Logi Browser
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎08-31-2008

Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.


At vers 7.6 I'd think it would be a bit more customizable, but you are a long way from an easy to use and highly configurable product.



Here are the principal issues:


1) General cludgyness: the setup is so terribly long, involved and "Fisher-Price" simplified. It is annoying, cumbersome, slow, tedious, and limiting.


Specifically, adding and moving custom buttons, navigating through the "wizards" and trying to find where you have hidden some particular "option" is utterly aggravating.  Seriously, you expect us to guess the difference from "Settings" or "Options" ??!?! - how unclear can you get? 


"Customize buttons" is on the main activities page for activities, but buried in the "options" or "settings" page for devices. The inconsistency throughout the application is aggravating.



2) LACK OF CONTROL: you have designed the remote to function around "activities", yet you do not provide full control of activities. WHY? In order to have functions of a certain device available in an activity, then you have to add that device TO the activity.


But ALL devices added to the activity are turned "Full On". The light controller, air conditioning, air purifier, etc etc. We the users (your customers) need to be able to enter an activity without changing the state of every device in that activity.


For instance, when I listen to CDs, I may also want to watch TV. Or not. While listening to CDs, I need control of the TV. But when I go to listen to CDs, if the TV is off, I do NOT want it automatically turned on. I WANT THE CHOICE.



3) CAN'T REORDER DEVICES (in or not in an activity). Okay, so you want us to program the device around activities - but as noted above, even then you do not have accurate control of devices added to an activity.


We need the ability to reorder devices when not in an activity, and reorder them separately if desired for each activity. they way you have it now, the devices move all over the place in seemingly random ways, and when you have more than 8 devices it is INCREDIBLY annoying to hunt and find them in some new location each time.


Random device positions? Yea, great idea. NOT. This is a horrid "feature"!!  



4) BAD IR COMMAND DATABASE. Okay, here's a case of quantity does not equal quality. It seems like every user's custom programmed commands get stuck into this database. While this might be an easy way for you to "grow" your database, using the database becomes cumbersome at best. Moreover, many commands are mislabeled, or do not function as expected. It seems that mis-named commands get into the database and never get out.


Worse, for use users, there is no way to permanently edit the database to suit our particular device. In other words, we'd like to be able to make our own localized version of a particular device and customize the entire command list - this would not affect your main database, just our remote. This way, everytime we went to adjust the programming of our remote, we wouldn't have to scroll through the hundreds of useless commands that do not apply to our device.



5) IR COMMAND LEARNING LIMITATIONS. Yes, you can learn new commands. But you have little control over those commands.


For instance, on original remotes, some commands will "stream" a commands when you hold a button down. With harmony, you seem to be able to do that only with volume. A serious deficiency.




6) CAN'T SAVE SETUPS. Right, so we make a mistake, but after we re-configure, there is no way to "get back" to a previous programmed state.



7) MUST BE ONLINE. Why? why should I have to be online for a learning remote? You should allow for offline configuration, learning, saving, etc. 





Put all settings for a device in ONE place, under ONE menu. Stop spreading config pages all over the place.


Consistency: Chose one term, "settings" OR "options" and stick with it. Put related settings in the same relative place throughout the application.


Allow for direct settings controls instead of cumbersome wizards.


Allow devices in activities to NO CHANGE STATE when entering that activity.


Allow device reordering, both outside of activities, and in each activity.


Allow deleting IR commands for a device.


Allow "stream" commands (like volume) but for any command (selection choice).


Be able to "save as" setups, to store previous configurations.


Be able to work offline.





Thank you




Logi Legend
Posts: 12,385
Registered: ‎08-25-2006

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

1. don't double need for this in both subsections of the remote forum

2. you're not the first, and you won't be the last to think this way

3. most of the posters here agree that there needs to be improvement on the software

4. most of the posters also agree that there needs to be some sort of hybrid online/offline way of working things


of course the devil is in the details

Samsung LCD HDTV (UN65KS8000), Comcast X1 HD DVR Cable Box, Panasonic BluRay Player (DMP-BD55), Onkyo Receiver (TX-SR806), XBox 360, Nintendo Wii, SlingCatcher, and Apple TV (64GB 4th Gen.)....all with my Harmony Ultimate Home
Samsung LCD HDTV (LN40B640), Comcast X1 HD DVR, Panasonic Blu-Ray Player (DMP-BD60), SlingCatcher, and Apple TV (3rd Gen.) Monoprice HDMI Switch (HDX-501)....all with my Harmony 900 w/ 2 Blasters

(Note: I am not affiliated with Logitech®, Inc.) Have you seen the FAQ Sticky? Useful Links Definition of Delays
Logi Apprentice
Posts: 197
Registered: ‎01-22-2009

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

This is a GREAT summary of sound reasoning AGAINST the blockheaded Logitech-"could do better, but all is already better"-defenders!


