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12 HD Days of Christmas: Day 3

Matt Burns

"On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me"....

Sweet, beautiful reduction of remotes is a gift the whole family can enjoy. We talk a lot about Logitech's Harmony remotes because they are great. They offer the right amount of customization and control for anybody thanks to the Internet. But why is this a great holiday gift? There is Harmony for everybody. (And at every price range) Seriously, your mother could use one, and maybe even your grandparents.

Remember that surround sound system that you bought your parents last year for Christmas. You know, the one that they only use when you are around because it is just too complicated for them to use. Well reader, this is your chance to redeem yourself. Or that nice receiver and speakers you bought for your wife last year because you knew she would love it. *Winks* Once again, this is your chance to give your wife a remote that would seamlessly integrate it into your life.

[more info about different models below]

The great characteristic of Harmony remotes is that they all do the same thing. The $129 (you can find it for $100) model will do nearly the same functions of the high priced models. The remotes increase in price with relation to the layout of the buttons and coolness.

520For the Grandparents.

I can picture it now. Your Grandma holding the recently unwrapped remote at the end of her fully extended arm so she can look at it through her bifocals; your Grandpa is of course leaning over and exclaiming "what the hell is it." Little did your Grandparents know that this remote will take a lot of stress off their daily life. They will never know that the real reason you gave the gift of remote is that you are tired of receiving those phone calls asking why the TV says "Video 3" and is just a black screen. This remote will allow your grandparents to use all of their devices with just one remote that works.

Keep in mind that you are going to have to program the remote for them. It is not hard to do, but rather, time consuming and requires the Internet. If they do not have the Internet, take note of how everything is hooked up and to what input devices are connected. You will need the model numbers as well.


Harmony offers more expensive remotes but they are not necessary better. I did a full review of one of them, the 659, a few months back. I love mine and find the layout a bit more pleasing that the lower priced ones. I like the macro buttons on the top right in a row.

For around $200 Harmony has a few different remotes that are offer minor differences. The 659 ($179) is the original award winning remote but for a few more bones you could get the 680 that caters to the media center users. Past that is the 676 ($229) that lets you change the faceplates and then the 688 ($249) is designed with TiVo in mind.

880 screensBut those are just remotes. If you can pony up the dough for the 880 ($299), you can give the gift of pictures too! All of the Harmony remotes have LCD screens that let you program different soft buttons to them but only the 880 features a color LCD. This remote sports enough memory to load slide shows of your favorite pictures on them. Can you picture your Grandma holding this remote and exclaiming after she sees pictures of her grandchildren?

This remote retails at $299 and has all the features that the cheaper ones do but adds a bit of elegance and class. The remote comes with a docking station to recharge it.

Any of these remotes are sure to delight both the techno-geek and the Luddite alike. It solves the "remote control shuffle" simply and completely.

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