Logitech Harmony 525
Logitech has several products in its Harmony range, with the Harmony 555 being one of the more affordable models.
It can control ten devices, but most unusual thing about the Harmony remotes is Logitech’s online set-up process. You connect the Harmony to your Mac or PC using a USB cable and then use the computer to enter the model numbers of your TV and other devices into a database on the Logitech web site. The web site then downloads the information that the Harmony needs to control each device. The process is reasonably straightforward, although setting up your online account and entering the required information can take a while.
However, the big advantage of this approach is that Logitech can easily update its online database with information about new devices – such as our Pioneer Blu-Ray player. We were quickly able to update the Harmony 525 so that it was able to control the Pioneer and give us a bit of high-def James Bond. So while the initial set-up process is a bit long-winded, the Harmony 525 actually turned out to be one of the more versatile and adaptable controls in this group.
Group Test: Universal Remote Controls
I have a harmony 525, and it is fine, although I get the odd send a million signals burst from it, and lately the backlight has been on a lot more than it used to be (running the batteries down).
Sometimes the help button turns on my projector, which is the last thing I want to happen for a few seconds before I go to bed...
Programming it is quite painful - in fact, I've had mine for 3 years or more and I still find that I want to tweak it every now and again, and when I come to plug it into the PC, I somewhat lose the will to live.
You can get kits to control your PS3 via IR, but they seem to involve cannibalising a Sony bluetooth remote, and they don't work when the PS3 is in standby. But you can get them.
You have a very valid point, but you'd be suprised at the level of tactile feedback you get from the soft cuishony surface on the Mk1. You can feel the microswitch buttons just beneath the surface, which gives you some guidance on where to press, and the button area reserved for each is big enough for even the chubbiest of thumbs.
I could certainly understand that critisism applying to LCD touch screen devices though, which without visual stimuli, becomes just a flat sheet of glass
@ Peter Hewitt - Virgin Media
The One-For-All URC7556 (the stealth model shown) can talk to virgin media boxes using codes 1060 or 1068. Dunno about V+ boxes.
It can also control freeview boxes, but the site does not give any codes I could see.
Usually with these remotes if the box is over a year old and it's not too niche then it will work.
Feature set warning
Note that the cheaper Harmony reviewed here and the Harmony ONE that has been mentioned in the comments already both lack the red/green/yellow/blue buttons, used by Sky and Freeview and Xbox. Thus you have to assign these to other buttons which is lame. Instead try the 785 or others that have the coloured buttons built in.
Even if a remote existed with bluetooth, I think the Bluetooth used by the PS3 is a proprietary version, so wouldn't help. Useless. It's essentially forced people to have another remote lying around. Wish the 360's IR receiver was better too. Anyway, drifting off topic. Have had a Harmony for a year now and my wife thinks it's the best thing ever. Only one remote for all my countless pieces of kit and just has to press "Watch TV" or "Watch DVD" or "Stream music" etc. without having to understand anything. Even if it doesn't work because someone has walked past or pressed a button on the amp or whatever, she just presses HELP and it asks her what isn't working and fixes it. Genius.
Harmony Works for Some
It seems that users fo the Harmony 525 are in two camps - those who get it to work, and those who don't.
One benefit and drawback of the system is the upload of user learned "codes" (as in the reviewer's Blu Ray unit), however any errors or wrong keys that crop up in this procedure are then spread around future users like some virus - and as a result cause maddening frustration. Codes for totally different equipment to that named creep in this way, and some devices never work, and the only support consists of randomly uploading codes in the hope that something will work. "Support" is never ending, but eventually the pain of holding a phone for so many hours is the limiting factor.
The Logitech forums are not indexed on the Internet search engines, so the only time you become fully aware of the enormous number of frustrated potential users is when you get access to that, and it is soul destroying when you find that after many hours of trying, your particular kit is never going to work with it, as others have given up long before you.
This Logitech DON'T tell you, but you won't ever forget the experience: I won't make the mistake of ever buying Logitech products again.