard buttons over a touch-screen based remote. The most important thing to me is being able to pick it up, and operate it completely by feel without having to pay attention to the remote. BUT, the LCD softbuttons on the 700/800 do play a very important role. It's nice to have the flexibility to label things as you wish, and put any number of commands on that may not be covered by hard buttons. The 700/800 is about the perfect balance to me... it has just enough hard buttons to cover 90-95% of your device operation, intuitively, without looking, but enough soft buttons to let you be as creative as you want.

But here's why I'd prefer that the LCD be touchscreen... the soft buttons, as they are now, aren't really easily operated with one hand or without looking, especially since you really need to look at the screen to see what you're operating and what page you're on. So since you mostly need to look at the screen anyway, the advantage of physical buttons pretty much goes away. BUT, if they used a touch screen, and widened the LCD display to take up the space that the LCD buttons now take, that'd be a VERY nice sized display. I'd really like to have the ability to fit more description in some of my soft buttons. And with the physical buttons gone, you could arrange the button areas any way you'd like... need a LOT of buttons? You could do three columns instead of the current two (given that the screen would be wider). Or if you only needed a few, you could split the whole screen up into quadrants, with either lots of description, and/or large graphics. The flexibility of the LCD screen could be significantly increased if it were both larger, and wasn't tied to a specific configuration as defined by the physical button layout.

Actually, what I want, is a morphing of the MX-1000 and the MX-700. Just take the touchscreen from the MX-1000, and put it in the top part of the MX-700 (trim the LCD size slightly if necessary, don't make the MX-700 larger). And make it rechargeable with a charging stand. And give it a clock with time based macros. THAT'S my perfect remote.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-21-2004 04:10 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
But here's why I'd prefer that the LCD be touchscreen... the soft buttons, as they are now, aren't really easily operated with one hand or without looking, especially since you really need to look at the screen to see what you're operating and what page you're on.


That's true except for the top and bottom (particularly the bottom) two LCD buttons, which I place my most-used LCD commands on. Those can easily be found by touch.

quote:

I'd really like to have the ability to fit more description in some of my soft buttons. And with the physical buttons gone, you could arrange the button areas any way you'd like... need a LOT of buttons?



Agreed. In fact, I'd like the ability to have increased labeling on the MX-700 as it is right now. If they let you label full screen width, you could have a 7 character name on one side and a 3 character name on the other. That has been mentioned to HTM.

quote:

Actually, what I want, is a morphing of the MX-1000 and the MX-700. Just take the touchscreen from the MX-1000, and put it in the top part of the MX-700 (trim the LCD size slightly if necessary, don't make the MX-700 larger). And make it rechargeable with a charging stand. And give it a clock with time based macros. THAT'S my perfect remote.



You may just see something like that one of these days.
For now, the closest thing is the MX-3000.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Darin on 04-21-2004 04:31 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
That's true except for the top and bottom (particularly the bottom) two LCD buttons, which I place my most-used LCD commands on. Those can easily be found by touch.

But if it were touch screen, it could still easily be found by touch, since they'd be at the edges of the screen.
quote:
If they let you label full screen width, you could have a 7 character name on one side and a 3 character name on the other. That has been mentioned to HTM.

But I would think that would require a new remote, not just updated firmware. It looks to me like the current display specifically has physical text areas, as opposed to being a full dot-matrix across the entire area.
quote:
For now, the closest thing is the MX-3000.


Ugh, I just don't see what all the commotion is about. The LAST thing I want is a remote that needs two hands. I agree with what you said... it's cool and all that, but in the end, I want something that effortlessly controls my entertainment system, not something that IS my entertainment system.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by MikeSRC on 04-21-2004 05:30 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
But I would think that would require a new remote, not just updated firmware. It looks to me like the current display specifically has physical text areas, as opposed to being a full dot-matrix across the entire area.



Yes, that's what I meant, a redesign of the LCD screen. Right now, you have 5 characters, space and another five. The URC-300 has the same limitation, so what's the point of the touchscreen? I'd like to see a full width, 11 character display on the MX-700, so you could put the space anywhere you want.

Regarding the MX-3000, every current color touchscreen really requires two hands to use (even if they try to pretend otherwise), so the 3000 just admits it.

As you pointed out, that's where an upgraded MX-1000 would have an advantage in being more of a one-handed touchscreen remote.

