Logitech has discontinued its entire line of universal remote controls, leaving users of its popular Harmony Hub high and dry. What happened to the Harmony Hub—and what can users do now? Fortunately, there are some alternatives available. We'll take a look at everything you need to know.
For years, Logitech ruled the market for universal remote controls with its Harmony line of remotes. The company's product line culminated with the Harmony Hub, a product designed for both home theater enthusiasts and owners of smart home devices.
The Harmony Hub, introduced in 2014, is a small puck-like device that connects to your other home theater equipment using Bluetooth and IR technologies. The Hub then connects to your home network via Wi-Fi and can be controlled via the included remote control hand unit, the Harmony Hub smartphone app, or an Amazon Echo device via the Alexa voice assistant.
Like other Harmony universal remotes, the Harmony Hub can be programmed to perform multi-step, multi-device operations. It can also control certain smart home devices, including Philips Hue smart lighting and the Google Nest smart thermostat. It's especially popular among home theater fans, who use the hub to control all the home theater equipment.
In April 2021, Logitech announced that it was discontinuing all universal remote controls, including the Harmony Hub. The company officials stated they wanted to focus on the core business of computer mice and keyboards, which were flourishing in the work-from-home environment of the COVID-19 pandemic. Users worldwide were shocked and disappointed, as Logitech remotes were the most popular units out there.MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Logitech Discontinues Its Harmony Line of Universal Remotes
While Logitech promised to continue to support Harmony users, no new Harmony Hubs are being manufactured and sold. Sooner or later, users will be forced to find an alternative to their beloved Harmony Hubs to control their home theater systems and other devices.
What alternatives to the Harmony Hub are currently available? While there are no devices that do everything the Harmony Hub did, there are three viable alternatives that can perform similar functions.
Amazon's Fire TV Cube is like a version of the company's Fire TV Stick on steroids. The Fire TV Cube combines all the streaming video features of the normal Fire TV device with that of an Amazon Echo smart speaker. You can control all your home theater devices via the included remote control or via the Fire TV Cube's voice commands, like you'd control devices with an Amazon Echo device.
Unlike an Amazon Echo device, the Fire TV Cube displays results and other information visually on your TV screen. If you're playing music, for example, the Fire TV Cube can display lyrics onscreen. As a streaming media player, it offers 4K HDR playback, the normal Fire TV user interface, and access to hundreds of streaming video and audio services.
The Fire TV Cube controls other devices in your home theater system via its built-in IR blaster. You control the Cube and the Cube controls your other equipment. It also offers HDMI CEC support for devices connected directly to your TV. It connects to your TV via HDMI.
Related: You Can Now Use Your Fire TV Cube for Video Calls
The puck-like Broadlink RM4 Pro looks a little like the Harmony Hub base unit and offers much of the same functionality. It connects to wireless devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and offers both IR and RF control for your traditional home theater equipment.
You control the RM4 Pro (and all connected devices) from your smartphone via its Android or iOS app. There is no remote control included. The RM4 unit itself connects via HDMI to your TV.
The RM4 Pro also functions as a fully-featured smart home hub. You can use it to control all the other smart devices in your home, including smart lighting, smart plugs, and the like. If you want to create custom macros and routines, the RM4 Pro supports IFTTT.
Another Harmony Hub alternative is the Caavo Control Center. It's a relatively low-priced alternative, although to take advantage of all available features you'll need to sign up for a monthly subscription.
The Caavo Control Center doesn't include IR control. Instead, it functions as a 4-port HDMI switch. Connect all your home theater equipment directly to the Control Center via HDMI, and it will automatically recognize your gear during setup. It can also connect to wireless devices via Wi-Fi.
You control everything from the Control Center's included remote control or via voice control built into the remote control unit. There's also an onscreen display to help you navigate all your devices—and search for and display all your viewing options across a variety of devices and services. Just say the name of a TV series, channel, movie, or actor, and the Control Center will display the results onscreen without having to shuffle through multiple devices and services.
Note, however, that due to COVID-related supply chain issues, the Caavo Control Center is currently out of stock and has been for some time. But company officials say they're working to resolve those issues, so inquire in the future about availability.
If you currently have a Harmony Hub set up and functional in your home theater system, you don't need to do anything. It should continue working fine until Logitech eventually drops its support for it sometime in the future. Like many smart devices, the Harmony Hub system is cloud-based and if Logitech closes down its cloud servers it could leave you high and dry.
If you need a new controller for your home theater system, however, or if your Harmony Hub stops working, then consider any of the options highlighted in this article. None of them work quite the same as the Harmony Hub, but they're all good products you can use to control your system.What Is An Audio/Visual Receiver And Do You Need One? Read NextShareTweetShareEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorMichael Miller(13 Articles Published)
Michael Miller is a prolific and best-selling writer. He has written more than 200 books over the past three decades, on a variety of topics from computers to music to business. He is known for his casual, easy-to-read writing style and his ability to explain a wide variety of complex topics to an everyday audience. Collectively, his books have sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide. Miller also contributes articles to a variety of websites and publications, and does occasional speaking and consulting.MoreFrom Michael Miller
Join our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free ebooks, and exclusive deals!Click here to subscribe