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Harmony Ultimate w/Harmony Hub
New universal remote controls from Logitech

Logitech’s Harmony line of universal remote controls are some of the most popular on the market and make it [relatively] easy to control complicated home theater systems with the push of a single button. Logitech has added two new universal remote control products to its lineup including the Harmony Ultimate and the Harmony Smart Control.

Both of those products use the new Logitech Harmony Hub and support the Harmony Smartphone App. The universal remote control system allows users to control components behind closed doors and allows built-in support for game consoles from a smartphone or universal remote.
 
The Harmony Hub also allows users to control the Philips Hue LED light bulb. That means using the Harmony Ultimate remote control you can change the brightness and color of the Philips light bulb at the press of a button.

“We’ve elevated the universal remote to the next level, taking a personalized approach to home entertainment,” said Joerg Tewes vice president of Logitech’s digital home business group at Logitech. “Furthermore, our Harmony product line is no longer just about entertainment access – we’ve designed the Logitech Harmony Ultimate so you can also control your home’s lighting. Now you can tune the TV, start a movie and adjust your lights to set the mood, with the touch of your finger.”

Logitech says that both the Ultimate and the Smart Control are compatible with more than 225,000 home entertainment devices and 5,000 different brands. The remote controls will even work with the PS3 thanks to the Bluetooth wireless technology integrated into the Harmony Hub. The Harmony Ultimate can control up to 15 different devices and has a 2.4-inch color touchscreen.

The Harmony Ultimate is expected to launch this month for $349.99. The Smart Control will be available for $129.99.

Source: Logitech



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phone/ipod war
By daboom06 on 4/16/2013 10:05:00 AM , Rating: 2
is it just me or is this a weird really late version of the ipod/phone war from ten years ago? people didn't know whether the phone would turn into an ipod or if the ipod would become a phone.

except the 'smart' tv remote is 10 years late and smartphones can now be the best tv remote you will ever find. (galaxy s4 and htc one have ir emitters). the smartphone will become the tv remote.

putting an os on a phone is dumb now.




RE: phone/ipod war
By DanNeely on 4/16/2013 11:03:54 AM , Rating: 2
That's 2 phones out of the dozens on the market today. Convergence will probably happen eventually; but it's not here yet.

Even then though, when you have guests would you rather give them your phone or a dedicated remote? Using their phone would require first teaching it what every device hooked to your TV is and which input it's attached to is. Until all your video devices advertise themselves this is going to be a PITA.

Lastly the remote wars will get an order of magnitude worse when every one of the idiots feuding over what to watch has a remote of their own.


RE: phone/ipod war
By karimtemple on 4/16/2013 11:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
What would make a lot more sense is to simply improve HDMI-CEC. I can already turn on my Sony PS3 and Harman Kardon receiver by simply turning on my Panasonic TV, and control all three devices with the Panasonic TV remote. All CEC needs is a little cleaning up, a little more depth, and a little more simplification.


RE: phone/ipod war
By Mitch101 on 4/16/2013 1:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think all remotes should be RF based instead of line of sight or even blutooth where you pair them up. Having to aim the remote seems like dated tech today.


RE: phone/ipod war
By karimtemple on 4/16/2013 1:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
You'll always have line-of-sight when it comes to television; it's kind of the point of putting the television wherever it is that you put it. You don't want every little device polluting your RF signal space -- things are bad enough as it is. A stronger CEC platform is a far more efficient solution.


RE: phone/ipod war
By Mitch101 on 4/17/2013 4:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
I have a projector the line of sight is both in front and in back of me. I use an IR repeater now and it works for the most part on some occasions I have to click devices to turn on the projector because it wasn't aimed right.

This is easily solved by making remotes RF or have them paired like an X-Box controller but Ill take CEC with RF.

I also have a long run which HDMI doesnt work well in long runs so I use component video its still 1080P but I lose deep color. No biggie.


RE: phone/ipod war
By karimtemple on 4/18/2013 8:15:47 AM , Rating: 2
Well, yeah, projectors should all have RF in the first place. To me, TV is different from that.


RE: phone/ipod war
By Gurthang on 4/16/2013 2:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree HDMI-CEC is nice.. the other trend is that we are hooking up more and more of these devices directly to our home networks these networked things should all support control via some simple web gateway and centralized status and control via some built in webservice.


RE: phone/ipod war
By karimtemple on 4/16/2013 2:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
Far easier said than done; networking is a very different and complex beast. It's also a bit much to expect. If something is on your television, it's necessarily connected to your television, and CEC is much simpler to implement and maintain by comparison to network anything. Having a network control standard would be nice, but in the end it's no substitute for simply pressing a button -- whatever the device is, it's already plugged in !


