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

  • This looks very interesting. As a current owner of a HarmonyOne I’m keen to hear more about this product – e.g. does the remote still emit IR so as I can control my TV directly from the remote w/o an emitter and my A/V gear sitting in a wiring cabinet? What frequency does the remote work on over RF?

    Looking forward to hearing more about this.

    Regards,
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes, the Harmony 900 can emits IR and RF so you can control some devices that are hidden and some that aren\’t. One of the benefits of the new blaster/mini blaster design is you can position one of the mini blasters outside your cabinet to control devices in the room like a TV or projector, without having to run an IR emitter cable all the way to the device.

      However you set it up, selecting which devices to control with IR or RF is done directly on the remote itself so you don\’t need to \”reprogram\” the remote or the blaster, as was the case with previous Harmony RF remotes.

      The remote uses the ECnet RF protocol and operates at 2.4 GHz.

      -Ian

  • This new IR Blaster concept doesn’t look very promising IMHO.

    Will the Mini blasters require their own power supply or are they using batteries?
    Or are they connected by cable to the “Main Blaster”?

    Is it still possible to use fixed IR cables instead? I can think of several situations where those would be preferable, such as in encodes cabinets.

    I very much like the new remote design though. Would it be possible to combine the new remote with the old RF Extender that came with the 895 ?

    • Hi Gerald,

      The mini blasters connect via cable to the main blaster and in all of our tests, we\’ve found the blaster and mini-blasters to work extremely well, in both open and closed-cabinet scenarios.

      However, if you have multiple devices that respond to the same IR commands or have a very tight cabinet where each device is on its own separate shelf, Precision IR Cables will be available. These cables will each feature four individual IR emitters and will fit the 2.5 mm port on the blaster. Due to the design of the mini blasters and the power output required, the 3.5 mm cables used with the older Harmony RF Extender are not compatible.

      The Harmony 900 uses a different RF technology than the 890/895 so the existing RF Extender is not compatible with the Harmony 900 remote.

      -Ian

  • Yes, the remote still fires IR itself.

    As a beta tester of this remote, I’m amazed that the product description page, and this page both fail to mention what I think is the best addition to the harmony remotes…a sleep timer!

    Yes, that’s right people. Once you’re in an activity, you simply press the activities button to show your list of activities again and the last one in the list will be ‘Set Sleep Timer’ and then you select the duration you want from the choices and press the activities button again to bring you back into your current activity.

  • Wow a sleep timer alone makes it an instant purchase for me. I am surprised more remotes do not have this option. I have a harmony one remote now and love it, the addition of RF will make it perfect. Can’t wait for it!!!

  • As an owner of Logitech’s 880, 1000 and 890 (which this replaces) I am concerned that you are limited to 3 IR Blasters. Does it use the standard IR headphone type pin so that you can connect the standard IR emitters right to the component if you choose to or is it a special connector? Also how many connectors can one connect? I would love to see a picture of the RF Receiver where it connects to the IR blasters.

  • Ahh….but does the RF functionality work with the Bose Lifestyle systems in their “native” RF mode? Most remotes only seem to work (with varying degrees of success) in IR modes…

  • It may be cool but 400 eur for Pete’s sake?? For that much you can get a whole flat tv, cmon man…

  • I have a very tight setup in my “Home Theater”, a 10×10 room with all the components paced horizontally at the bottom of the wall mounted TV and recliners for chairs. With my current Harmony our feet or other obstructions sometimes blocks the IR signal leading to “Help” button presses.

    I’m not sure if I’d have the space to place the blasters back far enough to reach the IR sensors without it being in the way.

    Can this “flood” a small room enough to get a signal through bouncing off walls, etc?

  • The back of the blaster has two 2.5mm mono connection ports for the mini-blasters. Of course, with the right adapters, you can connect the original style IR blaster tip cables from the old extender. The 900 can not be paired with the old extender though, and the new extender can not be paired with the older remotes.

    The 900 supports up to 5 main blasters.

  • Finally finally finally. I returned the original harmony because often one component or another would miss some part of the transmitted macro, losing ‘sync’ and turning the whole setup even more wife-unfriendly rather than improving the situation.

    This is great news, although for the announced price I’d prefer a wifi-based setup that is controlled by an iphone/zune/etc. i.e. a more open system would be better

  • As a happy Harmony ONE user, I’m disappointed this revision does not include a dedicated “List” (i.e. Now Playing for TiVo) button for DVR owners.

    It’s the one blight on the Harmony ONE in my opinion. I reprogrammed the “UP” button, but when most everyone interested in such a remote has a DVR, the “List” button is a dumb omission. The colored function buttons are a nice addition, though.