Half of the users is more intelligent than the average user!


Logi Legend II
Posts: 15,589
Registered: ‎02-08-2008

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

[ Edited ]
<"Customize buttons" is on the main activities page for activities, but buried in the "options" or "settings" page for devices>
The option in devices need not be present at all - there's no point in Customising there, as all controlling is for activities, and you'd only have to Customise the command again there.
<the devices move all over the place in seemingly random ways>
The devices that are included in the current Activity are placed specifically, on the first page. 
<ALL devices added to the activity are turned "Full On">
There's no point in having a device in an activity that can't do anything! If you turn it on manually you defeat the purpose of the Harmony, controlling the power status automatically.The idea is to have separate activities for different combinations of devices.
 <You want us to program the device around activities>
It's not a mattter of what anyone wants you to do - it's the way Harmonys work - many, or most, users find it a better way - if you don't like it there's no point in choosing a Harmony in the first place. 
As WA says, there is a lot of agreement about some of your points, but it wasn't easy to pick those out, from a lot of less relevant comments.
Message Edited by hhatkin on 07-17-2009 04:04 PM
Logi Nu
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎02-22-2008

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

Excellent post Myndex; a comprehensive summary of the issues without going overboard.


An example to us all I think! :-) 



Logi Legend II
Posts: 15,589
Registered: ‎02-08-2008

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

[ Edited ]

MJN wrote:

without going overboard.


That was the biggest splash we've had around here for months.

Message Edited by hhatkin on 07-11-2009 07:46 AM
Logi Browser
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎07-11-2009

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

Referring to myndex' point 6 .


"Done" does not do it for me either.


After modification of an "Activities" button, all optional commands disappear in the relevant device from LCD pages =>2. The commands still exist as the receivers still respond to commands from the "Activities" commands that use the missing device ones. They are just no longer displayed in "Devices". It is frustrating to have to keep going back and re-entering. I found it impossible to use "Activities" for all functions e.g Setup of one of the actual receivers. They therefore need to be displayed.


I don't think there is a connection with this problem, but I am not sure what "Done" does. I assume it is "Save and Exit". Does it "save" every time ? An extra "Exit" without saving would make this clear and meets the needs mentioned by other correspondents.

Logi Nu
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-16-2009

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

Can't agree more.


I am saddened by the irrational attitude of fanboys on this forum.


Let me add a few quirks, that only a developer-who-never-uses-the-software would design:


. Clicking on a radio button, then on Next... radio buttons are not supposed to be actions. There isn't any style guideline that would support the notion of radio button to trigger an action. Two clicks, to move to next screen?? Come on!


. Zone 2 on a A/V receiver??? If I need to activate my zone 2, to allow the 2 additional speakers in the patio, I have to either buy another remote control, or turn off the TV... Hello ???


. Adding a favorite channel requires connecting the RF extender to the software. Now, the software also requires to be online. But I don't have a PC w/ internet in the equipment room, where my RF extender is. Just imagine developing and testing a complex set-up, having to disconnect 5 cables from the extender, bringing the extender upstairs, connecting it, going downstairs, re-installing it... who thought this is a requirement to update the RF extender for every label change ??


. Try counting the number of windows one has to browse through, and the number of clicks, to add icons to the favorites screen... OMG !


. Adding discrete codes: having to contact Logitech to add a code??


. Sequences limited to 5 clicks ?


. No copy/paste... adding a light controller (HAI automation) as a device, I have to go through every activity and recreate the 6 scene buttons... I don't know how to count to a million, which was approximately the number of clicks and screens I had to go through to do this.


To workaround the limited number of sequences, I installed a programmable OCELOT, and use the 980 to control the OCELOT. That is an abherration by itself, why would I need an OCELOT in the presence of such a sophisticated remote?


I am in a situation now where I am seriously considering dropping my two 980, and purchasing URC instead. I contacted already a local authorized dealer, to ensure that I can have access to the software. BTW, I paid $399 for every 890, the URCs are not that much more expensive, do the math!


