Here’s the gear that needs controlling:
- Sony 46” LCD TV
- Sony 7.1 receiver (mated to 5.1 speaker/subwoofer set)
- Sony PlayStation 3 game system/Blu-Ray player
- Sony CD/DVD Changer
- DirecTV Receiver
- AppleTV (First generation)
The process for configuring this remote is simple:
- Inventory the components to be controlled, with complete model numbers;
- Install the Logitech software from the included disc to a PC or Mac;
- Enter the device information for the components to be controlled into the Logitech software;
- Attach the remote to the PC or Mac using a USB cable;
- Transfer the programming from the software to the remote;
- Test your setup;
- Tweak anything not working correctly in the software;
- Transfer programming changes to the remote;
Logitech claims a 30 minute setup time. The first pass setup, including the collection of the component model numbers, did indeed take 30 minutes. However, the retest and tweak part of the process took 2.5 hours of fiddling to get all of the components working. In particular, the AppleTV and the PlayStation 3 (controlled by the optional PS3 control module), required some fiddling to get it working correctly.
I give Logitech credit for developing a setup process that did indeed work. The sheer number of components included in their database, more than 225,000 at the date of this article, is daunting. 30 minutes is not realistic, but three hours is too long.
In addition to the time spent, the software was technically not compatible with 64 bit Windows 7. I installed and ran it anyway, and it worked fine, but threw so many error messages on my system that I removed it as soon as the install was stable. If I ever have to update the programming on this remote, I’ll need to reinstall that software. Note that I did install the package that was intended to be run in 64 bit Windows 7 systems. Go figure!
The goal for this purchase was to allow everyone to be able to switch on all required components by touching a button on a touchscreen. For example, to watch DirecTV, my Harmony 1100 has an icon called Watch DirecTV that was configured via my computer. Touching that icon turn on the DirecTV receiver, the TV and the audio receiver. I configured an icon for the DVD player, the AppleTV, the PlayStation 3, and the radio on the audio receiver. Every one of these programmed icons works perfectly. On the off chance that the component did not receive a command, simply touching the Help button instructs the unit to send the power-on sequence again, which generally fixes the problem. On the rare occasion that the issue is not fixed by this, an interview process is initiated where the remote asks you to confirm if specific components are working correctly. Following the on-screen instructions resolves the problem every time. My 8 year old daughter really likes this feature. Before, she would have to find me and get me to troubleshoot. Now, she can handle it on her own. She really likes the control that she now has over the system.
However, not everything works well. Often, when powering down the system, the PlayStation 3 will power on and will not power off from the remote. I have to then power down the system manually. This is more annoying than anything else, but detracts from the experience. In addition, I use the PS3 to stream MP4 versions of videos from my HP MSS EX475. The Harmony remote will control the streaming function, but button pushes are sluggish. The BD Remote that Sony sells to work with the PS3 is superior in performance to this remote.
In addition, once the system is turned on, navigating menus can be difficult. You see, the Harmony 1100 touchscreen means that any button pushes that are not programmed into the touch icon have to be invoked from device-specific soft menus. In order to bring these up, you sometimes have to touch Devices then Menus and then search around for the buttons to push. Using the remotes that come with the devices can be easier for these type of interactions, and I expect that using the version of the universal remote that has these hard buttons available would be easier than using the touchscreen.
I set out to make it easier to allow the members of my family who did not wire the system to operate the home entertainment system in our living room. Mission Accomplished! Now, my daughter, wife and babysitters can operate the PS3, DVD player and DirecTV receiver on their own. I would buy a universal remote again.
To that end, I have a 60 inch set in the basement with a complex set of components to control and will assess buying another one of these remotes for that setup as well. I wish the PS3 support was better, and can’t give this a 5/5 as a result, but the Harmony 1100 remote from Logitech earns a 4/5. I’d buy it again, just don’t expect a 30 minute setup time.