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Old 04-16-2004, 08:14 PM   #1 (Print)
elarson1
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Harmony 688 Remote

I see that many shops are now carrying the Harmony 688 remote. Has anyone actually used one? I am interested in them, but would like some user feedback. Thanks.
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Old 04-16-2004, 09:20 PM   #2 (Print)
gjp33usa
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Harmont 688 Remote

I have one and I love it.I can control anything with it.Have anymore questions about it write back.
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Old 04-16-2004, 09:29 PM   #3 (Print)
MisterEd
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How does it handle the various TiVo SPECIFIC keys (thumbs, TiVo key etc) ?
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Old 04-16-2004, 09:43 PM   #4 (Print)
bkdtv
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TivoCommunity member MikeSRC of Surf Audio Video (who has a great price) posted a high resolution photo of the shipping 688 right here. If you're curious about the size, it's 8.1" in length, or about an inch smaller than the MX-series remotes.

The Harmony 688 is the first full-featured universal remote on the market to incorporate dedicated buttons with labels for the basic UI functions (guide, exit, menu, previous chan, etc) and buttons for instant replay, 30-sec skip, record, and thumbs up / thumbs down.

Quote:
How does it handle the various TiVo SPECIFIC keys (thumbs, TiVo key etc)
For thumbs up and thumbs down, you can use the buttons for PG +/- (see photo). Alternatively, you can use the LCD labeled buttons.

Those considering the Harmony 688, may want to try Harmony's online test drive to setup the remote online, just as you would if you owned it. You can setup the remote online while you are waiting for it to arrive.

Last edited by bkdtv : 04-16-2004 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:05 AM   #5 (Print)
Scott Corbett
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I am intrigued by the Harmony, but I have a nagging concern :

Since the unit is set up over the Internet, is it still possible to program it if Harmony goes out of business? Or would it become useless when you acquire new equipment?

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Old 04-17-2004, 07:44 AM   #6 (Print)
elarson1
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setup concerns

That's a real good point. Can you set this remote up independently of the Internet (i.e. manually)?
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Old 04-17-2004, 10:41 AM   #7 (Print)
MCodanti
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Not currently. You can download the config you have and re-load it locally, but you can't make changes.

I assume if they went under they would either release the required info to the public domain, or it would be hacked.

But they seem to be doing just fine, so I'm not worried.

I have a 659, and have a 688 on order, if the 688 works out I will be ordering another 688...
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Old 04-17-2004, 02:17 PM   #8 (Print)
bkdtv
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Harmony looks like they are overtaking Home Theater Master (manufacturer of MX-series) in the market, so I wouldn't expect them to go under anytime soon.
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Old 04-17-2004, 04:27 PM   #9 (Print)
JimSpence
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For my money the URC-6131 does everything I need it to do for a lot less $$$.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I couldn't resist.

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Old 04-17-2004, 05:26 PM   #10 (Print)
tmtech
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Does anyone know if this remote would work with multiple tivos? I have 2 and the HD-ivo will make 3...

I'd miss being able to easily control whichever unit I want to watch.
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:03 PM   #11 (Print)
MisterEd
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I have to agree with that. Mainly for the real TIVO "feel" with the thumbs etc. For $30 (w/JP1) it's a steal.
Quote:
Originally posted by JimSpence
For my money the URC-6131 does everything I need it to do for a lot less $$$.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I couldn't resist.
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Old 04-17-2004, 08:11 PM   #12 (Print)
bkdtv
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Button layout on the URC-6131 totally stinks though. You can't rest your thumb in one place and have easy access to both the menu/guide and transport controls. The separate directional keybad buttons are also stuck way at the top, and even if you can reach them without moving your hand, you have to physically move your thumb to go up, down, left, and right, rather than just shifting its weight.

A Yugo isn't necessarily better value than a BMW.
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Old 04-17-2004, 09:47 PM   #13 (Print)
bilbomims
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Quote:
Originally posted by tmtech
Does anyone know if this remote would work with multiple tivos? I have 2 and the HD-ivo will make 3...

