We've seen most of the major players roll out their HDMI-CEC support since earlier in the year, and all I can say is that it makes me want a universal remote more than ever. If one company on a closed circuit across their own brand can't make these systems as simple, and elegant, a solution as a third-party programmable remote, then HDMI-CEC is never going to be a serious feature on the TV scene.
Cross brand control is one thing. You don't expect it, so it is nice that at least basic commands do work (like ON and OFF). But something that has been positioned as a revolution in device control so far feels MORE complicated than having five remotes on the coffee table.
Here's my advice to all you multinational CE corporations who might be listening:
If you incorporate HDMI-CEC into your gear, then you should offer a specialised universal remote to your customers. If someone is the kind of customer that is going to use this, then they have bought lots of your gear — so make this remote free! They love your stuff, they'll keep coming back if you look after them. Don't fleece your best customers.
The on screen command system for jumping between device controls is what destroys the concept right now. Isn't HDMI-CEC about making control easier? I know my way around a remote, and even I got lost during Panasonic's Viera Link demo. You press which to get to what to do how? If the remote simply had a system of device buttons that light to tell you which device you are currently talking to, life would be SO MUCH EASIER.
As it stands, I'll take a Harmony remote from Logitech any day over a vendor lock-in that right now delivers no appreciable benefit.