    -mpm

  • An RF System for the Harmony One will never be available since the Harmony One doesn’t have a built in RF Antenna to support RF.

  • This sounds great, but I have a few basic questions:

    Can a mini blaster control more than one piece of equipment, or do you need to dedicate one blaster for each individual component?

    What is the “throw” of the mini blaster? Where does it need to be placed in relation to the IR receiver of the equipment being controlled?

    How long is the wire that is attached to the mini blaster?

    Thanks!

  • mpmchugh….that’s what the LCD is for…customize the activity LCD and put the command there. the 900 even has a nice ‘List’ icon that you can use.

    matt…if you have a One and don’t want to upgrade remotes, your best bet is currently a 3rd party IR repeater/extender (powermid is one such company)

    epic-hd….no, the remote can’t send bluetooth…so you would still need the adapter to control the PS3

    cj….each blaster (and miniblaster) can control more than one device…the ‘throw’ is pretty darn good. I have my main blaster facing towards me (away from the devices) about 4-5 inches in front of the devices, in the middle of the shelf (devices are on the outside)….so in total the blaster is firing at least 4-5 inches behind it and 12-18 inches to the side (so a backward angle)….as far as the cable length….you gotta make me go measure it, don’t you….I cheated…I’m 5’7″ and it’s considerably longer than my wingspan…so perhaps 8 feet

  • I wonder if Logitech has ever had complaints from customers whose equipment has overheated or become damaged after being kept in a closed cupboard rather than open with fresh air circulation. Most user manuals advise the device to be installed with space for air to circulate for cooling.

    • Hi Richard,

      We haven\’t had any complaints of that nature that I can recall. As long as you don\’t cram more devices in the cabinet than the cabinet is intended to hold, there should be no risk of over-heating.

      -Ian

  • My harmony 895 has just stopped working and I am thinking about getting this product instead but will I be able to transfer my activities and devices over to the new remote? I have set up for the 895 onto the 900?

    It is a shame you did not move to bluetooth connectivity with your IR sender rather than RF as this could have then doubled up to provide PS3 control? Out of interest, is there any chance your PS3 adapter will support the RF connection in future?

    • Hi Simon,

      Logitech has made the decision not to offer account conversion from any other Harmony remote to a H900 remote. In order to have the best long-term experience possible, Logitech is asking that all new H900 customers create a brand new account. This will ensure that the customer will be able to fully customize their remote so that the functionality of the product meets their expectations.

      At this time Logitech has no plans to make switch to bluetooth control instead of RF to control the IR Blaster. There are also no plans to have a PS3 adapter with a built-in RF receiver. The plan is to keep the IR receiver. You can, however, physically connect the IR Blaster for the Harmony 900 to the PS3 adapter using a 2.5mm to 2.5mm mono cable (sold separately). This will allow you to control your PS3 via RF–>IR–>Bluetooth. No pointing required!

      -Ian

    • Hi Hawk,

      The official Logitech product launch date of the Harmony 900 is September 4th. It should ship on that date or shortly after.

      -Ian

  • Why logitech did not upgrade the Harmony 890, which in my mind one of the best remotes every made.
    Features that most customers like are Touchscreen and the ability to control lights as well as Appliances. Think about it, turning off your lights before you watch a movie.
    I would pre-order any such remote. Only complaints with the 890 was the small screen and buttons. Touch screen would be better.

  • Simon, just like the 1100, the 900 requires a new account. It stinks, but oh well.
    The PS3 adapter has a 2.5mm mono connection on the back, and the 900′s blaster has two 2.5mm mono ports in the back. with the right cable you can connect it directly, in essence that gives you the same ‘no line of sight’ control of your PS3 as you would have with the remote if it was BT. Again, I blame sony for not including a cheap IR receiver on a device that’s supposed to be the center of entertainment. Instead, the result is adapters that cost 20 times what an IR receiver would have cost to put in the PS3. I think the reason that logitech moved to the ECNet RF protocol is that they can use it worldwide. The old RF frequency was country specific and they weren’t allowed to use RF in places like Australia, which lead to the 1000i and 1100i (i indicating IR only). I’m not familiar with BT, but it could be an issue like that and/or just a cost issue.

  • Orpheus…the 880/890 was a ‘pair’ in that one had the extender and one didn’t, but otherwise the same essentially. The 880 got updated to the One, so the 890 also got the ‘same’ update to the One styling and work with the ‘blaster’ (i.e. the extender). So the only things that aren’t there from the 890 are z-wave (which isn’t on any other remote) and the dvd media listing feature for jukeboxes (which only exists for remotes with a physical ‘media’ button…i.e. the 880, 890, and some 600 series remotes).

