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User reviews for the Harmony 745 / H745 / SST-745 from Logitech.
Harmony 745 / H745 / SST-745
RatingsReviewsMSRP (USD)
Average: 3.68/5.00
Median: 4.33/5.00
The Harmony is a new style of activity-based remote control, completely programmed over the Internet. It features a compact design, a limited number of hard buttons, an LCD screen and a scroll wheel for operation.
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the Harmony 745 / H745 / SST-745 remote.
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Written by Roger Binns from California.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 8 made on Tuesday May 7, 2002 at 2:21 AM.
Strengths:Goal oriented (you tell it what you want it to do and it figures out efficiently how to do it)
Weaknesses:Configuration system is a nightmare
Review:The Easy Zapper is excellent in principle. You just tell it what you want it to do, and it figures everything out for you. This includes knowing if your stuff is already turned on, and sending all the right commands to the right devices.

The initial setup is quite easy as well. You tell it what devices you have, and it asks about how they are hooked together, and comes up with a good initial configuration. It can however be a bit of a gamble as to where to find your device (it didn't have Laserdisc, but had two different DVD categories. Similarly, it had "amplifier" and "stereo receiver" and I guessed what my Denon goes under (the latter).

The real problem with this device in use is that it doesn't have enough buttons. You can still access everything through modes that effectively change what the buttons do, but it then gets VERY annoying VERY quickly to have to change modes all the time. For example, if you have a Tivo, you have one direction pad for rewind, play, fast forward and a seperate one for navigation (up, down, left, right). You can use both at any time with the Tivo remote. With the Easy Zapper, you can effectively only have one active at a time, and have to mode switch. Having to press several keys to go back vs rewind soon makes the ease of
use the device promises pointless. I wanted this thing in the first place to avoid the modes of traditional universal remotes.

The website configuration stuff is poor for anything beyond the simple stuff. I strongly recommend creating an account before you get the device (you don't need one to do so) and playing around. In fact the web interface is only something a programmer could love (I am one so I know it when I see it :-)

Insufficient numbers of buttons is something that can't be overcome without new hardware. You can mitigate it slightly by changing functions (eg make channel up do something other than channel up), but if the number of buttons you regularly use on the remote control you use the most is greated than 9 then
you will find Easy Zapper inconvenient.

For Tivo users, you'll find that you regularly use 11 (plus the thumbs).

Unless you are willing to spend a lot of time doing customisation, and learning more about XML than you ever wanted to, I would advise staying away from the Easy Zapper until they come out with the next version of the hardware.
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Written by Timothy from denver, co.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 7 made on Saturday April 27, 2002 at 2:31 PM.
Strengths:Basic setup is reasonably easy.
Weaknesses:Advanced customization is a nightmare.
Poor support for ReplayTV.
Often gets in some strange state, and the batteries have to be removed to reset itself.

Review:Great idea, but not ready for prime time.

I've spent weeks trying to get some advanced features to work, with limited success.

If you just want to turn on your devices, in the appropriate mode, then is fine.
Don't expect to be able to do much else without a lot of painstaking research and trial and error.

I'm going back to the Sony Commander, and upgrading to the AV3000.
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Written by Daniel from Ireland.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 6 made on Thursday March 28, 2002 at 7:25 AM.
Strengths:- At last an Remote that could really allow you to get rid of all the others.
- Very strong learning and IR integration ability.
- Really good Technical Support
Weaknesses:- Avanced customization takes a lot of time, due to the necessity to go to the web site, and editing XML. I dream of an offline editor for Harmony just like ProntoEdit.
Review:I was supposed to have purshased my last remote control ever (so I said to my wife, and I really meant it!) but these "Absolutely-Everything-in-One" remotes tends to get bigger and bigger with all the functions to cover, and some really look like the targeted owner needs to "compensate" something ...

The Harmony remote looked so different with just a few buttons and its mobile-phone size.

So I broke my promise (but this one IS the last one!!) and bought one.
This was a bit risky since the product is very US centered, and I knew that most of my devices found in EUROPE (except for JVC of course) would not be in the Harmony database. It was also obvious that the ZAP feature would not have the corresponding service to work in Europe.

I could get all my devices working in no time, except for a very particular one, where I needed the help from the Harmony technical support.
Despite the different time zone, the next day, they had the new IR protocol implemented in their database, and I could
make it work.
Last but not least, I could make it work with my X10 devices (requires a specific X10 "IR to RF transmitter") !
I still need to fine-tune my remote now, and this phase takes time and learning, but I'm confident that I found the most integrated remote control possible and the smallest also.

Since this is a new product and there is still intensive development to improve it, I just hope that there will be offline tools available in the near future to make advanced customization easier.

I warmly recommend it !

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Written by Bill from Cary, NC.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 5 made on Friday March 15, 2002 at 3:15 PM.
Strengths:The web based setup was Easy to configure. I was able to find most of my devices quickly and manually enter the ones that were not in it's database. It got all of the IR codes correct on the first try.
Weaknesses:Very difficult if not impossible to get past the basic setup and configure advanced options. Reqires you to be able to edit XML code.
Review:I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the ititial setup was. However, when I decided that it was too cumbersome to use the easyzapper with my tivo, I wanted to customize that function and found that it's almost impossible to do what i want using the web interface.
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Written by Patrick Callahan from California, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 4 made on Wednesday February 20, 2002 at 6:25 PM.
Strengths:Ease of use, eliminate remote clutter,
Comfortable design, my wife likes it!
Weaknesses:IR database not big enough yet
Review:I found programming the remote to be reasonably straight forward, once programmed, it is very easy to use and
seems to be a great product for the average home owner.
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Written by Jeff Brown from Burlington, ON.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 3 made on Monday February 18, 2002 at 1:59 PM.
Strengths:Size and ease of use.
Integrated TV listings.
Smart-state technology.
Integrated troubleshooting.
Weaknesses:Lack of a Quick-view toggle button for last viewed channel.
Review:I have been using the Harmony since the Beta program began and have had a very good experience using it. I am not a remote expert but do enjoy technology. My review is not overly technical but I think represents the view of an average user.
The Harmony is a very simple remote to learn to use. As I often watch TV/Movies in dim or no light situation, I find the remote with its backlit display very simple to operate versus my other remote with its myriad of tiny buttons. I can have complete control of my components if I need to (through the scroll wheel button) or just use the main buttons that the Harmony offers (ie, Volume, Channel, Mute, Navigate, Power, etc).
With the integrated TV listings, I no longer click through all 60 channels to see what is on. It also allow users to view what will be on later by pressing the FF key. If there is nothing on my Viewer, then I go and do something else.

