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pws442 02-17-2008 08:21 AM

Considering moving from the MX500 to a Harmony One
I am considering moving from the MX500 to a Harmony One. I got the MX500 free with a Monster Power HTS5100 a couple of years ago, and it does everything my wife and I want, which is:

- watch the TV or a recording through the Cable HD/DVR box to the Main :Zone of a Denon receiver, to the TV by
--- Picking up the Cable Remote [Main | Cable Softkey]
--- Turning on the TV Power [Power]
--- Turning on the Receiver Main zone to the TV [On Softkey and TV Softkey]
--- (To turn this off, I hit Power, an the Off Softkey)

- watch TV or recording through same kind of cable HD/DVR box in bedroom:
--- pick up master bedroom remote [Main | MBRTV softkey]
--- Power on/off for the TV

- same as above for Family room TV/DVR but with FAMTV softkey

- I use Zone 2 for the Denon to the pool area, with POOL as the device
- Zone 3 in office (OFFIC) just the same.

- other devices I have: TV, just in case I need to go into its menus, which is NEVER; DVD - this needs to get the Denon on and to DVD mode: two softkeys; SOUND - in case I need to do things with the Denon - again, rarely.

I am pretty happy with this. Teaching wife to "Pick up the xxxx remote" made everything simple. Since the Cable box needs to be on all the time, I have no power requirements, although all 3 devices have a BXPWR softkey to toggle the appropriate cable box/DVR.

I rarely need to change which device I have "picked up". The key was discrete softkeys to turn the Denon on/off for the proper zone.

I usually control Zone 3 Denon functions with this XP Box and a HyperTerm session, since I am on the computer when I listen to XM/Net-USB/Phono from the Denon. (Definitely not wife friendly, nor will any remote solve this anyway!)

I don't use macros because of power on/off issues with the TVs. None of my 3 less-than-3-month-old HD TVs seem to have discrete on/off buttons on the remote. I would have to have one to turn main zone on, and another to turn it off. Seems a waste.

So, my reasons for switching are: Single press to start an activity, and it does look cool! I would have the three TVs as the first 3 activities, I rarely take the 500 outside, I use the Denon's other remote for that, and Leapfrog extenders.

Sorry for the long winded post, but I am really on the fence about this.

My concerns are:
- how do I stop an activity? It has to use discrete on the Denon, turn the TV Off, but leave the cable box on (I suppose it doesn't get into the macro at all?)
- can I switch to an activity in the main zone: (TV-DVD-XM-Phono, etc) with it leaving the TV on unless I go to Phono?
- can I activate Zone 2 without it turning off anything from zone 1?
- since I may use other methods than the One to activate a zone, how can the One possibly remember current settings? (It would seem I am committed to using the One for everything Activity related. This prevents me from watching in the Main room and wife using other remote in other area, and then trying to use the One in that other area. This to me is a big downer.)

Perhaps with that last concern, I am no longer on the fence, and will put my credit card away

My Setup:
Main: Denon AVR-3808ci w/XM mini-tuner, Mitsubishi WD-73833 DLP HDTV, Music Hall MMF-2.1 LE turntable, Motorolla DCT 6414-III HD Cable Box/DVR, cheapie DVD player
Zone2: some Klipsch outdoor (KHO-7) and ceiling (KHO-7) speakers
Zone3: just an old amp for the line out from the Denon and Bose AM-5s
Family room: Samsung LN-T4669FX LCD HDTV, and the cable box
Bedroom: Sharp LC-42D64U LCD HDTV and the cable box

kennyt 02-17-2008 08:52 AM

Re: Considering moving from the MX500 to a Harmony One
You really can easily do all that with any Harmony remote.

I currently have four of them in my home (659/880/890/1000).

You will find Harmony to have discreet codes for many devices even the manufacturers say do not have them, so this often isn't an issue, but even so, it is an easy work around with macros (which the Harmony's set up with your guidance). I wouldn't worry about this with the Harmony's in the least, and personally think it's a pretty easy work around even without discreets, especially when you can get to a known state (on or off).

As for using other remotes, not a problem, if the Harmony doesn't get it right because it has to use a toggle rather than a discreet and the other remote changed it from what the Harmony remembers (this is the whole concept of Harmony's 'Smart State' technology), you just would need to hit the 'help' button which will walk the wife through fixing the problem, or you can easily add a power button to the display if you'd rather just fix it directly. FWIW my 890 runs my main rig which is a Meridian 861v4, and eight different sources, two HDMI switcher, TV etc and the wife can effectively use this system with simplicity.

I looked at the One, but it is pretty expensive and doesn't do RF, the 890 allows, and even included and RF receiver/IR emmitter for working components from long distances without line of site (you could easily use the same remote at the pool or in the office and control everything from afar.

FWIW Amazon seems to be the cheapest place to buy the Harmony remotes. The software is simple to use and very fast to swap around. Once you try a Harmony, you'll be glad to go rid of the MX-500 (I personally dislike them, they are sooooo cumbersome to program and without the smart state tech require very careful programming)

Check out the review I did of the 1000 for a description of the set up and programming, it's really easy to do. When I swap out gear in any of the systems controlled by one of these remotes, it genberallly takes me only a few minutes to switch it out, this even goes for pre/pro's and receivers, sources can be done in seconds. It usually takes more time for the program to re-load the data (especially in my 890, that thing has like 12 activities and every control for every component in the system) than it does to modify the programming.

ChiefTK 02-17-2008 10:41 AM

Re: Considering moving from the MX500 to a Harmony One
>You really can easily do all that with any Harmony remote.

I just set up a Harmony 1000 last evening and it is absolutely everything you stated in your review. Going from five different remotes on the divider between our primary viewing/listening seats to one is fantastic...especially when it operates as advertised. The fact it is Mac friendly is an added bonus.

I had received a Philips Pronto TSU 9400 for Christmas and, when trying to set it up, finally relented and called Pronto tech support. I knew I was in trouble when their representative asked, "You're not trying to program that yourself, are you?" We tried for a couple more hours, but eventually gave up and repackaged and returned that remote.

The Harmony set up flawlessly, however, I have one question I hope you can answer. Can the Harmony turn my Esoteric DV-50s on and off? It has a hard button to power on and off. I might have missed something in the setup relative to this issue.

Thanks for your help.

kennyt 02-17-2008 11:05 AM

Re: Considering moving from the MX500 to a Harmony One

I have the same player in my main rig for SACD's, and no, nothing that requires a hard button can be remoted turned on and off. I have spoken to Harmony several times that the 1000 could be a true giant killer of the likes of Crestron and AMX if they just expanded the software to allow alteration of the screens, but they have no intention of doing this, nor are they working on an RF to RS 232 interface.

These are the only reasons I would have considered the Universal Remote, but I am so happy with the programming of the Harmony I can't get away from them.

ChiefTK 02-17-2008 12:05 PM

Re: Considering moving from the MX500 to a Harmony One
Ken, thanks for the reply.

I guess if I want that functionality, I will need to upgrade to the DV-60. I think it has a standby mode.

kennyt 02-17-2008 01:05 PM

Re: Considering moving from the MX500 to a Harmony One
The DV-60 has a better transport oo, and uses HDMI for video.....

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