This Christmas, my wife got me one of those awesome Logitech Harmony remotes (the Harmony 880 for those who are curious, and at a great price, too). I spent the better part of last night attempting to get it set up.

The out-of-box experience is great. The remote looks and feels excellent and the docking station for it is really cool. Of course, you should charge it prior to use. I got the thing charged and then began the installation process… on my Windows Vista box. Like so many things, it doesn’t officially support Vista yet. What this means practically is that it doesn’t yet support things like Aero Glass (I think because of WDDM support). It kicks the whole thing down to Aero Basic while the program runs. I also had some fun with Logitech’s website because of some errors their server was having related to creating some COM objects.

At this point, it doesn’t look all that good. Well, to be honest, I was feeling a little upset about the whole thing, but I WAS using the remote on an unsupported OS still and everybody has server issues once in a while. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt so I tried their website a few hours later. The thing worked great - even with the new security settings that Internet Explorer has. The website works by downloading a special file that the Harmony Remote Client opens so that all the settings are customized on their website and then loaded to the remote. I had a few extra security dialogs, but the thing still worked great.

Once I had the remote customized to my liking, I went into the living room to try it out.

POWER!

POWER!

POWER! POWER! TURN ON! TURN ON!

What is going on?!?

My TV came on, my receiver came on, but my satellite receiver just sat there.

For those who may have read the title of this blog post, you may have already figured out what my problem was. My satellite receiver’s remote uses UHF instead of IR. My Harmony remote only uses IR (AFAIK). In other words, my remote cannot talk to my satellite receiver.

*sigh*

I am happy to report that I’m planning on investigating digital cable again anyway, because my satellite company likes new sign-ups better than existing customers. They’ll give you an HD receiver without any questions if you’re a new customer, but if you want to upgrade your receiver later, they want to charge you $800+ for a new receiver. Yeahhh, I think I’d rather go another route, thank you.

Hopefully, the digital cable box uses an IR signal instead of a UHF signal.

For those who may be scared away from the Harmony remotes, don’t be. The thing works great with everything else. I entered in the model numbers for my receiver, TV, XBox 360, and PlayStation 2 and it talks with all of them without any problems. I’d been lazy and not using my receiver for sound before because I had to get out 2+ remotes everytime, but now, I’ll be enjoying some surround sound when I play games on my 360 now.