Remote Controls

Update: Logitech Kills Harmony Remotes


We hate it when we are right, especially when we are right about bad news. Logitech officially announced that they will no longer manufacture Harmony remotes (link). If you were on the fence about a Harmony remote, buy one now. No new stock is coming.

What does this mean for Harmony owners? Logitech says they’ll continue to update the app and add devices. Of course, they have no choice but to say that. But the safe money is that the days are numbers on the app. If some other company doesn’t buy Harmony, it is only a matter of time before the servers go dark. Update your remote and hubs now.

Stay tuned as we’ll soo be releasing an article with viable Harmony alternatives. Also, be prepared to have to do more work for less functionality. Alas, Harmony! We knew ye well! You will be missed!

Original Story:

Evidence is mounting that Logitech may discontinue the Harmony remote arm of their business. Users on Reddit have reported that their orders have been canceled and that they have been told by retailers that “Logitech is permanently ceasing production of Harmony Remotes.” Logitech has responded saying, “Please be informed that, we are continuing manufacturing and support of Harmony. The stock levels is [sic] likely due to distribution and logistics, but customer support is not able to confirm.”

A quick search of Amazon and the Logitech website for Harmony remotes tells a bleak story. Most remotes are out of stock. Those that aren’t are in short supply. At this writing, we are near Christmas and many electronic devices are out of stock. But Harmony has been fading from view as even the CEO said, “I think over time, you’ll have fewer and fewer people who feel like they really need that universal remote.”

Yikes. That doesn’t bode well for Harmony’s future.

So, what does this mean for Harmony users? Harmony has long been the go-to recommendation for the home user who wants more control over their home theater system. But if Logitech kills the Harmony remote division, what will happen to your remotes?

What About My Current Harmony Remotes

Regardless of what kind of Harmony remote you currently have, it should work with your existing gear into the future. The standalone remotes obviously won’t have an issue, but the more complex, hub-based remotes shouldn’t be affected even if Logitech shuts down their cloud-based interface. All your existing gear will still work, you just won’t be able to add any more. That’s a bummer for the long term, but at least your Harmony remotes won’t stop working immediately. We think. We hope. But what it does mean is that you’ll…

Never be able to Add Another Device to your Harmony Remotes

Years ago, the Harmony interface was a standalone program that you downloaded to your computer. You would need to update it when new devices were released. Then, they switched to the cloud. Now, everything is online. If Logitech discontinues Harmony, say goodbye to adding more devices or activities to your remotes. They say that they’ll support Harmony users “into the future” but that usually means “until the hubbub dies down and we can pull the plug without too much backlash.”

Solution: Release the Code!

If Logitech is going to kill…we mean discontinue Harmony remotes, releasing a standalone program, once again, to control your remote is vital. Giving the community a way of adding new devices to their existing remotes is the only humane way to terminate the Harmony division. That way modders, programmers, and enthusiasts can keep those remotes alive even when Logitech has canceled Harmony.

If Logitech Discontinues Harmony, What are my Other Remote Options?

Honestly, not great. Harmony was the favorite of many users not just because it has been around the longest, but because it had the most user friendly interface. Other options will be more expensive, less intuitive, or less powerful. But, as of today, here are what we see as options:

  • SofaBaton U1 ($50) could be a decent alternative for the simpler, IR-only Harmony models. In fact, it’s a bit more advanced in that it also works with Bluetooth. You don’t get to set up an endless number of Activities. But it has a single Macro button, “punch-through” volume, and slots for 15 devices.
  • Roomie Remote ($200 lifetime, or $50/year) could be used instead of the Harmony Hub + App, and there are hardware options for adding IR control.
  • The Home Remote ($5) software is super customizable, and you can add just about any type of control adapter to your network. But it isn’t exactly user-friendly or plug-and-play. (Edit – check the comments below for comments from the developer. There is a free version and the user interface has been updated since our last go with the app. This app will also work with your Harmony Hub so that is something to keep in mind.)
  • NEEO Remote by Control4 ($600) originally a KickStarter product, and originally a stand-alone, $370 device that came with a “Brain” hub – very similar to the Harmony Hub. But now it’s owned by Control4, so you’d have to get a whole Control4 system installed in order to use it, along with the limited user adjustability that comes with a professionally installed integration system.

