Logitech Discontinues Harmony Remotes?
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.
- 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.
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.