Quirks and Workarounds

As much as I would like to say that the Harmony 880 remote is perfect, it isn’t… but it’s darn close though! There were a few situations where I found the design of the remote falling a bit short, but thankfully there were workarounds I discovered. Even if my issues are not applicable to your setup, you may find this information useful in understanding how the remote works so you can decide whether or not it’s something you should buy.

One problem I ran into was with the DVD player integrated with my TV set. Not many TVs have this feature, but some have this to save space and reduce clutter like on my Hitachi projection TV. The problem is that the Harmony’s volume controls were using my TV set’s speakers and not the digital receiver as programmed. I suspect it has something to do with the integrated DVD player and the TV set, but either way the problem was annoying.

To fix this, I had to “teach” the Harmony 880 to use the receiver’s volume IR codes instead of the TV’s. Using the software, I replaced the volume controls for my TV remote with the volume controls for my receiver. Once this was done, whenever I turned up the volume on my TV while in DVD mode, the receiver’s volume would change, and not my TV’s volume.

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Above is the “Learn IR” screen which allows you to program any IR code
to a function on the Harmony 880 remote.

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Getting the Harmony to learn new IR tricks is easy.
There is a IR receiver on the bottom of the 880 which receives
IR signals from another IR device.

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Another issue I had with the Harmony remote is that it could not toggle the power of my Free-To-Air set top box despite it being programmed to. Granted the STB I have is a generic brand manufactured in Asia (a Pansat box), I figured the Harmony 880 should have been able to replicate the proper On/Off command by learning the IR code.

The last quirk I discovered is the lack of state management for the different devices when performing different actions. For example, I ran the Watch TV activity (Activities > Watch TV) and then turned off the TV using the Harmony 880 (Devices > TV > Off), then I ran the Watch TV activity again (Activities > Watch TV) — the TV doesn’t turn back on! This is clearly a software bug and it sounds like a relatively easy fix.

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