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Logitech Harmony 880 Remote

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Old 08-05-2006, 02:45 AM   #1  
How can anyone watch standard def?
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Default Logitech Harmony 880 Remote

Harmony 880 Remote

"Universal" Remote's have sure come a long ways in the past several years. Unfortuneatly so have the prices, like anything else though I suppose. The last Universal remote I purchased was a "One 4 All" in the grocery store check out line where they hit you with the impluse buy items and it carried I think a $6 price tag on it. For $6 it mostly worked, offered you the basic features, if you were lucky, of the devices you were trying to control. Set up required unfolding the sheet of paper that came with it, looking up your manufacturer for a given device in a list, and attempting to enter in the working 3 digit code from numerous possibilites that would make your device work. Somewhere, likely the same place the one missing sock always end up, these papers would become lost and without the code list you were pretty much SOL if you changed devices or the batteries went dead and you lost your programing. If none of the codes worked you were then stuck trying to scan for codes that worked. If you had the patience for this scanning you ended up with swollen fingers from button pushing and often times still not finding a code that worked for every device you may own. It was only 6 bucks though so oh well. Even if you did get it to work, more often than not you still needed the original remote around for those obscure features only they contain and the universal remotes lacked the ability to deal with.

These code remotes were great, particularly if you lost your original remote, or the original no longer worked. Some were learning remotes though where you pointed the original remote into the face of the new universal remote and started pushing buttons to train the remote to do what the original did. If the buttons didn't match either by name or symbol between the 2 different remotes you had little choice but use a mismatch to get yourself at least working. It worked, though it also never seemed to fully accomplish it's actual purpose, that being, your ability to get rid of the pile of remotes on the table next to your favorite chair. I've known alot of people who had Universal remotes, didn't know a one of them who also still didn't have the collection of all the remotes for all their devices right there on hand though.

So checking things out in the local Electronics store a few weeks ago I noticed a very nice looking universal remote, the Logitech Harmony 880 they called it on the box. It certainly caught my eye with it's LCD display on the top of it looking more like a cell phone than a remote control. I started reading the box and seen how you program it through a USB cable connected to your computer and it looked like maybe, someone finaly had the universal remote to end all universal remotes out, if it worked as described. I was of course skeptical though based on past experiences with Universal remotes, but still interested in it, till I then noticed the price of the thing.

$259 for a remote control? That's only slightly under the $300 I just paid for my brand new 30" CRT HDTV! A remote control that costs almost the same as my TV seemed a bit insane for something that would'nt require any help getting it into the house. I quickly yet carefully placed the box back on the shelf, didn't want to risk the age old "you break it you buy it" rule. Time went on and I seemed to be functiong just fine without the need of a $259 remote to make my life easier. The DVD player had started making a nasty grinding noise and it's cheaper to buy a new one than pay to have one fixed so I bought a new DVD player, which led to my also buying the new TV and finaly tossing the VCR thats sat there with the clock always flashing 12:00, not working and a tape stuck in it for maybe the past two years. Here I was though, all new equipment and more loose remotes getting added to the pile. The One 4 All remote barely even capable of the most basic features it was once good for. Never could get anything to work with the universal features of the remote that came with my digital cable box. So I figured it must be time to update the Universal remote as well, but this time I wasn't going to get one unless it actually did get rid of the clutter and need to have additional remotes.

So I started the quest for the perfect Universal remote that didn't have a $250+ price tag on it and that Harmony 880 remote kept poping up. Logitech also sells a 890 remote, which is the same remote but with RF capabilities and running at closer to $400. I didn't need RF abilites, nor did I have any interest in paying $400 for a remote no matter what it did or was capable of. Then at eCost.com I found the same Logitech 880 remote everyone was selling for $259+ but only for $154 and it sparked my interest. Sure it was still $150, but, if it could deliver as promised, to me it would be worth it.

I read several different reviews people had published, most saying they had problems with the 890's and returned them for the 880 instead which worked perfectly for them. Every review I seemed to read also claimed it takes about a full day to set the remote up, but once set up it works perfectly. So I ordered one from ecost.com and just 2 days later it arrived.

Nicely packaged, I tore it open and inside found a CD, a single sheet of basic intructions, a lighted charging cradle, a good quality rechargeable battery, and it even came with a USB cable. Seems like nothing comes with cables anymore so to find that USB cable in the box was some what of a suprise. So, I tossed it on the charger, battery was already charged up. I tossed the instalation CD that was in the box into the garbage, a common practice of mine, boxed software is just about always completely outdated, I go direct to the manufacturers web site for all software and make sure I download the latest version of anything. This was no exception, the software in the box was version 4.1, software on the website was already up to like version 5.2 I think, and the first thing they tell you on the web site is uninstall the software that came in the box and reinstall the latest version from the web site, so I was already one up on them there.

