|Logitech Harmony 880 Universal Remote Control|
|Home Theater Remotes & System Control Remotes & System Control|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Wednesday, 01 March 2006|
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Setting up the Harmony 880 requires two things, a computer and a relatively fast Internet connection. The USB cable that comes with the Harmony to facilitate its online programming is similar to most digital camera cables. This comes in handy, since halfway through this review, I moved into a new house and temporarily misplaced the factory-provided cable. I connected my 880 to a barrage of computers all with equally stellar results. I started by connecting the Harmony 880 remote to my trusty Apple G4 Powerbook. I utilized Apple’s own Safari browsing software and logged on to Logitech’s website. From there, I was able to create an account with my own personal username and password. Once your account is created and your remote is connected, you can in theory update your remote from any USB-capable computer anywhere in the world. Pretty cool, and handy, since I’ve set up many of my friends and family with the Harmony 880 and programmed them all myself remotely. Upon logging in, you’ll be prompted to begin setting up your “Activities.” The 880 has several defaults ranging from “Watch TV” to “Listen to Radio.” Simple add or delete commands by each of the “Activities” names will allow you to customize which ones you’ll want to keep and which ones you can do without. Once you’ve settled on which “Activities” you want on your remote, you’ll begin the step-by-step process of setting up and tweaking all of their controls. For the sake of time and space, I will only describe one such set-up option. So, to set up the “Activity” for watching a DVD, I first had to write down all of my components’ makes and model numbers. This is of paramount importance and will save you a great deal of time and energy in the end. With my model numbers in hand, I began programming. One by one. I input all of my components into my Logitech homepage to be stored for any future changes. Inputting your component information is easy via the website’s use of drop-down menus and fill-in-the-blank text windows. Within 10 minutes, I had all of my components listed and stored on my homepage. Next, the website will begin asking you specific questions regarding your system when playing a DVD. For example, “When watching a DVD, your TV needs to be set to what input or channel?” A simple click on the option “HDMI” listed below the question and, boom, I’m in business. All of the questions are similar to, if not simpler than, the one I’ve chosen to quote. This type of simplistic language may annoy some advanced users, but it does make programming the remote’s more complex features a lot easier. When everything was said and done, I had everything inputted and was ready to upload to my remote in about 20 minutes. Once I was finished with setting up my options, it was time to upload my settings to the remote. With the simple click of a button on my screen labeled “Upload,” the whole process began. At one point, I had to manually start up a program that downloaded to my desktop in order to finish my upload. However, it wasn’t a difficult task and I was back on track in seconds. The uploading can take mere moments to several minutes, depending on how complex you chose to make your Harmony 880. On average, my times were in the ballpark of three to five minutes. With everything said and done, I disconnected the Harmony 880 remote from my computer and walked it into my main listening room. With the “Activities” clearly labeled on the screen, I chose “Watch TV” and like magic, my system turned on without incident and I was free to channel surf at my leisure. Stunning, and it all worked on the first try.
Music and Movies
My system changes a lot and the changes are never permanent. The Harmony remote made it easy to accommodate these changes day in and day out, regardless of the product or manufacturer. At one point, I had the Outlaw Audio Pre/Pro 970 and 7075 multi-channel amplifier in my main rig before it was even available to the public. I thought I was special. Maybe I was, but the people over at Logitech already had the new codes in place and I was able to program the 880 without incident. You don’t get more current than that. Regardless of components (new and old) or their configurations, I was rarely able to throw the Harmony 880 a curveball it couldn’t hit. In fact, the only time I really had to flex a little brainpower was when I had to figure out how to make the remote control my ceiling fan. That’s right, I said ceiling fan. Upon looking at the barrage of components supported by the Harmony 880 remote, I’d venture a guess and say you’d be hard-pressed to find a component it couldn’t control. And if the codes aren’t hardwired into Logitech’s database, you can always have the 880 “learn” your other remotes’ controls by simply pointing the two at each other. This baby just works.