Harmony Tips and Tricks: Does the Harmony Remote Control RF Devices?

Will Harmony remotes control my RF (Radio Frequency) device? We get lots of emails from customers asking this question. Customers want to know if Harmony can control devices like their RF ceiling fan or RF fireplace. Well, the answer is no. All Harmony models, including the new Harmony 300, can only control IR (infrared) devices. Harmony remotes cannot control RF devices.

This may seem contrary to what you may have read about some Harmony models including the Harmony 900 and 1100 remotes, using RF (when used with the RF Wireless Extender). So if Harmony can’t control RF devices, how does the Harmony Remote use RF?

The Harmony 900, 890, 1000 and 1100 use RF technology, but none of them use RF to directly control the device. They all use a combination of IR and RF. Here’s how it works:

  • You press Watch TV on your Harmony remote to start watching the news
  • The RF signals are sent from your Harmony Remote to the RF Wireless Extender or Harmony RF System which can be located inside your cabinet
  • The Harmony RF Wireless Extender or Harmony RF System then converts the RF signals into IR commands which are relayed to the devices
  • The IR commands reach your devices

RF allows you to control devices that are hidden inside closed cabinets — so you can get the clean and minimalist look that is so popular with home entertainment setups today.

Not sure if your device is controlled using IR or RF? To determine if your device is controlled using IR or RF:

    1. Power the device on manually.
    2. Cover the front of the original remote that came with the device with your hand.

  1. Press any button on the remote that you know the device would respond to normally.
  2. If the device responds even when your hand is covering the front of the remote, the remote is RF and the device cannot be controlled by the Harmony Remote.

Although most RF devices cannot be controlled by the Harmony Remote, there are some exceptions. Some of the Bose AV Receivers, DISH Network and Bell TV satellite receivers can be controlled with the Harmony Remote.

Keep following for more tips & tricks next week and let us know if you have any requests.

Author

Product Specialist, Remote Control Business Unit

4 comments

  • This is an LG remote control and it is IR you can also find out if it is IR if you look next to the eye of the receiver on the device. It should there have IR written!!!

  • There are plenty of reports showing that the harmony 900 DOES work with RF controlled electrical switches, blind stores …

    It does control the many Sony TV that have RF remotes…

    • Hi franck,

      The Harmony 900 does not work with RF controlled switches or blinds. In order for the Harmony 900 to control it, you would need an IR to RF converter.

      Regards,

      Omar

  • actually I tried the trick of putting the hand in front and when I wrote:

    “It does control the many Sony TV that have RF remotes…” I was right but incomplete… it appears it does so by sending IR codes to the TV, it is the TV screen that in turn sends it back to the receiver by IR…

    and of course I also missed the bit of the IR to RF converter for blinds.

    I stand corrected

    A related question: as I have 2 different sets of equipment to control in 2 different locations can I add a second RF/IR blaster to the harmony 900?

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