Logitech harmony

Quin Werthauer was enjoying a cup of coffee in his kitchen when he heard the news. “Oh, shit,” he thought as he read the email on his phone. “They finally did it.”

For the past decade, Werthauer has run a repair store for Logitech Harmony remotes out of his home on Long Island. A client had sent him word that the company was giving up on the product line and that it would no longer manufacture what had become the gold standard in remote controls. It would sell off whatever stock remained and keep adding to its sprawling database of supported devices. But otherwise, kaput. Powered off. Sent to that big charging cradle in the sky.

That last Friday’s announcement came as an unceremonious post in the Logitech support forums perhaps speaks to just how little the company has valued Harmony in recent years. Logitech hadn’t released a new Harmony device since April 2019, and CEO Bracken Darrell first suggested he might jettison the entire line six years before that. The writing has been on the wall, the floors, the ceiling, the sconces, you get it. If anything, it’s surprising that Harmony lasted as long as it did.

And now that it’s gone? That’s pretty much it for the smart remote, at least in the way that Harmony embodied it: a single controller to rule them all, with its own interface and touchscreen and deep bank of devices burned into its digital brain. A remote that you can program to execute a cascading sequence of actions—turn on the TV and the Blu-ray player and switch the input and start the movie—with the press of a single button. Universal remote buying guides, to the extent anyone produces them anymore, typically comprise various tiers of Logitech devices.

You can still easily find a much more basic universal remote—for cheap—at a big-box electronics store. A couple of companies, most notably Caavo and Sevenhugs, are still trying to make variations on the smart remote work. Amazon’s Fire Cube thinks your smart remote should be your voice, which like most things that involve a lot of yelling gets old pretty quickly. High-end products from Crestron and such persist, if you’ve got a thousand dollars to spare. But for most people, the death of Harmony is the death of the smart remote era.

It’s true that at this point that absence will be felt almost entirely by the most serious A/V heads. But it’s also worth asking why an entire product category—one that aimed to make lives simpler and mostly succeeded in doing so—has largely dissolved.

‘The Mouse of the Digital House’

Logitech didn’t invent the Harmony remote; it bought up the business as part of its $29 million acquisition in 2004 of a Canadian company called Intrigue Technologies. At the time, the proud new parent company stressed the smart remote’s importance to “the last inch,” the intimate points of contact between humans and technology. “We believe that the advanced remote control will establish itself as ‘the mouse of the digital house,’” said former Logitech executive David Henry in a press release at the time.

The catchphrase understandably didn’t catch on. But Harmony remotes did, as a proliferation of home theater devices drove our need for more widgets to control them. This was the era of Blu-ray versus HD-DVD, of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Complex home-theater-in-a-box systems slowly gave way to more broadly appealing one-stop soundbars. Throw in a cable box, and you’re looking at four or five remotes for a single living room.

“If we think about any company that tried to make a dent in that, what comes to mind is Harmony,” says Paul Erickson, senior analyst at research company Parks Associates. “It wasn’t just that they gave you the ability to condense multiple remotes into one; there had been universal remotes for quite a long time. But a lot of them only had 80 percent of the controls that you needed for that Blu-ray player, or A/V receiver, or soundbar.”

Harmony could do it all. Sometimes its software was clunky or convoluted, but it was ultimately more convenient than juggling multiple bars of hard-molded plastic just to watch a dang episode of ER.

Still, there were signs even in the early ’10s that Logitech wasn’t fully invested in the product line, says Werthauer. A former IT software developer for the New York City Department of Education, he started his business in 2010 after discovering that Logitech did not offer repairs. “People’s remotes were breaking left and right and they were complaining about the same thing,” he says. “Logitech was offering sometimes a 30 percent discount if you bought a new one, but nobody was interested in that. They just wanted to get their good old side-arm.”

The first controller Werthauer fixed was his own. But he would eventually have four or five units coming in every day, from all corners of the world: remotes with cracked LCDs, broken USB ports, nonfunctioning IR emitters, busted tactile snap-dome buttons, all in need of care. “I felt very strongly about right to repair, and I thought Logitech really dropped the ball on that,” he says. “I started selling parts and writing support guides and everything else I could do to help do-it-yourselfers have resources that were accurate and detailed enough that they’d be able to maybe even fix them themselves.”

