Harmony Remotes Harmony SST-659 Universal Learning Remote Remote Controls

Harmony SST-659 Universal Learning Remote

Universal Learning Remote Programmable learning infrared remote, interactive display, programmable via website (software included

User Reviews (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8  
Stanford Ewing   AudioPhile [Jul 09, 2006]
Strength:

End result is excellent.

Weakness:

Very weak manual. Very, very difficult and frustrating to get programmed properly, esp. the TV aspect.

This remote is quite a paradox. Very, very difficult and frustrating to set up properly with a very weak instruction manual. Most importantly, they do not say first on that in order for your computer to set up the remote, the remote's batteries may need to be removed and the power supplied only by the USB/4 pin firewire cable. This is stated in some deep, dark corner of the help menu only under the PC instructions, that I just happened to try after 1 1/2 hrs of frustration. I used a Mac Mini to set up the entire remote.
The TV programming are the ones most likely not to work right away. My TV was unable to find the right input after repeated, frustrating attempts to reprogram the remote. Finally, after a lengthy conversation to the help phone line (they get an A+), they suggested adding some commands to the Harmony 659 that included scroll up, scroll down and enter (select) from the original TV remote. In the end, adding those commands to the Harmony from the Sharp LC - 37 GD4U remote solved the problem. Another very difficult area to identify was the ability to change the preprogrammed channels on an Outlaw 950 for listening to the Tuner. After several attempts, it was actually programmed in there, under Tmode (eventually lower right hand side of the screen using the next button when in the AV Receiver mode). After activating this button, then I could use the oval to change the preprogrammed stations. Overall, > 3 hours to program the Harmony. Hence, it has selected everything perfectly, > 95% of the time.
So in the end, very good and quite powerful. And does what it was reported capable of doing. But watch out, a long road to get there.

Customer Service

gets an A+, persistent and eventually got the commands to work the TV.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
cobaltcable   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 25, 2005]
Strength:

For the record, it takes a little over 1 hour to download a 24 megabyte file using a 56k modem running on a reliable 42k connection. Once my configuration was ready to go, I was prompted to download the 24 megabyte update for the Harmony Software. Now I don’t mind having to download updates, but please, tell me when I start and not halfway through the process. I am required to download the update, uninstall the previous software, install the new software and reconnect to the internet. Once there I was ready to upload my system information. It took me another 20 minutes to figure out that the Harmony software was incompatible with the Mozilla’s Firefox web browser. Once switched to Micro$oft Explorer the software finally opened correctly. At this point, I have been working on this remote issue for about 1.5 hours. It was 9:30 PST on a Thursday evening, and I am MORE than ready to start using my new Über-remote, my login information is input, Enter is pressed, my windows flag is waving in the upper right corner of my browser, the beaded sweat is wiped from my brow, as the digitized version of words slid through the fabric of cyber space stopping only briefly on my monitor to inform me that the Harmony remote web site was down for maintenance and that I needed to try again later. Although I did not look into a mirror to confirm this, I am almost positive I had steam billowing from my ears and fire blazing from my eyes. I decided to take my well earned break and try the remote later that night, I mean after all it is only 9:30. My last attempt that evening was 11:45 p.m. with no luck. While I still had not given up on this remote, I was mentally reminding myself of the return policy of the store of which I had purchased this fine paperweight.

Weakness:

The next day, I logged in, downloaded, and installed my A/V system information into my remote. It was a good 24 hours before it was done, but complete none the less. I came into this situation expecting my Dish receivers to not work properly, and I was correct. My Dish 522DVR box uses an RF connection which is incompatible with the Harmony659. I was, however, able to get my HD box (Dish 811) to work properly but only by configuring the buttons one at a time. This was not a Harmony remote issue, but rather a Dish STB problem. The macro buttons at the top of the remote did not work properly untill significant tweaking was employed. If I pressed the “Watch TV” button my Amp would shut off every time. I tried using the “Help” button which did not resolve this issue and in the end I had to leave my Amp set to always on. Also, my volume and channel controls had to be fine tuned as they would jump two channels or two volume levels when the button was pressed only once. After 3 days of working with the Harmony 659 and only having it service 60% of my equipment reliably, it went back to the store. In my opinion the benefits of the online setup are negated by the clumsy software and general difficulty I had with what seemed like easy tasks to perform. While my personal experience with this remote was frustrating, my opinion is overwhelmingly the minority when it comes to the Harmony line of remote controls. Most opinions of this remote are positive, which lead me to purchase in the first place.