Another issue I often have with my system, is that when a guest is over (ie parents or babysitter) it took forever to explain how to view a DVD or even just watch TV. Now, the babysitter can simply choose what she wants to do (ie watch DVD, listen to MP3's, watch TV, etc) and with a single click of the scroll button, she's off to the races. All in all, this remote is definitely worth the price as it has enhanced my viewing/listening experiences with its ease of use.
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Written by Mike Riley from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 2 made on Wednesday February 13, 2002 at 10:11 AM.
Strengths:- a bold new concept in component control
- size and comfort
- TV listings displayed in your hand
Weaknesses:- early stages growing pains with database
Review:The Easy Zapper HARMONY: True Genious

It was not that long ago that we all had cable converter boxes sitting on top of our sets so we could get channels above 13. And the TVs themselves used dials to tune the station. In fact, there was even a commercial about a furniture polish that espoused "You can polish your dining room table in less time than it takes to change the channels on the TV".... and showed a PIP of a hand moving the dial while someone polished up.

Remote controls, when they started, were wired to the set or the cable box. Some were as simple as rheostats that allowed you to turn down the sound during commercials.... .

We've come so far since then. Now we have remote controls in colour with touchscreens that you can design yourself, and IR/RF extenders that let you change the channel while you're mowing out back. We've come o far, in fact, that now we have... cable boxes on top of our TV sets (sorry, Home Theater unit). And pretty much there's only one person in the house who can even figure out how to turn the darn thing on, because the new hi-tech, very advanced Universal Remote Control we bought is almost beyond comprehension for the average user.

The kids or the better half want to watch a DVD, and they have to call you up at beer night to find out how. The babysitter wants to watch a video, but there's no way she can find the right input on the TV, so you have to write a page of instructions before you leave the house. In fact, you have written them so many times, you've finally published a paper on the subject and had it laminated, hanging by the Home Theater armoire. "Push this button, push that button, set the Macro in motion, don't bother turning it off after... ".

When EasyZapper introduced the Harmony, it pretty much shook up the long-accepted notion that a remote must have dozens of buttons and a huge macro capability. Here's a device the size of a cel phone with only 14 buttons and a thumbwheel... and an LCD screen that shows you where you're at. Most remotes have 14 buttons just to provide access to the channel numbers. As if that weren't heresy enough, this baby displays the names of the TV stations and the programs that are on: an electronic TV guide. Better yet, you can tell it to Zap whatever channel you are watching and dig up more information about your favorite show on the Internet.

The Harmony also brought something new into the world of Home Theater viewing: a Human Interface engineering advancement, a total about-face away from the huge kluge of "macros", and the return of control to "the Master". The designers achieved this by understanding that you and I don't want to sit for hours and create lengthy chains of individual command steps: we just want to Watch a DVD! Or Listen to Music! Or, gosh-darn-it, Listen to the Radio.

Before you laugh at this "novel" idea, think back to the day when you could just "Watch TV". All you had to do was turn on the set. Now, you might have to do that plus turn on the 5.1 Receiver, switch the input to the Satellite output, turn on the Satellite receiver, and yada yada. To overcome this, developers added the Macro functionality to remotes. But Easy Zapper side-stepped this foolishness altogether and established what they refer to simply as Actions. You wanna watch TV with the full theatrical experience? Click "Watch TV". In fact, my Harmony Power button is set up to do just that: I push it and the whole Home Theater comes to life, while the remote is left with Volume buttons that control my 5.1 Receiver, and Channel up/dpwn keys that control the Digital Cable box. And the odd time when a Device gets out of whack, all I or my family has to do is push the Help button on the Harmony, and it steps us right back to where we need to be.

And this simple Activity-driven concept, as opposed to a macro-Device-concentric methodology, applies to all the components in my home entertainment setup.

Don't get me wrong: this concept is not rocket science. The technology required to operate a remote in this fashion is not cutting edge, uses no special advanced chips, didn't rely on expensive R & D to get it here.

However, the CONCEPT is rocket science. How come nobody thought of this before? I love it. I can switch between watching a DVD and recording a tape as easily as turning on the set. And I never, ever have to create a macro to do it. Even more to my liking, when I add a new component to my system, or change brands of another component, I don't have to redo all the steps in any macro to put everything together again. And if the batteries die, or I don't use it for the summer, it doesn't matter. The whole Harmony thing is web-driven with simple, simple Wizards that step me through the process once, and then figures out everything else for me.

For full details on how all this works, see Daniel's thorough and thought-provoking review on this site. But from me, know this: even though I have remotes from just about every darn company that makes 'em, when I wanna just do something and not have to sweat about it, like watch a DVD, I go for the Harmony in my life. Grab it, click it, watch it. Cool. ... Mike Riley
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