Still, Harmony flourished, notching double-digit sales growth for Logitech in 2010. It wasn’t, though, prepared for the kind of progress the next decade would bring.

Standards Operation

Dispense with the obvious part first: The number of devices in the living room has shrunk, particularly as streaming has obviated DVD and Blu-ray players for many. That’s one remote down. But a development behind the scenes has had an even more substantive impact: the rise of HDMI-CEC and HDMI-ARC.

Yes, standards! Sorry. But before your eyes glaze fully over, know that this part will be quick. The very short version is that HDMI-CEC and HDMI-ARC let your various devices talk to each other for control and for audio purposes, respectively. That in turn means a single remote can get a lot more done. “The state of HDMI as it gradually penetrated throughout all of our audio and video devices, that in itself eliminated a lot of the friction or frustration cases that would lead people to find some solution to remote clutter,” says Erickson. “Those situations didn’t come up.”

Think of when you use a higher-end Roku remote, say, to turn your TV on and off, or control its volume. A version of the streamlined experience that Harmony spent so many years providing now comes built in. That same Roku remote can’t give you all the bells and whistles a Harmony Hub can, but most people don’t need those. And while Logitech tried to diversify its Harmony line-up by adding controls for smart home devices like light bulbs and smart speakers, that remains decidedly a realm of voices, not buttons. (Harmony took a stab at building Alexa directly into a remote; it went poorly.)

“Harmony has a great device that’s not a fit for the times,” says Erickson.

It also seems not to be worth the trouble. Logitech CEO Brackell described Harmony as a “small business” in a 2019 interview with the Verge—about 6 percent of the company’s keyboard business at the time. Logitech’s keyboard business has leapt from $139 million in revenue when Brackell made those comments to $202 million in its most recently reported quarterly financial statement; presumably Harmony’s an even smaller slice of the pie at this point. Crumbs, really.

That’s especially likely given that Logitech hasn’t released a new Harmony remote since 2019. Its complementary desktop software, particularly for macOS, has also straggled of late, Werthauer says. “I think it’s caused them a big headache for such a small part of their business. If you just look on the support forums, there are people having problems all the time. They need help with the set-up, they have questions, they have a lot of trouble with the USB drivers and all kinds of stuff.”

Logitech declined an interview request but did stress that it plans to support Harmony devices for “as long as customers are using it.” But it won’t make new smart remotes. And not many companies are jumping to fill that void.

Think Smart

Despite the clear and present headwinds, a handful of smart remote companies have come on the scene in recent years. There’s Caavo, a box that offers a conduit through which to run all of your HDMI devices that WIRED mostly liked when it launched in 2018. And there’s Sevenhugs, which offers two remote control models, one of which automatically knows what device it’s pointing at.

Sounds promising, even if both cost several hundred dollars. But a company called Qorvo acquired Sevenhugs late last year and seems more interested in the latter’s underlying ultra-wideband technology. (Neither Sevenhugs nor Qorvo responded to a request for comment.) And you can currently only buy a refurbished Caavo, which CEO Ashish Aggarwal attributes to Covid-19-related supply chain constraints.

Caavo also isn’t even really a smart remote company. “While we’re billed as a universal remote, our key goal is to make sure that TV, which is a shared medium, is actually enjoyed be everyone in the family to equal extent,” says Aggarwal. A fancy remote for A/V maximalists isn’t especially welcoming for the in-laws. Caavo’s key benefit is both its role as a sort of traffic cop for your devices and an on-screen interface that lets you move seamlessly from one to the next.

That focus on ease of use has helped Caavo make surprising inroads to the senior living market. It’s still committed to its consumer product, which should resume shipments next month. But the most promising heir to the Harmony throne has found success in a different niche entirely. And its most exciting proposition isn’t pushing buttons, but making information digestible.

“As more and more devices come in, I think a need for a universal interface to make TV simple will remain a problem for some time,” Aggarwal says.

In the meantime, the A/V diehards who kept Harmony alive this long will cling to their devices. They don’t have many other places to turn. The good news is that if those remotes do break, Quin Werthauer is still around to fix them. His business, he says, has already picked up since the news broke.

