logitech (dis)harmony

Never repair problems caused by an excess of complex technology by adding some more complex technology. Could it be named the Occam’s razor of IT? In Saturday, I bought a Logitech programmable remote control “Harmony 525” from a campaign in Stockmann warehouse store. I had two needs: to replace my pile of remote controls with a single one, and to use a programmable remote to finally make my Sony DVP-NS92 player region free — and now it seems that this damned thing wont do in either role. It was not so bad to be requested to locate and input all brand and model codes from every device into its control scheme: supposedly, after all, you are going to do this only once. But the outcome (after spending all the free hours in my hard-earned Sunday vacation) of the configuration process was that now my TV is in whatever input every time I use Harmony, and I need to find the other, original Sony remote in any case to correct Harmony’s tracks. The problem is, as far as I can tell, that the Sony TV is not using specific codes to go directly into specific inputs, and it also does not always go into the same initial input when you press the “Next Input” remote button — so, as the Harmony does not have any feedback channel from the systems it is trying to control, it will get it almost always wrong. So, I am just unlucky? It is so shame; the advertisement of the “truly universal” remote, based on a database with over 80 000 IR devices got me. The handset appears to need manual reconfiguration through a highly unreliable web/java client interface in all cases, as it gets all its default settings wrong. Spent more than 10 hours working on it, and just got a headache. And, to top the bill, I cannot even find a way to program Harmony to do the region-free trick. Doh.

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the Tampere University, Finland. Occasional photographer and gardener.

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