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How Does the Harmony Hub Work? Logitech Harmony Elite Guide

Smart home technologies are finding more and more followers and advocates, and the electronics market is practically flooded with many options for tools and accessories to turn everyone’s dream of having a smart home come true. Certainly, being able to have full power over most of your home’s entertainment systems in a streamlined manner is one step toward that direction. Everyone would agree, then, that having an integrated universal remote control for these systems or devices is a very good place to start.


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When it comes to universal remote controls, there are many names competing for supremacy, each with their own unique features and capabilities. One of the more prominent names in the game is Logitech, with its line of Harmony products.

It All Began With Harmony

Logitech’s Harmony product line gave a new perspective to how we used to view remote controls, with the introduction of the Hub. The Harmony Hub is what you will need if you would like to link smart home devices and require support from Alexa or Google Assistant, or both.

Many like to refer to the Harmony Hub as the brain since it is the center of all home entertainment and home control systems. It definitely makes linking much easier, as it also supports connectivity to infrared, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi to control devices remotely. You can also easily turn your mobile phone into a remote control that is compatible with all these systems. You just have to download the Harmony app on your smartphone and use the app to control the Harmony Hub.

So how powerful and convenient was the Hub designed to be?

Think about how, when using an ordinary remote control, you’d have to point it in the direction of the device you are trying to control. With the Hub, however, that is not the case. You can have the Hub stowed and hidden away inside a cabinet and close the door, and you would still be able to connect to it. No need for pointing at it, since the app on your smartphone connects to it using Wi-Fi. If you are using a remote instead of your smartphone, the connection is made through RF or radio frequency, thus precluding the need for close proximity or pointing at the Hub.

Harmony Hub-Based Remotes

Currently, there are several Logitech Harmony remote models that are designed to be compatible with the Harmony Hub. Along the way, they came in various variations with slight modifications, but these three are the main ones.

Harmony Companion:This remote can support up to 8 devices at one time. In place of a touchscreen, it is divided into two parts: the top contains smart home buttons while the lower part is where you will find the numerical pad. Unfortunately, it cannot connect via infrared and can only work through the Harmony Hub.

Harmony Ultimate: In this model, a touchscreen is finally included, with the home media controls appearing on the top. Many complain about how it lacks dedicated smart home controls. However, it makes up for this by being able to control up to 15 devices. It is favored mostly thanks to its advanced controls for game consoles as well as hidden devices.

Harmony Elite: The latest remote control release retains the touchscreen and media controls, as well as the ability to support up to 15 devices at one time. In addition, smart home controls have been made available, right below the media controls. Another feature that is appreciated by users is how the rechargeable battery can be easily replaced.

The Logitech Harmony Hub is compatible with pretty much all three since they are radio frequency remotes.


How the Logitech Harmony Elite Hub Works

The Logitech Harmony Elite is, by far, the most elegant among the Harmony remotes. It also offers a complete and convenient means to control smart home systems and entertainment systems. With its ability to replace up to 15 remotes, it can work with over 270,000 devices, so you won’t have to worry that it will be rendered useless when you purchase new devices in the future.

Logitech packed most of the good features of the Companion and the Ultimate into the Elite, which explains why it is seen as the best universal remote to date. Beyond remotely controlling music, it can be used to remotely adjust lights and thermostat levels, close or open blinds, and secure locks, to name a few.

To further enhance convenience, Harmony Elite also works with Amazon Alexa for Voice integration and control for when you want to watch TV or use other Harmony activities. Without lifting a finger, all you have to do is speak out loud and let the voice commands activate and control the device. Imagine getting home from work, wanting to watch your favorite Netflix show. You’d simply have to say, out loud, “Alexa, turn on Netflix”, and your media device will immediately start streaming your favorite show.

All these actions can be done with just a single tap of a finger, thanks to the One-Touch Action capability of the Harmony Elite. For example, if you want to watch a movie, all you have to do is touch the Activity “Watch a Movie”, and your home entertainment system will automatically turn on, with the right settings already in place. What about one of the favorite Activities, “Good night”, which you can set to turn off or dim down the lights when you are about to go to sleep? You can even set the Activity “Welcome home” to turn on the lights and set the thermostat to the perfect temperature when you arrive home.


You can also customize how it is used because it allows you to create activities for a group of devices, not just one or two. You can set these activities to be triggered at a certain time or when you decide to tap on the touchscreen. We have already mentioned how the Elite can replace 15 remote controls at one time, which means that, with just one touch, you can turn on multiple devices simultaneously.

Closed cabinet control is a feature that Logitech has integrated into its Harmony remotes, as long as they come with Harmony Hub. With this feature, Harmony Hub lets you use the Harmony Elite remote control to control devices that are kept or hidden away in closed cabinets or other similar enclosed areas. You can also keep on controlling such devices even if you are not at home.

