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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Harmony Ultimate and Smart Remotes FAQ
1. General information:
  1. What are Harmony remotes?
    Harmony remotes are a line of remote controls now owned and developed by Logitech. They are highly customizable programmable remote controls that are activity based rather than device based.
  2. What does “activity based” mean?
    “Activity based” means the remote is customized based on the Activity you are using it for. So if you are watching TV using a DVR and a A/V receiver the volume controls will change the volume on the receiver and the channel and transport controls will work on the DVR. After programming in your devices with the Logitech software you set up Activities. The software walks you through the process of choosing the devices needed for an activity, which inputs each device needs to select and how the devices are powered on.
  3. In a nutshell, what are the hardware components?
    The Ultimate is a full featured universal, programmable remote with 27 hard buttons and a touchscreen and is based on the Harmony Touch. The Smart remote is similar in appearance to the Ultimate but lacks the touchscreen and some of the other capabilities of the Ultimate. The final piece is the Ultimate Hub, both remotes communicate with the Hub via RF. Also, Logitech has apps for Android and iOS that allow control via a wifi connection to the Hub.
  4. How do I program the remote?
    The Harmony remotes are configured through the Logitech MyHarmony.com website. You create an account there and connect your devices to your PC in order to associate them with it. *Update* The software is now available in a downloadable form and it no longer requires visiting the website to use. Other than that it is fundamentally the same.
  5. What platforms are supported by the software?
    Only Windows and Mac so far that I know of. The software is based on Silverlight and is run in a browser. It might be possible to get it running on Linux, but I’m not aware of how.
  6. What protocols do these remotes support?
    IR for the most part, with bluetoogh available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Wii. TCP/IP control is used for Philips Hue lights and Sonos.
  7. My other Harmony remotes supported Z-Wave, does this one?
    No. You’ll have to use something that converts IR to Z-Wave.
  8. What about controlling other devices via bluetooth or TCP/IP?
    Some devices are supported via IP or bluetooth. These include but are not limited to Phillips Hue lights, Nest Thermostat, Lutron, as well as some Lutron, Honeywell, SmartThings connected home devices, the August Smart Lock, Ecobee wireless thermostats, LIFX Wi-Fi LED smart lights, and the Insteon Hub model 2245-222. See here for more info.
  9. Is device X supported?
    Is it IR? If so the answer is yes. Logitech has a huge database off IR commands. Also they are expanding it all the time. With the Ultimate you can learn your own IR commands. With the Smart control you can learn IR using the Hub.
    If your device is not IR and is not specifically mentioned above then it is most likely not supported.
  10. Where can I get more info?
    Naturally Logitech's Harmony page is a great place to start as well as their support site. Another handy resource is the Harmony Release Notes web page.
  11. I heard Logitech is looking to sell off the Harmony line. Is this true?
    It was true. In January of 2013 Logitech announced that they were looking for a buyer for the Harmony line. However in June after the release of the Ultimate line they announced that they would be retaining Harmony after all.
  12. Is the author of this FAQ an employee of Logitech?
    Nope. I’ve never worked for them and nothing I say should be taken as absolute. Prior to the Ultimate I owned a couple of Harmony 890’s, and I have experience with other programmable remotes in the past.
  13. Is this FAQ 100% accurate?
    I hope so, but probably not. Feel free to PM me any issues you find with it.
2. Hardware information:
  1. How do I initially program the devices?
    After setting up an account on myharmony.com you’ll be prompted to plug in the devices via micro-USB. The Hub and Ultimate charging station are also powered via micro-USB using power adapters provided by Logitech.
  2. How often do I have to connect the remote and hub to my PC?
    Unlike previous Harmony remotes, not very often. Some firmware updates require a connection, but otherwise updates are done over the RF connection.
  3. How good is the RF connection?
    Very good. My Hub is located in a metal rackmount case in the room next to my theater and it has no issues. I can also use it from 30’ away on the same floor. If I go to the first floor and try and use it from a good distance away it’s not completely reliable.
  4. How strong is the IR?
    Most people have reported that the IR from the Ultimate remote or the hub is pretty strong. IR needs line of sight, of course, but it can bounce off walls or other objects with some degree of success.
  5. What emitters can be used?
