Home theaters are becoming more and more complicated. With each component coming with its required remote control, as the number of components in your system grows, so does your need for a good universal remote. Sure, those with the dough can easily get the likes of AMX or Crestron, but for most of us, this is just impractical. Enter the Harmony 1000 Advanced Universal Remote, with its activity profiles and ability to control 15 devices from a single panel.
Retailing at just under $500, the Harmony 1000 is the showpiece of the Harmony line, offering a three-and-a-half-inch color touch screen, as well as multiple hard buttons for the more frequently used functions, such as volume, mute, channel and the joystick controller, as well as a few others. The Harmony 1000 aims to be the poor man's Crestron. One huge difference between the Harmony and the likes of AMX and Crestron is that, thanks to Harmony's exceptional software, almost anyone can set up this remote to run even the most complicated systems, either with a Mac or PC. Need lighting control on your remote? No problem. Have highly esoteric audiophile gear? Harmony has the largest database of remote codes on the planet, and if they don't have your device, the remote is capable of learning codes from another remote. If you still are having troubles, call the Harmony support line. They are the best in the business and will make sure your remote works exactly as you want before hanging up with you.
Harmony's system involves the use of activities. You can program as many of these as any system could need. The most helpful feature, the Help button, walks the user through the steps of the macros to troubleshoot when codes aren't received properly. For systems that may be behind doors or even in another part of the home, Harmony makes an optional RF extender, allowing control of your system from over 100 feet away. A recharging station keeps the lithium ion battery always at the ready. If you forget to replace the remote in the base station, don't fret. The battery will last several days before losing its charge.
• Crestron-like looks to awe all your friends with simple set-up and control of even complicated theaters
• Access to the largest database of IR codes in the industry and exceptional customer service
• Rechargeable lithium ion battery keeps the remote ever-ready
• Large color touch screen sure to be the envy of friends.
• The Harmony RF extender should be included with the remote for the $499 price
• The touch screen is not customizable, as are other remotes with similar screens, making it necessary to use multiple screens for some actions
• Could benefit from more hard buttons
• IR emitter is in an awkward place, often covered by a finger
• Using IR requires pointing the remote at the device, which makes using the touch screen difficult.
While the Harmony 1000 is a great remote that can easily be the focal point of any consumer-level home theaters, it would benefit from a customizable touch screen and a few more hard buttons. The RF relay should come with the remote, as its own IR emitter is in an awkward place, often covered by a finger, and requires pointing at the device, complicating the use of the touch screen. These small gripes are more than made up for by the coolness factor and ease of set-up offered by this remote. The activity macros and Help button minimize usage problems, even for young children, and enhance the pleasure of use for all. Though not a cheap remote, the Harmony 1000 does more than any remote at its price. If you want more, it will certainly cost you more, and I think most will be more than happy with this remote, especially when adding on the RF relay.
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