Logitech Harmony Elite Compatibility

In certain home automation, entertainment, and control devices, the control that you get using Logitech Harmony Elite, with the Harmony Hub, is subject to compatibility. Aside from Amazon Alexa, there are specific devices identified by Logitech to work well with Hub.

Ecobee, Nest, and Honeywell’s Wi-Fi thermostats are compatible with Harmony Hub. When it comes to lighting systems, you won’t have problems connecting with Insteon’s light switches and sensors, LIFX’s Wi-Fi LED light bulbs, Lutron Caseta wireless lighting, and Philips Hue. Smart locks by August and the automated triggers by IFTTT are also supported by Hub. It will also allow you to control motorized shades and windows by Hunter Douglas and Lutron Serena.

Logitech Harmony Elite Compatibility

If you don’t see your devices on the list, don’t worry, because, with the help of a Harmony Home Hub extender, you can still take advantage of connectivity benefits to your light bulbs, locks, switches, and sensors.

How to Get Started with the Logitech Harmony Elite

Now you are ready to use your Logitech Harmony Elite. Before that, though, there are things that you have to consider, and the most important one is the positioning of the included Harmony Hub.

In this case, it’s either you place the Harmony Hub in an open or a closed cabinet.

Open cabinets basically mean placing your Harmony Hub in an open, unobstructed area, such as the top of a cabinet or on a shelf, with walls around it. These walls will reflect the infrared signals emitted by the Hub. Generally, there will be no issues when you position your Hub in an open cabinet.

The other option is placing it in a closed cabinet. Positioning your Harmony Hub in a closed cabinet means it will be behind a closed cabinet door or placed among other devices. In short, there will be obstructions. The infrared signals will reflect or bounce off other surfaces before they reach the devices you are trying to control.

If that is the case, what you should do is plug the IR mini-blasters into the back of the Harmony Hub. Even if it is inside a closed cabinet, make sure to position it on top, for easier sending of the IR signals to the targeted devices.

How to Get Started with the Logitech Harmony Elite

Of course, you also have to see to it that you have downloaded the Harmony app. By using this installed app, you will be able to set up and send commands to the new hub. The good thing is that, once you have set up the app and created an account, you will be guided through how Harmony Elite works, particularly in adding devices.

Once the devices have been added, Harmony will detect these devices and automatically create the Activities, so that you can make the most of the One-Touch experience that Elite has to offer. The setting up process may be long since you will need to configure one device at a time. Fortunately, it is a one-time thing so once everything is set up, the rest becomes quick and easy. From there, you can start exploring the many ways that Harmony Elite can make your life much easier and more convenient.

Harmony Hub Connectivity Options

We have already identified the Harmony Ultimate, Companion, and Elite to be the Harmony Hub-based remotes among Logitech’s Harmony products. This versatility enhances the connectivity capabilities of Elite because, as long as you can connect it to the Hub, there’s a wealth of things you can do, and control, with it.

Here we present some of the devices that you can easily connect and control using Harmony Elite.


Harmony Hub Connectivity with Android Devices

What’s the one thing that you always have in your person? Most people will say that they always have their phones, wallets, and maybe a bunch of keys. However, you will agree that we have become so connected to our mobile phones that we can’t imagine going anywhere without them. The Harmony Hub can bring all your home’s controls to your android smartphone through an app.

How is it done? You only need to download the Harmony app from the Google Play Store and install it on your Android device. Once that is done, you can pair it with your Harmony Elite, or any other Harmony Hub-based remote control, and start controlling your home entertainment system through your Android smartphone or tablet.

The best part is that it’s not just limited to home entertainment devices. Possibilities are limitless since you can also use this app on your Android smartphone or tablet to control lighting, locks, shades, blinds, thermostats, and other smart components of your home security system.

Harmony Hub Connectivity with Google Home

The Google Assistant is compatible with Harmony Hub-based products, and this collaboration makes you – or, to be more specific, your voice – more powerful in controlling your home entertainment systems. Instead of “giving your order” to Alexa, you’d be “conversing” with Google. For example, if you say “Ok, Google, ask Harmony to turn on sports”, your TV will turn on to your favorite sports channel. That’s not all. To make it even more convenient, you can preset the settings so that the window blinds will also be lowered and the lighting will be dimmed at the same time, creating a perfect environment for watching the game.


Harmony Hub Connectivity with IR Blasters

Purchase of your Harmony Elite already includes two infrared mini-blasters. These IR blasters are meant to widen the coverage area for devices that are controlled using infrared waves. These mini-blasters are connected to the back of the Harmony Hub unit.

Using these IR mini-blasters is optional, but if the devices in your home entertainment system are contained inside closed cabinets or behind cabinet doors, you will definitely need the added boost from these mini-blasters.

