Harmony ultimate vs roomie (Does Harmony ultimate support IP devices?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-14-2013, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I am new to universal remotes and macros.

I am building a house and will have a media room and extensive AV components. I was thinking of an easy to use universal remote. The roomie software which works with iphone or ipad sounded like a good option, but I need hard buttons.

I read here in the Harmony ultimate thread that it can do wifi control. So, is it like the roomie in that sense. As in, if I get a list of IP devices that can be controlled via wifi, can I control those units without the need for the hub?

My AV components will be in another room, so I would typically need an RF remote and not IR. However then I assume I need to have the hub placed at the line of sight? I'd rather it be wifi controlled such that I don't need a hub or direct line of sight to any of the devices (Is this how wifi controllable IP devices function?????....I am new to this and may be utterly wrong with my understanding) .

I am basically looking for a roomie with hard buttons, could the Harmony Ultimate function as one.

Also, is there a list of IP controllable list for the Harmony ultimate remote.

Can the RF hub be hid behind a TV?

Thank you!

P.S: reading up further, it looks like this remote does not control ip devices or that matter rf devices either. It looks like the remote communicates to a hub vis RF and the hub communicates to individual devices via IR.

My question is my media room will have a screen and speakers and all the av components will be in the adjacent room. Can the harmony RF system/ hub be placed in front of the AV rack in the adjacent room and have that control all my IR devices. One RF hub in another room controlling many IR devices?... Does there have to be anything other than the remote that have to be in the media room?
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-14-2013, 08:57 PM
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Your last two paragraphs are correct. One hub (and possibly a few blasters) in the room with your rack, nothing in the media room except the remote.


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post #3 of 9 Old 07-14-2013, 10:03 PM
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Watch out for range issues
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-15-2013, 12:24 AM
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Harmony has no IP control. None. Except a Hue light or whatever. 1 device. It can't even be setup via IP.

Roomie supports hundreds or thousands of IP controlled things, more are added all the time, you can easily make whole home theaters from their lists without even using IR. IR control has many options, many different devices at various price points and all of them can be combined at once across many rooms with no device limits, all operating in concert and easy to program.

The Harmony Ultimate meanwhile is a sad repackage of last year's Link. You need to install Microsoft Silverlight just to get it on your network. The Hub itself a USB device, so you first have to connect it to your computer, install a ton of MSFT bloat you would never actually want to install like Flash, do a bunch of stuff on your desktop computer to configure it via a slow and very dated website/application hybrid that runs terribly on Windows and is a complete abortion on the Mac, and finally if you get lucky and the device actually gets on to your Wi-Fi network, you get a very limited remote that only handles IR in one room and a PS3 and has a device limit which they bumped up this year from 8 last year but is still just a joke, and feels very 1999 Harmony where you are walking pieces of your system between a desktop computer and your home theater constantly when you change things.

I think the better question for you may be to ask the Roomie people to interface with a button remote. Save yourself the pain and suffering of going backwards in time with a Harmony hub which is basically the same as what they released last year that was reviewed so poorly that they very nearly got spun out to die. The Link was just mildly enhanced by the demoralized team that spent most of that time thinking they were all either getting laid off or sold off and renamed it the Ultimate/Hub.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-15-2013, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the replies. I understand this remote a lot better now. I wish there is a IP remote with hard buttons to control IP enabled devices, but it looks like such a thing doesn't exist. In the mean time roomie is so inexpensive, I will try that first and if it doesn't work so well, will try one of the Logitech or something else.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-25-2014, 07:48 AM
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Harmony Ultimate vs Roomie (I bought BOTH)

This review comes from someone that installed both Roomie and the harmony Ultimate. Ultimately I have decided to stick with Harmony even though I initially returned it and thought I was going 100% towards Roomie for my whole house.

I purchased the Harmony because I already had an old harmony set up for my room and thought it was the easiest way to go. I installed it and got it working very easily. Much superior install than roomie. One issue irked me - the fact that the remote needs to be near the hub in order to do some types of syncs. Ultimately I returned the harmony 1000 because of this item PLUS I thought I liked the software of the Roomie remote better - namely the superior guide right in the remote that tells you what's on all the channels - DirecTV (they have it with many services).