  • I have an existing xantech IR system in my media room. I connected the base station of my current RF remote into the IR system and it works great. Will I be able to do the same with the 900? I realize it has 2.5mm rather than 3.5mm outputs but an adapter will take care of that.

    • Hi Indecision,

      Harmony 900 is not intended to connect to other devices except the Logitech Harmony Adaptor for Playstation 3. Physically, you could connect a 2.5mm – 3.5mm cable from the Harmony 900 blaster to your existing IR system and it might work, but there is risk of damaging your IR system. Each Harmony 900 mini blaster contains 4 IR LEDs vs the 2 IR LEDs on the end of each 890 cable so there is double the current ouput through each IR port. This is the reason we switched from 3.5mm to 2.5mm jacks on Harmony 900.

      - Ian.

  • Thanks for the replies. That is useful that you can wire the PS3 adapter to one of the IR blaster….although I will probably stick with the IR route as it will save another power adapter. Just hope this remote doesn’t suffer the same button issues as the 885 / 895 as I don’t want to have to replace this remote after 3yrs.

  • Ian – I presently have a very complicted system with four 890′s and 7 extenders. After buying all of these, I discovered I would have been better off with the 890 Pro, which I did not know existed at the time, due to its ability to have multiople remotes control the same extender. Will this functionality be built into the 900? If not, will a Pro version with this capability be available? If so, when? I am assuming that just as the 880 was discontinued, the 890 form factor will eventually go away, leaving only the 900.

    • Hi Barry,

      Your setup sounds very interesting! The overwhelming majority of Harmony 890 customers use a single remote with a single extender. Similarly, although Harmony 900 can control up to 5 blasters, each blaster can only be controlled by a single remote. There are no plans to offer a multi-remote – multi-blaster scenario like with the Harmony 890 Pro.

      - Ian

  • Hi Ian,

    1) Will this support z-wave lighting? like the 890.
    2|) Will there be a h900 pro like the 890 pro I could find one in Canada :(

    Best Regards,
    Nick

    • Hi Nick,

      Harmony 900 uses the ECNet RF protocol and does not support Z-wave devices. At this point, there are no plans for a Harmony 900 Pro model.

      - Ian

  • Too bad you are not making a Pro version – you could own the custom installation market, but instead, I guess you are exiting that business entirely.

  • Ian,

    I own an 890 and love it. I use it in the same way as the overwhelming majority (one remote, one extender to control my devices in a single cabinet).

    I have been asked to help a friend determine which model is best for them, the 890 or the 900. The difference with their setup is that they want the single remove to control two complete sets of devices (1 set = TV, DVD, Cable Box/DVR, etc). Given that I figure they need one remote (890 or 900) which comes with an extender, and an additional extender.

    I called and spoke to your customer service rep who was extremely pleasant and willing to help. I asked her opinion of which one would be better for this situation. She told me that she favored the 890 for various reasons (If the LCD were to break, the 900 would be useless where the 890 would still be usable, the 900′s adapter setup was more complex but on the plus-side you don’t have to connect it to the PC to reconfigure it like you do with the 890).

    Do you agree with her or should my friend be getting the 900?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Both products are great! I think it comes down to a personal preference of comfort and style. Your friend should be happy with either remote.

      -Ian

  • Is de RF only between Logitech remote and logitech IR blaster?

    Is de RF an int. standard?

    Ex. is the RF also compatible with Bose RF or other RF brands.

    What about this system with RF (Z-wave)?

  • Surprised they didn’t offer a plugin solution to the main box for the blue tooth controller for the PS3……

  • Hi Ian, I have a question. I have several components hidden inside a cabinet and they are in very close proximity. Is it possible for the IR blasters to work on each individual device, uninterupted? Thanks.

    • Hi Matt,

      The mini blasters are designed to control multiple devices at the same time, unlike the stick-on IR emitters commonly used with RF products. As long as the devices use different IR languages there should be no problem – no different than your TV remote not interfering with your DVD player in a regular setup. If you have two devices that use the same IR language (such as two DVD players from the same manufacturer), the IR ports on the blaster are addressable so you can assign devices to be controlled by a specific mini blaster, but if you those devices are side by side in the cabinet it may be hard to isolate the IR commands from one of them. We plan to provide Precision IR Cables (stick-on style emitters) as an accessory for this purpose – stay tuned for info on availability.

      Hope this helps, Ian

  • In my setup I have 2 (identical) TVs with att-uverse cable boxes in the same room. The problem I have is commands inteded for one tv or box, go to the other.

