Thursday, January 19, 2006

Logitech 676 Universal Remote



Logitech 676 Universal Remote

$120
ZipZoomFly
(warning: first one was DOA. Had to swap it out).

good review:
audioholics review

Remote Central Forums

make sure you have the latest java runtime installed and grab the latest version of the software (under support link in the upper left of the page)
http://members.harmonyremote.com/EasyZapper/NeedSupport.asp

The version on the cd was pretty dated.

- 15 device support, 2mb memory. Uses activities instead of devices. You can still use it like a tradition univeral based on devices but you won't want to once you setup activities which work much better.
- Web/Java application to setup everything about your remote. Once it's setup you d/l it to the remote through usb (the first time it also upgraded the remote firmware). Incredible up to date database. This remote supports learning but I didn't have to learn a single key. It had everything in the database including my old Laser Disc Player and even an IR -> x10 converter.
- 6 custom LCD buttons which you can add an infinite (up to max memory) number of custom keys.
- tons of hard buttons with good spacing so you can operate almost everything through tactile feedback. Great ergonomics for easy one hand operation.
- uses regular 4XAAA batteries
- takes 3 min to d/l changes.
- web interface needs work. It's slow. some functions are pretty hidden. Example, if you want to make sure a device is always on (never turns off when you hit the off button), then it's advance options or sometimes burried in trouble shooting. If you want to add a device to an activity and add some commands from the device when you first press the activity button it's in the trouble shooting section of the activity. The remote can probably do whatever you want it to do, the problem is finding it on their web page which relies way too much on wizards and just makes it difficult for you to tweak that one thing. You have to go through a series of questions all over again and again.
- one thing I couldn't figure out is how to customize the Off button. I know it's trying to be smart, keeps track of all the activities you've been using and all assocated devices, and then turns everything off that it knows is on. But it seems to ignore any devices you add to an activity after the initial activity setup. Example, I added an IR x10 command to shut off my sub woofer. The x10 device is part of my activity. I was even able to set it up on activity start it turns on the sub. But when I press the off button the sub stays on. The work around is you can also customize actions that happen when you leave an activity. This happens not only when you press off but when you switch from one activity to another. This works for the most part but it would be nice just to see the "OFF Macro" and let me insert commands.
- activities are great but some macro control would have been nice.
- what happens if logitech decides to drop support one day and shut down the Harmony line?

This was an upgrade from my old Sony RM-AV2100 Remote Control which worked great, had incredible learning capability, but I grew tired of the touch screen, and the bulk made it hard to operate with one hand. Overall the harmony is a big improvement, simplifies operations (activities > macros for the most part). The wife made the switch in no time.

Highly recommended.

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