Logitech Harmony 659 *DISREGARD STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES AND SIMILAR PRODUCTS USED* If you hop into a forum these days looking for universal remotes you will undoubtedly stumble across many posts concerning the “Harmony” line of remotes. Recently acquired by Logitech, the Harmony line boasts an easy to use, online interface for programming your remote. The other major departure from the norm as far as universals go is the adaptation of macro buttons on the top of the controller to do things like “Watch TV” or “Watch A Movie” instead of the typical “TV”, “DVR”, “AUDIO” buttons that come standard on even most factory remotes. Many of the Harmony remotes even allow you to download TV listings directly if you happen to not have an on-screen guide available through your cable provider. Knowing that most budget minded people will look to the least expensive, yet still feature rich controller, I opted to test the Logitech Harmony 659. Esthetically it is a very attractive controller. The dark grey chassis uses two silver ovals to define the upper and lower sections of the remote. Toward the top are your macro buttons along with your media button and selector buttons that control the information displayed on the back-lit LCD screen. When lit, the controller emits a nice, blue luminescence that displays the text fairly well. The middle and lower sections of the controller have the more familiar navigation controls, channel and volume controls, as well as your number buttons and video transport controls (play, pause, record). In total there are a whopping 51 buttons, yet they are laid out in a way that is appealing and makes sense. On the internet, you can find several very detailed reviews of this remote, so I do not plan for this to be your commonplace description and breakdown. I think everyone that can get their hands on this remote would agree that it is, for the money, ($149.99 or less) a great value. What I would like to talk about is the process of getting the Harmony 659 working like it should. Logitech would lead you to believe that this is a very easy, trouble free process, but that was unfortunately not my experience. The installation of the software provided went well enough. When I plugged the remote in, the software picked up after a few plug/unplug attempts with the USB cable. When it did begin communicating, the remote was updated. I was not very happy when the remote gave me an error, but we have not downloaded my system information to the remote yet, so at this point I am still hopeful. I went to the Harmony website, which redirected me to Logitech and their new remote section. I used the “test drive” login I had established earlier. This login and “orientation” walks you through the different devices you want your Harmony to control. This process too, was easy enough, though at times needlessly redundant. Often I felt like the setup was so simplified it was hindering progress. It should be noted that this is the ONLY way to set this remote up. If you find you are the type of person that struggles with navigating web sites, or prefer to punch in remote codes like most universals, you should seriously consider another alternative. Also, there is no way to store your remote configuration on your PC once you have it all figured out. I personally live in a very rural area and am unfortunately limited to dial up software, which leads me to my next complaint:

Similar Products Used: Where I had a difficult time setting this remote up, I am sure that there are others who had it work flawlessly out of the package. This remote will be the perfect solution to many casual home theater enthusiasts, especially those that feel computer integration is an important part of their lifestyle. Still, as gadget oriented as I am, I would still rather just punch a few numbers into my new remote and program it the old-fashioned way instead of having to rely on my computer and internet connection to do the job for me. If you spend the time to tweak and adjust this remote, it could very well be the all-in-one you are looking for. I have decided to go a different route. I will let you all know how my experience with the Universal Remote URC200 Automator with the MRF100 RF Expander goes. Jeff Simon
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
danchurch   AudioPhile [Feb 05, 2005]
Strength:

NONE

Weakness:

NOTED

Purchased this unit on rave reviews by other users. Perhaps it's my computer & system but I have to give this product a FAILING grade. Despite the impressive list of manufacturers, the software does not seem to recognize models adequately and requires the existing remote for face-to-face training. Often the pre-selected training choices are not relevant; usually learning process fails. Beside this, the software hangs often and does not allow for easy navigation when training fails. I plan to dump this back on eBay and purchase a serious remote.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
breeze   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 15, 2005]
Strength:

Ease of use Excellent customer support Clear LCD readout Flexible enough to control all my components Backlit Functions clearly labelled

Weakness:

None

I picked up this remote based on the reviews on this site and other online reviews. Since I am currently using five remotes to control my A/V system, this looked like a relatively inexpensive way to solve my problem. The set up process is pretty staightforward-enter your equipment at the Harmony website and you are up and running. I did have to use Harmony's customer support (which was excellent) to tweak the remote further. Now my wife can run the home theater system easily-she loves it and that is the best endorsement that I can give the product!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
CoreyInBurford   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 28, 2004]
Strength:

ease of programming, good build quality and feel, powerful IR senders

Weakness:

takes time to learn how to program it the best

This is for the logitech version of this remote, I have heard the quality is better on the logitechs otherwise same remote. This remote is amazing. The ease of programming is good. The website is very helpful once you stop using the wizards, use the device settings instead. It can control an amazing array of devices, even HVAC controls if you wish to quiet your room while you listen. A great buy especially on sale. Price paid is Canadian

Similar Products Used: Original Sony Remote
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Guyf   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 07, 2004]
Strength:

Internet based programming, works as advertised, customer support.

Weakness:

The display gets crowded when you go in some advanced menus of your components, the receiver in particular. But you should not use a universal remote to set up your system anyway.

Very easy to program trough the internet. All my family can now use the Home Theater system. It took me a little lnger to program it because I had to adjust the delay for the TV to come on. That was not too difficult to do but I had to look to find where on the web site I could do this adjustment. (I was probably trying to go too fast and did not look properly) I use a Toshiba 50HDX82 and add to increase the "on" delay from 3 to 4 seconds. It took a little bit of trial and error but I got it to work perfectly. The customer support people at Harmony stayed on the phone for 30 minutes with me while we were trying different options. Daniel's stayed with me even tough his shift was over!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
cweller   AudioPhile [Nov 29, 2004]
Strength:

Easy programming through downloading over the internet. Intuitive and simple to use. Flexibility. Updates available at web site. Honors warranty.

Weakness:

None

I shopped around for a remote about a year ago and generally was not very happy with the relatively high cost and time consuming programming requirements of the more expensive models, nor was I happy with the limited power and flexibility of the less expensive models. Then I read about the Harmony remote in Sound &Vision magazine. Because it had a different approach than the other remotes (focus on funtions such as "watch TV", Watch a DVD" and "Listen to music") and because the remote commands of all my system components were downloadable through the internet, I decided to purchase a Harmony remote, even though it was still fairly expensive (costing $200 at the time). I have not regreted that decision. The downloading of remote commands from the Harmony web site was simple and easy to do. Every member of the family finds the remote to be inuitive in its functions and easy to use. By the way, the components in my home entertainment system include a receiver, an integrated amplifier (with pass through for home theater), CD Player, DVD player and video tape player. It's great the way the Harmony remote integrates the use of the various components for each function, such as "watch a video tape" and "listen to music". One more thing. About 2 months ago, I knocked over a glass of water and drowned my remote. After it dried out, the remote worked fine except that it would run through a set of triple A batteries in a couple of days. I checked with the Harmony remote people through the web site and, becuase it was still under warranty, the remote was replaced immediately. Based on performance and service, the Harmony remote is well worth the cost.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
tlqualman   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 19, 2004]
Strength:

simplicity, help button

Weakness:

none

At last a remote anyone can use! No one in my house could figure out how to use the pile of remotes to make everything work if I wasn't around. The programing on the Hamrony website was very easy and macros were downloaded into the remote. Now all you have to do is choose one button for what you want to do, watch a movie, listen to music, watch dvd, and more activities. If something does go wrong with the comands there is a help button the guides you through any fixes. The remote remembers what is on and what is off so you can switch activites on the fly without shutting everything off before changing.

Similar Products Used: sony rm av2100
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-8 of 8  

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