Farewell Logitech Harmony – a look back

Farewell Logitech Harmony – a look back

Luca Fontana
Zurich, on 13.04.2021
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
Harmony no more. The one remote to rule them all will no longer be manufactured. Logitech recently broke the news. I bid it Adieu.

Logitech has finally called it quits. They're done with remote controls. Gone are universal controls. Harmony no more.

No more Mr Nice Brand.

That's the impression I got from Swiss company's official blog, now headquartered in Newark, California. «Logitech will no longer manufacture Harmony remotes,» it says. The fact that no new Harmonys are being produced doesn't mean that Logitech will no longer provide support. Thus, the database of supported devices and their software will continuously be maintained. «As long as people use them,» of course, the blog states.

«Saying goodbye without leaving.»

Do you know the saying? Don't look back in anger. Very British. I for one will look back on an eventful, yet not too harmonious past.

The dream of a remote control

It was November 14, 2017. A Tuesday. The day I learned that the world is made up of two kinds of people: those who use Logitech's universal remote control and those who want to use it but are too incapable (article in German).

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I belonged in the latter category. This was quickly and kindly pointed out to me by the comments during one of my first ever product tests.

“ (Translation) This review is proof that even bloggers buy/research products despite them having no idea what they do. ”
digbetsch, November 2017

I quickly came to learn how difficult new beginnings can be. I thought I was so smart. So superior. «What, it's just remotes,» I thought. «Who cares about remotes?»

I had to find out that people even have opinions about remote controls the hard way.

Including me, actually. Harmony was troublesome. From the start. Such as the process of connecting it to my home network. Harmony: On. Off. Routers: On. Off. A connection attempt. Connection failed. Dammit. Please make sure that…

Argh!

“ This begs the question: is it acting this way on purpose or is it just that helpless??? Always selecting devices separately… ”
jd-ma, November 2017

Then having to set commands, a precisely defined sequence of inputs. You come home and click «Netflix» on Harmony. It turns on the TV, selects the Netflix app, activates your home theatre system, changes the lights to a dim and cosy tone, orders a pizza and flushes the toilet.

Okay, scratch the pizza.

Commands are for professionals only.
Commands are for professionals only.

The process is quite clear. However: my TV takes ten seconds to boot up. This delay must be built into the command chain; otherwise nothing will happen. I hate it when nothing happens and I don't understand why.

“ Honestly! Instead of buying this thing, why not just buy a roll of tape and combine your three remotes into one? ”
trufy0815, November 2017

Haha. Hilarious.

Over before you know it

I admit it: Harmony and I never became friends. Even to this day. For a few weeks now, however, I've been thinking about giving her another go. Properly this time. My colleague Raphael Knecht, smart home pro extraordinaire, swears that Harmony now performs perfectly when controlling Hue lights, Samsung TV, PlayStation 5, Apple TV and Sonos.

“ I recommend you having a proper look at the software on a PC or in case of emergency, to hire a professional for the setup. Shouldn't be much of an issue either way… ”
DanCooper, November 2017

And it seems Logitech sensed a disturbance in the Force. Immediately hitting me with a resounding «Nope.»

But why is Logitech halting production? Low profits, apparently. Only around 6 per cent when compared to keyboard sales. All due to better alternatives floating around, voice assistants in particular. Seems like Harmony has had its moment shine, according to Logitech. Therefore, goodbye Harmony.

I am a bit down. I'd have liked to have had my rematch. My revenge. To restore my honour and pride. Guess that won't happen after all. Never again. Maybe I should've got my act together after all. Maybe not. Who knows… For now, let's leave it at this:

Farewell Harmony.

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Luca Fontana
Luca Fontana
Editor, Zurich
I'm an outdoorsy guy and enjoy sports that push me to the limit – now that’s what I call comfort zone! But I'm also about curling up in an armchair with books about ugly intrigue and sinister kingkillers. Being an avid cinema-goer, I’ve been known to rave about film scores for hours on end. I’ve always wanted to say: «I am Groot.»

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