Things were getting out of hand. I had eight remote controls sat on a revolving stand in the middle of my coffee table and enough was enough, time for a universal remote.
I had read that some of these remotes could be programmed to carry out several commands at once, such as turning lots of devices on and off at once and changing channels at the same time. This sounded good and looking through the web Logitech's range of Harmony remotes looked to be best suited to what I wanted.
I finally settled on the Harmony 555 which is at the bottom end of Logitech's remote control range, but still appeared to offer everything I needed. The device duly arrived and I was struck with how ergonomic it looked, the buttons were of the rubber type and responded positively and the whole remote lit up in a lovely orange hue. But how would it perform.
The remote arrives with details of how to log onto Logitech's website and download the necessary firmware, you then create an account and list all the devices you wish to command with the remote.
This is easier than it sounds because the website is very user friendly and it would appear that there is isn't a device out there that Logitech have missed from their 10,000+ list, you name the device and it will be there.
Once you have listed your devices you are then invited to create an activity list for each device, activities like switch on and off, change AV channels on the TV etc, so each activity is activated with the press of one button.
Once I had set up the devices and activities they had to be downloaded to the remote via the supplied USB cable, this takes several minutes but once this was done off I went to try it out. Did it work ? Well I would like to say it was all hunky dory straight out of the box, but not quite. No big issues but certain devices were taking up to 10 seconds to come on and others coming on straight away, this, I was later told, was a timing issue and I had to contact Logitech's helpline to sort it out.
If you are like me you will hate Helplines, however Logitech's is a joy to use. One free phone number to the Netherlands and you get through to an English speaking staff member who actually knows what they are talking about. No waiting, no piped music and even when the first guy couldn't sort it out and "upgraded" the issue I was forwarded straight to Canada (whether they can do this straight away obviously depends on the time of day here) and they sorted it in under 30 minutes. The helpline staff look at your devices and update your remote for you.
By the time I had finished everything worked great. I have had the remote for 12 months now and the only issue I have had was when I bought a new Onkyo AV Amp to go with my LG LCD TV. It transpired that the command codes to turn the Onkyo off were the same ones that turned the LG on (a rare occurrence I was told, but not one that even Logitechs expert staff could sort out). However I overcame this by pressing the "Help" button on the remote which, in essence, is a override button which enables you to carry out any command on its own, eg Switching off the TV. (I later got rid of the LG TV so that issue sorted itself out anyway)
I would definitely recommend the Harmony 555 remote for it's practicality, user friendliness and the quality of it's helpline.