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Monday
Oct302017

Logitech Harmony Smart Control

Logitech Harmony Smart Control

From time to time our listeners will write us about an their experiences with their home theater setups. Today Scott Fosseen writes about his experience with his Harmony Remote.

 

My Favorite Harmony Remote.

I have owned a few Harmony higher end remotes, mostly because of your recommendations.  I will say for the features and ease of programing I did like them.  I did have some complaints though that included always having to remember to put the remote back on the charger, and the process of changing channels on my satellite box took about 5 seconds per channel.  About the time Ara moved to tablet based remote I also was looking for a different solution.  What I ended up changing to, I could not be happier.

My remote choice for the last several years is the “Harmony Smart Control”.  I paid $99 for mine, but now the current price on Amazon is $66.98.  So what makes this remote better than the rest of the Harmony remotes I have had?  The unit is 2 pieces,  The brains of the remote is a small box I have installed with my equipment.  It is this box that sends out the IR commands to the devices.  It also came with 2 (I think) IR extenders to reach devices that were not line of site with the main unit.  My current setup is a Tivo Romio OTA, Onkio receiver, PS3 - (Blu-ray/dvd player) a Sanyo 1080p projector, and a set of Amazon Multi-Color strip lights.  

The Smart Control box is controlled by a simple remote.  The remote has no display, it is not even backlit.  The benefit is that the battery in the remote for me has lasted over 1.5 years.  No recharging dock, it just works.  The remote has 3 activity buttons at the top, I use just 2,  one for Watch TV, and the other is to “Watch Disc”.  Because all the commands are sent by the fixed base unit I have not had any problems with devices becoming out of sync which is one of the problems I have had with the other Harmony remotes.  

The second cool feature is that the unit also has a smart phone app (ios and android) that will also work with the base unit.  The Smartphone App synces with the current state of the system so it knows the state of all the equipment.  This is really good as there has been a few times the main remote was lost I could just use my SmartPhone to control.  It has also been handy if my Daughter has the volume up too loud, I can from another room turn down the sound, or turn off the system.   

IMHO,  This setup with the simple remote should be easy enough for anyone to operate, without being intimidating.  So this I believe is an excellent remote for Grandparents, and those people who technology is difficult for.  It looks like the standard remote that they use, but all the functions are consolidated so they only need the one remote.   

This is a GREAT remote if you have tried other Harmony remotes and were frustrated with them, or don’t want to spend a lot of time customizing complex settings (Like turn up the lights when you pause the movie).  The unit is fast and responsive, The physical remote is simple and well laid out with long battery life, and can also be controlled with your smartphone or multiple smart phones.

Reader Comments (3)

I agree with everything Scott has said about this remote. I have owned most of Harmony's remotes over the past many years, and I consider this the best one yet.

A few more things your readers/listeners may find helpful:

1. The hub will control devices via Bluetooth, wifi, and infrared.
2. A limit of 8 devises. Could be a problem for complex setup
3. The 3 activity buttons can control 6 activities via short and long presses of the buttons. Most all the buttons have short/long press option. Any button can be programed for any option.
4. The lack of a touch screen is a big plus for me, I don't like to have to look at the remote to use it. A fair touch screen is available on the phone app for those who prefer it.
5. The transport buttons are near the bottom of the remote within reach. I think all high use buttons should be center or bottom of the remote.
6. Things do get out of sync for me sometimes but 1 or 2 presses of the activity button will normally fix it.
7. The remote communicates with the hub by Bluetooth or wifi, I'm not sure which, but either way its not line of sight so you can be in the next room and still control your system.
8. It also has 5 buttons for limited home control.

October 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I have had the remote for a year, previously a Harmony One owner for years. I agree on all points its great fealing in the hand also with rubberized coating and great ergonomics no way of picking it up the wrong way or so. Btw the 3 activity buttons can be programmed to 6 activity functions with long press on each button.

October 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterER

My experience with Harmony remotes (most recently the Elite and Harmony One) is quite the opposite of the above. In August and September, 2017, I tried getting both these to work with a new Marantz SR5012 AVR. Problems boiled down to these:
Logitech needs to update database for new receivers which have Denon's HEOS functionality. Remotes for the new models have a HEOS button which essential allow access to streaming stations including Pandora. For some reason, Harmony remote will not learn codes for new Marantz remotes. Thus one of my two requirements (Listen to Pandora) wont function with Harmony.
Harmony Activity to Watch NetFlix via TiVO required EXTENSIVE time and mulitple steps. Only when I discovered a shortcut to NetFlix from the TiVO main menu which reduced the number of steps ("macro" from the old days) did it function reliably.
Hub and blaster placement is critical and takes experimentation. The Hub which is supposed to use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and IR and supposedly bounces commands off surfaces to components doesnt really do that reliably. In fact I think it probably uses IR but not the other two protocols.

I found Logitech Tech Support to be brain dead.

I ended up returning both remotes and do just fine with the remotes for my Panasonic Plasma, Marantz and TiVo Premier.

Scott

December 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScott Oakley

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