Downloaded the latest version of the software and installed it, plugged the USB cable into my computer and the remote and ran the software. Set up was a no brainer and couldn't be made easier. A window opened up with the simplest of options in it asking you to select from a list what devices you want the remote to operate. Everything from a TV to the lights in your house was available as options. Click next and your presented with a list of those devices you selected on your left, and a drop down list for each one on the right where you choose the manufacturer for each device you selected. Click next and you see the same list, device, manufacturer listed next to it, and a 3rd box where you type in the actual model number for each device. Click next again and that's it, could not be easier. It tells you the software is detecting which remote you have and what version of firmware is running inside it. It automaticly updated my firmware in the remote, then installed and configured all the programming into the remote for my specific devices and model numbers I had selected.

From opening the new box, to having the remote in front of my entertainment center operating everything perfectly took a total of 10 minutes, and most of that 10 minutes was spent searching for a pen to write down my model numbers with.

The color LCD display on the top of the screen was already configured with the most common features I use for each device, but it also has a right and left arrow button just below it that even lets you change the page to get into additional obscure features normaly only found on the actual original remote. So in addition to the common soft touch buttons located below the display, I was amazed to find it was already configured with 8 additional pages of options in the color LCD display for just my TV. Switch functions to my Yamaha Pre Amp which has an original remote with probably 200 buttons on the face, and a door that opens conceiling another 200 buttons, a large percentage of I don't even know what they are for, and I again found multiple pages of all these options listed in there.

Finaly, I had found a Universal remote that actually did what all Universal remotes were intended to do, replace that stack of seperate remotes, and while offering you full functionality of the device as if you were using the actual original remote for it.

Better still it does alot more that no other universal remote I've ever owned was capable of. After the software is installed, it also asks you simple questions on how you use each device and how they are connected. Like if your watching TV, do you have a cable top box you turn on? Do you change your channels on the cable box, the TV or another device? Do you have to switch the source or inputs on any devices to watch TV like "AV1" in your TV settings to watch cable TV and then say "AV2" to watch a DVD? Do you control the volume through your surround sound system, stereo reciever, TV or cable box?

You click the box to answer the simple questions then click done. Here's what I thought was realy cool about this remote. When you get ready to use it the color LCD display lists options of what you want to do, like say "Watch TV", or "Watch a DVD", or "Listen to the Radio". When you select the one button next to what you want to do the remote automaticly configures both itself, and all of your devices to do that one activity.

So say for example I want to just watch TV. I hit that one button and the remote automaticly turns on each device I use to watch TV. So after hitting just one button, the cable box turns on, the TV turns on, my surround sound system turns on. It automaticly switches the source and input selections for each device without the need for you to do anything further. Then it also sets the actual remote for that specific device. Use the channel up/down buttons and it changes the channels on your cable box. Hit the volume up/down buttons and it automaticly changes the volume on your surround sound reciever instead of at the TV or the cable box, without the need to select a different source on the actual remote. So no more need for a bank of buttons on the remote just for specific devices and the task of having to switch back and forth between them just to change channels, volume settings and input sources that are all run on different devices. This feature alone leaves a zero learning curve for other members and visitors of your house to be able to correctly operat all your devices. No more need for a 3 day class to teach everyone what needs to get turned on and how, where to switch to if you need to do a function. Just one simple button next to the specific name of what you want to do.

Watching TV, hit the Play DVD button and your cable box turns off, the DVD player turns on, and the correct sources get changed automaticly on your TV, all you need to do is put the DVD into the tray. Again the remote then automaticly reconfigures itself for this specific activity so all buttons on the remote automaticly control the correct devices for the way you have your devices connected and configured.

Mind you, from opening the box, to having all the above mentioned working in front of your TV took me only 10 minutes to achieve and even the most untechnical of people could easily do the same.

Happy it was working, I also knew that the remote is also completely custom configurable but figured it was working, I'd leave it at that. It's been my experience that "custom configurable" things tend to be more hassle than it's worth. Typicaly requiring you to fully read an 800 page manual first and then the need to spend 2 straight unintrupted days hacking the software code. Lucky if it still worked at all by the time you were finished.

I did notice though, with the remote, once I was in a specific activity, the options in the LCD display were all there, but I'd like to have the most common 8 I use on the first page and in a specific ordered, as well with names I'd like to give each one to make them easier for others to understand what a button is set up to do.

So I got brave and decided I'd at least take a peek at the custom configuration options and fired up the software again on my computer to take a look at it. I had a list of options I wished to do with the software on my screen, I selected the box next to change how my buttons work and hit next. Then it asked me to select which activity I wanted to change my buttons for with a check box next to each activity for my equipment. After selecting the one I wanted I was presented with a straight forward list of all the options for my specific device or activity.

