Harmony 659 – The Best Universal Remote

Published September 17, 2005

Reading time: 2 minutes.

My wife bought me the Harmony 659 universal remote as an early birthday present. I’d been looking at one for about 6 months after my last universal remote failed miserably to control my devices.

My take on it? Absolutely fabulous, once you get it configured.

You have to know the model numbers for all of your devices. That was the first tricky part. The next problem I had was that I have a PC connected to my TV to play music, videos, and games. I use a StreamZap remote for that (best PC remote ever!). I made the mistake of telling the setup program that I had a media center PC. Then it let me select StreamZap as my remote which I thought was great.

However, nothing worked when I tried to watch a DVD or change TV channels.

The Harmony uses Actions, which are like macros. Because I had chosen that I have a Media Center PC as a device, the remote assumed that I would watch my DVDs through there as well as watch television.

Once I removed the media center, added a computer, told it that I had a Shuttle PC connected and that I had a remote for it, everything seemed to work fine. I had no way to add this computer to one of the actions, so I just chose “Show Presentation” as my action.

It almost worked. I found out that only a handful of the StreamZap’s (my original PC remote) were mapped to the Harmony. That was easily fixed through the software, and now, everything works great!

Before, I had to use the TV remote to change television inputs, the AV Receiver remote to select my audio source, and the StreamZap remote to do stuff on the television.

Now, I just press “Watch TV” and everything turns to the right input for me!

I rate it 4 out of 5 because of the somewhat troubling setup issues I had. However, it does have great range and very swift reaction. I’m really pleased.

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