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Harmony 688 Remote Setup

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I'd recommend everyone start with a quick setup of your devices and activities and then see what you like about the settings and what you might be missing. You'll want to make a short list of your gripes and anything that doesn't function optimally for you. Here are some things I ran into the first time I setup my remote:

  • The remote didn't turn on/off my Scientific Atlanta 8000HD DVR
  • My PVR settings came with almost no LCD buttons, including the necessary A, B, and C buttons for activating DVR and guide functions
  • I had no quick way to select multi-channel audio inputs on my Integra processor
  • I needed quick access to the television and/or cable aspect ratio controls

Solving Hardware Problems Such As Missing IR Codes

1. The remote didn't turn on/off my Scientific Atlanta 8000HD DVR

This problem was not as difficult as it seemed, partially due to the fact that all I had missing was a power button. To start fixing a remote control function, click on "Troubleshoot" next to the Device that you are troubleshooting. My particular problem was that my DVR was not being turned on or off. Here's what the troubleshooter presented me with:

Harmony Remote Troubleshooting

Wow. My problem was first on the list! Sure enough after answering a couple questions and shooting the power command into the back of the H688, my power problem was fixed. In addition, there is always a good chance that if you update your remote IR codes, an updated entry to the database will be found and the command you may have been missing will suddenly appear. OK, let's attack the next problem...

2. My PVR settings came with almost no LCD buttons, including the necessary A, B, and C buttons for activating DVR and guide functions

Well, for this I wanted access to my PVR's A, B, and C buttons... but really what I needed was to do some customization of the LCD screen in the "Watch TV" activity. To accomplish this I had to customize the "Watch TV" activity. Click on "Customize" next to "Watch TV" and you will be able to "Change the behaviour of buttons" . Canadian spelling aside, this allows you to access all of the remote functions for the H688 - including the 6 buttons and labels for the LCD screen.

I skipped over the first half of the screen, which allows you to assign IR codes to the remote control's hard buttons and proceeded to the Custom Button Labels. Take note here that the H688 allows you to adjust IR commands for ALL DEVICES within a given activity. They are organized as Activity, Audio and Video. Basically, the H688 allows for setting up the LCD screen buttons and remote functions for each of the different devices involved in the particular activity selected. This is cool - and here's why: I can set up different LCD screens based on what I'm doing and I can have different device functions that are not linked to the device, but rather the activity I am involved in. There's one exception to this custom programming nirvana - common device LCD buttons are carried across all activities involving that device. More on this later.

So how do we add the A, B, and C buttons I so desperately needed? Select them under the PVR column (don't forget to enter a clear label for the button as well) I'd keep the label to around 7 letters max or you risk clipping the label on the display. Also keep in mind that the system counts across the LCD screen so the left side is 1, 3, and 5 while the right side of the LCD screen is 2, 4, and 6. See picture below:

harmony_programming_application.jpg
This is how the programming interface (right) shows up on the Harmony H688 (left)

3. I had no quick way to select multi-channel audio inputs on my Integra processor

This challenge was solved in nearly the same way as the PVR issue. I customized the "Watch DVD" activity. Clicking on "Customize" next to "Watch DVD" brought me to the next screen where I could select "Change the behaviour of buttons".

Using the same procedure as above, I set the LCD screen to allow me to access the Multi-channel input of the processor, and also programmed easy access to the Setup, A/B Repeat, Audio and Angle functions.

4. I needed quick access to the television and/or cable aspect ratio controls

Is this getting old, yet? Different problem, same solution. You'll find that breaking open the Harmony online remote control applications deeper programming menus will allow you to handle just about any remote function you need in order to control most home theater systems not requiring the intricate and voluminous programming and macros of a Crestron or AMX system. If you do need this level of programming sophistication, simply check out Harmony's 700 series of remote controls, which are designed specifically for custom installers and advanced users.

 

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