Review: Logitech Harmony 880/885 Remote Control
By: Cliff PennockPrintableSingle Page

Without actually disclosing my age, I remember when a Remote Control was something special. When I was a kid, my father had bought one of those super modern TVs that came with a Remote. And even though there were only two channels to choose from at that time (cable didn't exist back then) it was fun "zapping" through those two channels from your lazy chair. I was especially happy with the remote since - being the youngest at home - I was the designated Remote Control for the rest of my family. Yes, they would simply tell me to switch the channel or up the volume a bit and I did it - without them having to leave the comfort of their chairs.

Nowadays, everything has a remote. Even remotes have remotes. And the problem is, you actually need them. TVs or DVD players for instance, offer very limited controls on the device itself. Just about everything is done through the remote. So that's two remotes we need right there. And then there's the remote for our audio system, our digital cable box, our VCR (yes, some people still have those) and what not.

If you're like me, watching a movie on DVD means chasing the cat from your lap to make room for a whole bunch of remotes. Just starting the darn movie involves an obscene amount of buttons to be pressed. Heck, firing a nuclear missile is simpler. Or so I would imagine.

There are many universal "all-in-one" remotes out there, but they are either huge, ugly or expensive - or all of the above. And you still need to press tons of buttons. In fact, sometimes you need to press more buttons with those remotes because they need to be switched from device to device constantly.

Then some engineer at Logitech apparently saw the light, started designing, and the Harmony range of remotes were born. Or maybe he simply stole the idea from another company, I really wouldn't know1).

1) Someone pointed out to me that Logitech actually bought a company called "Intrigue Technologies" in 2004 who made the Harmony Remotes. So they didn't think of it themselves, they didn't steal the idea - they just bought it. Oh well.

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