OK , I admit I have a rather strong obsession with Tech things, and with a few tech gadges in the living room I needed a good remote to wrangle all the rest into submission (one remote to rule them all).
For years I have been dealing with the One-For-All Kameleon 8 Universal Remote. (pictured below) relatively cool and did what I wanted for the most part. It was not THAT hard to set up, but I never did get it to do EXACTLY what I wanted it to, and although it had a learning function I just learned to work around its short comings. My BIG problem with this thing is it ate AAA batteries like that is what it was really made just for that reason. The motion sensitive touch screen came on when ever I dropped a cotton ball in the upstairs bathroom.
So I decided to look around, and for Christmas I did have the Logitech Harmony 880 on my list. Although ECost really hosed me and I did not get it for Christmas, I finally just bought one using some of my, “sorry your gift did not come in” money and what a brave new world I entered. Set up was easy, although I did have a moment when I thought it would not recognize one of my more obscure AV items (my ubër cheap insignia surround sound/av/dvd) after walking through the web set up and answering a few questions (like: do you use your cable box or AV for volume while watching TV). It worked. I had to go back only once to adjust a setting for the AV component but now:
1) When I watch TV, I press “Watch TV” it knows what components to turn on and the control somehow knows what I want, meaning guide works the cable box, volume works the stereo, and pip controls the TV.
2) When I press watch DVD, it configures everything and turns the TV to the correct input. Genius.
3) It will Never ever eat another AAA battery, as it has its own docking station, and rechargeable battery.
4) If I do really want to get some detailed control of one particular component and do by pressing TV, for example and it will display every function my stock TV remote had on it
The way some say their DVR revolutionized their TV experience, the Harmony 880 cleaned up my coffee table and hopefully, my battery drawer.