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HTPC Remote advice

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October 4, 2012 12:39:58 PM

Hello everyone,

I'm getting ready to dip my toe in the HTPC arena and one thing I'd like to avoid is a remote for the HTPC and one for the TV. I've seen that people buy a throw away remote for the IR received and then buy a Harmony remote for the functionality. Is that the general practice, or is there a better approach? Any advice or links to get me to a single remote to control the HTPC and TV is greatly appreciate.

Thanks in advance...

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October 4, 2012 5:28:40 PM

IMO, Harmony remotes were good once, but then Logitech was Logitech and they have gone significantly downhill. Most of them used to have at least some minimal level of macro programming, being able to string together commands (like maybe to set the sleep timer on the TV for 60 minutes you have to press the sleep button three or four times). Most of the later revisions appear to have stripped out that functionality.

The problem is there's not a whole lot else that's left anymore, unless you want to pay several hundred dollars for a remote that can generally only be programmed by professionals.

If you can manage to find one, the Xsight remotes by Acoustic Research are certainly respectable. Sadly the Xsight Touch's RF companion seems to have been discontinued, though you can still find them a few places. They are similar to the Harmony, but not quite as limited in a lot of ways.

Of course you really only need a remote like that if you care about being able to control both the TV and HTPC at the same time. The draw of something like the Harmony is that you can map the remote's volume controls to say the TV, and then maybe the directional buttons go to the HTPC. If you're mostly just going to be turning the TV on/off when using it in conjunction with the HTPC, then you can probably just get one of the cheap universal remotes that can control multiple devices.
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October 4, 2012 6:19:25 PM

Thanks for the info cl-scott. In order to keep the wife as happy as possible, I think I need to keep the # of remotes as low as possible, which leads me to believe I need to pick up a USB IR receiver for the HTPC and a Harmony remote. That way, a single remote handles both devices.

I'll see what I can do about finding a decent IR receiver on newegg or amazon and see how that goes. Thanks for the help!
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October 4, 2012 7:42:03 PM

fleep said:
Thanks for the info cl-scott. In order to keep the wife as happy as possible, I think I need to keep the # of remotes as low as possible, which leads me to believe I need to pick up a USB IR receiver for the HTPC and a Harmony remote. That way, a single remote handles both devices.

I'll see what I can do about finding a decent IR receiver on newegg or amazon and see how that goes. Thanks for the help!


What I did was just buy some cheap Windows media center remote, pretty much purely for the dongle.

Another option, is there are companies that sell wifi based remote setups that can be used in conjunction with a smartphone. Everything's routed over a wifi connection and home LAN, and then there are IR blasters to control the devices in question. You'd still need an IR receiver for the HTPC of course, but it's probably easier than trying to get the Mrs to understand the geeky pride a man can take in being able to master several different remotes.
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October 11, 2012 12:14:18 AM

Best answer selected by fleep.
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