    The Hub comes with 2 IR emitters, and also has an integrated IR emitter. The Hub does use 2.5mm connectors instead of the near industry standard of 3.5mm (common headphone jack size, also known as ⅛”). The connections are mono connectors, but stereo cables and adapters can be used. 2.5mm male to 3.5mm female connectors are available and can be used with the Hub just fine. I personally use 2 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapters and then 3.5mm Y cables so I can connect the IR emitters I have from my Harmony 890 as well as use the direct IR inputs on my Denon receiver, Oppo blu-ray player, and Logitech Transporter, all of which use 3.5mm (even the Logitech device).
  6. Can the remote send IR or is it just the Hub?
    The Ultimate is capable of IR, the Smart remote is not. In the MyHarmony software you can choose whether the Ultimate or the Hub sends IR. Go to Settings and choose "Remote and Hub Assignments". From there you can assign a device to the Ultimate or the Hub, and with the Hub you can choose whether the Hub and IR ports are used, or narrow it down to the Hub or a specific port.
2. Ultimate specific information:
  1. How big is the Ultimate?
    It’s just over 7” long and 2” wide and is fairly light.
  2. What’s with the odd shape?
    The underside is textured and contoured so it rests in your hand nicely and can be slid back and forth for easy access to all buttons.
  3. Is it odd to have the transport buttons separate from the rest of the buttons?
    This feature usually bothers people when they see it, but few, if any, have complained after using it. First, as mentioned above, moving the remote in your hand to access the different buttons is quite easy. Second, if you think about it, you don’t often manipulate the transport buttons and other controls at the same time. This design actually separates the buttons so that you no longer accidentally hit the channel buttons or cursor controls when you mean to operate the transport controls. While my 890 was fairly easy to operate I’ve used other remotes where the transport block and cursor block were quite similar and thus more difficult to operate without looking at the remote.
  4. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of buttons on this remote, what’s up with that?
    No, compared to many universal/programmable remotes it is lacking in buttons, but believe me when I say they aren’t missed. More on this below.
  5. What’s the deal with the short press/long press?
    All hard buttons can actually hold two commands, one off a short press, the other off a long press of the button. The remote will vibrate to let you know it when it detects a long press.
  6. Where’s the keypad?
    In the touchscreen. It may seem odd to see a high-end remote without a keypad, but if you stop an think about it, how often do you need it? The Ultimate also has a Favorites screen where up to 50 channels can be programmed in for instant access, thus reducing the need of the keypad. I personally have not needed the keypad once since I started using the remote.
  7. There’s only one set of FF/RWD buttons, where the skip/back or next/previous chapter buttons?
    This is probably the most controversial design decision. Logitech chose to put just one set of buttons for those common controls, whereas most devices have two sets. The missing functions can be accessed via long press or by using swipe gestures on the touch screen (more on those below). Once you adapt to this, it’s not really a problem.
  8. Any other missing buttons I should be aware of?
    The only other missing buttons anyone has brought up so far are the extra set of Up/Down buttons that some people used for functions like page up/page down.
  9. Any extra buttons?
    Unlike many previous Harmony remotes the common red, green, yellow and blue buttons are now included at the bottom of the remote.
  10. What does the touchscreen do?
    The touchscreen has multiple modes. First it is the home screen where you select the activity you want to run. You can return to the home screen by swiping to the left or pressing the Home button. The second screen is the Favorites screen, used to select a favorite channel from your primary TV Activity. The third screen is custom commands that don’t fit on any of the hard buttons. The fourth screen is the numeric keypad. Also, if you swipe up on those screens you will be taken to the gesture screen. From there you can activate various function via swiping up/down, left/right or tapping.
  11. Can I configure the remote using the remote itself?
    Some configuration settings can be changed via the remote. On the touchscreen in the lower right corner is an icon that consists of three horizontal lines. Tapping this brings up a configuration menu. You can change the default screen an activity goes to on activation, button order, and many other settings. Also this is where you initiate a sync with the MyHarmony software when updating your configuration.
  12. How many devices does the Ultimate remote support?
    The Ultimate remote can control up to 15 devices.
  13. How long does it last on a charge and how long does it take to charge?
