Your Universal Remote Control Center
Remote Control User Reviews
Previous page Next page Up level
Up level
The following page was printed from

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.
Find universal
remotes at:

Navigation: [ Next > ]
Now viewing user reviews page 1 of 5 for
the Harmony 745 / H745 / SST-745 remote.
[ Go to: |1|2|3|4|5 ]

Written by Andrew Kieran from Connecticut.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 29 made on Tuesday December 2, 2003 at 8:53 PM.
Strengths:Small. Good for regular but non-technical users. The inclusion of TV listings is an excellent feature.
Weaknesses:Poor quality for a consumer product. Clumsy user interface demands (brief) training for new users. Sloooooow downloads.
Review:The SST-745 is a great idea, gone horribly wrong. The user interface is not sufficiently intuitive that an unfamiliar user (e.g. a babysiter or guest) can pick it up and operate your home theatre. But with a few minutes if instruction, users can use it effectively.

But my unit's selection switch broke off after being dropped on the floor. Sorry, but for a comsumer product, this is all it takes to earn my hearty 'thumbs down'. A $200 remote control should be much sturdier than this.

Even without this failure, I can't recommend this product. The downloading of TV listings is a great idea but the 30 minutes it takes way too long. And the lack of dedicated channel buttons makes simple channel surfing an akward process.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by TomboElephant from Oakland, CA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 28 made on Thursday July 17, 2003 at 1:33 AM.
Strengths:Small, good balance and feel, tactile buttons, activity-based functions simplify everything, very quick setup (simple system)
Weaknesses:tv listings don't seem to load for all channels
Review:You can get this remote for <$100 now! Harmony is selling refurbished models for $99. has 'em for $80 - and free shipping. Everyone needs to have one of these, seriously.

Even with a simple home theater setup, it's likely you've got a couple remotes. You have to switch TV inputs before you can watch DVD, or your remote doesn't support passthrough volume control (sound through the receiver, not the TV). The Harmony can take care of all that.

Web-based setup is SOOOOO easy. Forget crouching over the manual punching in odd codes. Just enter the models of your devices and Harmony (likely) knows all the commands. Setup was a breeze.

I've been waiting for this for years. I did't want a huge expensive Pronto. I wanted something I could hold in my hand and surf with. The Harmony is amazing.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Rob Siegel from Boston, MA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 27 made on Sunday March 30, 2003 at 10:51 PM.
Strengths:True one-handed one-remote control
Outstanding technical support
Weaknesses:Web site access sometimes slow
Review:Before I wax eloquent on the Harmony Remote, let me first provide the context.

I have a small home theatre system with a Yamaha HTR-5240 5.1 receiver, a DVD player that I also use to play CDs, a VCR, a cable box, a tape deck, and a turntable. Obviously, having to grab a different remote for the TV, the VCR, the DVD, and the cable box (along with the remote for the receiver to control the volume) got real old real fast. I tried several of the large multi-button universal remotes, starting out with the RCA 810, and found out that using a single remote isn't the same as controlling CONVENIENTLY on a single remote. That is, without the ability of the volume to "punch through" to the receiver, I was always having to, say, select the cable box button on the remote to change the channel on the cable box, then select the receiver button on the remote to change the volume on the receiver. This is fragile and ultimately unworkable even for he (and it usually is "he") who programs the remote, much less for other family members. Other hard-buttoned remotes that did allow volume "punch-through" still forced you into their paradigm instead of accepting yours. For example, if my wife just wants to watch the TV, she takes advantage of the fact that the cable is split and goes directly into the TV and uses the tuner inside the TV, but to view the cable box, DVD, or VCR, the video switching occurs through the receiver, so the TV video input needs to be toggled between its tuner and an external source. Now, you can program a button on a remote to toggle the TV video input, and you can program buttons on a remote to set things up for each of your components, but the remote doesn't have the concept of "state" and doesn't remember that the last "activity" that was used changed the TV input to video and so this one needs to set it back.

Enter the Harmony Remote. You've read about the "activity-based" paradigm. Well, let me tell you, it works like a charm. After you go to the Harmony web site, set up your components, define your activities, download the programming and upload it into the remote, the activity switching does what its supposed to. Select "Simple Television" and it turns on the TV. Select "watch a DVD" and it toggles the TV input to video (if that's what you've told it to do), turns on the DVD player, and turns on the receiver and sets the input to DVD. Tell it to "listen to CDs" and it shuts off the TV and lets you play CDs through the DVD player.

