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>>> Good Universal Remote <<<

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markw is offline Old Post 04-15-2004 08:48 AM
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markw
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 62

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

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markw is offline Old Post 04-15-2004 09:04 AM
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markw
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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?

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 04-15-2004 09:53 AM
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bkdtv
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Registered: Jan 2003
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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.

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markw is offline Old Post 04-15-2004 10:19 AM
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markw
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Thanks. I just pulled it up.

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markw is offline Old Post 04-15-2004 11:58 PM
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markw
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Location: Colorado
Posts: 62

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?

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Toeside is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 12:09 AM
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Toeside
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Registered: Feb 2002
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 476

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

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Darin is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 12:09 AM
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Darin
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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

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MikeSRC is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 12:39 AM
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MikeSRC
Tivo Veteran

Registered: Feb 2003
Location: San Clemente, CA
Posts: 237

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)

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Toeside is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 12:58 AM
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Toeside
Senior Member

Registered: Feb 2002
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 476

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

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markw is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 01:02 AM
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markw
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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.

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sonnyducks is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 01:03 AM
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sonnyducks
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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.

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Toeside is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 01:06 AM
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Toeside
Senior Member

Registered: Feb 2002
Location: St. Louis, MO
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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

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markw is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 01:19 AM
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markw
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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?

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 01:23 AM
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bkdtv
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Registered: Jan 2003
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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.

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DavidAsher is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 01:37 AM
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DavidAsher
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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.

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MikeSRC is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 01:50 AM
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MikeSRC
Tivo Veteran

Registered: Feb 2003
Location: San Clemente, CA
Posts: 237

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)

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markw is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 11:40 AM
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markw
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Posts: 62

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?

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 05:38 PM
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bkdtv
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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.

Last edited by bkdtv on 04-16-2004 at 08:07 PM

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midas is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 05:44 PM
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midas
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Location: Chicago, IL USA
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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.

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bdlucas is offline Old Post 04-16-2004 05:48 PM
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bdlucas
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Westchester Co., NY
Posts: 236

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).

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