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[WINDOWS] HOW-TO use a Logitech Harmony Remote with XBMC
SteveMA Wrote:I am in the process of setting up my Harmony One to control my HTPC (including XBMC, to which I am relatively new). I got all my music setup as I want and am making progress on my movies but questions there later.

So far with the Harmony I've got my Activities and Devices (including MCE remote and MCE SE) set up such that I can get the PC turned on to WMC. In setting up the Harmony I am a little unclear as to the correct selection when asked "what input or channel does you Microsoft Media Center PC need to be on?". I chose Desktop but despite that WMC was launched. Should I have selected Windows Media Center and then change the key map instructions to open XBMC?

I have more questions but I'll be happy to get answers one at a time.

Gratefully yours,
SteveMA

Since you want to set up the XBMC activity, it should be set to "I don't need to set the input on my Microsoft Med Center PC".

Use a Windows shortcut to start XBMC, and assign a key to that shortcut. Add that key to the end of the XBMC activity start sequence.

We've discussed the shortcut in this thread. In short: on Win 7 use the Win+n key, on Win XP use one of the Fn keys. Which Windows version are you using?
Reply
bodhi Wrote:Since you want to set up the XBMC activity, it should be set to "I don't need to set the input on my Microsoft Med Center PC".

Use a Windows shortcut to start XBMC, and assign a key to that shortcut. Add that key to the end of the XBMC activity start sequence.

We've discussed the shortcut in this thread. In short: on Win 7 use the Win+n key, on Win XP use one of the Fn keys. Which Windows version are you using?

I'm using Windows 7 (it was an HTPC I built using recommendations from a guide I found on the AVS site).

I'll go back and read the info on the shortcut, but do I understand you to mean Win+n tells the PC to launch XBMC?

I saw in post 23 (sufreak) a customized key sequence which I think I understand. I don't know how to add the Start XBMC and the Context Menu items (nor how to assign them to F7 and C). Can you (or anyone who knows) show me how this is done?

Another question popped up while I was customizing the key settings for this activity (Listening to Digital Music). And that is, if I am using this activity to launch XBMC I don't need any other activities (eg, Watching Videos) since I can navigate to the Music or Video, etc header within XBMC. Is this correct (sorry but as I said, I am a newbie in this arena)?

Thanks again,
Steve


Thanks,
SteveMA
Reply
SteveMA Wrote:I'm using Windows 7 (it was an HTPC I built using recommendations from a guide I found on the AVS site).

I'll go back and read the info on the shortcut, but do I understand you to mean Win+n tells the PC to launch XBMC?

Thanks,
SteveMA

Right! Create a shortcut to launch XBMC. And on Win 7, pin (drag) the shortcut to the task bar, and the position of the short cut determines the number (e.g. Win+3 indicates the XBMC shortcut was the 3rd task pinned to the bar). OTOH, Fn key has to be explicitly assigned inside the shortcut.

The Win+n key is nice in that it will launch/minimize/maximize XBMC when you press it, depending whether XBMC is already running.
Reply
SteveMA Wrote:I'm using Windows 7 (it was an HTPC I built using recommendations from a guide I found on the AVS site).

I'll go back and read the info on the shortcut, but do I understand you to mean Win+n tells the PC to launch XBMC?

I saw in post 23 (sufreak) a customized key sequence which I think I understand. I don't know how to add the Start XBMC and the Context Menu items (nor how to assign them to F7 and C). Can you (or anyone who knows) show me how this is done?

Another question popped up while I was customizing the key settings for this activity (Listening to Digital Music). And that is, if I am using this activity to launch XBMC I don't need any other activities (eg, Watching Videos) since I can navigate to the Music or Video, etc header within XBMC. Is this correct (sorry but as I said, I am a newbie in this arena)?

Thanks again,
Steve


Thanks,
SteveMA

Don't worry about F7. Since you're using Windows 7, just use the Win+n key to start XBMC.

And the Context Menu for XBMC is built in to be invoked whenever you press letter C. So during the Harmony set up to Customize Buttons, define the Menu key using MCE Keyboard C key. And you're all set. While you're there, also define the Info key using MCE Keyboard I key (the I key is to invoke Info inside XBMC). These are among the most frequently used keys in XBMC.

