Review: Logitech Harmony Remote 676

Makes a molehill out of your remote mountain (June 22nd, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: Logitech International

Price: MSRP $199.95 US

The Good

  • Allows you to enjoy your home entertainment center without searching for the right remote. Add new devices by updating via the Internet on logictech.com

The Bad

  • You need to understand your home entertainment center in order to properly program the Harmony Remote. The price is a bit steep

The recent addition of a family room to my antique house afforded us the rhyme and reason to install a home theater A home theatre consultant set everything up and left me with five remotes to control the not so-user friendly system. My dismay was immediate. Remote hide and seek, infinitely confounded by kids and pets, is frustrating enough with one device, never mind five. While sound and picture were fabulous, the genius of human engineering was absent. To need so many remotes to watch a movie or television adversely affected my desire to even turn on the system.

Entertainment Rescue

Logitech rescued my expensive new toy with the Harmony 676 Advanced Universal Remote which is designed to integrate up to 15 different devices. Once it's set up, you can play a movie, listen to music, or watch TV with the click of just one button, plus adjust all the needed devices. The Harmony's hourglass shape nestles comfortably in your hand. A LCD screen at the top displays up to 6 lines of backlit text. The sleek silver and black model sports 51 buttons with easy-to-read labels. If you need to match your décor or differentiate the remote, you can use an alternate blue or maroon faceplate.

Making It Work

Setting up your Harmony Remote is simple. First, insert the included AAA batteries (be careful of the fragile tab and spring), install the required software on your Mac, and gather up your existing remote controls. Also write down your entertainment center's devices, manufacturer, and model number. When you've reached this stage, connect the provided USB cable to the top of the Harmony remote and to your Macintosh computer's USB port. You will also need an Internet connection to complete your set up.

When you click on the Harmony Remote's program Preferences you are walked through the process of adding all of your electronic devices that you wish to control with the Harmony. After adding the devices, you set up activities, such as watching TV, playing a DVD, listening to music, or recording.

The Harmony Remote uses Flash memory, so your settings are retained even if you remove the batteries. If you're confused, a handy yellow Help button provides assistance. If your device is not listed on their web site, send an email and their support will help you. The Harmony Remote redefines TV and DVD playing as a pleasurable leisure activity.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I recommend the Internet-powered Harmony Remote as an essential digital gizmo, even with the high price tag, because it gives back the time usurped by so many other pieces of technology. The Harmony Remote is a great gift, especially if you include the setup as part of the gift. It simplifies TV and movie watching without compromising any settings.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by P.A.M. Borys


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