Tuesday, August 25, 2009

WINXP - Harmony Universal Control

This may not seem to be a WinXP subject except you setup this Universal Control using your PC via a USB cable.

The Harmony Universal Control is from Logitech, and comes in several models. I have the 520 at home. It is for those who have a multi-component Home Theater system.

As you can see from the pic of the display to the right, you can setup Activities that can be executed by using any of the buttons next to the display-text. Want to watch TV, including starting with everything off, just push the button next to "Watch TV." Your Home Theater's AVAmp will turn on, your Cable/Satellite Box will turn on, and your TV will turn on.

During initial setup, you start by telling the Harmony software what components you have by type (TV, AVAmp, Cable Box, DVD Player, etc.), brand (Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, etc.) and exact model number (like TX-4560MX, which you type in).

Then the software will even ask questions like; what device to you want to control channel selection (TV or Cable Box), or which device you want to control your audio (TV or AVAmp), even asks if you want your Cable Box on all the time or off when not in use.

When the setup is done, you [Update Controller] to write your current setup to the Harmony.

AND you will actually have almost every device-control's options available, either from the Harmony control buttons OR via options presented on the display (when [Devices] button is used OR if Help-text is hidden IF you set that during the setup).

If you can operate your PC, the Harmony setup is very user friendly AND easy.

I found one operational problem. When you use Activity, Watch DVD (assuming you have it setup), the DVD will ALWAYS start from the beginning. This is NOT how DVDs normally operate. IF you stopped viewing BEFORE the DVD was finished, when you return it will start where you left-off on the DVD. I have posted this problem to Harmony Support to see if there is a way to fix this.


Operator Error, Operator Error! Turns out I missed 2 Watch DVD custom options. You have to set both Do not send Start and Do not send Stop in the Custom settings for this Activity to have DVD play to restart where you left-off.

Harmony is a dream when compared to using several remotes, or the complex setup required by other Universal Remotes (and you don't get all the control options with just a code entry). It is available at BestBuy, CircuitCity.com (yes, they exist as a WEB site only), and Radio Shack, just to name 3 that I know of.

Take a look at the Harmony site via link near top.

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