What I would do is defining both "Watch Movies" and "Listening to Music" using the same XBMC activity. You don't need other activities if watching videos and music are all done inside XBMC. That's how I set up my Harmony hard buttons.
Reply
bodhi Wrote:Right! Create a shortcut to launch XBMC. And on Win 7, pin (drag) the shortcut to the task bar, and the position of the short cut determines the number (e.g. Win+3 indicates the XBMC shortcut was the 3rd task pinned to the bar). OTOH, Fn key has to be explicitly assigned inside the shortcut.

The Win+n key is nice in that it will launch/minimize/maximize XBMC when you press it, depending whether XBMC is already running.

I created a shortcut (actually already had one from initial XBMC installation) and assigned it to F7. I also reprogrammed the Harmony One to include the MCE Keyboard assignments listed in post 23 just as a starting point.

The Harmony has an activity program "Listen to Digital Music" which when selected does turn the TV, AVR and PC (if sleeping, if off I have to turn on manually and would like not to have to do this). The PC comes to the Desktop and when I push the Music window I get WMC launched.

I still don't understand how to get XBMC launched directly (I did create in the customize button section a StartXBMC and ContextMenu "mapping" to F7 and to C respectively as per post 23). But it is not clear to me how the Harmony communicates this info to the PC (obviously with the settings I have now this is not happening).

What do I need to do in order to get the F7 "seen" by the PC during startup to get to XBMC directly? Or can I not get there from here?

Thanks again for the help.
SteveMA
Reply
One more item. Even if XBMC were launched, I don't understand which key on the Harmony corresponds to which key from the "MCE keyboard". Help please.
Reply
After slogging all day thru this thread and programming and reprogramming the Harmony I have the Harmony launching XBMC directly. This is good!!

I still have a couple of things I need to clear up. One is that if I exit XBMC I am returned to WMC (I would rather return to the desktop). The other is a bit more concerning. I don't know how to access the context menu(s). Is there an easy way to do this?

SteveMA
Reply
SteveMA Wrote:I created a shortcut (actually already had one from initial XBMC installation) and assigned it to F7. I also reprogrammed the Harmony One to include the MCE Keyboard assignments listed in post 23 just as a starting point.

The Harmony has an activity program "Listen to Digital Music" which when selected does turn the TV, AVR and PC (if sleeping, if off I have to turn on manually and would like not to have to do this). The PC comes to the Desktop and when I push the Music window I get WMC launched.

I still don't understand how to get XBMC launched directly (I did create in the customize button section a StartXBMC and ContextMenu "mapping" to F7 and to C respectively as per post 23). But it is not clear to me how the Harmony communicates this info to the PC (obviously with the settings I have now this is not happening).

What do I need to do in order to get the F7 "seen" by the PC during startup to get to XBMC directly? Or can I not get there from here?

Thanks again for the help.
SteveMA

It sounds like you're mixing 2 different topics. Start XBMC automatically when you power up the HTPC, and Start XBMC automatically in Harmony activity (let's use Watch Movies).

To start XBMC automatically when the HTPC is powered up and booted into Windows: add the XBMC shortcut to Windows Startup (bring up the Start Menu and navigate to the Startup folder, open it in explorer, and drag the shortcut into it). Remember to add a delay of 10 seconds so that XBMC will not loose focus (add the option -d 10 to the end of the command).

Note that I am using Harmony 700. The set up should be the same for all Harmony remotes. You can either define the default Activity (Watch TV, Watch Movies, Listening to Music) separately, or define a Generic Activity and use that same activity to define one ore more default Activities.

To start XBMC automatically in Harmony Watch Movies activity:

- Let's use F7 as the shortcut key (works the same way if you use Win+n key, the only difference is how you define the shortcut key in Windows).

- Create a Generic Activity, include MCE Keyboard and MCE SE devices, the TV, and possibly the AV Receiver if desired. If you decide to setup the default activity "Watch Movies" then this step is for that (no need to create Generic Activty).

- Add the F7 key to the Activity starting part (It will be obvious when you bring up the Activity page).

- To close XBMC when the Activity ends, add Alt-F4 (device MCE SE) to the exiting part. I don't close XBMC when exiting activity, so I use Win+3 here to minimize the XBMC window.

