I’ve had my eye on this one for a while but the price has generally been a little too steep – upwards of $300. For the last many years, I’ve usually had one remote control per home entertainment device. One remote for the satellite TV, one for the A/V receiver, one for the DVD, etc. The A/V receiver did come with its own universal remote but it’s a pain in the butt to find the remote codes, some buttons don’t map correctly and some devices just plain don’t work. It makes things a bit confusing too when you gotta press a button to turn on the A/V, press another one to turn on the TV, another one to turn on the DVD, set the source inputs correctly, do a little dance and hope everything works. Not the end of the world but not ideal either.

For quite a while, I’ve had my eye on the Logitech Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote. Its claim to fame is solving every problem a person has with their home entertainment setup – an actual universal remote that works universally! But for $300, it’s a tough sell.

Costco started stocking them recently for $170 but even still, it’s a bit pricey for a remote. With all the work I’ve been doing lately, I decided it’s time for a little self-reward. I picked up the 880 yesterday and I’m just blown away by how amazing this little device is.

Programming it was easy – just give it a list of your devices, brands and models. It goes out to the web and downloads all the remote codes and then assembles “Activities” on the remote. What this means is that when you want to watch TV, you press a single button for “Watch TV” and the remote powers on ALL the equipment, sets the right inputs and maps the keys for the satellite TV. If you want to “Watch DVD”, the remote changes all the inputs to the DVD and maps the keys for the DVD player. “Play Wii” – no problem! Changes the inputs without any guess work!

Is it possible to have a home entertainment system without the songs and dances of making all your remotes play nicely together? Yes, it is. The Harmony 880 is simple to use and actually works perfectly. I think this is one toy I’ll enjoy for quite a while.

Update: I checked Future Shop and Best Buy’s websites and they list the Harmony 880 for $306 and $310 respectively while the exact same product is at Costco for $170.  I love you, Costco.

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