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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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  #1  
Old 11-16-2015, 12:23 PM
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Skirge01 Skirge01 is offline
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Remote Controls?

What are people using for controlling their setups? I started with a Harmony 880 (x2 when it died) and then an 890 (love the RF), which I'm still using today. However, I'm having issues with a few barely usable buttons and some repeating issues*, so I'm on the lookout for something to replace it.

I looked at the latest Harmony remotes, but the button layouts greatly concern me. I want a single handed remote where I can find the correct buttons without looking down. Some of the Harmony's have the play/pause button at the top and I just can't wrap my head around how that makes any sense. I imagine I'd need to reposition the remote in my hand every time I want to press play or pause vs adjust the volume. Other remotes don't even have a number pad built-in, which also puzzles me, and I'm not sure that having it appear on a touch screen will suffice.

I'm definitely not going with a URC which requires a professional installer each time you change a piece of equipment. I do that far too often.

What is everyone else using?

* I've used the Logitech software to try and fix the appropriate setting and none of the options have helped.
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  #2  
Old 11-16-2015, 12:28 PM
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I'm using 3 logitech 650s. I really like the button layout on those... all the normal media controls seem to easily reachable without having to stretch around.
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2015, 12:47 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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You are right about the button layout on the Harmony Touch/Ultimate line. It sucked. I have been using Harmony remotes since 2002 and I have owned pretty much every model, including the 880 and 890 - they had poor quality buttons that died pretty quickly and a poor charging cradle design.

But they now have a new line called the Elite that is better, but it is still expensive - about $330 on AMZN. These remotes use Hubs that connect to your LAN via Wifi so you can also use a phone/tablet if you want to. The good thing with the hub remotes is that the remote connects to the hub via RF so you don't need to worry about LOS. And there is an unsupported API that you can access as well.

If you don't care about an LCD screen on the remote then you can use the Harmony SmartHub, or something like that, which is around $100. It contains a smaller remote that fits quite nicely in your hand and does have numbers, although the transport controls are still a bit too high. But it still uses the hub and RF. And if you lose the remote you can use a phone/tablet if necessary. I sometime turn on my basement system using the phone before I go downstairs as it takes a minute for everything to turn on and SageTV to connect to the server or the Xbox to start up. The system is smart enough to stay synched between the phone app and physical remote.

The smart hub remote looks like this:
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  #4  
Old 11-16-2015, 01:23 PM
MattHelm MattHelm is offline
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I have the hub, and am liking it more and more, but media controls need to be at the bottom!!!!
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  #5  
Old 11-16-2015, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skirge01 View Post
I'm definitely not going with a URC which requires a professional installer each time you change a piece of equipment. I do that far too often.
Maybe you won't want a URC remote anyway, but if Surf Remote Control is still in business, don't they still provide the software? (Note that I haven't looked into that company or any remotes at all in years; I just remember them providing the software years ago.)

Andy
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  #6  
Old 11-16-2015, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skirge01 View Post
I'm definitely not going with a URC which requires a professional installer each time you change a piece of equipment. I do that far too often.
I've got a URC MX880 with MRF350 base station. If you buy from the Complete Control line your dealer can give you the software and you can do whatever you want with it. That's what I did.
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  #7  
Old 11-16-2015, 02:35 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skirge01 View Post
I'm definitely not going with a URC which requires a professional installer each time you change a piece of equipment. I do that far too often.
Sounds like the same problem with my Control4 Home Automation system. It can do all of this but requires an installer to change any "hardware" in the system.

By the way, a temporary workaround with the issues with the dead button or bounce issue on the Harmony 880/890 is to program that flaky key to a soft button on the remote. Let's say it is the "1" key that is bad - you would program the buttons on the LCD screen so that one of them sends the "1" IR command. But this becomes annoying to use on a regular basis.

The other thing with the Harmony hub remotes is that they increasingly work with other Smarthome devices like Hue lighting, etc - if you care about that stuff.
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  #8  
Old 11-16-2015, 02:59 PM
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Telecore Telecore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckless View Post
I'm using 3 logitech 650s. I really like the button layout on those... all the normal media controls seem to easily reachable without having to stretch around.
2nd on the logitech 650's - they do the job well, good button layout and you can buy them refurbed for < $40. I use them at every TV/Sage location in my house (many locations)
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2015, 04:02 PM
Paul H Paul H is offline
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Oldies but goodies; 2 URC MX 500's.
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2015, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus4 View Post
Maybe you won't want a URC remote anyway, but if Surf Remote Control is still in business, don't they still provide the software? (Note that I haven't looked into that company or any remotes at all in years; I just remember them providing the software years ago.)