- Go to the Harmony page where you define Watch Movies and tell Harmony SW to use the Generic activity that you have just created. And the do the same for Listening to Music (Skip this step if you set up default activity).
Reply
SteveMA Wrote:After slogging all day thru this thread and programming and reprogramming the Harmony I have the Harmony launching XBMC directly. This is good!!

I still have a couple of things I need to clear up. One is that if I exit XBMC I am returned to WMC (I would rather return to the desktop). The other is a bit more concerning. I don't know how to access the context menu(s). Is there an easy way to do this?

SteveMA

This is incorrect set up. I think because you've defined the input for the MCE Keyboard device or MCE SE keyboard device. They should not have any input. And WMC should not be started at all, just XBMC.
Reply
SteveMA Wrote:One more item. Even if XBMC were launched, I don't understand which key on the Harmony corresponds to which key from the "MCE keyboard". Help please.

See the XBMC key mapping topic:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Global_Keyboard

The idea is each key means something in XBMC. And by including in the Harmony remote a MCE Keyboard device will allow you to press a key that XBMC will respond. For example, the letter C invokes Context Menu. So you would want to assign the MCE Keyboard device letter C to the Harmony Menu key. Likewise, you would want to assign the MCE Keyboard device letter I to the Harmony Info key.

This can be done using Customize Buttons in the XBMC activity.
Reply
bodhi Wrote:It sounds like you're mixing 2 different topics. Start XBMC automatically when you power up the HTPC, and Start XBMC automatically in Harmony activity (let's use Watch Movies).

To start XBMC automatically when the HTPC is powered up and booted into Windows: add the XBMC shortcut to Windows Startup (bring up the Start Menu and navigate to the Startup folder, open it in explorer, and drag the shortcut into it). Remember to add a delay of 10 seconds so that XBMC will not loose focus (add the option -d 10 to the end of the command).

Note that I am using Harmony 700. The set up should be the same for all Harmony remotes. You can either define the default Activity (Watch TV, Watch Movies, Listening to Music) separately, or define a Generic Activity and use that same activity to define one ore more default Activities.

To start XBMC automatically in Harmony Watch Movies activity:

- Let's use F7 as the shortcut key (works the same way if you use Win+n key, the only difference is how you define the shortcut key in Windows).

- Create a Generic Activity, include MCE Keyboard and MCE SE devices, the TV, and possibly the AV Receiver if desired. If you decide to setup the default activity "Watch Movies" then this step is for that (no need to create Generic Activty).

- Add the F7 key to the Activity starting part (It will be obvious when you bring up the Activity page).

- To close XBMC when the Activity ends, add Alt-F4 (device MCE SE) to the exiting part. I don't close XBMC when exiting activity, so I use Win+3 here to minimize the XBMC window.

- Go to the Harmony page where you define Watch Movies and tell Harmony SW to use the Generic activity that you have just created. And the do the same for Listening to Music (Skip this step if you set up default activity).

Yes, I believe you're correct. My goal is exactly as you describe in youe Generic Activity description (which on my Harmony One must be the Utility activity). I selected Listen to Digital Music from their list and this may be why I was forced to pick an input for both the MCE Keyboard and the WMC PC devices.

I will set up a Utility Activity and see what happens. BTW, I am able to launch XBMC with my current set up (WMC is not launched by the Activity button but by the Music soft button). I also used the Win+5 command in the Listen to Digital Music setup which seems to work nicely.

One more question. The soft button "Music" was launching WMC as I alluded to in a previous post. Can/should the soft buttons be mapped to XBMC fucntions or is there nothing for them to do in XBMC?

I really appreciate your help not to mention the time you've spent helping me. Thanks,
SteveMA
Reply
After a bit of searching I've found a copy of original posts I had kept with all the pictures so I could use offline.

I've uploaded the pictures to Imageshack and will repost the 1st couple of posts with the pictures included.

I've just noticed that vanOert original posts didn't include adding MCE Remote and Windows Media Center SE devices which I use for my activity so may add this detail.
Reply
Additional Notes by jjd-uk

Before beginning these are some additional things to be aware of when you get to Step 5 in vanOerts guide.