__________________
Enjoy!

Mike

SurfRemoteControl.com
SurfAudioVideo.com
(Original SA Tivo now in its 60th month of use)


Posted by Darin on 04-21-2004 05:36 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeSRC
The URC-300 has the same limitation, so what's the point of the touchscreen?

Oh, well I assumed that since it, at least appears to, have a larger screen, that maybe they at least gave it more character space. In that case, I agree, there is nothing gained.
quote:
As you pointed out, that's where an upgraded MX-1000 would have an advantage in being more of a one-handed touchscreen remote.

But I want the ergonomics & buttons of the MX-700. We'll call it an MX-1700.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by BrettStah on 04-21-2004 06:54 PM:

So for those with the H688 Harmony remote, what buttons do you use for the Instant Replay button and Advance (or 30 second skip) button?

(I found a picture of the remote on the following page: http://www.harmonyremote.com/cutsheet_harmonyH688.htm)

__________________
Brett

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.


Posted by bkdtv on 04-21-2004 07:21 PM:

Brett,

You can find a picture of the production/shipping 688 right here. It's 8.1" long, if you can't tell from the picture.

You use the chapter skip ahead and skip back functions. Or at least, that's what Harmony intended. You'll notice those buttons are located right next to the buttons for guide, exit, etc. Of course, you can reconfigure the buttons if you so desire.


Posted by Scott Corbett on 04-21-2004 08:19 PM:

Darin,

You convinced me, my final answer is the MX-700 OB. Downloaded the tutorial and MX editor. Looks fairly straightforward.

Didn't see the exact models for my Samsung HD receiver or TV, but I can teach the MX-700 as a last resort.

Thanks.

__________________
HR10-250 (Replaced Twice)
SAT-T60 146 hours.
Samsung 360 HD Receiver.
Mitsubishi WS-55313 RP HD monitor.
MX-700
It's tough without TiVo.


Posted by Darin on 04-21-2004 08:33 PM:

Oh lord, the pressure's on... it'll be all my fault if you hate it . Nah, it's great, I'm sure you'll like it. Which Samsung? I've got the TS160, and I don't think it was in their database when I got the remote. But I ended up getting it from RemoteCentral. They've got a file section where you can download complete remote configs, or individual device configs. And of course, you can also download Pronto configs, and import the commands into MXEditor. I'm sure I ended up downloading someone else's config & importing rather than learning from the original remote, because I've got the discrete on/off commands, which aren't on the original remote.

In fact, I could send you my TS160 config if you want... it will include some commands you don't want (because I tend to mix some "universal" things in to the individual devices, like lighting, TV stretch format, surround mode), but you'd have all the commands.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Stephen Tu on 04-21-2004 09:05 PM:

quote:
I prefer the one on the right, but with different labeling. I would put "Pause" and "Stop" on the two new buttons immediately above the numeric keypad and put the two Chapter Skip buttons (">>|" and "|<<") on the row above (to the left and right of the "Play" button. I would eliminate "Record" because I use it infrequently and I don't like hitting it by accident. I'd just put it up on the LCD


I agree with this 100%. My ideal remote would have this transport key layout.

quote:
So since you mostly need to look at the screen anyway, the advantage of physical buttons pretty much goes away


This isn't the case for me. Even for those commands, 98% of the time I am searching for those in the dark by feel. Very rarely am I using the backlight and actually looking for the command. For each page I commonly use, I already know certain commands are "2nd from bottom on the right side" or whatever. I keep the most used commands in the corners where they are easily findable. So I'd really prefer that they keep the buttons. If they do go touchscreen, I'd wish on the frame outside they make some raised plastic bumps so at least for the edge buttons I could still go by feel.

I also think I'd rather stick with the MX-series 10 button/page arrangement, rather than the URC-200's model, since I hate having to switch pages. But I could live with the latter if a lot of people are too intimidated by having too many commands per screen.


Posted by Scott Corbett on 04-21-2004 09:21 PM:

quote:
Which Samsung?


I have the 360 (it is in my signature, so I did not specify). BTW, the 160 is in the MX database at this time.

I'll take a look in Remote Central for the 360, but offhand I would guess the 160 set would probably work (except maybe for discrete power commands).

Thanks.

