As you keep adding technology to your living room, the cache of remotes also seems to grow, exponentially. After watching several friends and relatives struggle with numerous poorly designed remotes, I decided to search for the best universal remote. This “magical” remote had to be as easy to use as the TiVo remote (one of the best designed products ever), simple to setup, rechargeable, backlit and it had to work with every device I could think of.
I created a list of new and old devices, everything from an old Panasonic tape deck to the latest incarnations of TiVo, to the Apple TV and RoKu boxes. Only the Harmony remotes fit this bill. Setup was very “Mac Like”, we just connect the remote to an iMac (it also works with Windows PCs) and the software guided us through the setup process. It asked which equipment we had, what activities we needed the remote for and a few other easy to answer questions. When done it uploaded the setup to out Harmony remote, and we were ready to go.
Using the remote couldn’t have been easier. To watch a Netflix movie, I just pushed the touchscreen selection that read “Watch Netflix.” The remote then turned on the TV, switched to the proper input on the TV, turned on the stereo and changed inputs, then it woke the RoKu box up. All with just one button press. It was equally easy to start watching the TiVo or listen to the radio, again, all with just one button push.
One everything was switched on and properly setup, I didn’t need several different remotes to control everything. Even the TiVo was easily, and familiarly controlled with this remote. Volume, channels, picture size etc, all controlled with this one remote. In fact, when you are done, just press one button and the Harmony remote will shut everything off for you.
There are several versions of the Harmony remotes available, take a look at the various features to find one that meets your needs. Although if you just want to get one ASAP, I would suggest the Harmony One.
[$99-$499 via Amazon.com]