Universal remote suggestions

NINaudio

NINaudio

Full Audioholic
Ratings
165 2
#1
Hey all,

As the titles says I'm looking for suggestions for a universal remote. I've never owned one. Ideally it would be something that would make it easy for my girlfriend to use everything. Thanks!
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,208 4 1
#2
I’ve had really good luck with harmony remotes. There easy to program too. Just enter your model number, and select the sequence and sync. Been a few years since I had mine but they’re definitely girlfriend/mother in law compatible. I’d start there.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,607 9 4
#3
Hey all,

As the titles says I'm looking for suggestions for a universal remote. I've never owned one. Ideally it would be something that would make it easy for my girlfriend to use everything. Thanks!
What you need depends on the equipment and how it needs to be controlled, as well as how you'll use it. Some remotes (the simple Harmony models) are limited in the number of devices and in how the commands are not only sequenced, but also in the ability to add delays, re-order commands and create macros, which are very helpful when projectors and other devices are used. The ease of use comes from how it's programmed, more than just about anything else.

If you list your equipment, it will be much easier to make a recommendation.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Full Audioholic
Ratings
165 2
#4
The ability to make macros would be great. Most of my equipment is in my sig, with the exception of the Fios cable box, but they are:

TV
AVR
Blu-ray player
cable box
shield TV
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,882 16 36
#5
I'd think the Harmony wouldn't have any problem with that setup....their "activity" sequences are macros...or you can use it as a particular device remote as well, pretty easy to navigate from one to the other mode. I use them in two systems. The only time I needed to program a delay was when I was trying to bend ARC to my will and gave up and just used an "activity" macro instead (plus stopped using tv based apps altogether not long after).
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Full Audioholic
Ratings
165 2
#6
I'd think the Harmony wouldn't have any problem with that setup....their "activity" sequences are macros...or you can use it as a particular device remote as well, pretty easy to navigate from one to the other mode. I use them in two systems. The only time I needed to program a delay was when I was trying to bend ARC to my will and gave up and just used an "activity" macro instead (plus stopped using tv based apps altogether not long after).
Yeah, I don't use TV based apps anymore. I do mostly everything through the Shield: netflix, plex, etc. I'll look into the harmony remotes then. Thanks!
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,607 9 4
#7
The ability to make macros would be great. Most of my equipment is in my sig, with the exception of the Fios cable box, but they are:

TV
AVR
Blu-ray player
cable box
shield TV
You really shouldn't need much for macros unless a device is lacking discrete power or input commands, or you need to switch another device like an HDMI switch, to disable CEC/press the EDID button every time and that switch has fixed settings for these (which are different from what you need).

If you set the FIOS box to stay on and sometimes find that it's off, this is a good reason to place a power on command somewhere in the activity buttons but using a macro every time may leave it in its Power Off state when you want it ON. If the remote allows using logic (if/else, and/or) commands, great but that adds complexity to the programming. Harmony remotes usually have a Help button that allows it to store info about the activity commands and it really helps to ease the frustration when a cable box shuts down after an update. You can set the box to turn on at a specific time if it shuts off, too- this is one of the work-arounds we use when someone like Time Warner/Spectrum wants to make our lives hell by not allowing discrete power commands.

If you have thought about dinning lights or using other smart home devices, look at the Harmony Elite- it comes with a hub and it's very customizable.
 
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NINaudio

NINaudio

Full Audioholic
Ratings
165 2
#8
You really sholdn't need much for macros unless a device is lacking discrete power or input commands, or you need to switch another device like an HDMI switch, to disable CEC/press the EDID button every time and that switch has fixed settings for these (which are different from what you need).

If you set the FIOS box to stay on and sometimes find that it's off, this is a good reason to place a power on command somewhere in the activity buttons but using a macro every time may leave it in its Power Off state when you want it ON. If the remote allows using logic (if/else, and/or) commands, great but that adds complexity to the programming. Harmony remotes usually have a Help button that allows it to store info about the activity commands and it really helps to ease the frustration when a cable box shuts down after an update. You can set the box to turn on at a specific time if it shuts off, too- this is one of the work-arounds we use when someone like Time Warner/Spectrum wants to make our lives hell by not allowing discrete power commands.

If you have thought about dinning lights or using other smart home devices, look at the Harmony Elite- it comes with a hub and it's very customizable.
Thanks for the additional info. I'm still debating on which one to get, but I will need one with a hub in order to control the shield TV as it is bluetooth only, no IR. I'm mainly looking to get one so it's easier for my SO. I have no issues with using multiple remotes, but she hates it.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,607 9 4
#9
Thanks for the additional info. I'm still debating on which one to get, but I will need one with a hub in order to control the shield TV as it is bluetooth only, no IR. I'm mainly looking to get one so it's easier for my SO. I have no issues with using multiple remotes, but she hates it.
I wouldn't assume any hub will control that TV but you can look at the compatibility list on the Harmony site to be sure.
 
J

James S.

Audiophyte
Ratings
1
#11
Harmony Companion is an excellent remote that has a hub. I have used one without issue for a while now. Works with Amazon Alexa also, which is a plus.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,056 5
#12
Harmony remote with their hub is tough to beat. The remote market is crap compared to what it used to be. The fewer buttons the better.

My harmony companion controls my TV, ShiledTV, Denon Receiver, Lights, and Fan in my living room. Another controls my theater.
 
sholling

sholling

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,285
#13
A simple Harmony remote will control most of those devices just fine, however Harmony devices with Hubs do a cleaner job with devices like Shield TVs and Rokus because they can communicate with devices via Bluetooth or even wifi. With a Shield you need to pair them by letting the Shield think that your Harmony Hub is a Bluetooth keyboard. I have both a Companion ($75-129) in my bedroom and a Harmony Elite ($250-300+) in my more complicated family room and I cannot praise them enough. Both also work with some smart home systems.

By the way don't let macros worry you, Harmony makes it simple. First you tell the web based app what devices (TV, AVR, cable/FIOS, Shield, Blu-ray, etc) you want it to control. Then you tell it want activities you'd like to include them in. For example "Watch TV" might mean 'turn on the TV and set it to HDMI 2, turn on the AVR and set the input to the cable box, turn on the cable/FIOS box and set it to your favorite channel. It takes all of maybe a half hour to an hour the first time depending on how much gear you have. It's all menu driven.

Mine even works with my Amazon Echo and Smartthings home controller so that a simple voice command as I roll out of bed turns on all the right lights and turns on "watch TV" and tunes my FIOS box to the news before I leave my bedroom. Note: Lighting control requires a z-wave or zigbee home controller.
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,607 9 4
#15
One thing about the Harmony hub- if you need to use more IR emitters and have leftovers from URC, Proficient, Xantech and some other brands, they're compatible. You will need some adapters and y-cords, but they will work. If you need to add a lot of them, Vanco sells a piece with one male 3.5mm plug and four 3.5mm jacks-

https://www.ebay.com/p/Vanco-Wir-1x4-IR-Cable-3-5mm-1x4-Hrness/2016581417

Also, if the equipment has a 3.5mm IR jack on the rear panel, I recommend using it- you'll have no problems with Plasma TVs, florescent lighting, sunlight, etc causing problems with receiving commands. If you do, cover the IR window on the front. Personally, I think EVERY piece of equipment that uses IR for receiving commands should have this jack. Denon receivers have it.
 

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