__________________
HR10-250 (Replaced Twice)
SAT-T60 146 hours.
Samsung 360 HD Receiver.
Mitsubishi WS-55313 RP HD monitor.
MX-700
It's tough without TiVo.


Posted by Darin on 04-21-2004 09:29 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Scott Corbett
it is in my signature, so I did not specify

Ooops, shoulda noticed that. But yeah, I'd guess that the 360 and 160 use the same commands, for the most part. And if it's in their database now, I wouldn't be surprised if it included the discrete commands...they're pretty good about including those.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by neilaevans on 04-22-2004 12:22 AM:

Darin,
Fantastic tip about using the skip as a press-and-hold macro on the ff and rewind buttons. It works great and, I'd say, is more functional than having skip/advance as its own LCD button.


Darin and anybody else,
I'm setting up my MX700 for the HDTivo (coming tomorrow), and I'm struggling to figure out how to deal with Live TV/Guide and Exit/Clear as seperate buttons. I have a DSR6000 where those buttons are combined, which makes a LOT more sense to my mind. I have no idea why Tivo/Directv decided to split them up.

I'm wondering if Darin's press-and-hold idea will work to combine Live TV and Guide on the same button (the Guide button in this case). I'd have Guide working as the regular "press" for that button, and do a pause, then LiveTV (and then possibly Guide again, not sure) macro as a press-and-hold macro for that button. Whether that will work or not depends on what happens when you press Guide if you aren't already watching LiveTV. I'm hoping that it just gets ignored in that case, but I don't know.

I've tried to think of a way to put both clear and exit onto the "Exit" button in a similar fashion, but I don't think its possible. I guess I'll experiment tomorrow.

I imagine this dilemma has been around since DirecTV/Tivo decided to add the extraneous buttons, but I wasn't able to find a good solution with a search. Any idea if my plan will work, or other suggestions?


Posted by neilaevans on 04-22-2004 12:31 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
(because I tend to mix some "universal" things in to the individual devices, like lighting, TV stretch format, surround mode)


I'm sure you've thought of this, but I find that Favorites is the PERFECT place to put all those "universal" things like stretch modes, audio modes, etc. After all, we have Tivos, what do we need favorite channels for?


Posted by Darin on 04-22-2004 01:20 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by neilaevans
I'm struggling to figure out how to deal with Live TV/Guide and Exit/Clear as seperate buttons.

I also have a DSR6000, and also like having those functions combined as one button. Someone with a series two will have to confirm, but I thought that when I was playing with my sister's series 2 unit, that one of the two buttons worked just like our single button does now. For example (and I may be screwed up, 'cause I've been doing more HD than TiVoing lately), I think our units go to live TV if you aren't already there when you press guide/live TV, or it goes to the guide if you ARE already there. So I think her live TV button would also bring up the guide if you were already on live TV, while pressing the guide button was only different in that you could go straight to the guide if you weren't on live TV. Again, someone will have to correct me if my memory is screwed up... I helped them set that up back when the series two first came out.

If I AM wrong, then you could certainly do it with a press/hold. All you have to remember is that the function that is activated by the initial press will always happen before the function of the held command, so in some cases, which thing you do initially may matter, depending on the commands you use. There certainly shouldn't be any issue having live tv first, since it's normal to be on live tv when you access the guide anyway. Whether or not you can put guide first will depend on whether or not pressing live tv will exit the guide. Hopefully my memory is good (but it usually isn't), and one of those two functions operates the same as our current combined function.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Darin on 04-22-2004 01:32 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by neilaevans
I'm sure you've thought of this, but I find that Favorites is the PERFECT place to put all those "universal" things like stretch modes, audio modes, etc. After all, we have Tivos, what do we need favorite channels for?

There are several reasons why I don't... I use those functions a fair amount, so being able to press one button instead of three is more desirable for me. And I actually listen to the Music Choice channels more than I watch TV, so I like having those on the first page of favorites (so putting those other functions in the 2nd page of favorites would actually mean pressing four buttons instead of one). Besides, I'm not exactly hurting for space in the soft buttons, especially since doing some of this press/hold stuff. The only things I have on my first page for the TiVo is:

Lights bright
Lights dim
TV power
Thumbs up
Thumbs down
stretch mode
surround mode
skip
rec

So I actually have one blank soft button on page one. Skip and record are duplicated with press/hold, but they're there just because... well, I'm not sure. But if anyone ever argues that the press/hold isn't easily understood, those two are duplicated on the soft buttons.

