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>>> Wanted: Opinions on the MX-?00's vs. the Harmony 688 <<<

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Draven X. Byrne is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 03:21 AM
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Draven X. Byrne
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Wanted: Opinions on the MX-?00's vs. the Harmony 688

Hey All-

I have a H688 that crapped out and I have been reading so much over the years from you guys about the merits of the MX-500 & recently the MX-700. I really liked the Harmony 688 but wanted opinions on how it stacks up against the MX's.

Plus- if anyone has both let me know which you prefer. I'd like to know what I've been missing just to see if I should replace the Harmony with a MX.

DXB

(Let the remote wars begin . . . )

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joegarrett is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 03:56 AM
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joegarrett
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Have you considered contacting Harmony for a replacement?

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 04:11 AM
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bkdtv
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Draven,

Harmony will replace your 688 if you purchased it from an authorized dealer.

The MX-700 is generally a more powerful remote. Some advantages:

  1. Larger, well-spaced hard buttons that are easy to use by feel alone.

  2. More LCD buttons (10 vs 6) with better feel / responsiveness.

  3. Total control over all your LCD device pages. The MX-700 allows four pages with ten commands per activity/device. All LCD labels and pages are completely customizable. You can customize which pages are shown (and which are hidden), as well as the names and order of functions on every page.

  4. Total control over the favorites feature. The MX-700 displays ten channels (CNN, MSNBC, SciFi, etc) per page of your choosing, in the order you want. You can have up to five favorites pages, for 50 channels total. Note the MX-700 does not display program listings or guide information.

  5. Macros (to perform multiple commands in sequence) are supported on every button. Macros can be configured to perform instantly on key press, or after a "push and hold" for a period of time you define. Customizable delays can be inserted between macro commands, and a macro can be set move to any other device page on the remote.

  6. Any button on the remote can be configured to do two different things, depending on how long you hold it down. For example, you could have the fast forward button work as it does normally on a standard press, while a longer "press and hold" (which can be set to any length of time from >=0.1 in 0.1 sec increments) could be set to skip forward three minutes.
The MX-700 has its share of disadvantages:
  1. No automatic web setup. The software doesn't configure the activities for you. You have to use the bundled PC software (no Mac version available) to do everything yourself. A setup with activities can take 3x to 10x as long, or even longer if you've never setup a universal remote or configured macros before.

  2. No dedicated hard buttons for skip forward (30sec), skip back (instant replay), page up (thumbs up), page down (thumbs down), or record. You can configure LCD buttons for these functions, or use some of the existing buttons labeled for different functions. The "Stop" button is not used by Tivo, so that's a button you can use for another function. Some users also relabel "Menu" as instant replay and "Exit" as 30sec skip. Such relabeling is generally not as intuitive as having dedicated hard buttons for these functions.

  3. No dedicated Select button. The MX-700 uses a five-way joystick that is approximately 3x the size of the Harmony joystick. You click the center of the joystick for Select. You've got to click exactly on the middle to avoid pressing up, down, left, or right.

  4. No state memory. The MX-700 won't remember the state of your equipment. This is a non-issue if your equipment supports discrete IR codes. If your equipment doesn't support discrete IR codes, there are programming workarounds, but they are very complex.

  5. Much larger remote size. The MX-700 is about an inch longer and 0.70" wider than the 688. Most people can't reach the LCD buttons without shifting the remote in their hand. The 9.0" length and 3.0" width isn't too unwieldy for the hands of most men, but some women with smaller hands have trouble.

    The screenshot (to scale) below compares the popular home theater remotes used with the Tivo. From left to right: MX-700, URC-200, One For All 6131, Harmony 659, and Harmony 688. Click for larger:

Last edited by bkdtv on 06-30-2004 at 09:06 PM

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Draven X. Byrne is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 08:46 PM
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Draven X. Byrne
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quote:
Originally posted by joegarrett
Have you considered contacting Harmony for a replacement?


Already Have . . . But that doesn't mean that it's still the best remote for my needs. But thanks or the reminder though.

Anyone else have opinions on the MX-500 vs. the MX-700 (or for that matter the MX-600 as well) vs. the Harmonies?


Thanks for the great info so far.

