Best Choice for Universal / Programmable Remote - New HTPC

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Best Choice for Universal / Programmable Remote - New HTPC

Post#1 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:07 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum, but not new to the concept of HTPC/Media Center, and I also work in IT. I still have my first HTPC, which is an Asus DAV A33 that I purchased used in late 2009. https://gizmodo.com/266185/asuss-dav-ce ... c-plus-amp

It's getting time to retire it, so in the process I'm also assessing my overall home theater set up while I decide how I will build my next HTPC. Of course, now we're in the world of Windows 10, so Media Center is basically defunct. I will most likely stick with Windows, but I am not sure how well a remote works with it. I am considering KODI though, which does have good remote control support I believe. I want to purchase a universal / programmable remote that will function well with all of my devices

My set up is pretty basic, just an LG smart TV with WebOS and an older Sony STR-DB820 A/V receiver with optical inputs, and my current HTPC. For audio, I run optical out from the LG TV to the Sony receiver whether I am using the smart TV apps, or the HTPC via HDMI. I can also run optical out directly from the HTPC to the receiver if I'm listening to music instead of watching video.

I don't want to spend a lot of money on a new remote, such as the Harmony Ultimate or Companion, for example. But I have found a few contenders in the under $40 range. One is the Logitech 350 & 650, as well as the Inteset INT-422.

Does anyone have experience with these? I do need pretty full functionality for the smart TV and for the HTPC, but for the receiver I would be satisfied with power, input and volume only.

I'm also interested in general pointers about building my new HTPC. I'm not entirely opposed to Linux, but I work mostly with Windows and at the end of the day I don't really want to deal with the hassles of running a heterogeneous network in my home. I will probably use a mini ITX Intel board with onboard audio/video. But I also need to know what I'll need for an IR receiver that will work with whichever remote.

Thanks for any insights or pointers you can offer.
demersus
 
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Location: PNW

Post#2 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:04 pm

I've always, always loved the Logitech 300 series (now 350).
adam1991
 
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Post#3 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:36 am

On Amazon the Logitech 350 is currently $31, but the 650 is on sale for $39. The regular price is listed at about $90, so it seems like a great deal. But, my skeptical mind wonders if there is a caveat.
demersus
 
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Location: PNW

Post#4 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:20 am

If you want something really different... They don't make them any more but, if your in IT, it could be fun... The Philips Pronto Pro series. Unlimited Macros, touch screen and hard buttons, can connect to Wi-Fi and use Pronto script (a form of java script) to do 2 way communications and tons of other possibilities. You can use images for backgrounds and custom macros... It's pretty epic...

Way over $40 but, very cool stuff..

Something like this (can be found for cheaper)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Philips-Pronto ... SwjytaT6gB

I moved up to TSU9800 (the flagship) but, this is what I did on my 9600 before I sold it...

https://twitter.com/TheCoolDave/status/ ... 9459681280

Coolest remote ever...
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DavidinCT
 
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Twitter @TheCoolDave

Windows Media Center certified and WMC MVP 2010 - 2012

Post#5 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:44 pm

An old Pronto would be amazing. But the best bang for the buck by far is the $15 Nevo C2 on ebay (retailed for $150 when it came out). It's about twice the remote a $40 Harmony is. I've used it with many a HTPC over the years. It can work any consumer IR device on the planet and every possible command as well as do things Harmony can't even dream of. It controls 18 devices, has unlimited macro length, 72 favorites with logos, can add icon for any command/activity, coexists perfectly with HDMI-CEC, macros run much faster than Harmony, programming software and support is fantastic.

I've posted Nevo device files for the following HTPC IR receivers: MCE (Microsoft, Rosewill, HP, Lenovo), Ortek (Adesso, generic), Diamond (NEC protocol), Generic Chinese IR dongles ($8 ebay pieces of junk). And of course you can use any codes you like with FLIRC. If you find a dongle we don't have a file for, we can make one or you can learn it.

My wiki about it: http://www.hifi-remote.com/wiki/index.p ... t_and_Nevo

A few kind words about it:
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/93-remote ... st55628420
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/93-remote ... st31154769
(I can only do 3 URLs, so you'll have to copy/paste the rest)
"www.avsforum.com/forum/93-remote-control-area/1157746-acoustic-research-xsight-remote-21.html#post29168242"

The Harmony 300/350 is fine for very simple systems. But given that it can do only one activity macro and has no soft buttons makes it a challenge to use for anything but the basics (only controls a couple of devices, no favorites, no sequences, no display). If you're married to Harmony, I'd splurge and get at least the 650. It at least has a screen and can do favorites, 8 devices, 20 step sequences and unlimited activites (well 255). If I had just a smart tv and HTPC, I'd want a screen for launching apps with one button. Here are a few icons I made for HTPC and streaming use:
"www.avsforum.com/forum/93-remote-control-area/2118050-best-remote-control-wmc-roku-3-a.html" (click the thumbnail at that link)

I've recommended the Inteset in the past, and it's still among my favorite little JP1 remotes. But given current prices, Nevo is hard to beat.
mdavej
 
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Post#6 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:45 am

you know, with modern systems all the complexity has gone away.

Outside of WMC, all my TVs have either Roku or Fire TV. And every TV is equipped with a SideClick remote for on/off/volume (and input), while the Roku/Fire remote does everything else with nothing more than an arrow pad, an enter key, and a couple other keys. Amazing.

As for sound, my main TV has a ZVox under it--the simplicity, including remote control, couldn't be easier.
adam1991
 
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Post#7 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:59 pm

... and newer Rokus come with a remote that also control TV vol/power/input, no sideclick needed.

I agree things are a lot simpler than they use to be, especially with HDMI-CEC and simple remotes like you said. If you have just a TV/soundbar plus a streaming device, a sideclick or simple universal works great.

Problem is my main system that has an AVR (with 400 discrete commands), Xbox, Playstation, Wii, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, Andriod TV, HTPC, BD player, Tivo, Home Automation, you name it. No way I could manage all that without a fairly sophisticated universal. Even if I had just a few sources, it's still a significant number of steps to power up the TV, power up the AVR, switch to the appropriate inputs and launch the appropriate app. Not something I'd want to manually do every time I watch TV. Plus the rest of my family would never remember how to do all that stuff manually. With a universal, all I have to do is press the "Watch DirecTV NOW" button, or "Watch Tivo" or whatever, and it magically happens.
mdavej
 
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