Logitech Harmony 880 Remote Control

My coffee table How many remotes are too many? Is your living room starting to look like this? OK probably not, but a Harmony remote could still make your life easier…

Thanks to the Harmony Remote control, multiple remotes are a thing of the past. Forget trying to program macros on a “universal remote”. With activity based functionality, and smart state technology, using and programming the remote is much easier.

Logitech Harmony 880 Remote ControlFirst, install the software on your computer to program the Harmony remote. All of the Harmony remotes use the same software and all settings for the remote are configured on the computer. The software interfaces with the Logitech website. The advantage to this method is the vast database of device information and remote command codes. There’s probably a 99.5% chance that all your devices are already in the Logitech database. Once you add your devices in the program, almost all of the available commands are ready to load into the Harmony remote. If a certain command happens to not be available, or if for some reason a pre-programmed command is not working correctly, you can always have the Harmony remote “learn” a command from another remote. Chances are, you’ll never have to do that.

Once all devices are added to the program, the next step is to setup any and all activities. Using the Harmony remote changes the way we think about remotes. Instead of thinking, turn on tv, turn on stereo, turn on cable receiver, set tv to input 1, turn up vol, etc. You simply setup the activity “Watch Fios TV“, and the Harmony remote does the rest. In the setup process, you’ll need to know, which input the tv, stereo, etc. need to be on for a certain function. Once that information is entered into the program, and then on to the remote, you’ll never need to remember again.

After going through the initial setup, all the settings are downloaded to the remote and you’re ready to go. The only time you’ll need to run the program again, is to add more activities, or change devices, or troubleshoot an issue. Luckily, the program settings are saved to a profile on the Logitech website, so even if your computer crashes the remote settings will be saved.

The Harmony 880 can show up to 8 activity buttons on the screen at a time. If you have more, just click the next button to display the next 8. Once you select an activity, the remote goes through all commands to start that activity. Once you’re in that activity, the remote controls all functions of that activity. If for some reason at that moment you need to control a device not used in the selected activity, you can. There is a device button, that allows any individual device to be selected and controlled. Upon exiting the device menu, you’re back to controlling the activity that is currently on.

I must say the activity method seems really intuitive to me, however some people may have trouble with the concept, just because their not used to it. However compared to a 2+ step process for “Watching TV”, there’s no better solution. Probably the hardest part to get used to is the delay when starting an activity. Usually a device needs a second or two to power on. The remote cannot send the input 1 command, for example, until the device is powered on and ready to accept the command. This equates to pressing the activity button on the Harmony remote and waiting a couple seconds, while pointing the remote toward your devices, while all commands are sent. If for some reason a device is not on the right setting (mostly likely due to the infrared signal getting blocked), there is a help button that will fix the state of the activity.

The Harmony 880 was the top of the line full featured, color screen, programmable remote. Since the introduction of the 880, the Harmony 890 has been introduced which adds the capability of RF. RF transmission means that the remote can control devices from another room; you would no longer have to worry about pointing the remote at the devices. To be able to use the RF advantage with devices that only have infrared, you would also need the RF Wireless Extender.

Other features of the Logitech Harmony 880 remote control include: a rechargeable Lithium ion battery; a charging base station; the ability to load pictures on the remote as a background or screensaver on the color LCD screen; a comfortable well though out design. The remote has a nice looking smooth finish, however it can be a little slippery to hold. I would like to see a rubberized coating on the bottom, like with the newer entry-level Harmony 550.

The only limitations I’ve found with the Harmony remotes is the ability to program multi-command macros. Now 99% of users would not need this capability, since the activity-based control takes care of everything. You can even program multi-step commands to execute when entering or exiting an activity. However there could be some unique cases where a user might want to send a macro to change a setting that is totally unrelated to the current activity. Other than that, this remote makes controlling multiple devices so much easier. If you have to control two or more devices to do something simple like watch tv, I would definitely look into getting a Harmony remote. There are some less expensive models that do most of what the 880 can do, for example the 550 is the entry level Harmony remote. It does not have a color screen, or rechargeable battery, but it serves it purpose well.

To find out which models are currently available for sale, Amazon has a great selection. Check them out here: Harmony Remotes.

The Harmony 880 can replace all of these remotes:

Too many remotes.