I love that we’re in an era when software can solve a hardware problem

About 6 months ago I bought an Olevia 542i 42″ HDTV. It isn’t the best 42″ TV that you can get, but it is one of the best deals, and it is a very respectable set. Nice features of the set include a VGA input port, upgradeable firmware via USB, and an RS232 interface to remote control it (in addition to IR). Olevia publishes the full set of protocol codes for the RS232 in a 4 page pdf file.

Not so nice features, there are 10 TV inputs, but the factory remote only has an input next button to flip between them. That means going from HDMI to Component2 is 9 button presses. Not very fun. When programming a logitech harmony to automatically change between those states you need to leave enough time gap to not miss codes, so it takes a long time to get from HDMI -> Component2.

Logitech Harmony remotes are little embedded computers with a state machine. You use a windows app to program the thing over USB (works fine via VMWare). They also get regular updates from logitech when new IR code databases are published. Apparently, some time ago someone figured out that there were IR codes for direct input setting (there were rs232 codes for it, so it made sense that you should be able to get to them from IR). 3 weeks ago they made it into the Logitech Harmony database. Last night I updated the remote, and now I don’t have cycle time.

It’s really nice to live in an era where a product isn’t dead once it’s shipped, but that it continues to improve while you own it. Especially something like a TV. 🙂

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