EPISODE 2: Preparing the Harmony One to be Paired with the HTPC


Pairing the Harmony One remote with the Mac mini is a two step process. The first step is done with the remote control. The second step with the Mac mini, our HTPC.

Added to this it can be done with or without the Remote Buddy software.

We will start without the Remote Buddy but to achieve the kind of fluent control of multiple apps we will use it.

We assume that you have already configured the remote to pair with both your TV Set and Amp if you have one. It is also assumed that you already have basic knowledge about configuring devices and activities with the Harmony remotes.

So let's prepare our Harmony One for the rest of the episodes. For most of the stuff we will not need to do anything else to the Harmony but the following.

1. Load you Harmony Software and click "Add Device".

2.  Select the "Media Center PC" for device, "Plex"for manufacturer and" Plex Player" for the model as you see in the pic bellow.

3. Click "Next".

4. Click do "Save". You should then see your Media Center PC device as follows (Plex).

5. Click "Settings" and rename the device to your fitting but I suggest Home Theatre PC. Press "Save".

6. Select "Advanced Setup for this device" and click "Next".

7. Select "I want to leave this device on all the time". Click "Next".

8. Select "One button on the remote for turning it both On and Off". Click "Next".

9. Since your HTPC will always on what the "On/Off" button is irrelevant. Just Select as you see bellow and click "Next".

10. The Harmony One is not a fast remote control. The most responsive settings that I've found while not compromising speed are as you see bellow. If you have any other please share. Click "Next".

11. The setting bellow depends on the way your TV Set changes inputs. You know, "AV1", AV2", "HDMI-1" etc. Select yours and click "Next". Mine is as represented in the pic bellow.

12. Click "Next"

13. We will use three numbers to emulate changing channels in the HTPC. Instead of changing channels we will actually run applications or select features. Each number will correspond to an app or feature. Select as you see bellow and click "Next".

14. Click "Next". Click "Done". Click "Done".

15. We will now add an Activity to the "Home Theatre PC" device. Select as you see bellow and click "Next".

16. The configuration will be done manually. Click "Next".

17. We need to choose an activity type of "Watch Television". If not for its ability to present a list of favorite channels with Icons our choice could be different. But we want this feature for later episodes so select as you see bellow and click "Next".

18. What actually instructs the TV about what is to be displayed is our "Media Center PC" so select as you see bellow and click "Next".

19. What controls the operation of switching channels is our Home Theatre PC. Select as you see bellow and click "Next".

20. What actually displays the video is our TV Set. In my case is an LG TV you'll need to choose yours.

21. You will need to choose your Amplifier if the Mac mini connected to it using the sound output jack. If you have and your Mac mini sound output connected to your TV then choose your TV. Otherwise choose "Plex Home Theatre PC" and click "Next".

22.  You will need to choose the "input" to which the Mac mini is connects to your TV Set. In my case I'm connected the Mac mini to my LG TV Set with a DVI-to-HDMI cable connected through HDMI-1. Check how your TV names its inputs select and click "Next".

23. Select "Yes, but I want to add more control or options and devices for this Activity" followed by a click on "Next"

24. Click "Save". Click "Next".

25. We will now add a "Start Action". So select "Plex Home Theatre PC" and click "Add>>".

26. Select "Send this infrared command" and select "F7". Click "Next".

27. You should have a screen similar to the following pic. Now add a "Leave Action". The steps are very much the same has for the "Start Action". Yet instead of selecting "F7" choose "Powertoggle"

28. After adding the "After Action" you should now see a screen as the following pic. Click "Save".

29. Review your settings and click "Next".

30. Click "Done". Click "Done". On you list of activities you should have one activity as the pic bellow.

31. Now select "Settings" and then select the option to rename the activity followed by a press on the button "Next". Then give a new name to the activity and press "Save". I suggest "Home Theatre" for the name of the activity.

32. Click "Done". You should now have something similar to the following pic.

33. Now we need to customize the button of the remote to our fitting so press "Customize Buttons". You should see something like the following pic.

34. As you can see, the Harmony One software by default does not map all the its keys to Plex commands. So starting with the "Standard Buttons" we need to map them as you can see in the pic.

35. Now add all other admissible Plex command that don't fit in the hard keys of the remote. So we add them as additional buttons on the Harmony. Basically we map every single command that Plex may accept so that they can be used for any purpose we would like later. The Harmony One displays the additional buttons on the LCD. They are also called soft buttons. As you can see in the pic bellow Boxee and Plex are already suggested for you to define. They are being mapped to the Red and Green commands on Plex.

36. Click "Done"

37. Select "Set Up Favorite Channels and add icon" followed by a click on then "Next" button.

37. Add least the first 4 channels as you see in the pic bellow. The all of them will be referenced in the later episodes yet if you don't fancy those features there is no point in adding it. I also include all the icons that I'm currently using. If you have better ones please send me a comment as I no design skills.

Here are the icons:

Dark Blue Theme:

Light Blue Theme:

And that is it! For the rest the tutorials probably we will come once or twice to the Harmony One software, but 99% of the work is done.

In the next episode we will focus on doing what needs to be done on the Plex and Boxee side of things so stay tunned


June 11, 2010 at 1:12 PM sjhu said...

Oh WOW, you have really made an extensive great tutorial which is very helpful for the real newbie and even useful for the more experienced users.
Thanks for the icons.
I'm looking forward for your next episode(s).


June 16, 2010 at 1:53 PM Anonymous said...

Great tutorial!

I just have one question: I too am outside of the US so I would like to setup a VPN in order to use HULU. What service do you use for your VPN?

Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work.

- Pablo

June 17, 2010 at 12:40 AM Nuno said...

The paid ones are usually good. I can recommend both StrongVPN and Witopia.

June 17, 2010 at 9:53 AM rc said...

very nice tutorial. let me know if you'd like cleaner icons for google, google world, and others with pixelized edges. i'm happy to contribute...
,r from iconharmony.com

June 17, 2010 at 1:52 PM Nuno Lopes said...

Oh man, what a honor. I actually tried to imitate the work you did with www.iconharmony.com for the 900 series. I have no graphic design skills, so much that it took me 4 hours to get my head around GIMP to come up with something similar to yours (or more).

So yes, redo what you think is bellow par. It would be extremely appreciated. You can even redo all of them, I would for sure use your version of the theme.



June 21, 2010 at 8:57 AM Nick Stutzman said...

I'm on the edge of my seat here waiting for the next update! :)

October 5, 2010 at 9:05 PM Cory said...

Hi Nuno, Thank you so much for this, you have no idea how much your blog has helped. I have figured out most things you haven't covered yet as of episode 4, and I made some icons to match the icon harmony icons I use for my TV favorites.










November 4, 2011 at 4:04 PM randall cohen said...

hey nuno, i hope you don't mind that i've been referring other users to you and your site for issues with Mac Mini/Harmony setups. I hope all is well. Best, RC

November 4, 2011 at 4:57 PM Nuno Lopes said...

Of course I don't mind. It is here for the taking :)

All is good. Hope all is well with you too.

January 25, 2012 at 9:11 PM kmcorbett said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I was enjoying Plex 9 even though the UI was driving me crazy. Magic trackpad and wireless keyboard are great, but not for watching TV.

I was having a weird problem where Menu and other commands were launching XBMC. Same effect pressing the Menu key on Apple Remote. Turns out I had set "always running" in XBMC, causing Plex and XBMC to duel for control.

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