Conclusion

We don’t know for sure that Logitech has discontinued the Harmony remotes division of their company. But, honestly, it has been in the forecast for some time. Harmony represents 6% of the keyboard division sales for Logitech. That’s an eye-opening number. It would make sense that Logitech might want to divest itself of Harmony if they are not making much money. We just hope that Logitech leaves users with some way of keeping their Harmony remotes current going forward. If that means releasing the code and letting users maintain the databases, great. If it means selling the division to someone that will keep it going, also great. We just love our Harmony remotes and would hate to see them bricked. We know many others feel the same.

Special thanks to Rob of the AV Rant Podcast for bringing this to our attention.


15 Comments on Update: Logitech Kills Harmony Remotes

  1. I cannot guess what Logitech would do with Harmony support if they cancels the product, but they stopped selling the Squeezebox line some years ago, and they still has a small but dedicated support team keeping the server and all of its streaming services up to date.

  2. bond2k Avatar

    TBH I hope they will sell the Harmony division. The harmony products, although still the best, feel quite outdated, especially when it comes to the software side. Maybe a new company focused on Harmony would be best.

  3. Hi Tom,

    Developer for The Home Remote here!  Thank you very much for including us in your article! 

    I did want to mention though that our basic Android & iOS apps are very much plug-and-play. They are also free! Simply click the “+” button in the top right corner of the screen & select the device you wish to pair. For most AV devices, like the Harmony Hub, they will be discovered automatically.

    The $5 is really just for those that use the Designer software to create custom layouts or program plugins. I generally encourage users to try the basic apps 1st. They feature a Backup option on the Settings page that will export a Designer project file based on your current configuration. That way you don’t have to start from scratch. 

    Regarding the status of Harmony, I was hoping the stock issues were related to manufacturing slowdowns due to the pandemic. They have a great product that a lot of people use. I do see Best Buy still has some both in-store & online. Although availability could vary depending on your location.

    Great article! Appreciate the insights!

    Thanks,
    Bill

    • Thanks for the feedback! I’ve updated the article. I, too, hope the lack of stock was holiday and Covid related. We saw a lot of that this year as resellers kept stock low so that they could keep prices high.

  4. I really, really hope they do not end Harmony. I am an AV integrator. I heard from a representative of RTI that they are shutting it down. This lead me to googling which brought me here. We sell the heck out of the companion remotes and a bit of the Elite and Pro models. These have really been a huge part of our business. They are so extremely easy to program and have been rock solid for us. Only time I get a call is when it stops working and I just tell them how to change the battery. Fixed. I would really love to see someone else continue it if they do drop it. The thought of this whole thing is really terrible. I just can not find anything even close to Harmony out there.

  5. MCA Avatar

    It will be awful if they shut down completely. The 665 is a great IR remote for basic setups and it sucks they have discontinued it. The Elite and Pro are great for more advance setups. I agree with Kris, they are easy to program and they last for years, as long as you don’t drop them. I own and operate a small av company in central Florida, I’m also a Logitech Harmony dealer. My sales guy at Dow Electronics told me last year that they are shutting down the consumer end to focus on Pro remotes only sold by installers. I guess it makes sense, the Pro remotes carry a better profit margin for the company and it would reduce the amount of tech support needed since they would not be dealing directly with the end user anymore. I hope this is true, there would still be a remote available from Harmony I can sell to my clients.

  6. KMac Avatar

    Logitec has been working very tightly with Extron, Crestron and the like to introduce many boardroom and video conferencing solutions. Perhaps this is a more profitable market for them and the connection with other control integration companies may complicate that arm of the company.

    As an integrator I haven’t been a huge fan of the harmony for the average client. Most clients who ended up purchasing the harmony also bought devices that don’t have discrete commands such as tv’s with toggle buttons and set top boxes with the same issue. It’s a price point thing.

    I do hope logitec comes to the table with a decent product again, this time for an affordable price given the remote’s capabilities.

  7. Cynthia Paish Avatar

    I use these in every install I do. To shut it down is a huge slap in the face to all of the customers that have been so loyal for so long.

  8. Rouzax Avatar

    Please let that be true, there is nothing on the market that comes even close, and I don’t see myself shouting to my equipment. Volume up, Volume down, skip ahead 30 seconds, skip back 5 seconds 🙂

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