Today, the home theaters of the modern father are inundated with all sorts of different electronics to maximize our sensory experience. We have HDTVs, DVRs, Blu-Ray payers, A/V Receivers and videogame systems just to name a few. To make things even more complicated, each source likely relies on different inputs and settings from the different devices. To coordinate all these interrelated components, you may often find yourself performing a complex juggling act with 2, 3, 4, or more different remotes just to allow your children to watch Disney-Pixar’s latest release. It can really be a headache to get everything set up correctly depending on if you want to just watch that game on TV, listen to the radio, or shuffle through your iPod playlist. And to top it off, you may be the only one in the household that knows how to do it all. Does any of this sound familiar? If only there was a simple all-in-one solution to this problem that would not only reduce remote control clutter on the coffee table, but also allow anyone in the family to operate your complex home theater. Enter the Logitech Harmony One® Universal Remote.
This elegant remote comes equipped with a full-color, touch screen LCD display. That, in combination with the brightly backlit buttons, allow for easy navigation and operation in all lighting conditions. The memory within the unit can be programmed to simultaneously control up to 15 different devices from its 225,000+ device catalog. So when I say this will replace ALL your remotes, I mean all of them. Another handy feature is that the Harmony One® comes with a docking/charging station so there is no need to worry about continually having to purchase new batteries.
So besides the fancy screen and sleek exterior, what sets this remote aside from all those cheap universal remotes out there that you are used to? That answer is One-touch activity controls. Logitech has developed this concept to revolutionize how we think about universal remotes. Instead of using your universal remote to select and control each of your devices one at a time, with the Harmony One®, you program activities such as “Watch TV”, “Watch Blu-Ray”, “Play PS3”, and so on. So for example, the “Watch TV” action may contain instructions to turn on the TV, select input HDMI 1, turn on DVR, and turn on A/V receiver. So, quite literally, with one touch on the touch screen, everything is up and running. All of these activities are created using a surprisingly simple and intuitive configuration utility (Windows and MAC compatible). It really is that simple.
Upon receiving the remote and unpacking it, you first need to install the configuration utility. What is nice about this is that you are only installing a front-end. All of your settings, and all of the data on the 225,000+ devices the unit is capable of controlling is stored on Logitech’s servers. Not only does this reduce the size of the app on your computer, but allows Logitech to continually roll out support for all the latest and greatest electronics without forcing you to download and install a new version of the program.
So after the quick installation, you plug the Harmony One® into an available USB port with the included cable. Once it is recognized you can begin selecting the components in your home theater inventory. Once that is completed, you can select from several activity templates, or create your own. Once you have completed this initial set-up, you simply tell the utility to sync with the remote, and you are ready to go. It’s time to test it out and make sure the activities you created are working correctly. There is even a Help button the remote that will use an on-screen troubleshooter to guide you through simple issues.
Once you verify everything is working, you can begin using the remote. Once you select an activity and all the devices are on, you can continue to use the remote as you would any other: adjusting volume, changing channels, pausing or rewinding playback, etc. You can also specifically control each of your home theater devices individually as you would expect with a universal remote.
The Logitech Harmony One® is a fantastic addition to any family room. It eliminates the need for several different remotes and the complex memorization of what settings everything has to be dialed into. After the initial programming, anyone in the household will be able to use it with ease. Though I have covered the main features, the device offers all sorts of other customizations and options that I urge you to read about on Logitech’s website. And though the street price of about $150 may seem slightly steep, the ease of use, quick learning curve, and aggravation savings make it a welcome addition to any guy’s collection.
Andrew Lloyd is a native of the suburbs of Rochester, NY where he obtained a Bachelors degree in Management Information Systems from RIT. Though currently residing in Lexington, KY, with his beautiful fiance’ and 3 dogs, Andrew is looking to relocate and start fresh after managing supply chain information systems projects with Toyota. Andrew dreams of being on the cast of Top Gear one day but until then, he can be found building and flying model aircraft, working on his Mustang, or tinkering with the latest electronic gadgets.