Is Buying a Harmony remote in 2021 still a good idea?
So let’s not beat around the bush. The Logitech Harmony universal remote was quietly killed off last year. To most audio enthusiasts, it was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Ok, maybe I am being a bit dramatic. But the exit of the Harmony brand was a loss to our community and has left a gap for users who need something a bit more complex than a simple IR repeater setup. Yes, the Sofabaton X1 is on the horizon. But the capabilities of this new remote and hub system are unclear. It may be the heir apparent to the Harmony throne, but only time (and my review) will tell! That begs the question – is buying a Harmony remote still a viable purchase in 2021, despite being discontinued? I think it is. But like most things, with a few caveats.
Don’t Feed the Scalpers!
As soon as Harmony announced it was discontinuing its line of remotes, prices on Amazon and eBay shot up overnight. I don’t understand that trend. It’s not a collector’s item. Plus, I would think that with it being discontinued, the remotes would be harder to sell, and thus prices would drop.
That said, don’t feed the scalpers! Use Facebook Marketplace, buy and sell groups, Kijiji (in Canada), and Craigslist. You should be able to find one reasonably priced, and I have no issues paying used prices for used gear. This is the best way to buy a Harmony remote in 2021.
Don’t Expect Support From Logitech Forever
I think that this should be apparent, but don’t expect Harmony to continue to support their remotes forever. They did say that they would continue to provide support and add to the device database for the foreseeable future. But we can’t expect this to last forever.
However, look at Logitech Squeezebox. Introduced in 2001, discontinued in 2012, the Squeezebox continues to be supported! There is a Windows 10 Driver, and their Twitter is still active – with the last post being September 2021. I can’t say for certain that Logitech will continue to support Harmony for that long. However, if their track record with Squeezebox is any indication, we can cautiously expect continued support.
Don’t Expect Parts
Again, common sense dictates that Logitech will not provide parts. I would not expect them to keep any inventory or have any more manufactured. My advice would be to look for a well-cared-for remote on the used market and snap it up as a backup. There is also many good quality, aftermarket parts for Harmony. I was able to get 3rd party batteries and case replacements easily on Amazon or eBay for reasonable prices. As well, you can use pretty much any off-the-shelf IR blasters with the Hub, so you don’t have to get OEM parts from Harmony to make it all work.
There is a Good Online Support Community
Even if Logitech doesn’t give support, I know that there is a thriving online support network for the Harmony remotes. Reddit, AVS, and other forums have dedicated threads on Harmony products. You can often search and find the answer you are looking for. If you do post, someone probably has an answer. Heck, you can even write to the venerable Rob H of AV Rant Podcast and he will probably have the answer!
I would still recommend the Harmony line of remotes. I wouldn’t support buying it at, or above full retail. Used? Go for it! I believe Harmony’s claims that they will continue to support the remote into the future. But, I wouldn’t blame you if you waited until the new Sofabaton X1 drops. Just do me a favour and tip me off on any good leads…I would always consider another Harmony remote…just in case!!