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Logitech Harmony 880 Universal Remote Review


What makes up for the average ergonomics is the ease of programming the 880 and the intelligence that's built into the remote. Programming is as simple as entering the model numbers of your gear into a website and downloading the configuration for 880. The Harmony can be programmed to control volume for different sources, for example, through the TV or through the Receiver/Amp depending on what you're watching. It knows that some TVs take longer to warm up than others. You can simply hit 1 button and it will run the routine to turn the TV on, wait the appropriate amount of time and trigger all other sources and commands. It's infrared and requires connecting repeaters to all the gear, up to 15 total devices.

The Harmony 880 will make some assumptions based on the gear that it's controlling. The defaults tend to work pretty well but you can customize it in endless ways. The 880 also features a help menu that can walk new users through the process of getting the right source playing when the remote doesn't appear to be working the way it's supposed to. Is the TV on' Is it connected to the DVI input' Is your TIVO on' No' Turn it on. All fixed.

The confusion is sometimes caused by the lack of discrete codes for every function of every device. For example, some components might have the same code for on and off. The remote makes an assumption on the state of a device. In other words, it might turn it off when it's supposed to be turning it on. If all the components in a system aren't in synch you can see where this might cause a problem.

The good news is it's getting better all the time because electronics manufacturers are going to discrete codes for all functions eliminating the need to cycle through various states of on, off, menu, select, toggle'etc. Being able to go direct is a huge improvement.

The Harmony 880 is an infrared remote. Yes, RF is better. However, unless you have everything hidden inside a wall of custom cabinetry or some line of site issue it should work well in your typical media room. Logitech's database of 175,000 makes us fairly confident the 880 can be used to control just about anything in your setup. While not an essential element the Harmony 880 is definitely worthy of consideration if you're looking to reduce your clutter in the family room. <

Visit Logitech for more information.

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