Costco offers the discontinued Logitech Harmony 628 remote controls for $140. I picked one up last night hoping against hope that I could simplify the operation of our home theatre for my family and for babysitters. Aside from a plethora of remote controls that accompany the home theatre, one each for the HDTV, Receiver, Satellite, DVD Player, CD Player, and VCR, the somewhat intimidating array of input/output selection has meant that only one person really knows how to set it up. Me.
That changed last night. The 628 is a universal remote that is programmed by a website wizard. The device connects to a computer through a USB port. Once the client software is loaded, you login in to an account on the web and select your devices and how you work with your home theatre. What really impressed me was the absolute lack of required teaching and macro programming that accompanies universal remotes. The database had all the codes for my devices, including a 10-year old CD player. And, after 20 minutes or so, the website wizard had correctly programmed the remote for all major functions. I have not yet had to tweak the unit.
So, now if someone wants to watch TV they press an activity button called Watch TV. The HDTV set turns on and selects the correct input stream, the receiver turns on and selects the correct digital audio stream, the satellite receiver turns on and, without further ado, the set is ready to go. The same for DVDs, CDs, VCRs, and AM/FM radio.