On this list you can type in what ever name you want for a button, then next to that button is a drop down list containing every single function your given device is capable of that you can assign to that button. If 8 buttons on the first page of the remote screen aren't enough for you, you can add additional pages, navigating through them with the left and right arrow keys.

Background images, text size, the icons or even no icons, even themes are all completely customizable by you and easily done on your computer screen. Once your done configuring you just hit the "Done" button, it tells you to plug your remote in and it then resets all the software to show your changes automaticly.

Though I didn't find a need to use it, all my features were already available in the programing for my devices, should you actualy have a device, or a feature on say your original remote that you can't find on this remote, then it's also a learning remote. Meaning you can teach it how to do functions if you needed to from just pointing the old remote into it and hitting the button. The list of devices and manufacturers is exhaustive though, even obscure devices and brands seemed to be in the listings.

All the buttons are backlight and readable in total darkness, it also has a built in motion sensor on it so when you pick the remote up, the lights on it automaticly turn on. In the custom configuration settings there's an option there to either turn this feature off completely or adjust the time the backlighting remains on when you pick it up. If you turn the motion feature off for auto lighting, there is a "glow" button on the device you could use to turn the lighting on and off with manualy.

Outside of the steep price of $250+ for this thing at most places, which I do not think the remote is worth that high of a price, if you can find one for under $150-$100 then your going to probably be as happy with yours as I am with mine. The only, other than the price, other thing I didn't particularly like about it is some of the buttons are somewhat small and difficult to navigate around just by feel. It's lacking well defined shape and feel of different buttons needed to make easy navigation without looking at it completely possible, or at least easy and error free when attempted.
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:31 AM   #2  
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I guess you would hate my MX-3000 touch screen remote for a retail price of $1000.00.
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:12 AM   #3  
How can anyone watch standard def?
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I certainly wouldn't hate it without first trying one out, but I'd for sure have to question your sanity for paying that much for a remote in the first place!

Don't be the prime example of a person with more money than brains.

Curse you!

Now you have me thinking if I can find a smoking deal on one, which I know I can, I may just try one!

No,

No I won't,

even I have some lines to draw for the sake of nothing more than sanity.
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Old 08-11-2006, 12:48 PM   #4  
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Bought Harmony 880 at Dell for $79 after $50 rebate. I got my rebate already, so I am with the price for that remote.

My wife hate the remote b/c it's too complicate to her. My other family members and friends dont know how to use that remote.

The motion sensor is not working anymore, so now I have to press Glow button everytime to light up the LCD. For the first month, when I put the remote back to the cradle, it makes contact right away. Now, I have to jiggle several times to make contacts. May need to call customer service.

One thing that I dont like when use this remote is when you turn on the TV with the TV remote or from the power button of the TV. Then, you use 880 and press Watch DVD. Of course, it will turn on DVD player and reciever but then it turn off the TV. B/c it's RPTV, you have to wait for awhile for it cycle down. Then go through Help function on the remote to turn the TV back on....and wait for it to cycle back up.
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Old 08-13-2006, 12:33 AM   #5  
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WOW $79 for this remote from Dell, thats a smoking deal! I would have never thought to even check the Dell website for one of these?

My girlfriend didn't like it at first either and still insisted on using the cable box remote, which drove me nuts because adjusting the volume with that remote does so at the cable box, not the surround reciever. So everytime I'd go to watch TV after her I'd have to hunt down the other remote for the cable box and readjust the volume on it first.

This was easy to fix though and to get her using the new remote instead was also easily fixed. I just went into the software for the remote on the computer and set up all the controls she uses on the cable box remote she's use to directly into the customizeable LCD display. Its actualy very easy to do. Now when she grabs the new remote she finds it easier to use than the old one because the few buttons she actually uses are right there, custom named for her by me and well lit up.

This had a down side though because the buttons I more commonly use are different than hers. I solved this by adding a second page of controls that contain all the buttons I like to use. I leave her buttons on the first page, mine on the second page. So when she wants to use the remote all she does is pick it up and its ready to go for her. When I want to use it I just hit the right arrow under the display and it takes me to the second page of options where I have my prefered controls programed in.

I also sort of cheated to force her to use the new remote instead of the old one (it was annoying when she'd turn the cable box volume all the way down with the old remote and then when I went to watch TV no matter how loud I turned the surround reciever up it was still to quiet). I pulled the battery out of the cable box remote and put a small piece of clear tape over the metal contact on the remote and reinstalled the battery (after hiding the remote from her stopped working as an option). The next time she went to use the wrong remote it no longer worked for her, as expected she tried a new battery, it still didn't work so she tossed it aside and started using the new remote.

