Logitech, Monster Cable unveil new generation of remote controls

Posted by Humphrey Cheung and Mark Raby

Long Beach (CA) - Two companies, Logitech and Monster Cable are trying to spice up the typically hum-drum remote control with remotes that control not only all your audio/visual gear, but also your interior lighting. While both company's remotes do the same thing, they look and feel quite different. Logitech's Harmony 1000 is sleek, finger-width thin and has a touch screen. Monster's went the traditional route with their huge AVL300 and traditional buttons.

Get a first look of Logitech's and Monster Cable's remote controls ...

We saw both remotes at the recently completed Electronic House Expo in Long Beach, a conference that showcases home automation gadgets from lighting to media servers. The name of the game at this convention is to wire up everything in your home and companies hope you buy a controller to umm... control it all.

Logitech's upcoming Harmony 1000 remote will control DVD players, television sets and lighting. Harmony will be able to adjust and toggle lights that are connected to ZWave home automation standard control boxes. Lights can be set up in zones and can be turned off in groups or individually.

Logitech officials told us the Harmony's menus and software is being finalized for imminent release. An official announcement should be made in the coming month or so, possibly during January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The unit should sell for around $500.

In contrast to Logitech's svelte profile, Monster's new remote control resembles a traditional, yet very large, handheld controller. Like Logitech's Harmony 1000, Monster's E100 and E300 remotes can control audio-visual equipment along with lighting. A small LCD screen is on the top of the remote while traditional buttons and a tactile button control is in the middle.

Marco Colindres, Western Regional Sales Manager for Monster, said the remote requires some setup through either a PC or Apple Mac computer. The settings are saved and can be synchronized to another remote, if the original is lost.

The E300 remote comes with an infrared repeater/blaster that will re-transmit IR throughout the house. Extra repeaters can be purchased. Colindres told us that an entire system for an entire house, plus the remote, should run just under $1000.