Archives For Remotes

apple-remote.jpgAccording to an USB analyst, by way of AppleInsider

We also expect new touchscreen video iPods, more phones and possibly even TVs in the future,” he added. “With regard to the iPhone, we expect Apple to have a full line of phones from $150 to $600 available for purchase at multiple retailers in several geographies within three years, just like it did for iPods.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of getting off the couch to control the television (how retro!) doesn’t appeal to me. Having played with a variety of touch screen remotes, I can also say they don’t appeal either — I prefer tactile feedback and the ability to control the set without looking at the remote.

However, I do see a general need for an improved touchscreen interface/experience and look forward to checking out Multi-touch on the iPhone, plus any (rumored) video iPod or Mac tablet that hit the market.

Hands On With Harmony 550

Dave Zatz —  February 1, 2007

I ordered the Logitech Harmony 550 while Amazon was running a recent rebate, so I’ve only had it on hand for a day… However I already feel like it’s $75 (after rebate) well spent.

Compared to the 520, the 550 seems to have a better build quality. It’s more solid, the buttons respond better, and the back has a nice rubberized coating. I thought the 520 looked pretty sharp, and the 550 looks even better. The 550 adds a few more buttons than the 520. As with the 520, Logitech kindly packaged 8 Duracell batteries — four for now, four for later.
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Amazon has the Harmony 880 on sale for $155.49 plus a $30 rebate good through 1/29. The 880 retails for $250. Instead of macros, Harmony remotes group related functions into activities. For example: Hit ‘Play DVD’ and Harmony will turn on the TV, set it to the proper input, and power up the DVD player. The 880 has a color screen and internal rechargeable battery with docking cradle. As with all Harmony remotes, the 880 has access to a huge database of devices — before we moved, we had 6xx models controlling our Lutron lights and projector, in addition to the standard stuff. I currently use the 880 in the den to operate my TiVo Series3 and Xbox 360. Download network icons at Squareworld to setup soft keys for your favorite channels.

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Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  December 7, 2006

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

  • Hands on with the Loop motion controlled remote : Gizmodo
  • Orb adds mobile YouTube search: PVRWire
  • Mods to quiet your (my) Xbox 360: Extreme Tech
  • Portable Audiovox XM receiver discovered: Orbitcast
  • Sony PSP GPS accessory hits the market: Engadget has begun selling the Series3 remote as a $49.99 accessory. Not only does the remote control the S3, most Series2 units are supported as well. One slight difference over the bundled S3 unit: instead of a silver perimeter, this sports a chrome rim.

TiVo’s remote control designer points out enhancements versus the standard Series2 model:

  • Fully backlit keys.
  • Learning capability.
  • Metal domed keys provide crisp, tactile feedback.
  • Improved ergonomics and feel.
  • Bigger navigation pad with the Select key in the center.
  • Glossy, high-end look.

Who You Gonna Call?

Mari Silbey —  October 27, 2006

Need a little help with your gadgets? You don’t have to call tech support anymore. I’ve run across two applications recently taking different approaches to solving your gadget woes.


retrevo-results.jpgThe first is Retrevo. Launched at DEMOfall last month, Retrevo is a vertical search engine that lets you look up your devices to find product documentation, reviews and articles, manufacturer info and coverage from “forums and blogs.” Michael Calore at Wired asks, “Why not just use Google?” Aside from the user interface, which gives you category filters on one side and a preview pane on the other, Retrevo gives you instant access to useful little items like product manuals. I searched for my Sony Cybershot DSC-P10, and a PDF version of the user guide came up first on the list. On the other hand, I searched Google for “Sony Cybershot DSC-P10 manual” and the guide didn’t even make the first page. I love the idea of not having to save a zillion product manuals anymore. I can never remember which drawer I put them in…


The second application is which I discovered through David Berlind’s blog on ZDNet. The idea is great. is a wiki that anyone can contribute to. Know something useful about your cell phone’s features? Got tips on how to get a certain networked printer up and running? is the place to post it. Like I said, the idea is great. Unfortunately, there’s very little content so far. Consider this a rallying cry. Go put your knowledge to work! There are people out there who need it.

Logtech Introduces Harmony 670

Dave Zatz —  October 11, 2006

harmony-670If you’ve been reading my site awhile, it should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of Logitech’s Harmony remotes. They do initially require some time to configure and tweak to your liking, but the time you’ll save down the road makes it worthwhile. I didn’t particularly care for the button layout of the 659, so moving the VCR controls midway up the 670 is an improvement. Though, like most Harmony’s, the layout is still non-standard. I am interested in checking out the updated desktop application (which I assume will work with other models, such as my 880) and will report back. If you’re in the market for a low-end model, I’d probably suggest the 550 instead of the $150 670 — it costs less and, in my opinion, looks better if you can deal with the somewhat mushy keys.

Logitech writes: Logitech today introduced the mid-range Harmony 670 advanced universal remote, which builds on the features of the company’s popular Harmony 659 remote, with enhancements that make controlling today’s complex home-entertainment systems even easier. The new remote features improved one-touch activity buttons and a button layout optimized to control digital video recorders (DVRs) such as TiVo. It’s also the company’s first remote to include the new Harmony 7.0 software, which makes setting up the remote and fine-tuning it on the PC easier than ever. The new Harmony software reduces the Internet setup process to four easy steps. An intuitive wizard guides people through this online setup, using easy-to-understand language, offering tips and providing easy access to help menus along the way. The setup includes the automated download of infrared codes from the world’s largest online audio/visual control database, featuring information about more than 175,000 devices from more than 5,000 manufacturers.

Picture of the Day: Size Matters

Dave Zatz —  September 15, 2006