On the issue your having with the motion sensor, I'd bet there probably isn't anything wrong with the remote. If you go back into your programing software on your computer you'll find an option there to adjust the length of time the remote stays lit when motion is sensed, as well as an option there to turn that feature completely off. Try going in and changing that setting in your software, then plug your remote back into the USB cable and allow it to update the remote. Even if it says the feature is on in your software, try changing it in the software to a different time and update the remote by plugging it back into the USB cable. This will reboot the remote after it completes and likely solve your problem.

The thing you aren't likeing about turning a device thats already on to off is more a matter of getting use to using the remote than a problem with the remote itself. Once you let go and get use to just using this single remote to control everything you'll find these pre programed events to be great. You could still though always use the remote in the traditional method if thats what you prefer. Rather than using an event like "watch DVD" and just pushing the watch DVD button, you'll notice there is still a button built into the remote called "Device" just below the screen. If you hit the Device button you'll see like a traditional remote you can still control all your devices individualy instead. Once you get use to though, turning everything on and off with just the remote by hitting a single button, then this feature will win you over and you likely won't be able to stand using traditional remotes any longer.

I don't want to imply anything negative about your friends and family members capabilites, but how could they possibly not know how to use this remote? It couldn't be easier, you want to watch TV, you just hit the button that says "Watch TV" and boom, your watching TV. All the traditional controls on conventional remotes like volume up/down, channel up/down are still there and clearly labeled.

The charging cradle thing I'll agree with you on for sure. They should have just made this a small cheap plug that goes from the wall outlet directly into the USB port on the remote to charge the battery. I know this is possible because I have a cell phone that is like that, a simple power cord goes from the wall to the same USB port on the phone I use to plug it inot my computer.

The charging cradle is certainly sensitive though on how you lay the remote into it, that is a design oversite for sure. It still works ok, but you should be able to just drop the remote in, or possibly snap it into the charging cradle and it should work without the need of fine tuning the positioning. Another annoyance we have in regards to the charging cradle is that blue LED on the top of it that is always on and at night lights up the entire room with a bright blue glow.

I've since gotten use to the small buttons and manage to find my way around the remote by feel now after a week or so of using it. The raised waive shape of the buttons took a little to get use to in order to just hit them by feel without the need to look at the remote, but it is possible I'm happy to report.

Just like any computer controled device though, when things seem to stop working right or not responding like you'd like them to, a simple reboot usualy solves the problem. Updating the software by plugging the remote into your computer will do a reboot on the remote. I've found odd behaviors I initialy experienced when the remote was new like not turning everything on or off correctly went away after the remote had been rebooted a couple times and I haven't had any problems or issues since.
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Old 08-24-2006, 04:53 PM   #6  
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After I update the remote thru the PC, the motion sensor work again.

I dont have time to program all the features I want on 880 yet, so I can not put all other remotes away. After I am done with programming, I will put all other remotes away and everyone has to learn how to use 880.
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Old 06-06-2007, 03:44 PM   #7  
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But can it core a apple?
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Old 06-08-2007, 10:11 AM   #8  
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I have two 880's and one 360 and love them all. My wife even enjoys using the 880's . Just push a button... movie, tvio, live tv and this remote makes it all happen. you can find some great features for it on remotecentral.com, i think that's the website. all of my favorite stations have it's own icon for that station, neat.
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:19 AM   #9  
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I'm more than happy with my 520
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:33 PM   #10  
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Best Customer service I've ever come across!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:48 AM   #11  
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Got this remote yesterday. It's the best one I've owned to date.
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:01 PM   #12  
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I have had a Harmony 880 since December 06 and very happy with everything about it. I did come accross a problem with it last week and contacted Logitech and they are sending a replacement to me at no charge. Just love this
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:26 PM   #13  
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I have noticed with the rechargeable 880/890 etc., that after some use, the battery contacts don't like to charge the remote after a while. This is why I went with the 550. I'd rather replace batteries than deal with the charging contacts after a few months of use.

My only gripe with the Harmony remotes is the slower interface when hitting buttons.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:31 PM   #14  
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My only gripe with the Harmony remotes is the slower interface when hitting buttons.[/QUOTE]

You know there is an option to speed up those button commands in the menus. You can increase/decrease the amount of micro seconds it takes. I said the same thing and shorted them on my 720. It was an option on my 880 too.
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:36 AM   #15  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrylockamene View Post

You know there is an option to speed up those button commands in the menus. You can increase/decrease the amount of micro seconds it takes. I said the same thing and shorted them on my 720. It was an option on my 880 too.
Really? In the software disc? Also, have you noticed that the volume on your receiver or TV will stick a little because of some lag?

Edit: Just did it...I can't believe I didn't see it before. Thank you.

Last edited by Codes20; 08-09-2007 at 08:47 AM..
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