Goodbye Clutter: New Logitech Harmony 900 Remote

My name is Ian Crowe and I’m a product manager in the Harmony Remotes business unit at Logitech. When I’m not working with our design and engineering teams to develop new products, I enjoy sports, including mountain biking, golf, ice hockey and snowboarding.

Do you love home entertainment but hate the mess of all the devices and wires? If so, you’re not alone.
Announced today, the Logitech Harmony 900 Remote takes clutter-free home entertainment to a new level by using radio frequency (RF) technology. RF signals can travel in all directions and through walls and doors (just like a cordless phone) so you can hide all your gear inside a cabinet or closet and control it all without having to point the remote.

The remote’s physical design is based on the award-winning Harmony One, but we’ve added a higher-resolution screen, a more sophisticated user interface and four additional programmable buttons for STB/DVR/teletext controls. And, like all Harmony remotes, it offers the benefits of one-touch activity-based control and online setup.

Harmony900_BTY1

The coolest thing about the Harmony 900, however, is the bits that go inside the cabinet to receive the RF signal and send the IR commands to the AV devices. Most RF products require you to attach small IR emitters to the front of all your devices. If you’ve ever tried this, you know how frustrating it can be to find the IR sensor on a DVD player or AV receiver, not to mention getting the emitters to stay in place. And good luck if you need to move anything around later on.

Harmony 900 takes a different approach to in-cabinet control. Our new RF System includes an IR blaster and two mini blasters that sit on the shelves in your cabinet and can each control multiple stacked or side-by-side devices. They are simple to set up and move around as your system evolves and are a lot more attractive than the stick-on emitters. And they won’t leave you looking for tape or hot glue to keep them in place! If you want to control equipment outside of the cabinet, like your TV or video projector, etc., just leave one of the mini blasters on top of the cabinet.

The flexibility of an RF system is hard to appreciate until you try it. Even if your devices aren’t behind closed doors, just not having to point my remote makes a huge difference. In my case, I have an open system and with a single IR blaster I can pause my DVR from the kitchen or change the volume from my porch. It’s made a big difference for me, and my wife refuses to go back to the old ‘pointy remote’ since I brought home the Harmony 900.

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Author

Product Manager, Harmony Remotes Business Unit

58 comments

  • Hi Ian,

    My new 900 remote is useless without the Precision IR Cables (stick-on style emitters)… When will they be available?

    Thanks, Arch

  • When will the Logitech Harmony 900 remote control be available in Australia,I am advised that only the IR models are available here & unfortunately they do not suit me purpose.

  • I have become so frustrated lately with configuring my 890 Pro remotes and IR blaster that I am not even faintly interested in the 900. Especially with such an outrageous price and no deals for current Harmony users. Plus, I am hearing a lot of feedback about the limited RF range of the 900, which is another deal breaker for me.

    My setup is not typical but it isn’t too complicated, yet it takes me days (no exaggerating) to configure my remotes and customize buttons the way I need them. The configuration utility for the 890 Pro is clunky and requires a maddeningly number of the same repetitive steps over and over. Is there any possibility they have improved configuration with the 900? And if so, how can I trust it since you have yet to do anything to smooth out configuring the 890?

    Even if the 900 is bliss to configure, I doubt my purchasing a new remote will alleviate any of my issues with configuring the remotes. Lately, the configuration utility has not been reporting correct configurations. My remotes are not responding as configured, turning off devices in use by the other remote, and not turning on devices at all. If it wasn’t a “one” time activity to configure the remotes, I would have chucked the remotes as useless and begun a compaign to shut down Harmony production.

    I am still fighting to get my remotes configured correctly after owning them for years. I do not think it appropriate to have to pay for expert support just because the support period has expired. And how can I trust the 900 is any improvement when you have not fixed anything for the older remotes?

    You have an awesome line of products with the Harmony remotes. Why is there little or no support for long-time users? How can I purchase a 900 knowing I am wasting my money on a product which is not supported well?

  • My 890 died and i just ordered a Harmony 900 and now I’m very worried about the RF range. I’ve read a lot of reviews and most of them talk about the terrible range of the new blaster system. I’m going through a floor to my main cabinet in the basement and if the RF doesn’t work, them I’m going to be totally out of luck.
    Does anyone have any positive feedback on the range or should I try to cancel my order?

  • When will the RF extenders and four-headed stick-on emitters be available for the 900? I bought two 900s back in August, but have not been able toset tem up or use them because my system requires a total of 7 extenders — one does me no good — and I also have two DirecTV receivers in the same media center cabinet and need the stick-on emitters for those. I keep checking the website and Best Buy but they do not seem to be available — and my 90 day support period is already over!

  • Hi Ian,

    Thanks for taking time out to respond to comments on here – it’s much appreciated.
    I’m a happy Harmony One owner and have been for over a year now. My only issue with it is lack of RF, so for long sequences like starting up an activity from scratch or powering down the system, I have to keep the remote pointed at the cabinet for several seconds. I was delighted to see the announcement of the 900 which addresses this only concern. Looking online at reviews though, I was disappointed to see so many people having problems with the range of the RF transmission.
    An example is here:
    http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/08/31/review-logitech-harmony-900-universal-remote/
    And the majority of the reviews on Logitech’s own product page agree:
    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/remotes/universal_remotes/devices/5874&cl=us,en
    I’m eager to get my hands on one of these, but not if it’s not up to scratch as far as RF performance (the only reason for me to upgrade).
    Hopefully you’ll acknowledge that there are (or have been) issues and let us know what’s being done about them if anything. If there’s a firmware (or even hardware) upgrade due, then you might let us know when to expect that.

    Thanks !

    -DW.

  • I purchased the Harmony 900 as part of a home theater system with a Samsung UN55B7100 55 inch LCD LED tv, Samsung blue ray player and ipod docking station, all installed by Best Buy Geek Squad a month ago. I have two problems with the Harmony 900 that are very frustrating:

    1. The buttons at the bottom of the remote are extremely difficult to use. For example, to change the channel to “234″ rarely works the first time. I end up at channel “2″ then maybe channel “23″ The Geek Squad tech told me to push the buttons more slowly, but that really does not work either. I have to squeeze the buttons very hard to get them to work and they still do not perform as well as the freebie Comcast remote. What’s the story there, is there something I’m doing wrong?

    2. When I play a blue ray dvd, after the movie is finished and I take out the disk, I shut down the system. After that, the remote dies. No LCD screen at the top, only the arrows up there are faintly lit. This is after the remote is sitting on the charging station, so it is not a charging/power problem. However, if I take out the battery, put it back in and seal everything up, the remote works again.

    How can these problems be simply resolved? I spent about $5K on this whole system including $400 for this remote and you can’t imagine the frustration I am encountering here. Please respond.

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