My wife’s satisfaction with the new TiVo Roamio OTA tuner/DVR allowed us to cut the cord earlier this month. The peanut-shaped TiVo remote played a key role. The “Peanut” fits the hand and is easy to use.
The lone downside is that only one Peanut is included. While I consider the den TiVo to be her fiefdom, I also need a remote in my self-appointed role of “TV butler”: assisting with any difficulties, pointing out new features, and skipping the commercials in “General Hospital” while she is cooking.
I could have simply bought an extra Peanut, or used the free TiVo smartphone app. (Personally, I like a physical remote, but it’s always nice to have the app on your phone, even if you have to wake it up.) However, I went a third way.
I have extolled the virtues of Logitech Harmony remotes previously. I have used an 890 in the theater room for several years. The 890 is an older model that handles up to 16 devices and 15 activities.
When the TiVo Roamio OTA arrived, I still had room on my trusty 890 for both TiVo and the den TV as Devices. Since I already had Roku and an A/B switch as Devices for the theater room Activities, I could add them all to a new Activity I called “Den”.
Adding TiVo as a Device assigned the standard functions (Rewind / FF / Pause / etc.) to the 890’s standard buttons in a very natural way. I assigned the special TiVo buttons (Live TV / TiVo / Zoom / Back / A,B,C,D) to “soft” buttons on the 890 (buttons labeled by the blue screen; photo at top).
I then had a complete working Peanut clone! But I didn’t stop there. On a second screen, I added soft buttons for an antenna A/B switch and the den TV. On the third screen, I added Roku controls. One Harmony can do it all. Well, I still keep the X10 learning remote handy for turning on/off lights, and as an alternate TV and Roku remote. (See the next post, Teaching TiVo to the X10 universal remote, for an update.)
By the way, when you pair the Peanut with the TiVo Roamio, it uses RF (radio frequency) to control without the need to point; otherwise it emits IR (infrared light). The Harmony 890 is able to do both IR and RF, but I use it strictly in IR mode. The TiVo Roamio recognizes both.
When Logitech was threatening to sell off their remote line in 2013, I got worried that the new owner might force new users to either smartphone-only control, or a more expensive option (ultimately, they didn’t sell). So I picked up a used 890 on eBay with no battery or back cover, and put it aside as a backup.
So, rather than schlep the Harmony wonder remote back and forth between the den and theater room, I ordered a battery and back cover for the backup 890. Then I attached it to my PC and cloned my clone.
Now I keep one in the den, and one in the theater room’s charger base. When the den 890 batteries run down, I swap them. Everybody’s happy.