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Logitech Ending Harmony Remote Product Line


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Logitech officially discontinues its line of Harmony universal remotes

 

Ben Patterson, reporting for TechHive:

 

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Well, the other shoe finally dropped. After years of speculation about the fate of its Harmony line of universal remotes, Logitech has announced that it will stop making the devices effective immediately.

 

In a post on its support site, Logitech said that its remaining stock of Harmony remotes will continue to be available through retail channels until stocks run out, and that it will continue to support the remote for the foreseeable future.

 

“We plan to support our Harmony community and new Harmony customers, which includes access to our software and apps to set up and manage your remotes,” the post reads. “We also plan to continue to update the platform and add devices to our Harmony database. Customer and warranty support will continue to be offered.”

 

The writing has been on the wall for years about Harmony remotes, which Logitech acquired way back in 2004. As early as 2013, Logitech was making noises about selling off its Harmony brand, and in 2019, Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell called Harmony a “small business” that was rapidly becoming irrelevant in the world of streaming video services.

 

 

Well, this bites the big one. I’ve been using Harmony remotes since circa 2006 when I bought the good ol’ 880. My wife and I moved up to the Harmony One in the early 2010s and just recently upgraded to the Harmony Elite with the hub, which we love (especially for the Alexa integration). I honestly don’t know what I would use to control my home theater system without one. 

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Damn. I always wanted the Elite (I'm not really in a position to grab one of the last ones right now either unfortunately). Shame they seem to be killing the brand dead rather than trying to sell it as the article noted they thought of doing several years ago. Are they not even going to focus exclusively on their hub and app solution?

 

What the hell are the alternatives short of spending Crestron money?

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2 hours ago, Magness said:

Ugh, this sucks - I’ve used Harmony for years and was just about to buy an Elite set next month 😕

 

I'd grab one sooner if you can as once word spreads I think remaining stock will go fast, perhaps as quickly as this weekend if the scalpers see an opportunity (and they always bloody do).

 

I missed the Elite for about £130 (!) in late 2018 and waited ever since for it to get as cheap again but it never did. It certainly won't now, but I've too many expenses in the months ahead to grab one for myself on a whim today sadly. Amazon still have stock as I write this (£238).

 

I really can't see any competition at their price point so it's a shame Logitech won't even see the value in just continuing to produce the Elite as it's probably the strongest seller that would continue to have an audience in the niche home theatre environment, and the one they can price accordingly to such a small market. 

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This sucks. I have no love for the Harmony app used to set up their remotes, but after setting them up they are fantastic universal remotes. Excellent build quality, feel great in the hand, and impressive battery life.

Are there alternatives on the market that utilize a hub as a properly configured Harmony system does?

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27 minutes ago, Camp said:

 

Are there alternatives on the market that utilize a hub as a properly configured Harmony system does?

 

None that I know of, which is what makes it so strange. They've killed off a product line for which they had no competition at the price point (again, they could have just kept the Elite on the market, even raised its price a little, and I still don't think there would be any competitor in the same ballpark).

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End of an era. Love our remotes. 

I guess they're seeing the decline of sales long term? Once you buy an Elite, what else are you going to buy from them? 

And these days, with a sound bar + a tv + built-in-apps, there's fewer people in the market for a big all in one? I dunno. I'm out the market. 

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28 minutes ago, dogbert said:

I guess they're seeing the decline of sales long term? Once you buy an Elite, what else are you going to buy from them? 

And these days, with a sound bar + a tv + built-in-apps, there's fewer people in the market for a big all in one? I dunno. I'm out the market. 

 

I definitely think that's their perspective, yes. I do still think it's a shame not to keep the Elite on the market, or shop the Harmony brand to to a potential new buyer though. It just seems weird to me that they've just leaving that mid-range enthusiast space empty. The closest equivalent seems to be the remotes from URC (MX-980/MX-990), then at a higher price point you have products from Crontrol4, then right at the top you've got Crestron who have cornered the market for home control in the ultra high end space for decades. 

 

Gah... So tempted to just to grab one on Amazon while I still can, but part of the reason I waited as long as I did is that without an AV Receiver I've kind of got by juggling between the TV remote, Apple TV remote and Oppo UHD player remote (and the one for the TV is barely required). Short of getting an Elite whenever I'd see it for an irresistible price again it's not really a device I've felt I absolutely needed until I have a fully functional home cinema set up again. 

