Logitech maintains an astoundingly large remote control code database that covers more than 270,000 home theater devices. The best universal remotes are the perfect answer in both cases, and almost every universal remote uses infrared (or IR): the same signal protocol used by remote manufacturers as well. This $10 Insignia cable from Best Buy worked with the MacBook Pro laptop we used. Depending on the types of components you have—perhaps a TV, a Blu-ray player, a receiver, and a cable box—Harmony suggests a number of possible Activities, such as “Watch TV” or “Listen to Music” (you can also create your own custom Activities). It’s easier to program than any non-Harmony remote. The system works with IR, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth devices, including a variety of smart-home products, and the free iOS/Android control app provides a second method of managing everything. This is the remote to get if you have a lot of gear—it can control up to 15 devices (up from the Companion’s eight-device limit), so it potentially replaces up to 15 other remotes. The more commands that are included in the activity, the more chances there are for this to happen. The iQ3 also makes … First, the remote has no physical buttons, and both the touchscreen and the virtual buttons on it are very small. You can customize all the activity names or create your own. Many cheap “universal” remotes require that you press a certain combination of buttons and then input manufacturer codes for each AV device until you find one that works. Can I use my smartphone as a remote control? The two-piece Logitech Harmony Companion system, which consists of a hub and a handheld remote, can control up to eight AV components, and it works with IR, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth devices, which gives it more flexibility than is available with most budget remotes. If your home entertainment system is more complex than the typical media player/TV/soundbar combo and you need a universal remote … You can also incorporate voice control when you integrate it with an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant speaker. The remote has backlighting, a customizable LCD screen, and a convenient help function. It uses a single CR2032 button battery that Logitech says should last up to one year. © 2021 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, TechHive confirms that it works as advertised, The Smart Home Devices the Wirecutter Staff Uses. During that time, she has reviewed numerous audio and video products, including virtually every major DIY universal-remote platform. Here are the most loved connected-home devices from the Wirecutter staff. One remote that we think might work out well for you is the Sideclick. Unfortunately, a Harmony remote can quickly go from convenient to confusing for someone who is not particularly A/V savvy (or can’t easily see the small buttons). By far, the most useful feature of the Harmony 665—the one that will keep you from pulling your hair out if you have a problem with the way your system is working—is the help function, which you access from a button above the display. Perhaps you'd consider including this scenario for your next update to the best universal remotes? The 32-inch Roku TV from TCL usually costs less than $200 (bigger versions cost more) and is our current pick for the best small TV. However, because the Caavo system is more of a control platform than a universal remote, it won’t be the right fit for everyone: You can only connect HDMI sources to the control box; the remote’s limited button options can make performing more advanced tasks challenging; and you have to subscribe to the Caavo service ($4 per month, $40 per year, or a one-time lifetime subscription fee of $130 at the time of this writing). If the remote fails to perform a task you expect it to (such as turning up the TV’s volume), you can use the remote’s Help button to resolve the problem quickly. You also can’t use the Harmony 665 with components that are tucked away in a cabinet, unless you add your own IR extenders or an RF converter. Advice, staff picks, mythbusting, and more. Like the Harmony Companion, it’s a two-piece system built around the Hub, so it can control IR, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth devices and does not need line of sight with your gear. However, because the Harmony 665 only works with IR-based equipment, it doesn’t support smart-home devices and some streaming media players and game consoles, and it needs line of sight with your gear. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. That’s because using your mobile device’s touchscreen as a remote requires you to look away from the TV screen and down at your device as you search for the right part of the screen to touch, making channel surfing and volume tweaking cumbersome. The Logitech Harmony Companion is the best universal remote control you can buy. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use universal remote to control up to eight devices, we recommend the Logitech Harmony 650. Plus, it is no longer listed on Logitech’s Harmony page, so it may already be nearing its end. If you're tired of managing a separate remote control for each of the components of your home entertainment system, it might be time to invest in a universal remote control.With a universal TV remote that’s compatible with your smart TV and other electronics, you can simplify your system, declutter and end the days of searching for lost remotes between your home theater seating cushions. Looking for a universal remote? As a matter of fact, the Companion remote doesn’t even need to be in the same room as the Hub, so long as you place the Hub where the IR signals it emits can reach your AV components. With a universal remote, you can streamline control over everything into one unit. Sound quality is important when picking an AV receiver, but it’s also important to find one with the features you need, so we have multiple recommendations. The Harmony app does offer a Fix feature that allows you to directly access incorrect settings (power and input for components, for example), but we found it to be less intuitive than the Harmony 665’s help function. We should mention that the MyHarmony software will not run on the newest Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina); Logitech has introduced newer software specifically for Catalina users that is called Harmony Desktop. How to buy a laptop for your kid (or revive an old one) 04.10.20 View. Although $100 may seem like a lot of money to spend on a universal remote (especially since you can get a good streaming media player for about half that price), keep this in mind: Because your remote control is the primary device you interact with when using your home theater system, getting a single good universal remote that does the job of eight mediocre remotes is a very satisfying upgrade to that system. Harmony was eventually bought by Logitech and they still make (a relatively large share of) some of the best universal remotes around. If you answer yes, the help screen goes away. A game console or two might also be included. The Logitech Harmony 350 is our budget pick for the best universal remote. Best Buy: Logitech Harmony 650 8-Device Universal Remote ... Best www.bestbuy.com. The Harmony Companion integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant, and several do-it-yourself home-automation hubs and smart devices, such as lights, locks, thermostats, and motorized shades. Our smart-home staffers aren’t the only ones who love their gadgets. Consider the Harmony Elite. If you can never remember which is the DVR button and which is the Guide button, you’ll struggle to operate the remote in the dark. This built-in help function, along with the ability to easily set up Activities, makes the Harmony 665 simple enough for nearly anyone to use. Sevenhugs’s more expensive Smart Remote X is essentially the same remote, but it adds a point mode that automatically adjusts its interface based on what device you’re pointing it at. One benefit of having the IR emitters in a separate hub is that it no longer matters where you point the handheld remote. The Companion remote has a logical button layout and includes important functions such as Menu, Exit, and Guide, and color buttons. If controlling eight devices at once … But your mom might want to hold on to the cable remote for viewing the programming guide, entering a specific channel number (the Sideclick has no numbers), or ordering pay-per-view shows using the menu system. You can purchase the Harmony Hub as a standalone unit (without a remote) and just use your mobile device with the free Harmony iOS/Android app as your remote control. And it controlled all of our devices correctly. 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