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grahams

I have a Kenwood VR-410 receiver, which I purchased in part because of it's remote. It's a combined RF/IR remote, all of the receivers controls go over the RF, and the IR is there to replace the remotes of my other devices. I thought this would be great because when I first moved to Boston I had a small apartment and I could put speakers in the two rooms and use the remote to control the volume, etc.

All of this was true, unfortunately the RF part is pretty wonky, and I have to move the remote around the room until I can find a place where it works... I guess it's the opposite of the old rabbit ear antenna dance.

On top of that, the remote loses it's programming at random times (regardless of the battery status), and it sucks down batteries like a champ. Programming the thing is a complete hassle, as it is old enough that it doesn't have presets for my newer DVD player, etc, so I have to do the "docking manuever" pointing the original remote at the universal one....

Now, I'm stuck with a remote that's on the fritz, I can't replace it because nobody makes universal RF remotes and the receiver doesn't have an IR receiver, and so if the remote completely fails, I guess I either need to find an original replacement online or buy a whole new receiver.

Interestingly enough, as far as I can tell, Kenwood never made another receiver with an RF remote....

spaazlicious

Me throw rocks at teevee. It work good, shut sound down.


(why does brandnew straight off the truck, straight off the shelves, brand spankin' new technology need all these upgrades straight out of the box? And don't get me started on upgrades with more bugs than previous versions. And draconian EULAs. gah. back to throwing rocks at my teevee.)

Tommy

Dealing with programming just about anything electronic can be pretty frustrating. But I've used a Harmony remote ( model 600 something or other) for three or so years now without complications, or at least not many. Replacing the batteries has solved the few freezing incidents that managed to sneak in. Otherwise it compresses the functions of six remotes into one convenient one. Even useful with an iPod sound dock. Good luck.

fengypants

I got a One-for-All "Kameleon" remote free at the Wired store during the holidays. It's great in that the interface changes to reflect what component you're using (in a simple, intuitive way mostly, not a "where did all the buttons go," disorienting way). Also you can assign the volume button (and other buttions) to control the receiver volume no matter what mode you're in. And the buttons light up, which is key. However, it uses a touch-screen keypad, so it's impossible to navigate the remote without looking at the keys and the keys have terrible sensitivity, so you have to repeatedly press buttons to get it to respond. Almost the perfect remote... except not at all. It is amazing that these thing don't "just work."

Rikard Linde

I'm waiting for the Apple Remote to run all of it, the whole home theatre media center broadband floppydisk environment. No features, no buttons, just browse and play.

Ian James Samuel

SBJ:

Use a mirror to point the remote at itself. You're welcome.

Neil Mix

How irritating! What's surprising to me is that this seems to get worse all the time. Or maybe I'm just more aware of it...

Michael

I share your frustrations and I too bought a Logitech Harmony to solve them. After a couple of tries I actually got the thing to work - it's tough but easier than most - and ever since life has been peaceful and fine in this respect.

+1 vote for trying to make the Harmony work. I believe Logitech is quite responsive in terms of support, at least that was my experience.

Chris Anderson

Sorry for the bum recommendation. I got the 680s in the Good Old Days before that firmware upgrade nonsense. I actually haven't had to connect them for a while since I've learned my lesson about home theater change: don't do it! (mostly because you've to retrain everyone in the house, from your wife and kids to the babysitters).

RemoteCentral.com

Two words:
Phillips Pronto.

You get what you pay for.

_oh

Nicholas Negroponte in 'Being Digital' mentions this problem several times, that we define the interface design problem for things digital as merely industrial design. His most common example of this, is the telephone - which has been over-designed in all kinds of different shapes, most of them ridiculous. The receiver is this big lump, which is way over sized and over designed for what it actually does. Both Logitech and Microsoft are responsible for making a pure mess of keyboard design. What we currently have is abominable. Mouse design is catching up though, with some terrible over elaborated stuff coming out of Microsoft lately.

Brian O' Hanlon.

judson

The less you have the less remote you have to be.

Edward Tang

... thanks for posting your experiences with the remote Steven! I was looking at that very same remote on amazon.com (where it's suspiciously marked down). I have so many remotes on my table (TV, VCR, DVD Player, Reciever, tiVo, cable box), that my girlfriend is going to freak if I don't do something about it!

I'm currently investigating if my Zire 31 could possibly be used as a universal remote with the various software packages out there, but I have yet to be dazzled enough by the experience to pay the a shareware fee for one....

Michael

Here is the rub: Universal remotes are meant to simplify your AV setup but they are far from simple to setup and even less simple to operate. I must disclose that I own a custom AV company that programs universal remotes (90% of them are junk) for our clients. Do yourself a favor and hire a technician to program a remote that works with your setup and passes the wife test. At the end of the day you will spend a couple hundred bucks extra for outsourcing it but it will save you hours of frustration.

I recommend the T-1 from RTI (www.rticorp.com/products/t1.shtml)

fengypants

Okay, just need to vent a little about Logitech's Harmony remote. The last time I updated the remote, the downloaded configuration file wouldn't work. Turns out, Logitech has a brand new Universal Binary version of their Mac client software. It also turns out the brand new desktop version is slower and less reliable than the web-based application. Plus, it installs TWO applications in the Applications folder (one is called "remotecore.app" and I have no idea what it does), and it dumps all of its support files into the root level of the user folder. So now I have two folders with lovely names like "Logitech" and "browser - logitech" snuggled right up against my Documents, Pictures, Music and Movies folders. I'd say this is another example of a home theater company not understanding how to play nice with computers and a modern day OS, or even a software company simply neglecting the Mac world, but this is Logitech, a company that certainly should employ an engineer or two who understands the basics of OS X -- and that application support files that I should never see in the first place should probably go in the in the folder that's funnily enough called Application Support. Sorry for the ranting, just needed to share my pain. (And since I bought the remote after reading this post, I thought you were a good candidate.) Not blaming, just venting.

William Schraeder

Harmony Remote 680 is absolute junk --- avoid this and save yourself money and hours of aggravation. It appears all Logitech Harmony remotes use the same setup program and device database so I suspect they are all overpriced paperweights with bloated software. FWIW!

William Schraeder

Harmony Remote 680 is absolute junk --- avoid this and save yourself money and hours of aggravation. It appears all Logitech Harmony remotes use the same setup program and device database so I suspect they are all overpriced paperweights with bloated software. FWIW!

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