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After going back and forth on it, I ordered a second Harmony Elite Remote and Hub from Best Buy. I can do 12-month financing on it, which takes some of the sting out of the price. I also had $10 in rewards cash, plus it’s my birthday this month, so I was able to apply a 10% off coupon to the order, bringing the price down a little more. It should be ready to pick up within the hour.

 

Right now, I don’t really have a use for it. We only have the one entertainment center in our living room. Someday, though, I want to finish our basement, and put another system downstairs. If I do, the second Elite will be used for that.

 

My only concern is how long the software used to program the remote will continue to work. Logitech says that they will continue to support the remotes in the wild indefinitely, but we know how that usually works out with these big corporations. All it takes is one OS update from Apple or Google to make the current software incompatible with your device. Let’s hope Logitech keeps their word and updates the software for many years to come. I will be happy if we can get another 10 years out of these remotes.

 

1 hour ago, Angry the Clown said:

Gah... So tempted to just to grab one on Amazon while I still can, but part of the reason I waited as long as I did is that without an AV Receiver I've kind of got by juggling between the TV remote, Apple TV remote and Oppo UHD player remote (and the one for the TV is barely required). Short of getting an Elite whenever I'd see it for an irresistible price again it's not really a device I've felt I absolutely needed until I have a fully functional home cinema set up again. 

 

Have you thought about just getting the hub? That’s a lot cheaper than the remote. I don’t know if you have Alexa set up in your home, but since the hub integrates with it, it’s a great thing to have if you just want something to turn everything on and off (“Alexa, turn on the TV,” or “Alexa, turn on the PS5.”). You could still use whatever remotes you have now if that gets you by.

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2 minutes ago, JFo said:

Have you thought about just getting the hub? That’s a lot cheaper than the remote. I don’t know if you have Alexa set up in your home, but since the hub integrates with it, it’s a great thing to have if you just want something to turn everything on and off (“Alexa, turn on the TV,” or “Alexa, turn on the PS5.”). You could still use whatever remotes you have now if that gets you by.

 

I hadn't, but I'm not really a fan of things like Alexa, Siri....etc.

 

I think my biggest concern that's holding me back from making a sudden Elite purchase is, as you share yourself, the question of just how long Logitech will genuinely keep their servers online and continue adding product/software support. They made similar claims of long term after market support for the Squeezebox if memory serves, only to ditch it sooner than people anticipated, although in fairness dropping support from Harmony products would surely be far more disruptive and go noticed by many more users.

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1 hour ago, Angry the Clown said:

I hadn't, but I'm not really a fan of things like Alexa, Siri....etc.

 

Another thing to consider — if you have the hub, you can install the Harmony app on your iPhone or iPad and control everything from there. It’s probably not the ideal solution you’re looking for, but I’ve used it a few times and it works reasonably well. 

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4 minutes ago, JFo said:

 

Another thing to consider — if you have the hub, you can install the Harmony app on your iPhone or iPad and control everything from there. It’s probably not the ideal solution you’re looking for, but I’ve used it a few times and it works reasonably well. 

 

Hmm. I may look into that perhaps. In that kind of set up does the hub work as the IR receiver with remotes for things like learning commands to set up via one button in the app?

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I just read this, and immediately tried to go and buy a backup remote.  Nothing on Amazon/Best Buy anymore (at least the Canadian sites).  I don't have as many devices hooked up as I used to, but I still want to have one thing that will control the TV, receiver, HTPC, and console, and right now that's the Harmony One that still works in my basement, and a Harmony 5something (precusor to the 665) in the den.  I do have one of the hubs as well, which comes with a small remote that should do in a pinch, but I have a feeling that once the One dies, that'll be it. I don't think I found anything else that did the "macro" functionality quite as well (change TV input to X, receiver to Y, and then control everything like normal), and I appreciated the screen buttons to supplement the hard buttons with things like "fix the aspect ratio on the TV". 

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I still use the Harmony One but, software updates for that one are deprecated now so I was planning to switch to the Elite hub and remote. I really like the Elite and Bluetooth compatibility is a big difference to the One but, I’m worried the software will lapse....

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8 hours ago, Magness said:

I still use the Harmony One but, software updates for that one are deprecated now so I was planning to switch to the Elite hub and remote. I really like the Elite and Bluetooth compatibility is a big difference to the One but, I’m worried the software will lapse....

 

Amazon still have stock of the Elite. I've added one to a price watch on the off chance they should see a reduction to clear stock at any point. With Amazon seemingly being one of the only retailers who have them anymore the lack of competition is probably less of an incentive for them to drop the price, but you never know. CamelCamelCamel says that historically it was once as low as £116(!) in December of 2019, which is even lower than I remember it getting in the past. 