“We will continue support hardware repairs for as long as we can,” he says. “We’ll be here for you.”


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Sours: https://www.wired.com/story/logitech-harmony-smart-remote-lost-its-way/

Harmony Elite - Universal Remote, Hub & App

Pangea temporary hotfixes here

harmony-elite-hero-tablet-02harmony-elite-hero-mobile

HARMONY ELITE

Advanced home control for entertainment and smart devices

CONTROL EVERYTHING. LIKE MAGIC.

Harmony Elite unifies control of your expanding universe of home entertainment and smart home devices into one powerful yet effortless experience. Sleekly designed and featuring a color touchscreen with motion-sensing backlit keys, and one-touch automation, Harmony Elite makes universal home control intuitively magical. Leave the chaos of multiple apps and remotes behind, and let peace reign supreme.

WORKS WITH YOUR ENTIRE UNIVERSE

Harmony Elite works with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices so you can enjoy single-touch control with your favorite brands, right out of the box. From your TV, cable and gaming console, to your AV receiver and Roku® media player—all the way to your smart lights, locks, thermostats, even your Alexa—Harmony Elite proudly works with just about everything.

UNLIMITED ACTIVITIES

Lower the blinds, dim the lights, fire-up the TV for movie night—all with a tap of the finger. With Harmony Activities you can enjoy single-touch automation to trigger limitless experiences. Harmony automatically suggests everyday Activities or you can have fun creating as many as you can dream up. Time for bed? Tap “Good Night” to lock the door and turn out the lights, then fall into a deep and tranquil sleep.

harmony-elite-feature-3-tabletharmony-elite-feature-3-mobile-2

MORE ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE ASKING

Control your entire home entertainment experience without lifting a finger. With Harmony and Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you can enjoy easy, hands-free control of all the things you love. Turn on your TV, change channels, control volume, or start an Activity like “Good Morning” to play a favorite music playlist, raise the blinds, set the lights, and warm the house temperature. Your voice makes it all work, just like magic.

HARMONY ELITE AT-A-GLANCE

ONE-TOUCH ACTIONS

Switch to your favorite channels and between gaming, Netflix®, Apple TV®, and virtually any device.

CUSTOM ACTIVITIES

Create unlimited one-touch or time-triggered Activities that group devices into custom experiences.

UNIVERSAL CONTROL

Combine up to 15 remotes and countless apps into one elegant, easy-to-use, universal controller.

REMOTE CONTROL

Set recordings, turn on the lights, or activate any of your devices while you’re not home.

EASY SET-UP

Download the Harmony App. Auto-scan for devices. Create custom Activities and Favorites.

ALEXA FOR VOICE CONTROL

Use Amazon Alexa to turn on your TV, select favorite channels or trigger Harmony Activities.

HARMONY APP

Turn your smartphone or tablet into a universal remote (iOS®/Androidonly). Change channels and volume, set up to 50 channel favorites, or trigger multi-device Activities, even when you’re away from home.

HARMONY HUB

Harmony Hub centralizes command of all your devices by controlling them with IR, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth® wireless signals. You can hide away the cables and receivers and control everything from behind closed cabinets and doors.

Harmony Elite

Universal home control: remote, hub and app

Sours: https://www.logitech.com/en-us/products/harmony/harmony-elite.html
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Logitech Harmony Hub

Pangea temporary hotfixes here

harmony-hub-hero-tabletharmony-hub-hero-mobile

HARMONY HUB

Control your home from your iOS® or Android™ smartphone.

CONTROL IT ALL VIA SMARTPHONE OR TABLET

Harmony Hub turns your smartphone or tablet into a universal remote, giving you control over your home entertainment and smart home devices. You can change channels and volume, program favorites, control lights and other smart devices, and build multi-device experiences called Activities. Plus you can do it all even when you’re away from home.

WORKS WITH YOUR ENTIRE UNIVERSE

Harmony Hub works with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices so you can enjoy single-touch control with your favorite brands, right out of the box. From your TV, cable and gaming console, to your AV receiver and Roku® media player—all the way to your smart lights, locks, thermostats, and even your Alexa—Harmony Hub proudly works with just about everything.