DXB

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 11:02 PM
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bkdtv
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Draven,

The MX-500 is a cut down of the MX-700. It's the same size as the MX-700, but uses an older button layout that some people prefer. It's missing the advantages listed uner #5 and #6, plus part of #3 (it supports fewer pages and you can't hide unwanted pages). It also lacks bundled PC software. It can't be fully configured as easily or as well for activities-based operation as the MX-700.

The MX-600 is just the version of the MX-500 with RF and an updated color scheme. If you're considering the MX-600, you might want to look at the URC-200 (pictured to right of MX-700), as it has the MX-700's layout, plus RF and more of the MX-700's features than the MX-600. It's also cheaper. Like the MX-500/MX-600, it doesn't include PC software for setup.

I updated the image in my previous post (click for larger) to include the MX-500.

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 11:07 PM
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bkdtv
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I forgot to include a cost comparison of the above remotes:

MX-500 - $100
URC-200 - $120-$130 (plus $50 for optional RF receiver)
MX-600 - $250 (or $169 open-box with 1-year warranty)
MX-700 - $350 (or $189 open-box with 1-year warranty)
MX-800 - $429 (or $299 open-box with 1-year warranty).

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Gomer Pyle is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 11:30 PM
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Gomer Pyle
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I don't ever see Pronto's mentioned... Are they out of favor because of price, or usability as well?

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 06-20-2004 11:50 PM
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bkdtv
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Gomer,

Probably both. Tivo users press their buttons---fast forward, replay, 30s skip---more than most, and many would prefer not to look down at their remotes to use these functions. Throw in the fact that many buttons are pressed several times quickly in succession -- like FFW, FFW, FFW, and then FFW a fourth time to play, or skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, replay.

While the Pronto certainly allows for more customization and a pretty UI, many aren't willing to spend a few hours, let alone a few days or a few weeks, configuring their remote. This is clearly evidenced by the popularity of the Harmony remotes, which are designed for complete setup over the web in as little as 15 minutes.

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AbMagFab is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 01:15 AM
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AbMagFab
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I have the MX-700. I love it. It's 100x easier than the Pronto, both to program and to use. And it seems infinitely flexible, but without being overly complicated.

I prefer control of what my remote does, and the MX-700 software is stupidly simple to use (especially if you've ever tried the Pronto software).

And most importantly, my wife can use it, and my nanny can use it. I have the following on it:
- Tivo
- HD Tivo
- Sony LCD RP TV
- Samsung DVI DVD player
- Pinnacle Media Player
- Camcorder
- Onkyo A/V receiver

Press one button, everything switches on and to the right input. Press another button and everything switches off.

(If you don't have discrete codes for power, you'll have a problem no matter what. State is useless when you can "miss" the device. Fortunately my TV and Stereo have discrete codes, and everything else just stays on.)

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Draven X. Byrne is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 02:44 AM
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Draven X. Byrne
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All-

Where do I find if my TV & stereo reciever have discete codes and what they are? It seems like the MX-700 is gonna allow me more granular control over the home theater but without the dicrete codes that could make programming the MX a tad evil.

(I have a Sony DA50ES receiver and a Sony trinitron 32" TV (don't wanna look in the back of it for the model number right now)

Thanks again to all for your help. Ahh- and on the Pronto - wow factor is important but usuability is more so - I guess I have that ingrained in me by being an engineer.

DXB

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AbMagFab is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 05:30 AM
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AbMagFab
I love my HD Tivo!!

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Check out www.remotecentral.com. Click on "Files" up top, then click on the "MX-700 and MX-800" picture, then type in your device model number.

What brand are they? All Sony TV's have discrete codes, most Onkyo receivers do.

__________________
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SD-DVR40 240GB with Linksys USB200M, TivoWeb, TyTool, tivoapp patches, caller-id, mfs_ftp (but no S1->S2)
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Draven X. Byrne is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 05:45 AM
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Draven X. Byrne
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Good Lord AbMagFab-

Are you physic or something?

I have a Sony reciever but I am going to upgrade to an Onkyo soon this summer.

We are all smart here at the forums - but jees . . . some of us are apparently physic too!

