We’ve always been fans of Logitech’s all-inclusive Harmony universal remotes, but as anyone with a sprawling home theater can attest, controlling every component with infrared signals (which require a line of sight between device and remote) can be a design nightmare. The new Harmony 900 follows in the footsteps of the Harmony 890 before it by severing infrared’s chains of and using radio frequency (RF) tech instead, to reach behind doors and panels and transmit in all directions.
How do you control a bunch of devices designed for infrared with RF? Blasters. The Harmony 900 comes with one full-size IR blaster and two mini equivalents that will convert the remote’s outgoing RF commands to the IR commands your equipment will understand. Logitech claims it gives the entire system range of about 100 feet – even through walls and other obstructions.
Of course, that’s just part of the Harmony 900’s appeal. Like the rest of the line, it uses a full color LCD to make controlling your home theater more customizable, and allows users to operate using activities (“Watch TV”) rather than devices (“Turn on TV,” “Turn on TiVo,” etc.) Unlike the Harmony 890, the 900 also includes a touch screen, so choices are as simple as pushing directly on what you want to do.
Setup has always been half the battle with universal remotes, but like all of Logitech’s Harmony line, the Harmony 900 can be programmed through a computer by selecting the devices you want it to work with, not by punching in esoteric codes from a manual. It can control up to 15 devices simultaneously, and Logitech’s library of supported devices includes more than 5,000 brands and 225,000 devices.
Logitech will begin selling the Harmony 900 this September for $400. More information can be found at Logitech, where the remote is also available for preorder.