UNLIMITED ACTIVITIES

Lower the blinds, dim the lights, fire-up the TV for movie night—all with a tap of the finger. With Harmony Activities you can enjoy single-touch automation to trigger limitless experiences. Harmony automatically suggests everyday Activities or you can have fun creating as many as you can dream up. Time for bed? Tap “Good Night” to lock the door and turn out the lights, then fall into a deep and tranquil sleep.

harmony-hub-feature-3-tabletharmony-hub-feature-3-mobile-2

MORE ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE ASKING

Control your entire home entertainment experience without lifting a finger. With Harmony and Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you can enjoy easy, hands-free control of all the things you love. Turn on your TV, change channels, control volume, or start an Activity like “Good Morning” to play a favorite music playlist, raise the blinds, set the lights, and warm the house temperature. Your voice makes it all work, just like magic.

ONE-TOUCH ACTIONS

Use the app to launch Activities or switch to one of 50 channel favorites with a single touch.

CLOSED CABINET CONTROL

Control your devices behind closed cabinets and doors with IR, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® wireless.

CUSTOM ACTIVITIES

Create unlimited one-touch or time-triggered activities that group devices into custom experiences.

UNIVERSAL CONTROL

Combine up to 8 remotes and countless apps into one easy-to-use smartphone app.

OUT OF HOME REMOTE

Set recordings, turn on the lights, or activate any of your devices while you’re not home.

EASY SET-UP

Download the Harmony App. Auto-scan for devices. Create custom Activities and Favorites.

Harmony Hub

  • Harmony Hub

    • Height: 5.04 in (12.8 cm)
    • Width: 4.13 in (10.48 cm)
    • Depth: 1.00 in (2.54 cm)
    • Weight: 3.90 oz (110.56 g)
  • Internet access

    • Wi-Fi: Supports 802.11g/n, WPA Personal, WPA2-AES and 64/128-bit WEP encryption

    For mobile setup and control

    • Harmony App: Download from the App Store® or Google Play™
    • iOS: iPhone 4S® or later, iPad® (3rd generation or later), iPad Mini™, iPod touch® (5th generation or later) device with iOS 8.0 or later
    • Android: Wi-Fi enabled smartphone with Android 4.2 or later
Sours: https://www.logitech.com/en-us/products/harmony/harmony-hub.html

Harmony Software


Please read this software license agreement carefully before using your Logitech product. By using your Logitech product you are agreeing to be bound by the terms of this agreement. If you do not agree to the terms of this agreement, promptly return your Logitech product in its original package with your sales receipt within 30 days or in accordance with the return policy of your point of purchase, whichever is longer.

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7. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. TO THE EXTENT NOT PROHIBITED BY APPLICABLE LAW, IN NO EVENT WILL LOGITECH OR ITS LICENSORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY COSTS OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, LOST PROFITS, LOSS OF INFORMATION OR DATA, OR ANY OTHER SPECIAL, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE SALE, LICENSE OR USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE ANY LOGITECH PRODUCT OR SERVICE, HOWEVER, CAUSED, REGARDLESS OF THE THEORY OF LIABILITY (CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE), EVEN IF LOGITECH HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. IN NO CASE WILL LOGITECH'S AND ITS LICENSORS' TOTAL LIABILITY EXCEED THE ACTUAL MONEY PAID FOR THE LOGITECH PRODUCT OR SERVICE GIVING RISE TO THE LIABILITY. The foregoing limitations will apply even if the above-stated remedy fails of its essential purpose. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you. The above limitations will not apply in case of personal injury where and to the extent that applicable law requires such liability.

8. U.S. Government End Users. The Software is a "Commercial Item", as that term is defined at 48 C.F.R. 2.101, consisting of "Commercial Computer Software" and "Commercial Computer Software Documentation," and is being licensed to U.S. Government end users (a) only as Commercial Items, and (b) with only those rights as are granted to all other end users pursuant to the terms and conditions of this agreement. Unpublished-rights reserved under the copyright laws of the United States.

9. Export Law Assurances. You agree that you may not export or re-export the Software in violation of any applicable laws or regulations including without limitation those of the United States of America, the European Union, Switzerland and/or the laws or regulation of the jurisdiction(s) in which the Software was obtained.