    The remote can last for several days, I've used mine 5 or 6 days without recharging. I haven't timed how long it takes to fully charge, but it's no more than a few hours.
  14. Can I change the battery?
    The remote was not designed to have the battery changed by the owner. There are instructions provided with the remote to remove the battery when disposing of the remote, so if the dis-assembly of the remote doesn't cause damage presumably one day someone will provide a replacement battery for it.
  15. My remote seems to have locked up, what can I do?
    Run the MyHarmony software and attempt a sync from there. If the software can't communicate with the remote it will prompt you to plug in the remote and that should ultimately fix the problem. There is also a troubleshooting option in the desktop app on the right-hand side of the program.
  16. How can I clean the remote without activating any buttons or the screen?
    Bring up the menu on the touchscreen, select Settings->Remote->Remote Lock. Holding Exit for a few seconds will unlock the remote. For cleaning I use a lens cleaning solution that is basically a small amount of soap in water, along with a micro-fiber cloth.
4. Smart remote Information
  1. What is the purpose of the Smart remote?
    The Smart remote is aimed at consumers who are primarily interested in using a smart phone or tablet for control, but would like the option of using a hard button remote on occasion or as a backup. It can also be the primary remote for simpler setups.
  2. Does the Smart remote support IR?
    No. It strictly communicates with the Hub via RF and the Hub is responsible for sending all IR signals. The lack of IR is one of the ways it saves battery life.
  3. What kind of battery does the Smart remote use?
    Unlike the Ultimate remote, the Smart remote is not rechargable. It uses a CR2032 lithium coin cell battery that is easily changeable by the user, and lasts up to a year.
  4. How many activities does the Smart remote support?
    Six. There are three activity buttons and two activities can be assigned to each button via the long press feature.
  5. How many devices does the Smart remote support?
    The Smart remote can control up to eight devices.
5. Software Information
  1. How many remotes can the MyHarmony.com software support?
    You can have six remotes per account.
  2. How is the software organized?
    There are five main tabs in addition to the Home tab. The Home tab just provides links to the other tabs, so it’s largely useless. The organization is slightly different than the older Harmony software and you need to explore it fully to find all the possible options you can tweak.
  3. I want my device to stay on all the time, how do I change that?
    Go to Devices->Change Device Settings. and choose Power Settings.
  4. How do I learn new IR commands for a device?
    Go to Devices->Add or Fix a command. It’s a long cumbersome process. Note that adding a command at this point won’t necessarily make it appear on your remote. You will have to go to the Buttons tab and select the Activity or Device that you want to add that command to.
  5. Can I change the icon for an Activity?
    The MyHarmony.com software will choose a default icon based on the activity type, but oddly you cannot choose a different icon from the default icons. You can upload your own icon though. Go to Activities tab, choose the Activity you want to change, and then select Change your settings. From there you can upload an icon.
  6. Where can I get more icons?
    Check out squareeys’ icon site. It’s a web site maintained by an AVS Forum member and has a large selection of Harmony icons.
  7. How can I add more instructions to the start up or shut down of an Activity?
    Go to Activities->Customize this Activity and from there you can perform a certain amount of customization of the activity actions. You can reorder the commands, add new commands and add delays.
  8. How can I change how quickly commands are sent to a device?
    Go to Device->Change Device Settings. There you can set up some specific values for delays for a device’s IR commands as well set the repeat amount.
  9. Where can I change the order of Activities on the main screen?
    Under the Buttons tab (makes sense, right?). There are two drop down controls, Screen Options and Remote Buttons. The first selection under Screen Options allows you to tweak the Activities page.
  10. How can I change the buttons available to an Activity?
    This is also changed under Buttons. You can modify the hard buttons and the commands available via the touchscreen.
  11. I want to add some more commands to an Activity, but they aren’t showing up in the list, is there a way to access them?
    For some reason Logitech has chosen to filter the list of available commands that can be added to the touchscreen. For instance the keypad buttons are not available, including #, *, Clear and Enter, even if these keys are not showing up on the keypad. The only way I’ve found around this is to learn those commands under another name.
FAQ initially posted on July 22 2013.

