Monday, June 02, 2008


So it took about an hour, but I got the Harmony universal remote working. In a bizarre twist of fate, of all my A/V equipment, the one thing it decided it didn't already know how to run was the DirecTV receiver. I had expected it wouldn't know how to work my Kenwood A/V receiver, as I got that in the summer of 1986 with money I earned from working at a car wash, and none of the roughly 6 or 7 universal remotes I have tried on it has ever worked.

In fact, the RCA universal remote I bought a few years back cuz it could "learn" your IR codes could not even learn the codes from this receiver's remote. I actually ended up throwing that remote out, I was so angry with it. But not until I wrote a scathing review of it online. A review that is the only actual hit to me if you do a google image search on my real name with quotes around it.

The DirecTV receiver is not even seven years old, which makes it newer than the aforementioned A/V receiver and the VCR, and roughly contemporaneous with the TV. Yet, it didn't know how to operate it.

Or so it claimed.

After making me teach it the IR codes for like 20 different things, it said, "Another device has been found that shares the same codes," and it pointed me to a model that was the same as mine except for the last digit.


However, it turned out that it didn't actually know how to work my TV. It thought it had a different set of input lines than it actually had, so I had to go in and have it "learn" each of the buttons I push to select the different inputs. It sequences through the inputs normally, but then the remote depends upon you never changing it ever by hand or with another remote so that it can remember where it is in the cycle. I happen to also have hard-coded buttons for each of the inputs, so I just had it learn those. It knew the codes already, but I didn't know the name it had associated with each code.

I was most impressed that it was able to do the sequence for playing a PS2 game:
  1. Turn on TV
  2. Tune TV to channel 3
  3. Turn on VCR
  4. Tune VCR to channel L1
  5. Select "VCR" for output mode
  6. Turn on A/V receiver
  7. Select "Video" input
If The Mrs.'s PS2 was newer than fall of 2003, it would also have been able to turn on the PS2. But this "original" model does not include the IR hardware.

I may need to get another of these remotes for the upstairs setup. That setup is less complicated, but also the universality of the remotes is oddly lower. Like the satellite remote barely controls the TV and DVD, and the TV and DVD, despite being of the same brand and year, don't actually have the right button sets to properly control each other, and they can't control the satellite at all.

When is Fathers' Day?


blogauthor said...

A spot on the radio this morning said that 58% of dads want electronic gizmos for Father's Day. I want anything BUT something electronic for Mother's Day, but I digress.

Anyway, we have a Harmony remote too - cost $350!! I hate it. Wheeler insisted on buying .... you know him, that guy who can't move his hands? Yeah, him. I told him I didn't want it, I still don't.

We also have an environmental control unit that we try to teach commands for the various electronic in the bedroom. It is so hopelessly old (at least 12 years old) that all he can do is turn the TV on and off and change the channels, and it is painful to do even that.

Did I have a point here? I have lost myself.

CherkyB said...

I got my remote from Amazon during a big sale they had. I also bought one of the older models (more real buttons, small non-touch screen) cuz I reads that the newer touch-screen ones were harder to use. Thus, it cost a lot less than $350 and it is the most fabulous remote I have ever owned. I am thus far amazed at how well it works.