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I was never a huge fan of the elite.  Too much screen, not enough buttons, and it didn't balance as well in the hand as the one.  Really, I think the Harmony one was the best remote they ever made, and the 565/665 are very similar, just without the touchscreens.  The harmony software has also been a mess since the beginning.  The one still uses the old desktop app where you could only have one profile per login.  I should probably back up a version of that just in case now that I think about it... 

 

I don't know much about HDMI CEC, but if nothing else I'd have to upgrade all my gear to take advantage of it, and I can't see getting rid of everything anytime soon. 

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29 minutes ago, ChrisBardon said:

I was never a huge fan of the elite.  Too much screen, not enough buttons, and it didn't balance as well in the hand as the one.  Really, I think the Harmony one was the best remote they ever made, and the 565/665 are very similar, just without the touchscreens.  The harmony software has also been a mess since the beginning.  The one still uses the old desktop app where you could only have one profile per login.  I should probably back up a version of that just in case now that I think about it... 

 

I've seen some remaining stock of the Harmony Companion for about £130, which seems to effectively be an Elite without the touch screen or back lighting (and only able to substitute control for 8 devices vs 15 of the Elite). That's been quite tempting. I think I liked the concept of the touchscreen on the Elite as it's a more attractive way to see and access your custom Activities and macros.

 

One thing were macros would be useful for me is with my Oppo 203, which is multi-region automatically for DVD, but for Blu-ray to switch regions I need to do a magic handshake of sorts to make a change, by which I mean hit several buttons in succession to trigger the region of choice (which requires pressing the dimmer button three times, the mute button once, then the number 1 or 2 depending on the region I am changing to). I'd love to just do that with one button. 

 

29 minutes ago, ChrisBardon said:

I don't know much about HDMI CEC, but if nothing else I'd have to upgrade all my gear to take advantage of it, and I can't see getting rid of everything anytime soon. 

 

I've read it to be everything from infuriatingly erratic to woefully unreliable, and of course it's too basic to extend to setting up custom activities and macros.

 

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8 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

I've read it to be everything from infuriatingly erratic to woefully unreliable, and of course it's too basic to extend to setting up custom activities and macros.

 

Yeah, I don’t know how well it would work with my gear if I actually tried to use it. In my bedroom, we have a 40-inch TV with an Apple TV hooked up to it. I’ve set it up so that the Apple TV turns the TV on and off when I turn it on, and even then, it hasn’t been totally reliable. It works most of the time, but not always — not like it does with the Harmony remote and hub with our big entertainment system in the living room.

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The Roomie Remote seems to be very sophisticated for those who aren't against mobile/tablet control:

 

http://roomieremote.com

 

It's effectively a poor man's Crestron if you wanted to surrender an iPad mini or something to act exclusively as your controller (and easier to program since one of the main ways Crestron can continue revenue with their customers is by making their software locked out to dealers and requiring training to configure anything, so any time a new component gets added or an existing one needs changing you've got to pay an accredited installer to do it.). 

 

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Fair warning - the Harmony desktop software for Mac is 32bit only so make sure you have a Windows backup just in case... I personally don’t like the Elite remote either but, I do like the Companion. A friend has one and while the software was (again) a pain when setting it all up, it works and the Companion has a great in-hand feel. 

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While on the subject of alternatives to Harmony, anyone here tried a RaspberryPi or ESP as a hub? I was reading through this:

 

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/03/how-to-achieve-smart-home-nirvana-or-home-automation-without-subscription/
 

It’s more about home automation than universal controllers but, I’m wondering if I could use something like this with a compatible remote. But, it doesn’t look like it would be any cheaper than a Hub+Companion...

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4 minutes ago, Magness said:

Fair warning - the Harmony desktop software for Mac is 32bit only so make sure you have a Windows backup just in case... I personally don’t like the Elite remote either but, I do like the Companion. A friend has one and while the software was (again) a pain when setting it all up, it works and the Companion has a great in-hand feel. 

 

Thanks for the heads up. That might be a big red flag. I don't have Windows access (though in theory could if I kept hold of my current MacBook Pro whenever I get a Mac desktop and just run bootcamp off that, but ughhh. Hassle to keep it around just for such a minor reason). Writing must have been on the wall for some time if they couldn't even bother to do a 64bit version. Seems to kill any chance of native M based version dead at this point too since 32bit apps don't run under Rosetta.

 

God damn it, Logitech. 

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