With the plethora of devices — each with their own remote control — populating most the home entertainment setups of most residences, universal remotes can be an essential piece of equipment. Trying to find the right remote control when in the middle of a gripping sports event or movie is a hassle. But even a hardware universal remote is just another piece of hardware — what if there was a solution that leverages an already existing piece of technology already in your arsenal of gear?
The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Hub actually turns your iPhone or Android smartphone into a powerful universal remote with a host of interesting features worth checking out. So, let’s take a look at Logitech’s solution for a mobile app that works as a remote control for your entire home entertainment center.
A Closer Look at the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Hub
Logitech’s complete Harmony Ultimate Hub solution features a combination between a network device that sends out IR and Bluetooth control signals and an app available for your iOS or Android mobile device. The IR signals are used to remotely control a wide array of home entertainment devices, including AV receivers, DVD and Blu-ray players, Smart TVs, and more. You are also able to control your video game console using the Ultimate Hub’s Bluetooth capabilities.
In short, it is a state of the art solution aimed at solving the conundrum around the easy control of home entertainment and video game equipment. Standard Logitech remote controls are also compatible with the Harmony Ultimate Hub. Recent advancements from Logitech appear to be aimed at using the system to control a residence’s home automation setup as well.
US-based customers can expect to pay around $100 for the Ultimate Hub. If you are curious about the quality of the mobile apps’ user interface, both versions are available for free download from either the Apple iTunes App Store or the Google Play store. Of course, they won’t be functional without the hub, but you can explore either app’s features and functionality.
Harmony Ultimate Hub Mobile App Laden with Cool Features
Logitech’s mobile app for their Harmony Ultimate Hub system sports over 50 channel icons, which allow you to customize the look and feel of your virtual universal remote. If you only watch a subset of your Digital TV provider’s available channels — a common refrain from many consumers hoping for a la carte channel offerings from their Cable and Satellite TV services — you can easily set the app to display your preferred channel icons. One-touch changing of the channels becomes a simple process without having to remember and key-in a three or four digit channel number.
The app also leverages common mobile user interface gestures, letting you control volume, fast forward and rewind through programs, and more using simple swipes and taps. Since everyone in your house is able to download the Logitech app, the proverbial cliche of “fighting over the remote” becomes something from the past. Of course, this now raises the specter of dueling smartphone remote control apps!
Another cool feature of the Harmony app remembers the power and input settings of your home entertainment equipment, helping you automatically manage the drudgery of ensuring the correct setup whether you are watching your Satellite TV service, enjoying a movie from your Blu-ray player, or streaming a TV show through your video game console.
This last feature is especially useful, considering the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Hub sends out both IR and Bluetooth signals and automatically switches between the two depending on which device you are trying to control. The system’s IR and networking capabilities also allow you to control equipment stored behind a cabinet door or even within a wall.
With managing your entertainment system becoming a more complex task considering the number of devices each using different control signals, Logitech’s Harmony Ultimate Hub can be a vital part of making that process easier. Adding home automation control features makes the entire setup worth of further exploration for the owner of today’s digital smart home.
Photo Credit: Phil Long