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User reviews for the Take Control TC30 from Harman/Kardon.
Average: 4.28/5.00 Median: 4.33/5.00
The Take Control series returns with Harman/Kardon's TC30 universal remote control. Based on the Harmony's activity-based platform, the TC30 is an advanced model with color LCD screen with 8 side buttons, support for 15 devices and 255 activities, 5-way cursor control, USB port, rechargable lithium ion battery and docking station, plus online setup.
The reviewer has used this remote control for under 1 month.
Review 6 made on Tuesday November 7, 2006 at 1:05 PM.
Good button layout, easy to use without looking at it due to the feel of the buttons.
Missing the "UP/DOWN" arrows as many other Harmony remotes have. (ie the "UP/DOWN" buttons on the Harmony 880 immediately below the “LEFT/RIGHT/UP/DOWN/SELECT” round (oval shaped) buttons).
Overall this remote is very nice for the money, but I was surprised that they didn’t include the “UP/DOWN” buttons that I mentioned in the weaknesses, when many cheaper Logitech remotes include them. I realize this could be assigned to a button to the side of the LCD screen, but I really want frequently used buttons like this very close to the “LEFT/RIGHT/UP/DOWN/SELECT” buttons for surfing through my TV guide. And even though I could assign the buttons at the top of the remote, it just isn’t as convenient as having it right under my thumb. I guess if Logitech made a (nearly) perfect remote (like an 880, but laid out like the TC 30), they’re afraid that you wouldn’t need to ever replace it.
Due to the buttons missing that I don’t want to live without, I will be returning my TC 30 and will just live with the poor button placement of my Harmony 880. If only Logitech (or Harmon Kardon) would ask customers before designing new products.
Excellent feel and build quality. Button layout and design is top notch. Unlike the Harmony 880 these are real buttons which are well spaced and have great tactile feel. Like all Harmony based remotes this one is super easy to setup. Even can learn custom remote codes from my second DirecTV receiver in the same room (AV1/AV configuartion).
Lack of Media button which I am guessing is why this variant of the 880 which it is based doesn't do Favorite Channels under WatchTV. For some this might not be a big deal, but for me it's almost a deal breaker. I love the buttons over the 880, but this was a feature I was hoping for. When and if you are able to log inand configure via the Logitec website, instead of Harman's you won't get this option for this remote either, however curiously there is an option to setup favorite CD's under a CD changer, if you are using one.
I have been using this remote for about 2 weeks now and overall I love it. After finally giving up on trying to create that perfect custom interface on my Marantz RC9200 I decided I owed it to my family to actually give them a remote that works and they could use until I find the time to design that “perfect remote interface”. I know I wanted a Harmony due to the ease of setup and had used several previous models including the 5xx and 6xx series. After setting up an 880 for a friend I knew I wanted to go that route but the button layout was not to my liking; to close together. As stated above I like the layout of this remote is what sold me on the Harman over the Harmony. With the channel buttons spread out it is really easy to change channels in the dark, or without looking down and not type the wrong channel number. The 880 and other Harmony’s use the design that places all the buttons right up next to each other which can sometimes input wrong information if one gets in a hurry. The TC30 uses a more traditional layout with buttons spread out from each other. So far after a week, my humble system is working at about 85% capacity through the TC30. My Harman AVR-525 Receiver, Mitsubishi 52” DLP, Samsung DVD 850 and one of my two DirecTV HD10 receivers are connected to it, along with a Polk Audio XM Receiver and they all work perfectly. I also have my Xbox connected; however the Play game activity just turns on the TV and adjust the input on the AV receiver since I do not have a remote turn-on for my Xbox. The rest of my system is comprised of a Second DirecTV HD-10 running into a custom built Media Center PC along with a secondary amplifier which feeds a whole house audio system. I have yet to attempt to get the TC30 to control either of these portions of my system, but was surprised to see a PC listed as an activity during setup. Coming from a Pronto style remote my biggest complaint comes n the way of no Favorites under “WatchTV”. Although this is a feature of the 880, no were in the Harman webpage is this even an option to setup. When attempting to backdoor the Harmony webpage and access setup via their portal instead of the Harman Kardon one, again this option is not available, although I did find it interesting that you could add Favorite Disc under a CD or DVD changer. To me this was the most disappointing feature of the TC30, and other than the lack of a media button seems to be no reason why Harman couldn’t add this option under future software revisions (are you listening Harman?). Since this remote is a temporary solution until I either have the time to complete my RC9200 design, or a new full featured touch screen comes into my life I can live with this missing feature, however if this was my primary remote it as stated before would have been a deal breaker. Even though the buttons on the 880 are sub par, the favorite feature was one I had really hoped for and will miss. Due to this oversight on Harman’s part, I can only give this remote a 6 out of 10.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 4 made on Friday June 16, 2006 at 4:42 PM.
Just as easy to program as all the other Harmony's! (I think) Fits like a glove in your hand. IR range and IR speed/accuracy are above average. Can program it on Harmony's site and then update it via HK's web site/interface. Perfect button layout and easy to read color screen. Battery life is above average for rechargables.
Puttng it on the charging stand is easy though a learning curve for all memebers of the family should be expected.
I am an installer and I have used the following remotes from Harmony: 628, 659, 680 and 686. The HK TC-30 IMHO is the Grand Poobah of all Harmony type remotes. I just log on to my harmony dealer site, program the TC-30, load the CD into the customer's PC and download the file. That is it! Anytime my customer needs an update all I need to do is make the changes and have them update the remote in the comfort of their own home. I would recommend this remote over the 880 for people who do not like the button layout.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 3 made on Tuesday February 7, 2006 at 2:27 PM.
