A Peek Under the Hood: Google TV and Logitech Harmony Link

By now you’ve heard that Logitech is making a companion box to allow you to add Google TV to your HDTV. But it’s not just Google magic inside the box – after all, if you were Logitech and you had a chance to help reinvent TV, would you hold back?

I wrote a brief blog post a few weeks ago about “Harmony tech inside,” but today, I want to expand on what we’re calling Logitech Harmony Link.

What is Harmony Link? Basically, it’s the brains that allow us to take in all kinds of signals and send them out as infrared (IR) commands. If you have a device that uses a remote control, chances are that it uses IR. This means that your companion box can talk to all of your home entertainment devices because technically, anything that can take an IR signal can be controlled through Harmony Link.

There are three key reasons why Harmony Link is important. The first is that we want your Google TV experience to be as seamless as possible. When you search for something, you want to click on it and have it come up – even if that involves changing the channel on your cable or satellite set-top box or changing a setting on your AV receiver. Harmony Link lets you control your devices no matter what brand they are, allowing Google TV to seamlessly integrate with your devices and not just the content listing.

The second is the power you can have over your devices. With Harmony Link in the box, you can use the included controller to turn your devices off and on, control the volume, enter a channel number and more. As I mentioned before, the companion box will also let you use a free app for your Android phone or iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad device that can talk to Harmony Link – basically giving your personal devices the kind of control that only a remote like the Logitech Harmony 900 could give you before. Yes, a free app plus your new companion box will give you the same control over your home entertainment system as our most powerful Logitech Harmony remote.

The third reason is what we’re most excited about – and it’s the things we haven’t created yet. We’re dedicated to open platforms because we’ve seen that a large community of developers and visionaries is better at driving the future than any one company alone can invent. And the Logitech companion box will have all the possibilities of invention built right in.

Stay tuned here for more updates, or go to www.logitech.com/news/googletv.

Author

Vice President and General Manager, Digital Home Group

14 comments

  • I made a program for PC that acts as a webserver, so any device with a web browser can act as a remote with buttons specific to whatever application is currently in focus.

    Why don’t you do it like that? That way you only need to make one webpage, instead of native apps for every device. Then it could support a lot more devices, be easier to upgrade, support skins, and have all settings stored in one place

  • For those of us that already have existing Logitech Harmony Remotes, will we be able to use them with the new boxes?

    • Hi Leslie,

      Existing as well as new Harmony remotes will work with the Logitech Revue box.

      Best,
      Ashish

  • Will either the Logitech box or the mobile app include Bluetooth support, to allow control of blu-ray playback on the PS3?

    • Hi Bob,

      We’re still working on the finishing touches, so it will be closer to product availabiltiy before we’ll have these answers for you.

      Best,
      Ashish

    • Hi Kermode,

      We wish we could say more, but we want to make sure we get everything just right before we provide more details. Please bear with us!

      Best,
      Ashish

  • Will the Harmony Link be available as a stand alone box/remote (without the google TV box)? I would love to use my phone as a universal remote, but I’m not sure I need another set top box.

    Also, a dedicated iPad app that takes advantage of the extra screen real estate would be killer.

    Please let me know if you need any beta testers.

  • Does it require a smart phone for the Harmony Link to work or will the supplied controllers act as a remote a well?

  • Will there be a qwerty remote included or available?? What good will the existing remotes be? -they have no qwerty.

  • Will other IR remote controls work with the Revue box? I do some custom installations, and I believe clients will want the box but some have expensive non harmony remotes.

  • My ideal scenario would be a product such as the Harmony WIreless RF extender that, in addition to RF, bridged IP to IR. This would allow both the harmony remote, as well as IP products (PC, iTouch) to control components. Will the Harmony Link provide this level of capability?

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