How Do You Manage Your Remote Controls?

How Do You Manage Your Remote Controls?

Multiple devices in the lounge room equates to multiple remote controls, which is never good for stress-free viewing. How do you ensure that your remote controls don’t multiply and then hide themselves under the couch?

Picture by Jason Trim

Universal remote controls are pretty cheap these days, but I still find most people I visit have multiple remotes littering their coffee table. So I’m curious: how do you deal with the multiple-remote problem?

[polldaddy poll=6140268]

Feel free to expand on your answer in the comments.


  • I would love some reader recommendations on a universal remote. I want to be able to control the cable box, the console, the TV, the home theatre system and the Blu-ray player with one remote.

    • Logitech Harmony is an obvious place to start – really comes down to your budget, and which model suits your needs best.

      From what I’ve read on AVForums, their customer support is pretty much second to none if you have any problems setting it up.

  • Logitech Harmony is generally the best of the lot out there.. Do check with their compatibility list before purchase… can be a bit of a hassle to set up. Comes in all sizes that fits your wallet.

  • I second the Logitech Harmony.

    We have had 3 altogether but the one that I liked LEAST was the one with the touch screen. Buttons and back-lighting are a must.

    The only thing we can’t control with ours is the PS3 and, although it is a bit of a PITA to set up, if an old lady like me can do it anyone with a few computer skills can too.

  • Harmony is the way to go. If your product isn’t listed then the Harmony remote can learn the IR signals from your existing remote(s). However, the last time I checked, Logitech haven’t updated their software for Mac OS X Lion. There are workarounds out there but it’s a pain unless you have access to Windows. I’ve contacted Logitech a number of times and they seem to think that it’s ok to ignore me and continue to promote Mac compatibility.

  • Agree with Zwonker. I have a Harmony 650 (I think) and it runs our TV, speakers, Apple TV, Blu-ray player, XBox and Wii (well, it switches the inputs and sound automatically for the consoles). Very easy to configure. Only hassle is tyat you can only manage one remote with the Logitech software so if you need two (lounge room and family room for example) then you need multiple Logitech accounts.

    • I have the Harmony One and use this for Amp, TV, Apple TV, DVD etc. As I run XBMC on the Apple TV I use Constellation on the Iphone to control it.

  • I’m using a Logitech Harmony 565 at the moment. It’s not the newest thing getting around, but it’s still going strong 4 years after I got it.

    Only problem I’m having is the new Panasonic BluRay HTIB doesn’t have discreet input codes, and has an problematic means of cycling through inputs; a problem which is then compounded more so by the HDMI-CEC connection with my TV. Still not Logitech’s fault.

  • I would love a Bluetooth enabled universal remote so I can combine the tv, ps3 and Xbox into one convient device.

    I know there is a dongle you can buy for the ps3, but it’s fifty dollars, and honestly, while I don’t mind paying a premium to make it work. I’d like the premium price to give it Bluetooth support, not crappy IR support.

  • You know the biggest problem with remotes? They’re too big with too many buttons. I’m planning to use an old touch screen phone as a remote, will need to do more testing to see if there’s any wait before I can send commands but XBMC is extremely responsive using the android remote over wifi. A touch screen phone on airplane mode but with wifi on wont suck the battery down too quickly, and your remote stays in your living room so you can charge it as required anyway. Plus it allows you to control your system with any other phone from anywhere in your house – great for playing music.

    HDMI includes a CEC system which actually allows you to control all of your devices as long as they are connected by HDMI. It basically sets up a network and each device has an address. Problem is not everyone sticks to the defined standards, or even implements it.

    Pulse Eight have brought out a USB-CEC adapter which allows you to control your (HT)PC using any remote, or control your devices from your (HT)PC. Some of the newer intel boards aimed at low power pc’s are starting to include it as well.

  • I’ve got a Logitech Harmony (some number). Works alright. The software is pretty crap. I’d love to actually get some control over it, but you’re limited to whatever the GUI can display (not to mention crappy device limits).

    Also got the PS3 IR controller thingy. Again, works “alright”. It works much the same as the PS3 blu-ray remote. Which also means you can’t actually use it as well as the blu-ray remote. It also has a lot of the same flaws, in that things like the web browser, and those crappy TV catch up services (iView, SBS On Demand) don’t work with it as for some stupid reason you need to use the analogue controller on the PS3 controller (why the TV catch up services use these slow and cumbersome web pages to deliver their content is beyond me, clearly they don’t care at all about their consumers though).

  • All these posts elevating the Logitech Harmony One to Godhood…. I friggin hate the thing, and yes I have tried it. Ive been using the “Universal Remote MX-500” 10-Device. Had it for years and if it ever claps out I’ll buy another. Very simple to use, at most two button presses and it’s done. Very fast response too.

    • I’ve got two couches, but my there remotes (TV, htpc, receiver) just sit on the arm of one. To be honest I don’t think I really need a universal remote. I picked up a Sony tablet s a while back though so I might see how well it’s universal remote app functions.

  • I picked up a couple of logitech 300i’s from aldi for 15 bucks a piece a while back, simple, usable. Might get a super fancy one when these die..

  • I have a Logitech Harmony One which unfortunately just had a 4 year old land on from a reasonable height. It now has a display which is almost unreadable and is the most expensive paperweight in the loungeroom.

    I must say though that I found it a bit of a pain to set up. Interface process through PC could do with a lot of improving.

  • I got a logitech universal remote that manages my TV and my DVD/BluRay player fine, but doesn’t work for my Boxee or my stereo, so I use the native remotes for those 2. I also sometimes control my Boxee with my mobile.

  • ive got an older harmony 880.
    if only the software didnt suck, why cant you maximise the screen ffs.

    controls tv, wdtv, av receiver, sub. ill get the ps3 adapter one day.

  • Logitech harmony one. Replaced seven remotes for me. They are a bit fragile though. I sat on my first one and cracked the screen. The second one has a faulty LCD after almost a years use. No regrets though. I would get an extended warranty if you can though. Takes a while to set it up if you are fussy like me. There is a new model which works with RF devices too.

  • Another vote for the Logitech Harmony here. I’ve got an older one and although I agree that the software setup process wasn’t the best, it gave me complete control. After a lot of fiddling, I’ve got it controlling everything perfectly – even the air-con.

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