Logitech Harmony 360 Review

When you’ve been using components for a long time, sometimes you forget that it might be a good idea to review them for others. That’s the thought that crossed my mind today while talking to Josh. The Harmony Advanced Universal Remote for Xbox 360 has been controlling my Media Center experience for at least two years now. The ability to control the Xbox 360 both in Media Center and the dashboard is what led my wife to get it for me as a gift and I’ve yet to look for another solution.

imageLike most of Logitech’s remotes, this is a full universal solution. Able to connect, through software on your PC, to a database of over 175,000 devices means that you’re not going to have to worry about whether or not this remote will control your gear. Not only that but it comes with an IR port on the bottom specifically for learning commands from your other remotes. This makes it compatible with basically any IR device you throw at it.

image One thing I really enjoy about the Harmony 360 is the fact that you don’t just setup your hardware. You get to manage “Activities”. Activities give you the ability to turn on, and set to the right input every piece of gear you need to run a certain activity. Set up an Activity for watching Blu-Ray, and at the touch of a button, the remote will turn on your Blu-Ray player, receiver and TV, then set your receiver and TV to “Video 2” or whatever input you might be using. This can be great if you have multiple devices connected to one display. As an example, in our home, we have the PC connected for Media Center and a Wii for gaming. This remote allows me to switch between the two without multiple button presses. Simply wonderful. The one thing to keep in mind with this is that it takes time to send all of those signals, so you have to be sure the remote has LoS to your devices until it’s done.

image Setting up the Harmony 360 is a breeze. After installing the software on your PC of choice you’ll be required to sign up for an account. The software automatically connects to the internet to receive updates and maintain a profile for you. Why I’m not sure but the software overall works great. After adding your equipment you can start building activities. This is simply a matter of selecting with pieces of gear are used and what they need to be set to. If you have multiple sound sources, the software makes sure to ask which component you want to control the volume with, etc. image It’s all very intuitive and easy to do. The only time I had trouble was when setting it up to control my Media Center PC. This was more me than the software as I didn’t realize at first that there was a selection for “Vista Media Center” and I was attempting to set the remote up to control a computer. This brings you to a motherboard selection screen. Not something you want or need to get into in order to control Media Center.

Overall I’ve been exceedingly happy with the Harmony 360. Whether you need a universal remote for your Xbox or are looking for a lower priced Harmony solution for your MCE PC, this remote will do both. At only $99, it doesn’t do EVERYTHING that something like a Harmony One will, the price point is much lower. While no universal solution is perfect, Logitech has done a great job putting together an easy to use yet very encompassing solution with the Harmony 360.

What remote solution to you use to control your home theater experience, universal or otherwise? Leave a comment with your suggestions or recommendation!

Originally posted on Entertainment 2.0

~ by bestbooter on June 17, 2009.

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