Monday, February 15, 2010

Logitech’s Harmony One universal remote control simplified my life

I’m tired of being my household’s information technology manager.
Whenever the computers, network, video game systems, TVs and set-top boxes aren’t working right, I’m the one my wife, the kids and nanny turn to for help.
After we moved to Connecticut, we purchased a TV system that was more complex than it should have been. It didn’t help that problems with our Cablevision HD DVR set top box necessitated several visits from technicians who kept screwing the configuration of our AV system’s inputs and outputs.
But even when it was “fixed,” it took too many button pushes on too many remotes (four) to switch from live TV to play a DVD or Blu-ray Disc.
Before a recent trip, I had to type up detailed instructions on how to switch between watching TV and a movie on disc.
I was the only one who could do it from memory. And our living room system isn’t that complex – just an LCD TV, AV receiver, Blu-ray Disc player and cable box.
Thankfully I purchased a Logitech Harmony One universal remote control from Best Buy.
In the past, I balked at buying Harmony remotes because I thought the price was a little much for a non-necessity. The Harmony One lists for $250, but it cost me just $145 on sale. (I also had a $100 Visa gift card to spend and this seemed like a good purchase.)
Knowing what I do now, even at full price, it’s a worthwhile purchase.
The setup is simple. You connect the remote to a PC and the included software walks you through which devices you want to control. It then retrieves software drivers from the company’s database of devices via the Internet. It was a snap.
The Harmony One remote uses activity-based controls. So with the touch of one button on it touch-screen LCD display, I can either “Watch TV” or “Watch a DVD.” Like I said, those tasks would take four remotes and multiple button combinations before.
A year ago, I wrote about some consumer electronics products being marketed as “marriage savers.” Universal remote controls are one such category.
And I can tell you from experience that the Harmony One universal remote has brought more harmony to my marriage.
Now, if only I can clean up my messy home office. Then it would be like a second honeymoon.

Photo: Logitech’s Harmony One universal remote control

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