Logitech Harmony Link - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-05-11, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Logitech Harmony Link

What is it?

The question is what is it not?

Simply put, it is NOT what most of us know as a Harmony remote control.

Sorry, but I had high expectations for this device and was severely let down.

Now with that out of the way. Here is the review ;-)

I have only owned one Logitech Harmony Remote control, the Harmony 890+. Since the introduction of the iPhone and iPad I had longed for an integration of the two (Harmony Remote and the iPhone/iPad), hopping someday that Logitech would develop such a product.

Enter the Harmony Link. What is it? Well its a relatively small round very flay "puck" of a device that at first glance incorporates the best of the Harmony remote persona with the ability to control via WIFI through your iOS device.

For $99 you get the Harmony Link, an AC Adaptor, A USB Sync cable, and a single remote IR blaster.


Previous generation Harmony remotes rely on a separate installable Harmony Remote software. The Harmony Link uses a 100% Browser (Java Script) based configuration tool that takes Logitech's web based configuration to the next level. This in some ways make programing your remote 100% reliant on internet connectivity. Although in this day and age who doesn't have full time internet?

Out of the box you get the Link (puck) with a series of connection on the back, one for power, one for USB (mini) and 2 for IR Blasters. (One comes with the unit).

Initial configuration and set up is very simple and straight forward. Following the brief instructions that come with the "Link", you connect the AC adaptor (Can not be powered solely from the USB), then connect the USB cable to your PC or Mac. You then open a browser and go to the www.MyHarmony.com web site and follow the directions to set up your remote.

This then open another browser/java window and you begin setting up the device. This site/page uses a separate login id and password from your (if you already have one) Harmony remote software login. Once in you are guided through a simple set of "initial" configuration prompts to connect to local WIFI network. If you do not have a home WIFI network then you are pretty much out of luck. It does not work with an AD HOC network.

After assigning the Link a location in your home, (Home Theater is not one of them Ba!) you are then presented with the programing stage of the process. Here is where you add devices to your configuration. I have to hand it to Logitech here there process was VERY straight forward and they spend a good amount of time with their device database and guiding one through the process of setting up new devices. It had no trouble finding and adding my eMotiva UMC-1, my Epson 8350 Projector, my Xtreamer pro and X10 lights!.

Once you have your devices configured you move on to the Activities section. Now I do not watch TV in my Theater, so this next section was a little frustrating. As it kept insisting that to move one I had to configure a TV Activity. So I had to play along. Once past that I was able to move on to more important "Activities" Watching a movie.

Here again the Logitech online database/guide instructed me to select the devices to use, what inputs/outputs i wanted to use. What device controllers volume, etc. Now here was the first catch. Even though I had chosen the Watch Movie Activity to include my X10 lights it never asked me how I wanted to control them. Then I discovered something very upsetting. You can not create custom scripts or functions for the activities. Nor can you add function to already configured activities. WHAT! NO!

Instead you simply create simple basic activities that "start" your activity then you must choose other devices (That are not already part of the activity) and control them separately. So in this aspect you are no better off than having each of your individual remote in hand, except that they can switch functions by changing a option on the device itself. WELL!

Okay moving on, now that you have finished "selecting" your activities you can now Sync your device. This is handled by installing (and only by) the iOS app on your iPhone/iPad/iPod and then it sync's to the Link/Puck. Firmware updates are also sent from your iOS device to the Puck. Once complete your Link "Puck" will indicate that all is well by changing the Red indicator light on the front and bottom of the device to Green.

Using a smaller iPhone/iPod iOS device lets to be a very unfulfilling experience, BUT load the FREE iOS app on to your iPad and now you get a full fledged GUIDE for your TV viewing, wait! I don't watch TV in my Theater room, again this aspect is wasted on me.

