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I have a complicated Home theater system with a TV, a cable box, a Blu-Ray player, an AV receiver, a 3D adapter, an HDMI switcher, and an Intel Compute Stick. Over the years, I've controlled this system with various Logitech Harmony universal remotes. They've gotten better over the years; my first one was controlled by buttons, then they introduced touch screens, and now my latest one comes with a Harmony hub which bounces infrared light off of walls. And it comes with an iPhone app you can use if you don't have the remote handy.

But there's one complaint I've had about all the Logitech Harmony devices I have owned: when the remote fails to turn on everything properly, you to have to use a "Help" feature where you specify what devices are still not on and what devices are not set to the right input. So my question is, are there any universal remotes that automatically detect what devices are on or off, fixing those problems automatically to save you from the hassle of using the Help feature?

It should definitely be possible to check the state of various devices. After all, I used to have a Google TV Blu-Ray player which plugged into your cable box and access data from it. Are there any Universal Remote systems that plug into your various devices, or somehow wirelessly ping your devices to see if they're on, and maybe even what input they're set at?

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To the best of my knowledge TV remotes use 1 way infra-red signals.

Remote systems that plug into your various devices

https://www.pulse-eight.com/p/104/usb-hdmi-cec-adapter

I have no idea how many you would need, but you could plug up to 4 into a $35 raspberry pi directly, or more than that with a powered USB hub.

or somehow wirelessly ping your devices to see if they're on, and maybe even what input they're set at?

The raspberry Pi 3 has built-in wifi and bluetooth.

You might have to do some programming or find someone else who has already done it.

Here is some addition info I googled.

http://blog.endpoint.com/2012/11/using-cec-client-to-control-hdmi-devices.html

$ echo 'standby 0' | cec-client -s /dev/ttyACM0
$ echo 'on 0' | cec-client -s /dev/ttyACM0

If you had enough of these devices so that all your devices were visible you could control them all.

List all detectable devices:

cec-client -l

You could probably even write scripts so if one device turns on the other devices turn on. The only downside is you have to DIY some of this.
Maybe you can find someone else who has already done it.

CEC has many aliases see list below:

Samsung - Anynet+
Sony - BRAVIA Link or BRAVIA Sync
LG - SimpLink
Sharp - Aquos Link
Vizio- CEC
Hitachi - HDMI-CEC
AOC - E-link
Pioneer - Kuro Link
Toshiba - Regza Link or CE-Link
Onkyo - RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI)
Panasonic - VIERA Link or HDAVI Control or EZ-Sync
Philips - EasyLink
Mitsubishi - NetCommand for HDMI
Runco International - RuncoLink
Insignia - InLink
JVC - CEC
Magnavox - Fun-Link
Sylvania - Fun-Link
Sansui - EasyConnect

One of dozens of options:

https://www.amazon.com/Inteset-External-Infrared-Center-Receiver/dp/B00J5NRWFO

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  • Yeah, I don't want a solution that requires DIY work or coding, I just want to be a Logitech Harmony-like product that does everything for me. – Keshav Srinivasan May 2 '17 at 2:39
  • You might be to load Kodi media center, formerly XMBC, and that might make it easier. You could certainly add a USB Ir-reciever to the Pi 3, and then control it that way. It would still take some work to configure the first tim At any rate HDMI-CEC is the only 2 way (send and receive) method of talking to all the devices I know. – cybernard May 2 '17 at 3:06
  • Well, I'm willing to do basic configuration, like the sort of configuration I do for my Logitech Harmony remotes: I specify what devices I have, what devices a given activity should turn on, what input the devices should be set to, and what each button on the remote should do. But I'm reluctant to do anything technical. – Keshav Srinivasan May 2 '17 at 3:13
  • FYI: Minimum testing effort. Get kodi and install it to a USB stick. Buy a usb cec device. Plug the USB CEC into hdmi. Boot laptop or computer from USB kodi. Then you could test the CEC functionality. You could also get a usb ir-da reciever for testing. However, that is about $80 worth of parts you might have to send back if it doesn't work as expected. However, if it does work, you can get pi 3 cheap, and hook everything up to it. – cybernard May 2 '17 at 4:09

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