>>I'm John Falcone for CNET and this is the Logitech Harmony 650. The 650 is one of Logitech's more affordable universal remotes with a suggested retail price of $100. Like nearly all Harmony remotes, this one is programmable via Windows PCs and Macs using Logitech's web-based software. It control up to five devices and uses simple task based commands such as Watch TV, Watch a Movie or Listen to Music. Overall, we really liked the feel and the ergonomics of this remote. That's not a surprise because it has the same basic design as the step down Harmony 600 and the step up Harmony 700 models that we like so much as well. In fact, the only real difference between the Harmony 650 and the 700 is that this one controls five devices instead of six and it doesn't come with rechargeable batteries like the 700 does.
The Harmony 650 is Logitech's most affordable remote with a color LCD. It allows you to add colorful logos for favorite channels. The LCD screen is surrounded by five contextual buttons and you can page through to additional screens to multiply the available options as well. Otherwise, the Harmony 650 has nearly all the buttons you'll need for controlling a TV, cable box, DVR and DVD or Blu-ray player. Just to name a few of the possibilities. To program the Harmony 650 you connect it to a PC or Mac using the supplied USB cable and fire up Logitech's web-based software. Once you identify the make and model of your device, the system automatically downloads the correct codes from Logitech's massive data base which includes more than 200,000 devices. Then you answer a series of questions about how they're connected to one another, in what order they should be powered up and how they fit into each task. The software handles most of the heavy lifting and you can customize and troubleshoot as needed.
It maybe a bit challenging for newbies but it's still easier than the multi-step macro programming you need to do for many other universal remotes. Once we set it up we found that the Harmony 650 controlled all of the RI based products in our home theatre system reliably and without any hassle. If you need to control more than five products, you can pay an extra $20 to $50 to step up to the Harmony 700. Otherwise, the Logitech Harmony 650 is a great option for replacing up to five remotes in your home theatre. I'm John Falcone for CNET and this is the Logitech Harmony 650.