    Will this remote allow seperate controll of both TVs and cable boxes with one remote? I would of coarse have to wait until the precision stick on IR cables are available.

    • Hi George,

      Yes, the Harmony 900 will work in the scenario you describe via the use of the Precision IR Cables. You would plug one cable into IR port A on the back of the blaster and use it to control one TV and one STB, then use the other cable in port B to control the second TV and STB. The \”Advanced Device Assignment\” screen in the Options menu on the remote lets you decide which devices to control over which IR ports.

      - Ian

  • Hawk | August 12th, 2009 at 7:34 am

    I just pre-ordered one of these babies. Any proposed shipping date??
    Avatar!
    Ian Crowe | August 12, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Hawk,

    The official Logitech product launch date of the Harmony 900 is September 4th. It should ship on that date or shortly after.

    -Ian

    Thanks Ian,

    My 900 will be arriving from Amazon today.

    Hawk

  • I’m very interested in this remote, do you have any dates for an Australia release?
    Or is this 4th of September a world wide release date?

    • Hi Andrew,

      The Harmony 900 is expected to be available in Australia beginning in October.

      -Ian

  • Please let us know when the stickon ir emitters will be available. I cant buy the remote without those. My cabinet does not have room for the mini blasters unless I tape them on somehow…

  • Hi,

    I have a 890, and I just got the 900. How do I transfer my Activities from my 890 to my new 900?

    • Hi Stephen,

      The Harmony 900, along with the Harmony 1100, does not support the transfer of devices and activities from an existing remote. A new account is required. By logging into your 890 account first and making note of your current model numbers and activity settings, your Harmony 900 setup should go quite smoothly.

      -Ian

  • Hi Ian,
    Will this be available in Australia? If so will I be able to get it under the Christmas tree?

  • hi ian,

    does the remote pair specifically with it’s RF base station? i play on using 2 H900s to control 2 separate rooms in the same residence. will one remote unintentionally send it’s RF commands to the other base station? is there a method to set the base stations/remotes to different channels or frequencies?

    • Hi Rossa,

      Yes, each Harmony 900 comes pre-paired with its IR blaster. So if you have two remotes they won\’t accidently send RF commands to the wrong blaster. You can pair additional blasters to one remote, but each blaster can only be paired with one remote at a time.

      - Ian

  • Do you know the UK release date? My 895 packed up on me recently and I’m hating the clutter of remote controls I have while waiting for this to be released!!

    • Hi Ryan,

      Harmony 900 is currently available for purchase at amazon.co.uk. Retail placement tends to vary but should appear on shelves in the coming weeks.

      - Ian

  • Please make the additional blasters for the 900 and the stick-on emitters available for purchase on your website asap. I bought a 900, but really can’t use it till these addtional items become available, as my source components are in a sec ondary location.

  • Ian,

    Thanks for letting me know about Amazon, my problem is that I have a discount code for use on the Logitech site for this remote, and it is constantly showing out of stock. Also direct from you it is £299, but Amazon want £350 for it??!!
    Any ideas when it will be in stock to buy from the Logitech site directly?

  • Hi Ian,

    I have been selling and installing Harmony remotes since the launch of the 880 and store all of my customers data on the harmony website. I am a custom installer and it seems Harmony may no longer be interested in the custom install business. I have historically paid between 60% and 70% of retail for Harmony remote products from various distributors, but am now being quoted close to 90% of retail. I have no idea who I need to talk to. I am writing this while attending CEDIA Expo in Atlanta and Harmony is conspicuously absent. As a custom installer, I consume very little Harmony tech support resources, program the remotes with a higher level of customization and therefore customer satisfaction than a consumer could do without being on the phone with Harmony for perhaps hours and provide ongoing support to my customers. Please let me know who I should contact at Harmony who can advise me of the custom install strategy going forward. Thank you.

  • Hi ian,

    I have 2 questions :

    1-I just get a harmony 610 (same layout as 620 and 670), there is a “next” button, but it lacks a “back” button to go back to previous screen Or am I missing something? Is there a way to go back to the previous screen?

    2-Since the new Harmony 900 can control RF devices, will it be able to control the Klipsch iFi (ipod speaker with RF remote)?

    Thank you.

  • Hi Ian,

    It is more of a general question of the harmony remote control range.

    I have an A/V cupboard which includes various devices including a Sky HD box and also a Sky+ box. Will any of the Logitech Harmony remote controls work both of the sky boxes independantly without causing conflict? The plan is to be able to have somebody sat in the lounge say, watching sky HD with a remote and someone sat in the kitchen watching sky+ with a remote.

    Many thanks in advance

    Neil

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