If I were running this company, I would have fired the human interface designer and the lead software architect, and I would index the salaries of the new hires by the number of clicks needed to achieve a simple programming task on this remote.


This is my first post, and possibly my last on this forum, if/when I decide to switch.  

Logi Legend II
Posts: 15,589
Registered: ‎02-08-2008

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

[ Edited ]

remoterg wrote:

Referring to myndex' point 6 .

"Done" does not do it for me either.

 After modification of an "Activities" button, all optional commands disappear in the relevant device from LCD pages =>2.

myndex 6 is about saving a configuration. How does "Done" come into that?

Does "modification" refer to changing in an Activity the command that a button sends?

That can't have any effect on the devices area.

If you give more details we'd be better able to offer an explanation of what you find.



You won't find any fanboys around here.

You'll find that while we may explain why some of the complaints made against the Harmony software are based on misunderstandings, we will also share in criticisms of some relatively minor defects in it that could - and we often insist, should - be remedied.

I responded to some samples of the misunderstandings in my post #4 but have refrained from others.

At the same time I fully agree with WannabeActuary's points 3 and 4 about deficiencies and faults.

Zones on receivers are quite common - what do you find wrong about the Harmony with them? 

Message Edited by hhatkin on 07-18-2009 05:00 AM
Logi Nu
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-16-2009

Re: Great remote overall, but hampered by terrible configuration software.

Another couple of stupid idiosyncrasies unique to the Harmony software:


. The software stays resident in memory, bogging down system resources. Unless you own a dedicated PC just to program your harmony remote, I don't see why the software has to stay resident, with an icon on the tray. Let me guess: if in the middle of reading your business emails on outlook you feel the urge to connect the 890 to the USB port, the software has to detect it and launch automatically... **bleep**? They took extra resources to make the software stay resident, for absolutely no reason other to annoy users. Can anyone enlighten me why the software has to stay running in the background?


. Moving from one screen to the next: the radio buttons are on the top left, the "Next" button on the bottom right. By design, these programmers wanted to maximizing the time we use our mouse. Programming on a laptop, since I need to reconnect to the extender in my equipment room for every simple modification, and navigating continuously from the top-left to the bottom-right as we move through an infinite screen numbers, using the laptop's touchpad, you can imagine the pain after few minutes repeating this exercise.


. I tried working around the Zone-2 issue with my receiver, by avoiding to adding a dedicated device called Zone-2, but rather by learning the Zone-2 commands directly in the main AV-Receiver device. Worked well, got stung by the 5-button sequence limit to achieve what I wanted. Why limit the sequences to 5 buttons? We understand the logic and concept behind activities, but then, how can you achieve an activity that can turn on Zone-2 at the same time as zone 1, to allow the broadcast of the TV-sound to the deck?


And a final rant on the hardware. 18 months ago, I purchased two 890, one for the family room and one for the lower-level recreation room. Three weeks ago, I changed my received in the family room: need to reprogram the 890. The USB port on that remote was totally disconnect, and floating inside the unit. I opened it, and tried soldering it back. Did not work. One can say that's a user problem, one member of my family could have dropped the unit on the ground, and the USB plug got dislodged in the shock. Alright, probably a good point. But for a remote that I paid $399 18 months ago, I expect a more solid design. There was no scratch on the IR window next to the USB and no scratch at all with the remote.  I don't see a trace of a major shock that could have dislodged the USB plug.


In the interim, I purchased a 39$ RF remote (URC-10).. at $39 for a remote and its base, one cannot expect too much. True, I miss the "Help" command to allow my family to recover from a problem. The lack of variable/memory/status makes programming a nightmare, and without a PC, every step has to be repeated for a simple change. However, I order it and installed it as a gap while continuing to research the topic of remotes. Either I purchase another 890, or a 880 (125$ on Amazon) and add a xantech IR repeater, or I move to the Complete URC, which would cost more, but would last more than 18 months.

The software problems with the 890 are pushing me to considering the following: two URC MX-980, one URC MSC-400, one Xantech IR-repeater. This set-up would cost me around $1400. But it would allow me to connect it to the Russound CAV 6.6 and HAI lighting controller, and establish a more robust control system for the two viewing areas.


Thanks all for reading my rants. Thanks to the fanboys and not-so-fanboys for helping other members on this forum, making it worthwhile to read.


Best regards