mdavej originally started this thread. He graciously turned control of this post over to me so I could provide a FAQ. Below is his original post:

Just when I thought they'd given up, logitech surprises us with the biggest thing they've ever done. On paper, these new devices appear to be pretty amazing. Turns out the Touch has been hiding RF capabilities all along. And with the new Hub can now work via RF, Wi-fi and bluetooth, natively controlling PS3 and Wii without additional adapters. We get skip buttons back, and now short and long press commands, doubling the number of hard buttons essentially. Plus remote config/updates via wi-fi as well as a smartphone remote app. And they've actually listened to customer feedback and corrected some of the issues in the Touch, like more activities per screen, easier gesture control, and better ergonomics.

Check out the details here, and a good review here, and discuss. Looks like harmony is going to go out with a bang. Why they waited so long is a mystery, but I'm glad they're finally making some significant improvements after years of systematically ruining the harmony line.

EDIT: Here's another good review which also describes the new skip/fwd and skip/rew buttons:Quote:...Another nice perk of the Harmony Ultimate (which will carry over to the Harmony Touch in a future software update), is that the hard buttons like Play and Fast Forward now have dual purpose: press the button normally and it will take a certain action; press and hold the button for more than 1/2 second and it will take an entirely different action. This means the Fast Forward button will do Fast Forward when you press it quickly, but if you hold the button for more than 1/2 second it will do a Skip function instead. This addresses the complaint from many Touch owners (and reviewers) that there just aren't enough buttons on the Touch.
 

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Not a bad device. I got excited when I saw the article on The Verge this morning. I really like the idea of the Smart Control. It's cheap, has an app, but even gives you hard buttons to use. That's something a lot of the current apps are missing (but can obviously be dealt with). At least with this method, power states and activities will be synced. I'm not sure it's enough to sway me back over, but it definitely looks like an upgrade over the Link for the masses.
 

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This is more than just a Link upgrade. It's the only universal that can control a Wii or WiiU, controls a PS3 without an additional adapter, finally adds RF back to the lineup and adds features that the public actually asked for. This is a huge development. Too little, too late for harmony at logitech, but a big step in the right direction at last, and a strong product platform for any perspective buyers of the harmony business. I'm very pleased to see this.
 

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I saw a story for this remote and it mentioned that Logitech is selling the Harmony line, which I didn't know. Has there been any information about what happens if they don't find a buyer? Will we be able to program our remotes in the future if they discontinue without an owner? I'm asking because I was thinking of replacing my One remote with either the Touch or the Ultimate but I don't want to do so if the online database isn't going to be updated or it goes away.


As for this new remote, it sounds like it's probably a better option than the Touch given what little I've read about the Touch from users.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RolandOG  /t/1468520/harmony-ultimate-smart-control-and-hub/0_100#post_23210844


I


As for this new remote, it sounds like it's probably a better option than the Touch given what little I've read about the Touch from users.

I've read that the touch will get an update to give it the functionality of the new Ultimate (dual action buttons etc.). Unless you need to hide your equipment away, or your One is broken, I'd stick with the One. I have both the Touch and the One, and in my view, the One is the far better remote.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by passingbat  /t/1468520/harmony-ultimate-smart-control-and-hub#post_23211111


I've read that the touch will get an update to give it the functionality of the new Ultimate (dual action buttons etc.). Unless you need to hide your equipment away, or your One is broken, I'd stick with the One. I have both the Touch and the One, and in my view, the One is the far better remote.

