Video: Harmony Universal Remotes
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Our experts check out a Harmony remote and share their impressions.
Ken: Hi, I'm Ken.
Amanda: And I'm Amanda. And Ken, if you have a TV and surround sound system at home you probably have a pretty impressive collection of remotes, like we've got right here.
Ken: Well that's right. To watch a movie with this system, I'd have to press six or seven buttons on four different remotes. Heck, I'd probably have to write myself out a cheat sheet.
Amanda: I've actually had to do that before for guests. But with the Harmony remote, it actually replaces all four of these remotes, and all you have to do is press an "Activity" button labeled really intuitively, like "Watch TV" or "Watch a DVD." And it sets everything properly, it turns on the system and that's it — one button.
Ken: Well that sounds good, but what about programming? I've heard of remotes that are so complicated people pay to get them programmed.
Amanda: Right, well fortunately, it's a whole lot easier here. All I had to do was connect this remote to my computer with the included USB cable, go onto Harmony's website, answer some really simple questions, like how my components are connected and what's in my system. And then it sent the shortcut commands to my remote and that was it.
Ken: Cool. What if somebody comes in and starts playing with your system — you know, kids pressing buttons, in-laws turning knobs.
Amanda: Yeah. Normally it could be a frustrating situation. But fortunately there's this "Help" button here. So, if something's just not working the way you think it's supposed to, you just press "Help," and it asks you again some really simple questions like "Is the DVD player on?" or "Is the receiver set to DVD output?" for example. And just works through it till it figures out what's wrong and fixes it.
Ken: Wow, step-by-step help right?
Ken: And you said this model has a touchscreen?
Amanda: It does. And I like that, it's slick and easy to use. Other models include the ability to work with Harmony's RF wireless extender so that they can actually control components that are locked away, hidden inside a cabinet or even in another room.
Ken: That's cool. Can I borrow it?
Amanda: Ah, not too likely, no. Sorry.