But where Harmony absolutely sparkles is in their technical and customer support. My Sony 32" tv has an odd characteristic that requires you to access an audio setup menu and shut off the speakers in the TV if you want to use the RCA stereo outputs from the back of the set. So I needed to program my remote so that when I enter the activity "Watch Stereo TV" it performs a "macro" sequence of 7 commands that shuts the internal speakers off, and when you leave this activity it turns the internal speakers back on. I sent an e-mail off to Harmony and they quickly added the sequence of commands into my configuration. Unfortunately it didn't work; it would exit part way through the sequence. It turned out that a very subtle problem was preventing it from getting all the way through the command sequence. Most companies would've dropped the ball or said that it would be fixed in a new version, but the folks at Harmony kept with it, e-mailed me with status and progress, and completely fixed the problem.

I installed a second home theatre system downstairs, and bought a second Harmony remote to control it. The TV, a relatively inexpensive 31" GE unit, didn't show up in the list of GE models on the web site. I tried the option to teach the Harmony from the original remote, and it worked like a charm. But it turned out that the TV had the same quirk, and needed the speakers shut off and turned back on when switching in and out of a particular activity. Again, the folks at Harmony made it happen. When I installed a cable box that needed a parental access code mapped to a particular key, they did that as well. Not everything happened overnight, but they followed up on every e-mail and kept me apprised of progress.

Is the Harmony remote for you? I'm very practical and realistic about these things. When controlling a multi-component system, the two overriding requirements of a remote, for me, are:
1) Does it provide at true single-remote one-handled solution?
2) Does it allow you to change between "activities" without requiring you to harmony
button to hit?

The Harmony remote answers both of these with a big "yes." I was reminded how well it works when the batteries ran out on the Harmony and I needed to grab my old RCA 810 to change from watching the TV to watching the cable box, then the DVD player. Uncle! Uncle!

The Harmony is not, however perfect. If the goal is to seamlessly address "the wife factor" (which I say without a hint of sexism or condescension, knowing many intelligent competent women who don't understand or buy into the need for multicomponent audio/video technology, and thus don't have the context for why its difficult to control. This is ok, as many men don't understand the need for clean bathrooms or decent furniture, so viva la difference), no product may ever be completely adequate, though its difficult to imagine one coming closer unless it involves high-dollar custom programming of your specific configuration. The Harmony uses a scroll wheel on the side to display possible activities (watch TV, watch DVD, etc). To choose an activity, you have to PUSH THE SCROLL WHEEL IN. I got used to this very quickly, but it is a fairly unique piece of ergonomics, and my wife, though she uses it, has to stop and think about it. Similarly, there's a push-button on the side of the remote that accesses different menu screens within an activity. For people who aren't comfortable with technology, accidentally hitting this button provides an opportunity to end up in a mode they don't understand. I believe, though, that these screens can be pruned out of the configuration.

The original Harmony tried to keep a small footprint by not having a numeric keypad and having only one set of arrows. I don't mind scrolling through the list of channels, but my wife still prefers to use a remote with numbers so she can punch in "42" and watch CNN. Similarly, I don't mind hitting the button on the side to toggle between "navigate mode" (where the arrow keys control the menu cursor) and "play mode" (where the arrow keys are stop, rewind, fast-forward, etc), but for the both of these reasons, the newer larger Harmony with the keypad and the extra transport controls may be more family-friendly. Me, I prefer the feel, size, and weight of the original, smaller unit.

One thing to nitpick about. Because you set up your devices and define your activites through the Harmony web site, occasionally the site itself is a bottleneck. I have a cable modem at home, and while it is not as blazingly fast as the T1 at work, it is usually quick enough. Sometimes, though, when accessing the Harmony web site, it is very slow. I don't know if this is due to everyone updating their remotes between 9 pm and 11 pm. If I have new device configurations to enter, I sometimes do it at work, as either the T1 or the hour of the day, or both, make things fly

In short, if the multi-hand multi-remote thing drives you nuts, the Harmony Remote will allow you to control your home theatre system with a feeling of zen-like repose.

Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Bob Skurka from Indiana, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 26 made on Thursday March 20, 2003 at 8:11 PM.
Strengths:None I could find, except in theory
Weaknesses:It never worked with my TV or DVD/Surround Sound system

No support for Macintosh

Web site control without PC back up

Web site could use a few more features like "cancel" and "back" on most of the programming screens.
Review:This remote might be great for people who own mainstream relatively new equipment, but heaven forbid you own something really new or really old. And if you own one of each then just pack it up and send it back and stop beating your head against the wall. It is not worth the effort.

