Practical Technology

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Apple TV and Harmony Remotes finally in Harmony


Forr my money, the Apple TV is still the best media extender around, with one little problem: a teeny-tiny remote.

It works fine, but it’s so small-think a couple of sticks of chewing gun–that it’s almost like it was meant to be lost. Or, in my case, for it to be chewed on by my dog Twiggy, who has a big appetite for small electronics.

Another disadvantage is that I need another remote for my home entertainment center like I need a hole in my head. That’s why I use Logitech Harmony universal remotes to control my electronics. One remote to rule them all; One remote to find them; One remote to control them all and in my living room run them.

Well, something like that anyway. My point is that Harmony remotes are great. The major exception to my generally favorable feelings about the Harmony family is that Logitech can be slow about supporting the newest equipment. That was the case with the Apple TV.

There were ways to program a Harmony so it would work with an Apple TV, but it wasn’t easy. And, in my experience, it only gave you basic functionality.

Now, Logitech finally supports the Apple TV completely and fully with its latest updates. With my Logitech Harmony 676 remote, I’m able to comfortably and easily use the Apple TV with the rest of my entertainment center. And, better still, there’s no way my dog can munch up this remote.

While there are numerous Logitech Harmony remotes with multiple feature sets, the firmware heart of these devices remains the same. Thus, I can securely say that any late model Harmony remote, with the latest firmware update, can run an Apple TV.

To set it up, just use the Harmony’s online configuration tool. Select a Home Media Computer as your new device. Then, select Apple and Apple TV for the device’s maker and model. Finally, just attach a TV viewing activity as usual to go with the device, update the remote, and you’re ready to go. I found that my remote and the Apple TV were in perfect harmony after my first setup attempt.

In addition, I found that the new update can also handle the new DirecTV HR20 HDTV DVR. Since DirecTV finally started activated its new HDTV channels, this will become the DVR of choice for DirecTV users. It was a real pleasure to find that my Harmony could handle not only the Apple TV, but my brand new HR20.


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