Our AV setup is so complicated that just watching a DVD these days requires a complex series of button presses on three different remote controls. And that's assuming we can even find them in the first place -- usually they're hidden under a mountain of Chris Stevens' MP3 players. Which is why we're so enamoured with Logitech's new Harmony 885 all-in-one remote -- it had us completely in control of our home cinema within minutes of freeing it from its cardboard prison.
Like the Logitech Harmony 675, the 885 connects up to your PC or Mac and sets itself up automatically by trundling off to Logitech's online library of infrared codes. All you need to do is tell it which equipment you own, and it will come up with a set of macros that allow you to play a DVD at the touch of a button. It's even clever enough to remember what's turned on and off, so you can hand over the remote to your granny and let her watch Countdown in peace.
The 885 isn't cheap. It's an eye-watering £180, but it's really been tailored to the hardcore home-cinema owner with a widescreen LCD, home-cinema system and even an Xbox 360. In a fine testament to the brilliance of Logitech's constantly updated online database, the remote even took control of our brand-new Microsoft console. The little LCD screen has options to go out to the Xbox guide, control the DVD player and even turn the console on and off.
The remote has a very ergonomic feel to it, and there's a nifty dock that charges the battery. There's also a dedicated button to change the aspect ratio, something that's really useful when we're watching The Simpsons in 4:3 on a widescreen TV.
Like the, the Logitech remote is an innovative product that we want to to take home and keep forever. It's on sale now for around £180. -GC