10. Agents and Third Party Purchasers. If you are acquiring the Software on behalf of another person or entity, you represent and warrant that you have the authority to bind the party or entity for which you are acquiring the Software to the terms and conditions of this agreement.

11. Controlling Law and Severability. If you are in the U.S.A., this agreement will be exclusively governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the United States and the State of California, without regard to or application of its choice of law rules or principles. If you reside outside the U.S.A., this agreement will be exclusively governed by the laws of Switzerland. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision of this agreement, or portion thereof, to be unenforceable, that provision of the agreement will be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to effect the intent of the parties, and the remainder of this agreement will continue in full force and effect.

12. Complete Agreement; Governing Language. This agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the use of the Software and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous understandings, communications or agreements, written or oral, regarding such subject matter. No amendment to or modification of this agreement will be binding unless in writing and signed by Logitech. Any translation of this agreement is done for local requirements and in the event of a dispute between the English and any non-English version, the English version of this agreement will govern.

13. Open Source Software. Certain portions of the Software are not licensed under the terms of this agreement but are instead licensed under the terms of applicable open source licenses ("Open Source Components"). The Open Source Components applicable to the Software, and associated applicable licenses, are listed at https://opensource.logitech.com. Your use of each Open Source Component is subject to the terms of each applicable license. You must agree to the terms of each such applicable license, or you should not use the Software.

14. Updates. Logitech may from time to time provide bug fixes, updates, upgrades and other modifications to the Software (“Updates”). Logitech shall have no obligation to provide updates or support for the Software. However, the Updates may be automatically installed without providing any additional notice or receiving any additional consent. The terms of this Software License Agreement will govern any Updates. If you do not want such Updates, your remedy is to stop using the Software. Logitech may, for any reason at any time, terminate any such Updates. Logitech and its subsidiaries and agents may collect, maintain, process and use diagnostic, technical and related information, including but not limited to information about your Logitech product, computer, system and application software, peripherals and other related devices, that is gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of updates, product support, and other services to you (if any) related to the Software, and to verify compliance with the terms of this agreement. Logitech may use this information, as long as it is in a form that does not personally identify you, to improve our products or to provide services to you.

The Software is protected by United States copyright law and international treaty. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of the Software is subject to civil and criminal penalties.

©2018

DOWNLOAD MYHARMONYDOWNLOAD HARMONYUpgrading to Catalina? See: Harmony and macOS 10.15 Catalina

MYHARMONY WINDOWS

MYHARMONY MAC

Sours: https://support.myharmony.com/en-us/download

Harmony logitech

Logitech said Friday it is discontinuing its line of Harmony universal remotes, ending years of speculation that the devices were on their way out. Models that are currently in stock at retailers will be available while supplies last, and the company says it will continue to provide support and service for the Harmony remote “as long as customers are using it.”

“While Harmony remotes are and continue to be available through various retailers, moving forward Logitech will no longer manufacture Harmony remotes,” according to a blog post on Logitech’s support page. “We expect no impact to our customers by this announcement. 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. 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.”

Logitech acquired Intrigue Technologies, the original maker of the Harmony remote, back in 2004. Harmony universal remotes were popular among consumers seeking one remote to rule them all— cable box, gaming console, and streaming devices. Some newer models were even able to be used with smart home devices.

Logitech’s business has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic as people worked and schooled at home; in January, the company reported its third-quarter sales were up 85 percent year over year to $1.67 billion, enough that it could splurge on its first-ever Super Bowl commercial.

But with the rise of streaming services over the past few years, universal remotes are no longer as crucial as they once were. Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell told The Verge in 2019 that Harmony was a small business for the company; he said the remote business was only about 6 percent of the size of Logitech’s massive keyboard business, for instance.

“I think over time, you’ll have fewer and fewer people who feel like they really need that universal remote,” Darrell said at the time. He added that the company appreciated hardcore Harmony users who love the device: “it’s so rare to have users that love something as much as a lot of our Harmony users do. We’ll always take care of them because we really believe that that’s part of the responsibility of the brand,” Darrell told The Verge. “So we do love Harmony for that reason. How long it will be out there, I don’t know.”

Sours: https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/10/22377015/logitech-discontinues-harmony-universal-remotes

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