I'm new here so I apologize if someone has already covered this - if so I can't find anything.
At any rate, my setup is fairly normal - TV in living room, receivers in a closet. Right now my cable box, AppleTV and Roku are by the TV. Other than the fact that my receivers are fairly old I don't think my setup is too relevant.
I would like a simple system to control my equipment throughout the house using my iPhone and/or iPad over wifi (requirement). Additionally, it would be nice for visitors to control everything (e.g. a house sitter when I'm on vacation) - who may or may not have an iPhone/iPad/Android device (low importance). It would be great to have the option of adding a wired wall-mounted keypad, but I think that would be a different kind of implementation...
So far the only options I've discovered are Logitech Harmony, Global Cache iTach, and Insteon IRLinc.
I'd love any input. Following is what I've come up with after researching these devices. Please let me know if I've captured anything incorrectly, or if you have something to add (or if you think this pretty much sums up everything).
This looks like it could be the easiest to set up. Additionally a guest could use the Logitech remote, but only over IR, correct? This seems like a good easily implemented solution. As far as I can tell the only drawbacks would be that only iOS/Android devices can control it over wifi (so I can't turn on my audio from my desktop, right?). Additionally it can't control other devices or integrate into a home automation system (which I don't have (right now)).
Pro: easy to set up, native iOS/Android app
Con: no integration, no desktop control, no control of non-ir devices, only 2 IR output jacks
Global Cache iTach:
This appears to be a good solution too. I also like that it's produced by a smaller company (help out the little guy - right!). I don't know if it's made in the USA (which would be a bonus too). Anyway, I'm concerned that the set up will not be as easy as the Logitech Harmony (and perhaps somewhat difficult). Their website says "Connect any device to any network instantly", but as best I can tell I'll need to use their iLearn software to learn/play IR codes. It's not clear at all exactly how that works. I've seen references to their cloud based database of IR commands, but again details are not clear. Additionally, Mac support seems sketchy at best. There is 3rd party software developed by someone in a foreign country - I don't know how reliable that would be. I could however use Parallels/VirtualBox to overcome that limitation (assuming no connection type issues). It doesn't appear that Global Cache has an iPhone app, but apparently there are apps that will communicate with the iTach (correct?). The iTach runs a web server, but it's not clear whether or not the I could load a webpage for controlling the device - anyone know? Can this device integrate into a home automation system?
Pro: control from any web enabled device??, more IR output jacks, smaller company, more configurable?, integrate into a home automation system?
Con: ease of installation, no native iOS/Android app
This looks like an interesting solution. It integrates with the Insteon home automation system, but as far as I can tell that would be the only advantage - right? It would be nice to have a wall mounted key pad with a single button to press for turning on music in a room... (I know Russound, Niles, etc - but another conversation all together.) This device appears to have poor documentation, difficult installation, no native iOS/Android app - right? It would be nice to set up a "scene" - turn on AV equipment, turn on lights at specified level, etc.
Pro: integrates into a home automation system
Are there any other simple solutions I'm missing?
Regardless of my choice can I use a long cable and mount an IR blaster to control devices not in the closet with the receiver? That is, receiver/iTach in closet, TV/etc in living room. Would the Harmony work with a split emitter in one jack and an IR blaster in the other?
Right now I'm leaning towards the Logitech Harmony. I would just replace it in the future if I want to upgrade to a home automation system...
Any input is greatly appreciated!