I do have a page two full of macros that go to specific menu areas (like to-do list, etc.), but I don't use those that often, so page two is fine for that. Besides, I've got nine of those, so getting rid of my five "universal" commands wouldn't help anyway, if I wanted to keep them all on the same page.

Maybe you didn't want to know all that, but I felt the need to justify myself.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by neilaevans on 04-22-2004 01:53 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
Maybe you didn't want to know all that, but I felt the need to justify myself.


Consider yourself very well justified! I actually use a modified version of what I described for favorites - I put the absolute most used "universal" functions (primarily tv aspect and one or two others) on each individual device page, and throw all the surround/audio mode functions onto favorites. I have a B&K 507 receiver, which does a great job with defaulting to the correct audio mode, so having them slightly less accessible is fine with me. Plus, I have 3 pages worth of surround/audio controls, so putting them onto each device wouldn't really be practical

I hope you're right about the functioning of the guide and live tv buttons. It still doesn't resolve what to do about splitting exit and clear, but after taking yet another look through the HDTivo manual, I don't think I even NEED the exit button. I'll probably just keep "clear" mapped to the "exit" hard button (and throw the original "Exit" up onto the second page of LCD for those rare occasions when I might need it.)

Thanks for the quick reply...and again for the excellent push-and-hold for skip trick.


Posted by Fletch on 04-22-2004 02:03 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Darin
Someone with a series two will have to confirm, but I thought that when I was playing with my sister's series 2 unit, that one of the two buttons worked just like our single button does now.

Nope, all 4 do different things.


Posted by neilaevans on 04-22-2004 02:23 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Fletch
Nope, all 4 do different things.


Fletch,
If you're NOT watching live TV (you're watching a recorded show or just hanging out in the Tivo menu somewhere), what happens if you press the guide button?

Thanks


Posted by Fletch on 04-22-2004 02:34 AM:

GUIDE will take you to the guide from anywhere (except if you are in the guide in which case it will take you to Live TV).


Posted by neilaevans on 04-22-2004 02:43 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Fletch
GUIDE will take you to the guide from anywhere (except if you are in the guide in which case it will take you to Live TV).


Thanks. Sounds like I really won't need the Live-TV button then (although I'll probably map it up to the second page of LCD buttons). I can just use the Guide button.

Of course, I'll know for myself within about 16 hours...


Posted by Darin on 04-22-2004 02:43 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Fletch
GUIDE will take you to the guide from anywhere (except if you are in the guide in which case it will take you to Live TV).

Then that is sufficient right there. The one button will do both, it just takes two presses to get to live tv. I just had it reversed as to which one was one press, and which one was two.

Don't know about exit/clear though. But worst case, I'm sure it can be solved with a press/hold.

BUT, what's going to be the PITA is the fact that I'm keeping my series 1 for SD material. The fact that the two don't operate exactly the same may bug me a bit, unless I can mimick the operation with the remote so they're the same. Guess I'll have to see.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


Posted by Fletch on 04-22-2004 02:46 AM:

The main thing you're giving up is that the LIVE button will switch tuners if you're already watching Live TV. I never use this...


Posted by Fletch on 04-22-2004 02:48 AM:

IIRC, the difference between EXIT/CLEAR is that CLEAR will clear from the guide and other OSD stuff while EXIT will leave any of the TiVo menus.

Having all 4 is nice when building macros, but I agree that you can probably do all of the same things with an extra step or two.


Posted by BrettStah on 04-22-2004 02:53 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Fletch
The main thing you're giving up is that the LIVE button will switch tuners if you're already watching Live TV. I never use this...
Since the down arrow button also switches between the two tuners, this shouldn't be a big deal...

__________________
Brett

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.


Posted by Darin on 04-22-2004 02:57 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by Fletch
The main thing you're giving up is that the LIVE button will switch tuners if you're already watching Live TV. I never use this...

So arrow down won't do it any more? They really made it difficult for people who have two different generations. I'm sure I can work around it somehow though. Maybe use a press/hold to combine info and live tv on the HD unit, and and info & arrow down on the old tivo, so press/hold on info switches tuners regardless of which unit I'm using.

There will be a way to make things right again.


EDIT: Oh, I see Brett has made this issue go away. Even better.

__________________
Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia


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