This was a mistake! I then purchased all the Roomie Software and two IP iTachs with 2 IR repeaters and 1 blaster. I added the iTach to the system and found that I needed a cryptic third party method for communicating to it. I needed to buy another 3rd party little software module to talk to the iTach for $2 (disjointed) and found the install process cryptic and confusing. I contacted support (only option is email) and they typically got back to me within a half to full day later and answered typically 1/3 of my questions (poorly) every time. I could see that doing it this way was going to take forever. They kept pushing me to GlobalCache (the makers of the iTach) for support too. ONE BIG issue is the iTach IR component is NOT a strong blaster. My setup had me off to the right with the blaster. It couldn't reach the TV from 7 ft away because it wasn't straight in front of the component. GlobalCache confirmed this. Below is a snippet of the communication back from their help desk regarding the power of their blasters. You will note that the uses some jargon with me (PCB) - last I heard that was a carcinogen...

The Blasters are designed to be more of a straight line of site device not so much of at an angle as extreme as in your scenario, while other blasters such as the type you listed may have worked this is more because they are specifically designed and have a higher power output to drive the blaster whereas the iTach blaster do not have the ability due to limits on the PCB.

Programming - the harmony has exact components listed in their directory for all my devices. Roomie - on the IR side had groups. My Pioneer Elite Plasma- I had to choose between Pioneer group 1 or 2 and both seemed to work but both seemed to do weird things - i.e. push the power button and you end up changing the video aspect from full to zoom along with turning on the TV 40% of the time... I have two Yamaha devices. One is an AMP that i use to power an outside zone and another is the main AV receiver. Both fell into the same IR categories on Roomie so controlling them (independently) with a blaster would have been impossible. Both would have turned on / off whenever you asked to turn one or the other on. Harmony controls them independently.

Went back and re-purchased the Harmony. Decided to get over the one distance issue on syncing (remote needing to be near the hub, which I find ridiculous but can live with it in comparison to the Roomie issues) by just using my work windows laptop. I put the blaster in the same place as the Roomie one was and BANG - it hits the TV every time. Furthermore - the commands are quick. Press a button to shut down or turn on and everything happens in a little more than a sec. Keep in mind that Roomie never worked from that location. I even picked it up and held it at a better angle and closer to the TV and it worked maybe 40% of the time.

Ultimate review from someone that installed both. The harmony hardware is far superior. The iTach is a cheap underpowered component. The harmony software just works. It is easier for everyone in my family to use because it is more like a remote... The Roomie software was neat but a little hard to deal with all the swiping. It also didn't work well but the IP functions to DirecTV - namely the remote were very nice. Roomie's Dynamic remote that changes as you add components was a neat concept. The overall configurability though with Roomie was very difficult to figure out. If you are a programmer maybe you can do it but I am technical but no programmer and I could tell that Roomie was going to be a unsupported effort that would have taken me months to get where I got to with Harmony in minutes. In the end though the fact that the IR devices for the system were so weak left me with an easy decision. If they were stronger I may have tried to hang in there with their lousy support and get the thing configured. The lack of a good IR database of components was another NON starter. When I went back to the Harmony and hooked it all up and re-synced my old config and it all was running in literally 5 minutes with all components being controlled again by the two blasters they include - that was the edification I needed that I had made the right decision in the end.

Further - when I went to return the iTachs to the Roomie store they gave me a hard time. Basically NO returns of opened items. Said that if the box is opened they would need to inspect and I kind of doubt they are going to refund 100% at this time. The devices are in perfect condition and even re-packaged and wire tied as if from the factory... That said - they haven't been helpful or nice. Proceed with Roomie with caution.

My return of Harmony (when I first did so) was simple - back to Amazon and 100% credit in 2 days.

I'm sticking with Harmony and thought that others might benefit from this account of using both systems.