I'd miss being able to easily control whichever unit I want to watch.


It will. I have two tivos, one standalone and one diretv tivo. I have the prior model harmony and it works great.

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Old 04-17-2004, 10:28 PM   #14 (Print)
Toeside
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Quote:
Originally posted by tmtech
Does anyone know if this remote would work with multiple tivos? I have 2 and the HD-ivo will make 3...

I'd miss being able to easily control whichever unit I want to watch.


My H688 is en route from SRC. We have multiple DirecTiVos, and our HR10-250 will arrive sometime soon. My plan is to have mutiple activies, one for HD TiVo and one for SD TiVo.

I was playing around with the Harmony online setup. Once you pick your TiVo model, then customize that device. There is a drop-down list for which IR codeset you want. Set it to the appropriate code-set and you are done.

Craig

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Old 04-18-2004, 12:20 AM   #15 (Print)
tmtech
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Thanks! I think I need to order one right now!
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Old 04-18-2004, 01:38 AM   #16 (Print)
DavidTigerFan
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Getting mine this week. I'll see how it does with all my crap...I think I have about 10 different things I need to control...=o)

-DTF

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Old 04-18-2004, 03:03 PM   #17 (Print)
ChofuHS
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Help

Quote:
Originally posted by Toeside
My H688 is en route from SRC. We have multiple DirecTiVos, and our HR10-250 will arrive sometime soon. My plan is to have mutiple activies, one for HD TiVo and one for SD TiVo.

I was playing around with the Harmony online setup. Once you pick your TiVo model, then customize that device. There is a drop-down list for which IR codeset you want. Set it to the appropriate code-set and you are done.

Craig


I have a Harmony also, I keep getting stuck when I have to select some IR thing. I have no idea what they are taling about. I have all new TV, etc., but can't get past this part of the set-up. Any help in explaining the IR thing would be helpful and appreciated. Thanks in advance. SST-659.
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Old 04-18-2004, 03:14 PM   #18 (Print)
HEB1022
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I am using the MX-500 very sucessfully, but this New Harmony has my interest. Does anyone know if it is easily programmed for "Favorite Channels" and how many it can store. This is the feature of the MX that I use the most.

Thanks in Advance,

Harry in Georgia
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Old 04-18-2004, 07:01 PM   #19 (Print)
Toeside
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Re: Help

Quote:
Originally posted by ChofuHS
I have a Harmony also, I keep getting stuck when I have to select some IR thing. I have no idea what they are taling about. I have all new TV, etc., but can't get past this part of the set-up. Any help in explaining the IR thing would be helpful and appreciated. Thanks in advance. SST-659.


Hopefully someone can help, or you can try out the remote forum at AVSforum.com. I'm still waiting on my H688, so I'm not a good person to offer help yet.

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Old 04-18-2004, 07:23 PM   #20 (Print)
Darin
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Re: Re: Help

Quote:
Originally posted by Toeside
try out the remote forum at AVSforum.com

Another good resource is RemoteCentral

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Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia
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Old 04-18-2004, 07:26 PM   #21 (Print)
MikeSRC
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Quote:
I have a Harmony also, I keep getting stuck when I have to select some IR thing. I have no idea what they are taling about. I have all new TV, etc., but can't get past this part of the set-up.


If you put your exact model number in, it will usually find it in the database. Then, the IR code listing you see should be the correct one. You shouldn't have to change it unless you're programming multiple Tivo addresses. Give me a make and model of a component you're trying to add and I'll check it out.

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Old 04-18-2004, 11:14 PM   #22 (Print)
aaronwt
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Quote:
Originally posted by JimSpence
For my money the URC-6131 does everything I need it to do for a lot less $$$.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I couldn't resist.


EEEK!! That remote looks terrible. How can you use that?

