Remote Controls

Monika and I like to watch a lot of movies, and I’ve always wanted a decent home theater setup to make it more enjoyable. When we moved, we bought a 42″ High Definition plasma and an upconverting DVD player to watch our DVD collection with. We use the Comcast HD DVR to record shows for Samuel and ourselves in HD. Recently I bought an XBox (to play Amped 2) and the component cables that allow HD gaming. All these components are either HDMI or component cables, so to switch between the different component inputs a component switch is required. Controlling all of these systems together to watch a DVD or watch TV can be annoying. In order to watch a TV show, the TV, DVR, Component Switch and AV Reciever must all be turned on and tuned to the correct inputs. To watch a DVD, a different set of inputs on each device must be selected.

Harmony Remote

This is where my remote control comes in. The Logitech Harmony 880 is one of the nicest tech purchases I’ve made in a while. It is a multi-function programmable remote control that does complex actions without the complex programming steps. The remote has a USB port to allow it to be programmed by your computer – just plug it into your PC and answer a few questions about your home theater setup and it will learn all the IR codes from it’s online database. The remote then presents you with “Actions” you can take on it’s LCD screen, like “Watch TV” or “Play Video Game”. Pressing one of these action buttons will turn on all the components you need and tune them to the correct inputs. If it is not working correctly, press the “Help” button and the remote will ask you a series of yes/no questions that will help correct the problem. has the Harmony 880 on sale right now for $150, and you can often find them new on eBay for the same price.