Last edited by oopidupiman; 06-25-2014 at 07:58 AM. Reason: typo
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-25-2014, 08:47 AM
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Hi jayworth,

I'd like to respond to a few of these points to help clear things up

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayworth View Post
Harmony has no IP control. None. Except a Hue light or whatever. 1 device. It can't even be setup via IP.
Hub based remotes do allow IP control of hue lights, yes. In addition, we now offer IP control of Roku and Sonos devices, as well as Bluetooth control of the PS3 and AppleTV. We also announced integration with Nest thermostats just yesterday. More devices will be added soon. We also offer the ability to detect and add compatible devices through an IP scan (Xbox 360, Smart TVs, Roku, Sonos, etc) and add them directly to your account without entering your manufacturer and model numbers.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jayworth View Post
The Harmony Ultimate meanwhile is a sad repackage of last year's Link.
Link was a standalone hub released in Fall of 2011. Ultimate is not a 'sad repackage of last year's link' as the Ultimate package contains a physical remote. You may be referring to the Harmony Hub specifically, which contains many improvements (see my first paragraph) over Link.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jayworth View Post
You need to install Microsoft Silverlight just to get it on your network. The Hub itself a USB device, so you first have to connect it to your computer, install a ton of MSFT bloat you would never actually want to install like Flash, do a bunch of stuff on your desktop computer to configure it via a slow and very dated website/application hybrid that runs terribly on Windows and is a complete abortion on the Mac.
We now offer an integrated desktop software that circumvents the need to install and manage Silverlight individually. The only other piece of software necessary is our remote driver, which is also bundled in our in our desktop software. Flash isn't required at all.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jayworth View Post
and finally if you get lucky and the device actually gets on to your Wi-Fi network, you get a very limited remote that only handles IR in one room and a PS3 and has a device limit which they bumped up this year from 8 last year but is still just a joke
I think you're speaking of multiple products here - no device limit was bumped up from 8. The 600 series was increased from 5 to 8 devices.

Regarding Wi-Fi, it's actually quite easy to get your Harmony Hub onto your Wi-Fi network - we show a list of networks and ask for the password of the one you click on.

With the exception of IP control (see my first paragraph again) Harmony remotes tend to be a single room solution due to their dependency on the hub to fire IR. As a workaround, Ultimate could very well be configured to control specific devices directly (bypassing the hub) meaning you could bring it into and control devices in another room.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jayworth View Post
and feels very 1999 Harmony where you are walking pieces of your system between a desktop computer and your home theater constantly when you change things.
Ultimate, Smart Keyboard and Smart Control now offer wireless updates provided your hub is connected to Wi-Fi. Unless you're performing a firmware update, changes in configuration sync wirelessly between remote and hub. Hub based products also now allow use of the Harmony app to set up and / or manage your entertainment devices. Again, syncs happen wirelessly.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jayworth View Post
I think the better question for you may be to ask the Roomie people to interface with a button remote. Save yourself the pain and suffering of going backwards in time with a Harmony hub which is basically the same as what they released last year that was reviewed so poorly that they very nearly got spun out to die. The Link was just mildly enhanced by the demoralized team that spent most of that time thinking they were all either getting laid off or sold off and renamed it the Ultimate/Hub.
Happy to say we're all doing quite well here, as is our Harmony Hub There are lots more exciting updates to come!

Last edited by HarmonySylvain; 06-25-2014 at 04:45 PM. Reason: typos
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-26-2014, 03:49 PM
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HarmonySylvain:

Is there a list of the IP and Blue Tooth controllable devices that the Ultimate will control somewhere? Can you post a link to this information?

Can it control an XBOX 360?

Can it control an XBOX1

Can it control a Sony PS4?

Will it control a TIVO roamio via IP?

Will it control yamaha receivers and panny TVs via IP?

Thanks, Pete
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-31-2014, 05:50 PM
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Bump

I have a harmony ultimate one, but not the hub. Seemed more economical to buy the hub separately. I have two Denon AVRs, and I'm guessing I can use the hub to control them independently? It isn't possible to do without the hub, correct?
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