Logitech has come up with a good batch learning process that requires no manual intervention by keyboard or mouse: as one code is finished it automatically moves onto the next. Although convenient, it’s not especially fast and takes approximately 4 to 5 seconds to provide any feedback on the learned code, plus several further seconds to prepare for the next command.
I found the Harmony 1000 fussy on both the exact distance between it and the donor remote, and also for how long the command is transmitted. With most learning remotes the source key is held down until the remote indicates that it’s finished learning, but for the Harmony that merely guaranteed an error message of “poor signal quality”. Only brief holds of a key were successful. Once learned, commands are permanently assigned to that device function – I found no way to erase a learned signal and return to the stock database code, save for completely deleting the device.
Weeding out the chaff.
Harmony remotes maintain two separate command lists for each device. The first is a summary of infrared commands – the actual commands that control your device, mostly sourced from the database. The second is a mapping of the device’s control pages – which commands go on what buttons, and how they’ll be named. These two lists are similarly kept separate from a third list of frequently used commands used by activity pages.
Depending on the brand and model of device there could be hundreds of functions listed – but they may not all actually work. Logitech advertises that their database has over 225,000 devices, but at the infrared command level they’re all simplified down to common manufacturer codesets just like every other preprogrammed remote in existence. So there could be 1,000 different models in the database for your brand of television, but if that manufacturer used the same basic codes for all of those models then the Harmony is going to show the exact same list of potential functions for each of those televisions. This means every secondary function ever used on a television by that maker, whether it applies to your model or not.
Particularly troublesome in this regard were my television, DVD player and receiver – there were literally dozens of functions listed for each that were not appropriate for those models. While having such commands available at the core database level isn’t an issue – who knows, a few of them may actually do something – knowing that each and every one of them, functional or not, is going to be displayed on the Harmony’s screen... well, that’s less than ideal.
Longing for drag-and-drop...
To solve this issue the Harmony’s software allows you to edit and delete the commands shown for each device using the “customize buttons” option... and this is where the web-based interface starts to become a hindrance. Commands are presented mostly alphabetically in a long (and often very long) list, subdivided by page and numbered 1 through 9. These pages and numbers indicate exactly how they will be shown on the LCD screen. Having the original remote around will be useful for determining what commands your device should have, so the rest can be deleted. To move a command to a new position, there are small up/down arrows next to the command name. Each time a direction is clicked, that single command moves up or down exactly one position.