Excellent button layout--raised, with good separation; much better than the Harmony models
Button groupings are set up very logically (at least, they make very good sense to me)
Decent pricing ($219 shipped) uses Logitech Harmony Software (and website, if desired) Sharp, clear, LCD lettering Automatic software directly connects to internet when the TC30 is USB'd into the PC; no need to go through a web browser, though it can be done that way, too Big wide arc for IR broadcast (my guess is 210*--it's easily 180*)
VERY, VERY, kludgy web-based software; excruciatingly-slow web servers, and I'm one of the very few in my county with home T1 service (Deep South, don'tcha know)--3am Sunday local time and the downloads take >4 1/2 minutes from initiation, with regular "timeout" failures.
LCD brightness (and glowtime) directly linked to button glow intensity (which is much softer, comparatively)
Icons in LCD Activities Menu are very "busy" and make reading titles a chore; cannot be adjusted
TechSupport from Harman/Kardon is mediocre at best--22 minutes on hold listening to recorded message ("someone will be with you shortly"), still waited 8 more minutes once connected to Tech Support before phone stopped ringing because someone finally answered (and yes, I timed the entire waiting period). He couldn't answer my question, so he's promised to research and call back. That was Friday, today is Tu 1300 CST. I called last night and again today; Don's away from his desk, he'll call me. Right. (incidentally, Customer Support hours on the Harmony Remote 5.1.1 software FAQ are wrong--Monday doesn't have 8am-9pm EST extended hours)
Really aggravating support staff; and little concern for customer satisfaction. The problem I posed the staff is detailed below.
No 800 toll-free number, and that pretty much figures considering the reception one can expect from CS.
All in all, I'm pleased with the TC30, and satisfied that the extra cost over the 880 is worth the button layout and ease of use. I would recommend it, provided--and this may be a big assumption--the user doesn't require Customer Support.
This unit does function flawlessly, and even with such a complicated system as mine it works without a lot of retesting or tweaking (2 DVD players, S-VHS tape, LD/DVD/VCD combo player, CD changer, TiVo, projector, surround processor, 3 amplifiers).
My only problem with the unit aside from the weaknesses I listed above, is that I want the LCD display to group the same "custom buttons" consistently from 'Activity' to 'Activity'. That is, I want to use the same 3 functions in 4 different Activities and I want to be able to list them in the LCD. I'd like to be able to configure it so that 3 buttons stayed in the same spot from "Activity" screen to screen. I asked someone at CS how to do that, and I'm still waiting for an answer; I'll probably learn how to bake a cake first, though, before I hear from HK Customer Service.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 2 made on Saturday January 28, 2006 at 3:05 PM.
Great design, lightweight, comfortable in the hand, buttons are raised and spaced adequately. H-K Remote setup site has a better layout than Harmony's.
I have owned a Harmony 880 for about six months and, after several adjustments, it did the job of controlling the devices and activities I had created.
I have never, however, liked its feel, the placement of its buttons, and the quality of images on its color menu screen.
Now comes the H-K TC 30, and my Harmony soon will be for sale on eBay.
The TC 30 is very attractive, maybe about a half inch longer than the 880. It has the same width, but is thinner than the 880. It has a squarish shape, which feels more comfortable to hold. The buttons used most often are placed within easy finger reach, and you actually can feel the distances between the buttons. They aren't all of the same flat type as you find on the 880. Some are raised black, other are raised translucent and all are clearly marked.
The images and lettering that appear on the color menu screen are much sharper than on the 880. The format is similar, however. No wonder, the TC 30 is powered by the same software as the Harmony; in fact, it is licensed to H/K for its use.
Despite this, while there are some similarities between the online setup menus of the two remotes, I like H-K's better. It is cleaner and more logically laid out. The nice thing about connecting to H-K's online remote setup site is that it doesn't require that you access it via a web browser. Just make sure you have a ive internet connection, then plug the USB cable into the remote. It automatically connects to the H-K setup site without the need for a browser.
It still took me about an hour to create the initial setup needed for my devices and to program the associated activities. But they worked correctly on the first test run. Not so with the 880's.
The remote seems to send its signals to my devices more quickly than the 880. The 880 always seemed a little sluggish to me in this respect.
These are my initial reactions to the TC 30, and it was a very favorable one. I would suggest to anyone looking for a remote of this type that this should be a serious contender. It appears to have a large equipment database, and what items it does not have H-K says it will learn the codes.
Oh, I was able to buy the remote for $185, a tad more than I paid for the 880 shortly after it made its debut last year, but it is well worth the price.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 1 made on Wednesday January 25, 2006 at 1:31 AM.
Nice size and look, button layout and feel, ease of setup, sophistication and ease of use(depending on user), rechargeable battery.
Instructions or lack thereof.
I can't say a whole lot yet as I just got mine yesterday and got it configured tonight. I am very happy with the remote-it controls ALL of my devices. It has the sophistication when I need it to, but the activity menus make it easy for my wife. The help menus are great too if things do not turn on right.
I love the size of the remote-a one hander. It has all the hard buttons that you would most often use and the lcd screen for the ones that you don't. I couldn't be happier.
The trick was getting to the point of setting the remote up. H/K fails to mention in their startup literature that to setup the remote you need to disable all pop-up, virus and firewall software for it to enter setup. I also struggled with it because the buttons on the setup screen are below the taskbar, so if you have your taskbar on top, you need to shrink it. Silly enough, but it took me awhile to figure it out.
The TC30 has all the features I was looking for in a remote: ability to control all devices, sophistication/ease of use, easy setup, rechargeable battery and good layout/feel. Definitely worth the price to finally have just one remote!