Andy
Thanks for that, Andy! After emailing them, this actually looks quite promising. It wasn't exactly in my plans to spend that much this time around, but I'd rather get something which will last, has a good layout, and can do everything I need it to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattHelm View Post
I have the hub, and am liking it more and more, but media controls need to be at the bottom!!!!
I honestly can't believe their designers did that and no one raised a red flag during testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckless View Post
I'm using 3 logitech 650s. I really like the button layout on those... all the normal media controls seem to easily reachable without having to stretch around.
Those don't seem to do RF control and I've got equipment both in a media closet and out in the open. I recall too many missed commands even when I had everything in a single entertainment center (not even behind glass doors) while using my 880.
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  #11  
Old 11-16-2015, 04:53 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattHelm View Post
I have the hub, and am liking it more and more, but media controls need to be at the bottom!!!!
You prefer the bottom? I think that is worse than the top. I think they need to be in the centre where you thumb would naturally go when you hold the device - the TiVo peanut remote is a great example - it just needs a SkipFwdx2 button as well.
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  #12  
Old 11-16-2015, 06:52 PM
MattHelm MattHelm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayner View Post
You prefer the bottom? I think that is worse than the top. I think they need to be in the centre where you thumb would naturally go when you hold the device - the TiVo peanut remote is a great example - it just needs a SkipFwdx2 button as well.
I don't know if I'm just use to the SageTV remote or what, but my very first complaint about the HUB, even before I had it running, was the bad (to me) remote layout. To each their own.

I do love not having to point it correctly!!! Loved my old BUD UHF remote. Could move it between satellites from out by the BUD!!! Hard to see the TV though!
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2015, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
Oldies but goodies; 2 URC MX 500's.
I love this remote. Been my primary remote for going on 12 years now, and going strong (well, won't say strong - something broke inside and it sounds like a maraca now - but still works flawlessly). Have yet to find a button layout that I like as much for sage, especially with it putting arrow and transport controls (including 2 levels of Fwd and Rev) all at thumb's reach.

I actually thought about commissioning a proper 'SageTV remote'. There are a number of chinese manufacturers that will print custom remotes - just not sure how many would be interested in it - would be great to have proper hardware buttons for all sage commands, while not being a random jumbled mess like the HD-300 remote.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:05 AM
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Of course, as great as the mx-500 is, my kids seem to get around on their HD-200 just fine with this one:
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:39 AM
KarylFStein KarylFStein is offline
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I use the 890 Pro. Almost had a panic attack when the kids broke it at one point and no one sold it anymore, but found a refurbished on on eBay. Not sure what I'd do if the remote broke again, (like others I don't like the button layout on the new model either).

When you say repeating issues, do you mean that sometimes a key press is registered twice? We have the issue where sometimes navigating menus single button presses will start to be duplicated e.g. press down once and it'll skip down twice. Very annoying and have played around with the Logitech timing options with no change. I've been meaning to see if anyone on here had a solution...
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:50 AM
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You can pick up MX-500's on ebay for <$30, and they can be programmed all on the remote without any extra software as long as you have a remote to learn the codes from.

There was a module available at one time that used the Clone ability of the remote to export a config, alter it, and reimport it to the remote - allowing adding of discrete commands that you may not have on an actual remote to learn from - but the device only works on XP, not win7+, so I haven't tried to use it for almost a decade.
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Old 11-19-2015, 11:28 AM
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I'm not willing to give up my RF base station or If/Else macros, so I'll be sticking with my MX880, which has a great DVR layout by the way.
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Old 11-19-2015, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
I'm not willing to give up my RF base station or If/Else macros, so I'll be sticking with my MX880, which has a great DVR layout by the way.
The MX-880 is a great layout - damn pricey though. The shame is, the URC's are about the only remotes I can find that have separate FF/RW and SKIP FWD/SKIP BACK, which are pretty much required the way I use SageTV. The unfortunate thing is I have no need for the programmability of the remote, as I only use it to control sage, and the volume on the receiver. I could actually use absolutely ANY remote for those purposes, if only it had the right buttons.
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  #19  
Old 11-19-2015, 12:48 PM
Wayneb Wayneb is offline
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URC remotes may be expensive but they last, I paid $249 for my MX-600 and it lasted many years longer than the equally priced Harmony 890 I bought my mother, it was still working when I gave it away after buying the MX-980 remotes I have. I paid $399 each for my MX-980 remotes and $150 for the MRF-350 Basestation, 7 years later they still look and work like new.
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Old 11-19-2015, 02:20 PM
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URC remotes may be expensive but they last, I paid $249 for my MX-600 and it lasted many years longer than the equally priced Harmony 890 I bought my mother, it was still working when I gave it away after buying the MX-980 remotes I have. I paid $399 each for my MX-980 remotes and $150 for the MRF-350 Basestation, 7 years later they still look and work like new.
No argument there, I said earlier I'm still using a 12 year old MX-500. My point was, I don't need anything the mx-500 does, other than the great button layout. I am never in more than a single 'mode', and rarely use any buttons on the LCD. The IR transmitter on it is so strong, it's practically RF, in that it can pretty much point just about anywhere in the living room and it's going to bounce off the walls enough to hit my USB-UIRT sitting atop my television.
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