I’ve been a fan of my Control4 system since I got it. It controls everything, works even with all my gear in cabinets, and is simple enough for my kids to operate once they turned 2. It isn’t something anyone can run out and buy. It takes a week long course for professional installers to learn, and if you change gear you need to have someone come out to program it again. Since I keep it in my home theater, I needed something simple to control the living room AV system.
The Harmony Home Control manages to control this system without issue. It controls almost all AV components, including ones that need IP or Bluetooth control. It uses a controller and IR emitters to operate over WiFi and not need line-of-sight to your components. It could be a little bit easier on initial setup, and the remote could use a backlight and perhaps a small screen, but it works well. Well enough that I’m going to add a second one for the bedroom system as well.
|Model:||Harmony Home Control|
|Review Date:||July 27, 2015|
Compared to Harmony remotes from a few years ago, the Home Control is far better. The major improvement is that it now works over RF/WiFi instead of with IR. This makes it possible to use it without having to point it at your gear, and to have your gear hidden away. Since most equipment still uses IR, the Harmony includes a Smart Hub and an IR emitter. The Smart Hub is the brains of the system and you can hide it in the cabinet with most of your equipment. It includes an IR emitter, two 3.5mm jacks for more IR emitters, and a USB port for initial setup. The included extra IR emitter is small and lets you send IR signals to devices where the Smart Hub won’t reach. In my case it works to control a TV and sound bar that are outside of my AV cabinet.
Setup of the Harmony Smart Hub is straightforward but still has a couple of quirks. You connect to the Smart Hub to your computer with the included USB cable and launch the Harmony software. You then setup WiFi on the Smart Hub and it likely will need a firmware update as well. A few minutes later, the Smart Hub will update and be online and you can continue setup on your iOS or Android phone. The same app you use to control the Smart Hub from your phone also lets you set it up or adjust the settings.
This is one area where I think Logitech can improve upon the Harmony. Having to switch between my laptop and smartphone to finish the setup is an annoyance. I could do it all on the PC, but it recommends that I do it on my phone so I switched. Past that annoyance the setup process is smooth. You tell the software what devices you have and design the activities around them.