There are 3 devices that can be added to a Harmony Remote Control for controlling XBMC, these are:

Windows Media Center - the profile for a MCE Remote

Select: Computer – Media Center PC – Microsoft – Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center SE - an additional set of shortcut/hotkey commands, see Expanded control for Windows Media Center

Select: Computer – Media Center PC – Microsoft – Windows Media Center SE

MCE Keyboard - for sending plain key presses

Select: Computer – Media Center PC – Microsoft – MCE Keyboard

Devices are added via the Harmony software by the selection boxes Device - Manufacturer - Model

The model type should be manually typed into the provided text box, so this is either Windows Media Center, Windows Media Center SE or MCE Keyboard

Some of the lower end Harmony remote controls restrict the number of devices that can be added, thus if you have one of these then you can use only the MCE Keyboard device as this will allow you to have only one device that will control most things.

If you have a higher end Harmony where this isn't such an issue then adding all three devices will give you maximum flexibility.


Original posting by vanOert

Hey there,
I wanted to contribute something here, since you guys really helped us with our XBMC-Setup.
So, here’s a guide to setting up Logitech Harmony for XBMC.

Notes:
- I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, though being German, I probably could.
- I’m sure everything in this guide has been done and explained before; I just wanted to make it more beginner friendly.
- All suggestions are quite welcome, just drop me a pm, or better: post here, I’m happy to include good ideas.
- Our living room isn't that nice yet. We just moved in. Suck it. Rofl


So, let’s get started:
(1) Requirements
You’ll probably need:
- A fully set up XBMC installation (probably got that already
- Some sort of Harmony Remote (probably got that, too)
- An infrared Receiver (RC6-capable)

Maybe a picture will help:

Image

(2) The receiver
Any RC6 capable receiver will do, we’ll use an HP Media Center receiver, since it’s cheap and easy to get on eBay.
The RC6 point is especially important, as non-RC6 ones won't work with your Harmony.
On a side note: My receiver is from an eBay-Guy in Hong Kong, delivery to Germany took 3 days, so that's fine.

Image

(3) The remote
You probably already have one, if not, you should go for one with a display, the smaller models mostly differ in how
many devices you can control. You’ll need 2 devices for XBMC. We’ll be using our 555 model.

Image

(4) The setup process
Plug the RC6-IR-Receiver into your XBMC. You’ll want a line of sight connection to your couch.
Start the setup for your Harmony Remote as usual and configure all of your devices except for the media center.

(5) Now let’s get to the configuration of the MC profile
Start the Logitech Harmony Remote Software. In the devices tab, click ‘Add Device’

Image

Select: Computer – Media Center PC – Microsoft – “Windows Media Center

You’ll have to enter the last bit by hand.
Add this as a device and name it MCE Remote.

Now, repeat the ‘Add Device’ process, this time select:
Computer – Media Center PC – Microsoft – “MCE Keyboard

Image

Add this device and name it MCE Keyboard
Reply
By vanOert

Go to activities tab, then select ‘Add Activity’

Image

Go through the steps selecting:

Image

Image

Image

Now, you need to add your devices. This depends on your configuration.
You’ll have to select both MCE Remote and MCE Keyboard.

Image

In my case, additionally, we’re going to select the TV and the A/V-Receiver.
Continue through the input selection and try to be honest about everything. It should work.
When done, select done. ;-)

(7) Now, go back to the activities tab and select ‘Customize Buttons’ on your generic activity.

Image
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Additional Notes by jjd-uk

If using the MCE Keyboard device in your activity then the following will tell you what keyboard key presses do what in XBMC.

Global Keys see http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Global_Keyboard

Video Section Keys see http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Videos_Keyboard

Music Section Keys see http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Music_Keyboard

Pictures Section Keys see http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Pictures_Keyboard


Original posting by vanOert

You can now select an action for every remote button. For Remote functions like ‘play’, ‘skip’
or ‘fast forward’ select the MCE remote, for Keyboard functions like Arrow-Keys, I-Button,
M-Button or ESC select the MCE function and pick the correct action.

Image

When finished, click done in the lower right and synchronize the profile to your remote.
You may also want to change the activity name.

All done! :-)
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