Despite have thousands of products in their data base, they did not have 2 of the 3 I was trying to control. My desire was to give my wife a remote she could use. I thought I found it. I was undaunted about the fact that I would have to teach the remote my signals, however it proved an elusive task.

For my Zenith TV, the remote could not learn the basic functions such as channel up, channel down or even power off. Trying to access a channel directly was pretty much futile. The channel up/down arrows would scroll through ALL the channels several times. Tech support modified the commands, then the remote only scrolled past 3 or 4 channels. They modified the commands again, partial success. Direct access to a specific channel simply never worked properly despite days of tweaking. I WILL SAY THAT TECH SUPPORT IS AMAZING, THEY PROVIDE A HIGH LEVEL OF SERVICE, HIGHER THAN I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THEY NEVER COULD GET THE TV TO FUNCTION PROPERLY.

I spent over 20 hours simply trying to get the TV to work, we pretty much set aside the DVD Surround Sound system.

But as for the DVD/Surround Sound system, it is a brand new GoVideo unit. Certainly not high end, but not too bad. And unfortunately it is a brand new unit, so again it is not in the Harmony data base. Good luck to anyone who has one of these. I got it to power on, but not off. The volume control never worked. The tuner function did not work. Pretty much the tech team was at a loss with this piece of equipment. I had very high hopes and I am not whining, I really wanted this thing to work.

In theory it is an amazing piece. I am probably the one in a 100 (or 1 in a million) customer who simply could not get this to work with my equipment. I think the quality was good, the service was amazing, but I can't rate their features or value above 1 because I am now buying a Philips TSU2000 and returning my Harmony.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by GunTeach from Boston, MA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 25 made on Monday March 17, 2003 at 2:16 PM.
Strengths:A remote that truly does integrate the jumble of components, wires, sources, and software into a cohesive and easy to use 'system'.
Weaknesses:Online programming can be a problem for some. If standard tools do not reflect your desire, custom programming can be difficult.
Review:There are a lot of descriptions of how the Harmony works and how you go about all the programming and the like. I'm going to skip all that and tell the human side of the story.

Our Christmas gift to the house this year was to update the old 27" TV, and Dolby surround with a modern DVD based 5.1 surround and big screen TV.

Starting in October, we began our shopping process and by Christmas had delivery of all the equipment.

That is when I discovered that using everything was a minor nightmare. You needed two remotes just to watch TV. One for the channels and another for the volume.

It wasn't that our system is all that complex, it was the annoyance of using multiple remotes that I wanted to solve.

I began looking at something that could control all the equipment in one remote. I must have brought home 5 'universal' models only to discover that NONE of them could control my DVD/surround pre-amp. I needed a 'learning' remote. Also, the Universals all needed me to swap 'devices' to change the volume and the channel. So, I trade off two remotes for one that requires more buttons to be pressed. NO THANKS, there has to be a better way.

The search led me to the Phillips Pronto, and had that remote been cheaper, I might have never heard about the Harmony.

But I was turned off by the cost and the need to program my own setup before I could even use it.

Then, in searching on the net, I discovered the Harmony. Sounded interesting and seemed to do want I wanted. Only problem was that there wasn't any way to try before I buy.

About this time I saw the 'refurbished' units for sale on the Harmony website and figured that it was worth the money to try it.

I got onto the web site before my unit came and was horrified that neither the new Sony XBR or the Cambridge Soundworks DVD/preamp were in their 'database'. In fact, the only component that was there was my old VCR.

I shouldn't have been worried. When the unit came, I set up my laptop and blocked out some time to get it working.

It did take some time to teach all the controls and I had made some basic errors when I first started that could have saved me some time later. All in all, it took me about an hour and a half to build that initial configuration. And it worked exactly as advertised.

Over the next week I played with the configuration and added features like picture-in-picture, remote DVD drawer control, etc. All went very easy and for the most part worked as expected.

I did have trouble with the volume jumping in increment of 3's and some other issues. The bulk of the issues were actually a problem with the preamp, and not the Harmony. Once I had the firmware upadated on the preamp my only remaining problem was the volume. That was solved with a call to the Harmony Tech Support line.

Then I started to get fancy and really customized the remote. I added some dimmers to the room's lights and had the remote control those. I put the 'digital reality' of the XBR into the remote. And I added a mode to allow easy programming of the VCR.