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Old 04-19-2004, 12:01 AM   #23 (Print)
oldskoolboarder
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Personal preference, some may not like the look of the 6131 but it does it's job for <$20. I have both a Harmony 768 and 6131. 688 is on order to replace (hopefully) the 768. I need more of the buttons for tivo.

The 6131 is GREAT option for those family members that are techy averse. (Hope the 688 fixes this...) The other nice thing is that I don't care if my 19 month old daughter throws the 6131 around. Not that much to replace it. I've had mine for at least a year, it rattles and still works despite my girl trashing it. Very durable.
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Old 04-19-2004, 04:42 AM   #24 (Print)
Scott Corbett
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I am agonizing between the MX-500 and the 688.

One of my prime criteria is that the remote be able to switch my TV directly to a specific input. The remote that came with the TV has a single button that cycles through all enabled inputs. Currently I have 4 of the 9 available enabled.

Apparently the 688 can do this. But I am uncertain if the MX-500 can. I emailed HTM about a week ago but have not received a response as yet.

I have seen it suggested that the URC-8811 may know the discrete codes to do this and can be used to teach the MX-500. But I am unable to confirm this.

Also the URC-8811 is available with a JP1 input, but I have not been able to determine if this can be used to enter the discrete codes that I need for my TV.

I have done some research at HTM, Remote Central, and OFA, but have not found a concrete answer.

I am not concerned about the difficulty of programming the remote, I consider this to be fun. I am leaning toward the MX-500 due to being half the price and not requiring an Internet based application to program, but it may not be able to do the job. The better HTM remotes cost more than I care to spend on a remote.

I am assuming that my Sony T60 uses a different code set than the upcoming (maybe within hours) HD TiVo.

Anyone know the answer(s)?

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Old 04-19-2004, 06:36 AM   #25 (Print)
Gromit
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott Corbett
I am agonizing between the MX-500 and the 688.

One of my prime criteria is that the remote be able to switch my TV directly to a specific input. The remote that came with the TV has a single button that cycles through all enabled inputs. Currently I have 4 of the 9 available enabled.



I have the 659. Does your TV have discrete codes? If so, I can't imagine either the Harmony or the MX being a problem.

I'm not sure how the MX handles it, but once you set everything up, the Harmony will basically keep track of which video input you are on. Say SD TiVo is input 1, DVD is input 2, and HD TiVo is input 3. The Harmony will keep track of which input it's on for each activity. It doesn't matter if you switch from DVD to HD TiVo or from SD TiVo to HD TiVo, it will "know" how many times it needs to send that "go to next video input" command.

That's what I like about the Harmony. With my old Sony VL-900 (IIRC), I always had to go back to "home base" when I switched to another activity. All macros assumed that you were starting from a single state. The Harmony keeps track of what it's already done and knows that for one activity it needs to send "video input +1" 3 times vs 2 times for another, all varying depending on what you're doing when you start.

It's kind of hard to explain.

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Old 04-19-2004, 06:45 AM   #26 (Print)
Darin
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott Corbett
One of my prime criteria is that the remote be able to switch my TV directly to a specific input.

I don't have an MX-500, but my MX-700 can do this... it comes with a database full of discreet commands, and can also learn, as well as import other codes from the internet from other MX users, as well as pronto users. I have buttons on my main menu on the remote for each of my inputs... press TiVo, and it turns the required components on, switches the TV to the appropriate input, correct widescreen mode, receiver to the appropriate input, etc. It's incredibly flexible, but probably not as easy to program as the 688. I don't know for sure, but I believe in some cases you may need an extra JP1 capable remote to get hard to find codes into the MX-500, and/or an extra software package and IR emitter that attaches to your computer. The MX-500 does not connect directly to the computer like the MX-700, nor does it have any where near the programming and macro capacity and flexibility.
Quote:
The better HTM remotes cost more than I care to spend on a remote.

