Although the list of inputs was created correctly for my Sony television, the first time I had to select one for my Marantz receiver it offered a choice of 12 different inputs – and of course I needed the 13th. Selecting the “Source input is missing” option presented a screen with the current list of inputs, and allowed manual addition of the missing “VCR 2”. The next screen asked for a command to be assigned from the online database to that input. And it’s here where I noticed that the software had assigned every single receiver input with the command “7.1ChOff” – except for the actual “7.1Ch” input. Now were these actually macros that first sent “7.1ChOff” before sending the true input command? It didn’t indicate, so I located an existing command in the database that seemed close to what I wanted for the new input and moved on without touching anything else.
Unfortunately, the Harmony software doesn’t deal too well with duplicate devices at this stage in programming. That erroneous “TiVo” activity I mentioned earlier also wanted to know what inputs to use, but the software failed to indicate which of my two non-TiVo PVR devices it was associated with... making anything I selected potentially wrong. It wasn’t until the end of the activity programming process where it finally mentioned that it was associated with what had been assigned a “PVR 2” name, and not the first PVR device as I had guesstimated. So that wizard had to be run again...
Smart State Technology
One of the Harmony’s key (and patented, and registered!) capabilities is “Smart State Technology”. SST, as it’s known for short, is essentially a system of techniques and workarounds to ensure that the remote always knows the power status and input mode for each and every device in your system – even if that device wasn’t designed with such capabilities in mind.
The Harmony 1000 can work with four different input methods. The first is a traditional “toggle” that uses a single button to switch inputs, the kind found on most televisions. To use this method the software needs to know the exact list of inputs on your television, and whether turning the set off causes it to return to a specific source. The Harmony will then use a variable to keep track of which input the television is currently on. This works quite well, but if for any reason the A/V system and remote ever get out of sync a special routine will need to be run that re-synchronizes everything.
The second method is a three-button system used, apparently, by some Samsung televisions where one button brings up an input menu, a second button makes the selection, and a third button confirms the selection. The third method for Toshiba televisions also uses a menu, but in this case one button brings up the menu and then a numeric key selects the input. Finally, there’s the “discrete code” system that uses separate commands to select each input. These are the easiest and most reliable way for any universal remote to control inputs, and are supported by a growing number of major manufacturers. Even if your original remote control lacks discrete codes the Harmony’s database contains them for a large number of different brands and models.
For power functions two types of command systems are supported, “toggle” and “discrete”, with toggles once again employing a status variable.