Now, I connect it to the computer every week to update the TV listings, but I never mess with the programing. Harmony has made their website easier to use as time goes by so things that I had some trouble with earlier are much easier now. And it might just be me, but I think the downloads are quicker too. Until you actually see them fix a problem and make it a part of the website you can not appreciate the power that this type of configuration provides. Each day that goes by finds the remote easier and easier to program and use.

All my original remotes are in a drawer now and I never need to take them out. That alone is an amazing testiment to the Harmony. That 14 buttons can do everything I need of the 154 buttons that exist on the original remotes.

Most people who have tried the remote find the initial use tough. Except kids - they have fewer bad habits to unlearn. The concept of an 'activity' does take some time to really sink in. Remembering to hold the remote pointed at the system while it does all the work also caused some people to fail to have all the components switch properly. The 'help' button of course made the fix easy.

Once people did 'get' the concepts, everyone loved it. My wife was a bit upset to learn I spent over $100 on a "stupid remote" but once she saw how easy it was to do what she wanted, I have not heard a single comment about the price.

Is it perfect? No. Anything can be improved and I'll explain my one real complaint below. It is however, the right tool for the job. It is obvious that no matter how many components you have, this tool is the answer in one of it's current configurations. It takes care of all the switching, power, and settings you used to have to do manually. It allows you to concentrate on the program and not the setup. I can switch from a DVD to commercial TV to programming the VCR with just a few motions.

The only thing I would love to see is a control similar to the joystick type device on my Sony remote for controling menus. With the SST-745, you can either have transport controls (play, rewind, stop, etc.) or menu controls (left, right, up, etc.) You need to press the 'mode' button to switch between these. While this is not a big deal, it can be annoying.

I had initially thought that if the SST-745 worked out, I'd be buying the larger model with all the numbers and more buttons. I find that I don't want to now. This does the job and there are few times I want to direct enter a channel that I can not quickly scroll to on the LCD. They have a very nice page type scroll that takes a minute to get used to, but allows you to quickly get from one place to another in the channel lineup.

Unless you have a need for more buttons (TiVo perhaps) I really think that the fewer the buttons the better. Easy to use in the dark as the buttons all have unique shape or placement. When you explain to someone how to use it, there is no question as to what button you are talking about.

About the only drawback to this at the moment is the lack of native Mac support. At first I thought that the internet setup might be an issue, but if you have a system that needs an 'activity' based remote, you likely are already 'internet enabled', so that is probably not an issue.

Overall, this was pretty much exactly what I wanted when I began my search.

So, until Harmony releases a model with a joystick for menus, I am keeping this remote.

Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Bob Skurka from Chicago, IL USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 24 made on Sunday March 16, 2003 at 6:13 PM.
Strengths:TECH SUPPORT is amazingly helpful, but as for the unit itself I have had the unit for 3 days, it still is not close to working with my 3 components.
Weaknesses:So far it just plain old doesn't work. My TV is old and not in their database. My DVD/Surround Sound is so new it is not in their database. My VCR is in their data base and is controlled properly, but it won't corridinate with my other components since the remote won't control them.
Review:I paid $99 plus shipping direct from Harmony. I wanted something for my wife because she hates the complexity of multiple remotes and simply wants something to work. I thought this was the answer. I was wrong. It probably would work fine if the components cooperated better, but that is not the case.

I give their tech support lots of credit, they have called me several times and emailed instructions about a dozen times. Unfortunately not much progress has been made. I have spent about 15 hours trying to program my unit. It is to the point that I may get it to work simply out of spite. I may be the unusual horror story among users, but my thought was I would get one working for my wife for our bedroom entertainment center, and then if we liked it buy their more advanced units for the more complex entertainment center in the living room and a fairly simple unit in the basement.

I am thinking that spending more money would ultimately be a better solution if there is not a breakthrough with this unit soon?
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Darley Ware from Texas.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 23 made on Saturday March 15, 2003 at 5:05 PM.
Strengths:Small and well bulit.
Review:I bought this unit after seeing a review on Tech TV. I am very pleased with it. I was very easy to setup and the few questions I had were quickly answered via email tech support. I was really impressed when I bought a new reciever and had it working with the new remote in 15 minutes. Took me much longer just to hook up all the wires.
Quality: Features: Value:

Navigation: [ Next > ]
Now viewing user reviews page 1 of 5 for
the Harmony 745 / H745 / SST-745 remote.
[ Go to: |1|2|3|4|5 ]

Previous PageReturn to the user reviews index...
Add your reviewAdd Your Review

Hosting Services by ipHouse