Before you dismiss them so quickly, consider an "open box" MX-700 from someone like SurfRemoteControl. Scroll down halfway on this page, and you'll see that they're actually less than the Harmony 688. The general consensus is, that these are typically new remotes, just opened up and sold as open box as a way to allow them to sell them at lower prices to compete with the non-authorized resellers that sell them for even less. You can get one off of ebay for even less than that, but you give up your warranty when you do.

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Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia
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Old 04-19-2004, 06:56 AM   #27 (Print)
Scott Corbett
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Thanks guys.

I will definitely add the MX-700 "open box" to my considerations.

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Old 04-19-2004, 07:39 AM   #28 (Print)
bkdtv
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Quote:
Before you dismiss them so quickly, consider an "open box" MX-700 from someone like SurfRemoteControl. Scroll down halfway on this page, and you'll see that they're actually less than the Harmony 688.
The "open box" MX-700 is only less than the H688 price he is able to advertise on his web page. Mike's actual selling price on the Harmony 659 and 688 are much less than advertised on his site -- one has to email H688@surfremotecontrol.com for the price.

That said, I agree the MX-700 should definitely be a consideration.
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Old 04-19-2004, 07:53 AM   #29 (Print)
Darin
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Quote:
Originally posted by bkdtv
The "open box" MX-700 is only less than the H688 price he is able to advertise on his web page. Mike's actual selling price on the Harmony 659 and 688 are much less than advertised on his site...

Didn't know that, thanks for the correction. These MAP rules are silly... the difference between how much they are allowed to sell a new MX-700, and how much they sell them as open box (not to mention how much they are from non-authorized resellers), is insane. I wonder how many people actually pay $350 for these things. They're damn nice remotes, but that's just crazy.

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Right now, I'm so embarrassed to live in Georgia, all I know to do is laugh about it:
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car. I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash, and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America." - Senator Zell Miller - Republocrat - Georgia
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Old 04-19-2004, 08:16 AM   #30 (Print)
slocko
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Scott,

What you are asking for, is more a function of your TV than the remote. You need to some research on discrete codes for your tv. You can start with this site:

http://www.hifi-remote.com/ofa/advanced.shtml

If you find that your tv supports discrete codes, meaning one unique advanced code per input, then any remote that supports the device code for your tv, will most likely support advanced codes as well.

The harmony is able to get around devices that don't have discrete codes by keeping track of the state it's in. So if you watched a dvd the last time, it knows that the tv is on the dvd input and if you press satellite, it needs to send the change input command 3 times to get to satellite.

I would imagine that the harmony probably gets out of synch sometimes because a person will not keep it pointed at the components, but someone mentioned you can press help, and a wizard of sorts will guide you to getting everything synched again.

Discretes are you friend. I almost returned my RPTV because I found after the fact that if didn't have discretes for power on and power off.

Quote:
Originally posted by Scott Corbett
I am agonizing between the MX-500 and the 688.

One of my prime criteria is that the remote be able to switch my TV directly to a specific input. The remote that came with the TV has a single button that cycles through all enabled inputs. Currently I have 4 of the 9 available enabled.

Apparently the 688 can do this. But I am uncertain if the MX-500 can. I emailed HTM about a week ago but have not received a response as yet.

I have seen it suggested that the URC-8811 may know the discrete codes to do this and can be used to teach the MX-500. But I am unable to confirm this.

Also the URC-8811 is available with a JP1 input, but I have not been able to determine if this can be used to enter the discrete codes that I need for my TV.

I have done some research at HTM, Remote Central, and OFA, but have not found a concrete answer.

I am not concerned about the difficulty of programming the remote, I consider this to be fun. I am leaning toward the MX-500 due to being half the price and not requiring an Internet based application to program, but it may not be able to do the job. The better HTM remotes cost more than I care to spend on a remote.

I am assuming that my Sony T60 uses a different code set than the upcoming (maybe within hours) HD TiVo.

Anyone know the answer(s)?

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