Harmony Hub Connectivity with Windows and Mac OS

Your Harmony Elite will also come in handy when it comes to connecting to and controlling operating systems such as Windows and Mac, especially if you want to make full use of the “Watch PC” activity. Once connected, you can use your Harmony Elite to open, control, navigate, and close programs on a Windows or a Mac computer.


Harmony Hub Connectivity with Sonos

Sonos is one of the leading names when it comes to smart speakers, and you can most definitely make the most of these smart features using Harmony Elite. Harmony Hub acts as the go-between, connecting to Sonos through Wi-Fi, then letting you control music and sound with the Elite.

If you are a music lover, you’d be glad to know that your Elite will let you play music directly from other applications such as Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora, to name a few.

Harmony Hub Connectivity with Ceiling Fans

There are a number of ceiling fan models and brands that are identified by Logitech to be compatible with Harmony Hub. This basically means that you can control your ceiling fan with your Harmony Elite. Or you can look at it this way: you can make your regular ceiling fan into a smart one, as long as you have the Elite and the Hub.


So what can you do with your ceiling fan once connected with Harmony Hub? For starters, you can turn it on or off. If that sounds too entry-level, you can set it to turn on when the room temperature hits a certain level. You can also opt to set your ceiling fan on a timer so that it turns off after a certain time. Since Harmony Hub works with Alexa, you can also use your Elite to control your ceiling fan by using Alexa.

Of course, you have to make sure that your ceiling fan is among those listed by Logitech to be compatible with Harmony Hub.

Harmony Hub Connectivity with Apple TV

If you have an Apple TV in your home entertainment system, you can use your Elite to turn it on, automatically set or configure the preferred input settings, or simply navigate the menus. Depending on the model, Apple TV is compatible with Harmony IR remotes and Harmony Hub-based products.

Older generation Apple TV units allow you to enter a password or use voice search to control the device. However, that’s not the case with the newer Apple TV generation and Apple TV 4k, which prohibits pairing with any keyboard, even the on-screen keyboard on the Harmony app. Instead, Harmony Hub controls the functions of the Apple TV using infrared or, in other cases, Bluetooth.

The setup is very easy. The first thing you should do, of course, is to set up your Apple TV and install the apps you will be using. Next, connect Harmony Hub to your Apple TV. This will then let you control your Apple TV, so you can easily use the Activities available.

Harmony Hub Connectivity with Gaming Consoles

If you have Nintendo Wii, PlayStation, and the Xbox, you can also use your Harmony Elite to control them. With just one touch, you can start the Play Game activity and start playing right away.

Specifically, it works with the Nintendo Wii and Wii U, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 3, and Xbox One (including One X).


Harmony Hub Connectivity with Other Smart TVs

Just like Apple TV, other smart TVs are also compatible with Harmony IR remotes and Hub-based remotes. They include smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Philips, Sharp, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Vizio.

Once connected, you can control your Activities just by using simple swipe gestures over the screen of your smartphone. Take note, however, that this compatibility is only for select models of Smart TVs from each brand, not their entire product lines. So be sure to check if yours is compatible with the device.

Comparison with Other Universal Remotes

With other big players in the industry coming out with their own universal remotes, we cannot help but make comparisons on which one is better. Here we compare the Logitech Harmony Elite with Samsung SmartThings and the Xiaomi Smart Home Kit.

Harmony Hub vs. Samsung SmartThings Home Hub

Both hubs wirelessly support smart devices and home control systems, and both are also compatible with Alexa. While Harmony Hub requires the Harmony app, the Samsung model requires the SmartThings app for it to work. Most users find the SmartThings mobile app to be more confusing than that of the Harmony app, with the latter seen to be the one that is also easier to set up and configure.

Between these two, the SmartThings shows better performance when it comes to linking home monitoring and security devices, while the Harmony Hub works best in controlling home entertainment and media systems. When it comes to connectivity, SmartThings Hub has the advantage of being compatible with Z-wave or Zigbee devices, aside from radio frequencies. The Harmony Hub is incompatible with such devices but can definitely handle infrared, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi devices.

Harmony Hub vs. Samsung SmartThings Home Hub

Harmony Hub vs. Xiaomi Smart Home Kit

The Xiaomi Mijia is a 6-in-1 Smart Home Security Kit, consisting of a wireless switch, window door sensor, human body sensor, temperature humidity sensor, a multifunctional gateway, and a Zigbee outlet. From this information alone, it is clear that this smart home kit focuses more on home monitoring and security systems.

On the surface, it is easy to see that the Xiaomi Kit is the more inexpensive of the two. Also, the Smart Home Outlet found in the Xiaomi Kit is the Zigbee version, which means that it is capable of connecting to Zigbee devices. To fully take advantage of the functions of this kit, there is a need to download and install the Xiaomi Smart Home app to your phone.

Harmony Hub vs. Xiaomi Smart Home Kit

If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!

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About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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