By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 4/16/2013 11:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
great, except not everyone in my household has a phone. So, unless I'm willing to permanently leave a phone in the living room, phones that control the tv are just a novelty.


RE: phone/ipod war
By jibz on 4/16/2013 11:48:11 AM , Rating: 3
1) You don't have kids, do you? Or are you buying a galaxy S4 for your 8 y.o. son?
2) The difference between a normal remote and an harmony is that the latter remember the state of your equipment (i.e. what's on, what's off, what input your tv is showing, etc.) Independent phones don't have that information. That's exactly what the hub does. Keep that information so you can use different smartphones, remotes, tablets, whatever to control everything. So you control activities (watching TV, watching a DVD, etc.), and not devices.
3) The ease of setup-ing everything with the harmony software cannot be overstated. No looking up codes, no finagling. What's the brand, what's the model number, boom, it works.


UGH
By karimtemple on 4/16/2013 10:42:13 AM , Rating: 2
God, they put the media controls above the screen again. LOL, man.

I was hearing horror stories about Harmony getting canned (or sold). A new release is an interesting story.




RE: UGH
By Varun on 4/16/2013 12:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
Wow you are right I would never buy this remote. I have the Harmony One now, and honestly I prefer the 880 I used to have. Touch Screens seem like a good idea because they are "cool" but in reality they kind of suck.

I can no longer work my remote (at least some functions) without actually looking at it.

The world needs to get over the touch screen fever. Touch screens have their place, but that place is NOT on my remote control and NOT the "infotainment" system in my car.


Dang...
By Souka on 4/16/2013 1:39:46 PM , Rating: 2
The smart control at $149, which includes the hub, really interested me until I looked into it further.

It basically makes you use your smartphone to control the smarthub, and you only get a really basic remote "for when your phone isn't handy"

My wife and I both have smartphones (iPhone & SGIII) and can control our TV and WDLIVE with them... but I RARELY do because it's just not convient using a touch screen.

Insead I use my 3+ year old Logitech Harmony remote (550 or 650 I think)... it controls EVERYTHING just great. With dedicated buttons I dont have to look when making adjustments. And unlike a smartphone, I don't have to unlock the phone, turn the screen on the phone, launch an app, etc etc. I just grab the remote and go.... and leave it on the table for anyone to use.

IMHO: I think their ULTIMATE ($350...ouch!) will do just fine, but the "smart remote" at $150 will only do so so....

Cheers!




RE: Dang...
By theapparition on 4/17/2013 9:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
The only question I want to know is can the hub control the system from the internet, away from home?

It's quite annoying when I'm on the other side of the country and get a call from the wife or kids and have to spend 30min trying to figure out their problems. We do have some pretty complicated setups, but our current universal remotes do a pretty good job. But every so often, something will get out of sync, and I'll get the frantic calls that the "TV isn't working".

Having the ability to use a smartphone app to fix everything remotely would certainly be something to consider.


Won't the Galaxy S4 make these obsolete?
By zozzlhandler on 4/16/2013 2:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
By putting an IR interface in their new phone, I believe Samsung has just destroyed the market for these devices. Pretty soon there will be twenty (or more) Android apps to turn an S4 into a universal remote.




By Souka on 4/16/2013 6:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
I can already control my TV, my media player, etc with my iPhone or Nexus tablet... but it's really not convienent as a dedicated remote with buttons.

I can pickup the remote anytime (harmony in my case) and press a button to do whatever function I need....usually without looking.

With a phone/tablet I have to look at it, open the app, and while looking at it do the fuction I want.

If any of you have a "SMART" TV, try downloading an app to control it...most are free. You'll soon see that adjusting the volume is a hassle....

The only thing I sometimes use my phone for is to key in search terms for Hulu/netflix/youtbe. But I already have a $20 wireless keyboard for this purpose (all my remotes are stored in a drawer... just the harmony is usally out).

My $.02


Software makes the difference
By trisct on 4/16/2013 4:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
Phones need an app for controlling entertainment systems - and usually several. My Galaxy Tab came with the Peel Smart remote, what a mess that is. It is more about presenting media (and letting you "share") than it is about being a remote control.

There is another app for controlling the Tivo (not a bad one either) and one more for the Media Center PC (Peel won't do that as yet). Then there's the matter of running out of power pretty much every other day.

The Harmony remotes are pretty good on the other hand, and control everything but the PS3 pretty well - but the software for setting them up really stinks. You have no way of sequencing commands or really just using the Harmony as a universal remote if that's what you want. It is pretty much designed to create services (watch TV, listen to Music) rather than just let you control your stuff. If only Logitech would deepen the setup software a little.

Either way not ideal. HDMI-CEC is a great idea, and right now the smart-remote is a better idea than the smart-phone-remote, but only barely.




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