Harmony One

For years I’ve used those $19.99 universal remotes you can get at Bed Bath and Beyond. They’re pretty much okay, but I can never quite get all the functions to work, so I end up with just as many remotes cluttering my already cluttered coffee table.

But then, today, I heard about the Harmony One from my brother. And since it’s newly lowered in price ($165 from $250 at Best Buy), I jumped on it. I picked up the One, and the PS3 adapter, because the basic remote doesn’t connect with the Bluetooth on the PlayStation. (I kind of wish the adapter was a little cheaper than $60, but what can you do?)

I installed the software on my computer and entered my info for my TV, TiVo, tuner and PS3. At first, the configuration tool didn’t understand which TiVo I had. It asked me to start pressing buttons on the original TiVo remote. That worried me, because I didn’t want to be pressing every frickin’ button on the remote for the rest of the evening. But what was great was after three button presses, it knew enough, and was ready to go.

Now I have four “Activities” programmed into the thing: Watch TV, Play Game, Watch DVD and Listen to Radio. With the press of a button, all the devices go where they need to go and I’m good. And if any “Activity” choice doesn’t quite work (e.g. the tuner didn’t hear the command to turn on) I can just hit the “Help” button, and it fixes everything.

Still not sure how good the rechargeable battery is, and I’ll have to get used to a new remote structure, but so far, this is a big win.

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