The remote control superhighway.
The Harmony 1000 isn’t just a computer programmable remote, it’s an online programmable remote. This means you’ll need both a computer (Mac or PC will do) and an active Internet connection for absolutely all programming tasks, from adding a new device, learning a code, or downloading your finished configuration to the remote.
Harmony remotes originally used a simple HTML interface viewed through any web browser, which triggered simple client-side utilities for downloading a file or learning an infrared code. Recently Logitech switched to a much more integrated single application called “Logitech Harmony Remote Software 7”. Although on the outside this would appear to be an actual standalone editing package similar to other computer programmable remotes (doubly so considering the excessive 53 megabyte download size)... it’s not. This software is essentially a gateway manager between the Harmony, your computer, and Logitech’s online servers. The screens it presents are still rendered by HTML, and all data related to your remote is hosted exclusively on Logitech’s servers. So, if your internet connection is down or otherwise unavailable you won’t be making any changes to the remote.
I’ve long waxed philosophic on this online-only concept. There are indeed benefits: Logitech gets to maintain a live central database of all components and behaviors, they can add new features, improve operation and fix problems seamlessly without requiring users to download constantly updated software. They also have access to all user configurations to more easily aid with any setup difficulties. But there’s also a downside for users, such as removing features at will – for instance the television program guide that was once a core feature of the Harmony, the ability to easily import Pronto hex codes, and the CD/DVD jukebox media list. Since everything is stored offsite, there’s also no way to backup your remote’s configuration on your personal computer, or save incremental versions as you experiment with changes. And what happens if product support is dropped?
In the Easy Zapper and Intrigue Technologies days, the main concern was whether the fledgling company would remain in business to continue hosting their online servers. This exact scenario played out recently for owners of the Guide Remote, a product whose main raison d’ętre was a program guide updated over the Internet. One day parent company Evolve Communications unexpectedly closed their doors, and now anyone with a Guide Remote cannot utilize one of the few reasons for buying a Guide Remote in the first place.
Now that the Harmony brand is owned by Logitech the longevity of the company is no longer in question. However companies do not traditionally provided indefinite amounts of support. Fifteen years from now will the Harmony 745 still be programmable online? Probably not, and perhaps most original owners wouldn’t even care as they’d have long since upgraded to something newer. But I can still pick up the very first universal remote control manufactured in 1985 and have it learn a command from my current system!
So far, Logitech should be commended for continuing to support all Harmony models, even those that were discontinued prior to their purchase of the line. I can only hope that this kind of dedication continues for decades to come!