Now it seems that I am VERY critical of the Harmony Link, True. However it is a critical perspective that I intend to use this for my Theater and NOT my day to day universal remote for my living room/bedroom. With that in mind, the Harmony Link is a GREAT product for those seeking a simple easy to program and use device for their Living/Family room where they watch TV and play movies. If you don't expect a lot from the drive in regards to programability and function, then its a great product if you already own an iOS (Current generation) device. but do not go out and buy an iOS device just so you can own the Link. It is not worth it.

For those in hopes of finding the perfect (or near perfect) solution for your iOS device and Home Theater, that can replace more sophisticated or even less expensive Harmony Remotes, keep looking. The Harmony Link is not it. My Only hope is that they will take heed at my feedback as well as others and make some QUICK firmware/software changes to make this product what it should be.

I also own a ThinkFlood RedEye that I plan on revisiting now that they have updated their software recently, but until then the RedEye was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, it was highly programable but unreliable and their remote database was not nearly as comprehensive or easily accessed as Logitech's.

So for now I will stick with my Harmony 890+. Other than having to replace my battery it has yet to fail me.

Last edited by akakillroy; 10-05-11 at 10:45 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-06-11, 01:55 PM
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Re: Logitech Harmony Link

Very interesting, thanks
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-06-11, 11:33 PM
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Re: Logitech Harmony Link

Make no mistake I love the idea of this new product and even would buy one but.
I have only one problem with this device, and it comes from experience.
Apple can and already has obsoleted many docks, devices and accessories as they move forward forcing you to buy the newest versions.
I do not buy hardware other than spare charge cables or a case for any iOS devices as they don't respect legacy hardware investments. I am not a fanboy or a Apple hater I simply learned by example it's not wise to waste money on EXPENSIVE 3rd party apple products that may not work months later with the intended device.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-07-11, 04:13 AM
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Re: Logitech Harmony Link

Quote:
Jasonpctech wrote: View Post
Make no mistake I love the idea of this new product and even would buy one but.
I have only one problem with this device, and it comes from experience.
Apple can and already has obsoleted many docks, devices and accessories as they move forward forcing you to buy the newest versions.
I do not buy hardware other than spare charge cables or a case for any iOS devices as they don't respect legacy hardware investments. I am not a fanboy or a Apple hater I simply learned by example it's not wise to waste money on EXPENSIVE 3rd party apple products that may not work months later with the intended device.
The issue here is not one of a hardware interface, it is an app communicating over tcp/ip.

Apple would break THOUSANDS of apps if they stopped that. Not gonna happen. (They could very well update the OS, and break the Harmony app until Harmony updates it to work correctly, but (a) that's not the same thing, and (b) that could happen with any application on any platform, so no need to "blame" Apple for that.)

Lots of reasons to avoid this app if you don't think it will meet your needs, but hardware changes, when the only connection is over a network, is not one of them.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-10-12, 09:54 AM
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Re: Logitech Harmony Link

I was wondering if the OP has any updates to this review after having lived with the product for a few months or if anyone else has used it and would like to share their feelings about it.

I noticed that Circuit City is selling this with a $20 coupon making it $80 which makes it rather tempting.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-10-12, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Logitech Harmony Link

Quote:
typ44q wrote: View Post
I was wondering if the OP has any updates to this review after having lived with the product for a few months or if anyone else has used it and would like to share their feelings about it.

I noticed that Circuit City is selling this with a $20 coupon making it $80 which makes it rather tempting.
I know they updated the software recently but it is not anything earth shattering. If you want something to control your Living room components and use an iPad as your "watching Guide" then its nice, but if you are like me and want to control your Home Theater (Lighting/Media Player/Projector/Sound System) using Activities then you might be unhappy with the purchase. I still have mine, and I am waiting to see if they will add the same functionality as they have with the other line of Harmony Remotes like the Harmony 890 Pro (which I still use) and the Harmony 900 (Harmony 1 with RF).

As others have also commented, there is still something to be said about having a remote in your hand with physical buttons that you can just feel your way though their control (naturally) rather than having a touch screen and fumbling through to functions. If I use my iPad or my iPhone I have to unlock it each time then open the App before I can use its functions. A dedicated remote you have it all there and ready to control everything immediately.
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