How to Bring Harmony to Your Remote Control Clutter
"Why does my home entertainment system have to be such a royal pain to operate?!" If you've ever asked yourself that question while juggling enough remotes to choke a horse, you know the confusion, frustration and clutter caused by remotes in a modern home entertainment system. What you may not know is how simple, elegant and inexpensive (and nearby) the solution is.
A couple weeks ago my family took a long-awaited vacation at a beach house in Corona del Mar, CA. While we were there I noticed the usual mountain of remotes in the Living Rm. The instructions for renters included a couple hefty paragraphs explaining how to make it all work. It was still confusing....even for me, the "AV Guru" in the family. Then the idea hit me. "Why don't I offer to simplify this homeowner's life, like I had simplified ours years ago, by replacing this mess with a Logitech Harmony remote?" Thankfully they saw the value and liked the idea, so I picked one up at the nearest Best Buy, configured it, and left it for the owners who would be returning the next week.
Harmonys' universal remotes are perfectly designed for the average person. No technical skill required. Just connect it to your computer via USB, use Logitech's slick online app that walks you through the process, and put all your other remotes back in the AV cabinet.....and forget about 'em! There are 2 primary models that Harmony sells: the $70 Harmony 650 (only controls up to 5 devices) and the Harmony Touch for around $200. The 650 is a great remote if it meets your needs and if price trumps all, but I'm going to focus on the Harmony Touch, which I believe offers the best experience for your dollar.
1.) Activity-based control
2.) Easy-to-use graphical configuration app
3.) Touch screen with smart phone-style screen swiping
4.) Sleek design (touch screen, minimalist button layout & bottom-weighting so it doesn't feel top heavy when held)
5.) Backlit buttons
6.) Docking station
1.) One button press to "Watch TV", "Play Movie", etc.
2.) Don't have to be a "techie" to setup or make changes to the remote yourself
3.) Reduces the number of hard buttons you have to look at by moving some (like the number pad) to the touch screen
4.) Feels perfectly-designed for your hand and looks good enough to be a conversation piece when guests are over
5.) No fumbling for buttons in the dark
6.) Remote stays charged all the time, so you never have to replace batteries!
As expected, the beach house owners loved their new Harmony remote, and I got $50 extra for my "trouble". Honestly, I'm just glad for the opportunity to make someone else's life a little simpler. I leave you with a quote from my aunt, who I set up with a Harmony a few years ago.
Question: How many remotes could you eliminate with a Harmony, and how could it (or has it) changed your TV watching experience? Let me know what you think by scrolling down.
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