DXB

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Draven X. Byrne is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 06:10 AM
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Draven X. Byrne
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Ab-

I looked there and it appears files exist for my reciever and TV but is there another place to verify the discete codes (manufacturer's site etc)? or do they quality control the codes to make sure they work.

I guess I'm being anal on this since it looks like with discete codes I can make the MX-700 do anything I want (where the Harmony 688 limits you)

Thanks again.

DXB

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AbMagFab is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 05:54 PM
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I've never found anything on the manufacturer sites.

With Sony, unless it's ancient, you can pretty much guarantee it has discrete power and input codes (I've got 4 Sony TV's in my house from 1 to 10+ years old, and they all use almost the same set of codes, and all have the same discrete power codes).

For Onkyo, if it's newer (<3-4 years old) and more than $350/has DD5.1/DTS, you're pretty safe. If remotecentral says there are discrete codes, you're golden.

What matter most is discrete power and discrete input selection. Everything else is secondary.

And you can get the MX-700 for a lot cheaper if you go on-line. There's some issue with authorized vs. non-authorized reseller, but from my perspective if it's in a sealed box and brand new, I don't think I care?

__________________
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SAT-T60 140GB with 9thTee Ethernet, TivoWeb, TyTool, tivoapp patches, caller-id, mfs_ftp
SD-DVR40 240GB with Linksys USB200M, TivoWeb, TyTool, tivoapp patches, caller-id, mfs_ftp (but no S1->S2)
HR10-250 HD DirecTivo, 500GB with LinkSys USB200M, TivoWebPlus, HDTyTool, tivoapp patches, caller-id, mfs-ftp

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jabd is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 07:18 PM
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jabd
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AbMagFab,
I have an MX-500 but not the irclone-mx program. How do I put in the discrete codes for my sony tv without the program?

My macros currently start with a ch up, ch down to get me to a consistant starting point and then input the number of times I need to get to the right input. The discrete codes would be much simpler!!

Please PM me if you think that this is too far off topic.

Thanks.

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bkdtv is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 07:34 PM
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bkdtv
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jabd,

The cheapest (but not easiest) route is to buy a JP1 remote. These remotes sort of stink in their layout (user preferences vary), but they are very cheap and can be programmed with a computer without buying extra software.

Once you get the discrete IR codes programmed (i.e. from Internet) on the cheap JP1 remote, you can learn them to your MX-500.

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m1abrams is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 07:38 PM
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m1abrams
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I use to have a Pronto remote for several years, recently got rid of it in favor of a Harmony 659.

LCD touchscreens are the worst UI you could think of for a home theatre remote. Your visual attention is on the TV not the remote, the remote should have good touch feel and be easily use most functions without looking at it.

That said I choose the Harmony over the MX-500 because the Harmony's ability for state memory. This is a killing feature for devices without discrete codes, one that makes me wonder why other high-end remotes do not have it standard.

Another thing very nice with the Harmony is the "Help" button, if you devices get out of sync this little button does a very nice job walking even a complete newb through getting your system back in sync. My wife LOVES this remote, I never even had to show her how to use it. Guest come over and pick up the remote and use my rather complex AV gear setup without an issue. The remote does a great job bringing everything together.

And the customer support of Harmony is top-notch.

Things I do not like about the harmony is
- I can not make my own macros
- on the 659 the transport buttons are in a bad location

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edrock200 is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 07:39 PM
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jabd, the easiest way is to purchase a cheap universal remote from Radio shack (< $20), program it for discrete codes and teach it to your mx-500. Thats how I did it. Lemme see if I can find the FAQ for this.

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Draven X. Byrne is offline Old Post 06-21-2004 08:24 PM
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Would it be a safe assumption that if the remote has seperate input buttons for the different inputs then it has discrete codes then?

DXB

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m1abrams is offline Old Post 06-22-2004 02:06 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Draven X. Byrne
Would it be a safe assumption that if the remote has seperate input buttons for the different inputs then it has discrete codes then?

DXB


Yes, generally were discretes come into problems is with power buttons and some video inputs on TVs and VCRs. Recievers are pretty good about discretes on inputs.

TVs are usually the worst offenders I have seen. However if your remote does not have seperate buttons for say on/off does not mean it does not have discrete codes for it.

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