A few of the buttons on my One remote are dying so that's why I'm looking to replace it. If it wasn't for that I'd stick with the One.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej  /t/1468520/harmony-ultimate-smart-control-and-hub#post_23210485


This is more than just a Link upgrade. It's the only universal that can control a Wii or WiiU, controls a PS3 without an additional adapter, finally adds RF back to the lineup and adds features that the public actually asked for. This is a huge development. Too little, too late for harmony at logitech, but a big step in the right direction at last, and a strong product platform for any perspective buyers of the harmony business. I'm very pleased to see this.

No doubt. I referenced the Link because it was their previous attempt to venture into IP control. After having this in the pipeline, I wonder why they feel compelled to sell. They pretty much cornered the consumer universal remote market. Part of me wants to cash out my assets and make an offer.
 

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My one had the ok button and volume buttons sticking or not responding, had the extended warranty at Best Buy and got the touch for free, even got a $50 gift card with a promotion. If the hub doesn't get iPhone/ipad control added to the touch, I may try to trade it in on an ultimate if they let me ( have premier silver extended return).

I like the idea of using the iPhone/ipad in addition to the remote, the touch's batteries don't last as long as the one did and I have had to dig out the receiver and cable remote when I forgot to charge, this would solve that
 

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With the software enhancements for short and long press this will be a good remote, and maybe short of being great. It will be even better if some of the other failings reported for the Touch are addressed. These include accidental selection of the Help function, smaller icons to allow more per screen. Most of these are fixable via software, e.g., configure Help as a long key press, but Logitech has not had a good track record of providing software enhancements, so time will tell.


Applying these software enhancements to the Touch will be a big boost to that product.


The ergonomic design with transport buttons at the top is still a weak and at best controversial point.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BPlayer  /t/1468520/harmony-ultimate-smart-control-and-hub#post_23213373


The ergonomic design with transport buttons at the top is still a weak and at best controversial point.
They did make an attempt to improve that by adding a catch at the bottom. Remains to be seen if that's a real improvement or not. Even if it isn't, at least they thought about it and listened to customer feedback, which is something they've never done in the past. Also, they didn't remove any features this time around, another first for logitech.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej  /t/1468520/harmony-ultimate-smart-control-and-hub/0_100#post_23213619


They did make an attempt to improve that by adding a catch at the bottom. Remains to be seen if that's a real improvement or not. Even if it isn't, at least they thought about it and listened to customer feedback, which is something they've never done in the past. Also, they didn't remove any features this time around, another first for logitech.

Presumably adding a small catch was much cheaper than re-designing the whole body to move the transport controls to a more sensible place.
 

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Is it just me, or is the Smart Control the more interesting product here? Assuming you have your smartphone with you, the all hard button remote should cover normal day to day usage, and then you can use the smartphone control for advanced settings from time to time. Plus, hard buttons for numbers, and the transport controls should be much easier to handle on the smart control.


I'm considering replacing my Harmony One with this one!
 

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I am definitely more interested in the Smart Control remote than the Ultimate. I think it should handle every day use very well. I just wish it had a few more activities available.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kromkamp  /t/1468520/harmony-ultimate-smart-control-and-hub/0_100#post_23235720


Is it known yet if the hub will directly control any home automation devices (light dimmers etc)?
Yes. Philips only.
 

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Does anyone know if these new Harmony remotes would do marco like back in the days of 8xx/One series?? That's the only thing I'm missing from the 900.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by landshark1  /t/1468520/harmony-ultimate-smart-control-and-hub#post_23238419


Does anyone know if these new Harmony remotes would do marco like back in the days of 8xx/One series?? That's the only thing I'm missing from the 900.
Actually they have much better macro capabilities than the old 8xx/One because the number of steps has doubled from 5 to 10. Plus each button can have 2 functions (long and short press) as mentioned earlier.
 
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