My Hitachi Plasma TV’s remote controller is going wonky, no thanks to the constant “kissing” of the hard floor by my dearest son Cepheus. The power button is not working and I have to walk up to the TV to press the power button every time I want to switch it on. I emailed Hitachi Customer Service to enquire about a replacement unit but I received a way expired “Out of Office” auto reply. I guess the geeky part of me have always wanted to buy a universal remote to play with. Hence, I went out last weekend to hunt for one and finally purchased one from South Asia Computer situated at Funan The IT Mall (Cepheus kinda make up for it by accompany me throughout the hunt for the remote :lol: . The hunt lasted half a day as most places does not have it). The model I bought is the Logitech Harmony 600 (having a promo now and selling for $88, usual MSRP is $99). I kinda like it and below is a short review of the remote.

 

Logitech Harmony 600

What’s in the Box

1. Logitech Harmony 600 remote controller

2. USB cable

3. User guide

4. 2 AA size batteries

 

Features / Specifications

1. Replace 5 remotes

2. Backlit Screen

3. 1 Click activity buttons.

4. Work with both Windows and Mac OS (for configuration of remote)

5. 2 Years warranty by Ban Leong.

 

The Review

The Hardware

The Logitech Harmony 600 is quite well built and feels solid in my hand. Powered by 2 AA size battery, it is bigger and heavier than most remote controllers that I have used before. However,¬† this is understandable as it has a LCD and a lot more keys than the other remotes. The Logitech Harmony 600 comes with infra red ports, 1 in front to send out commands to your appliances and 1 at the bottom end to “learn” from the original remote controllers. Most of the keys on the Logitech Harmony 600 comes with back light, hence you can use the remote even with the lights off.

The Software

The Logitech Harmony 600 does not come with any software out of the box. We are suppose to configure the devices via web at the following URL http://www.Logitech.com/MyHarmony. This is where Logitech fails big time. The web base application failed to configure my remote on the 1st attempt. All subsequent attempts are met with a “Server error, please relogin to configure your harmony”. In the end, I downloaded the software client ( Harmony remote Ver 7.7.0) from Logitech support site which works like a charm. If you are buying a Harmony, I strongly encourage you to use the software client instead of the web application to save yourself some agony. Within the Harmony remote software, which is very easy to use, I was able to find and select my TV and DVD player model in their database and the Harmony 600 was up and ready to go within 10 mins. I was also able to set up 2 activities, “Watch TV” and “Watch a DVD” within the same 10 mins time frame.

The Actual Usage

Using just the default IR commands for my TV and DVD model from Logitech devices database, I can access all the basic functions of the TV and DVD player with the configured Logitech Harmony 600. However, I found that some not commonly use functions are not available. Nevertheless, I managed to “Train” the Harmony 600 to learn from the original remote controller which is a very simple process as well. With the programmed 2 activities, I was able to turn on my DVD player, turn on my TV, switch TV to HDMI channel and eject the DVD tray with just¬† the “Watch a DVD” button. I was also able to Stop the DVD player, switch back to TV channel and off the DVD player with the “Watch TV” button. This really save the effort of using multiple remotes and keypresses to perform the same task. You can even use the Harmony to control turn on / off aircon, Dim your light or turn on the fan as long as they respond to IR commands. The Harmony 600 also has a “All off” button that can stop and switch off all the configured appliances.

Comments after 2 days of Usage

The configured and programmed Harmony 600 works flawlessly with individual appliances. Using the default activities created is a hit and miss affair. Sometimes, the TV doesn’t switch to the proper channel or the DVD player doesn’t switch on/off. Nevertheless, activities can be fine tuned and I managed to make them work properly by inserting 1 second delay between each IR commands as sometimes the IR commands may be sent too quickly for the appliances to respond as they may still be responding on the 1st command. The Harmony 600 also has a “Help” button which can assist you should the activities does not work properly as configured. When activated, you will be prompted with a series of questions that help you resolved the problem.

Conclusion

Buy it if you want to handle less remote and want to reduce the hassle of turning many appliances on one at a time. Being a lazy person, I am now on the look out for a IR controlled power switch so that I can switch on / off the power as well without removing my butt from the couch.

 

Useful Link

http://www.logitech.com/harmony/components to check if your appliances is supported.