Logitech understands that in the age of the of Wi-Fi and touchscreens, remote controls are heading the way of the Dodo. The Harmony Link is their attempt to bridge the gap between traditional IR components and the smart devices in our hands.
The $US100 Harmony Link is not unlike the Peel iPhone remote that came out earlier this year. At its core, the Harmony Linki is a hub that works as a middle man between your Android/iOS device and your TV/stereo/Blu-ray player. The Harmony Link takes the Wi-Fi signal from its control app and turns it into an beam that it blasts at the component you’re attempting to control.
When I saw a demo of the Link in action, it worked pretty well. Placed on a shelf below the TV and next to the components, the multi-directional IR blaster built inside the hub could target and control components no problem. Logitech still included jacks for the more traditional single device blaster should there be any control issues.
As for the app, Logitech, like Peel, is moving away from channel surfing using up/down controls or program guides. Instead, they’ve built an app centered around visuals that emphasises what’s on TV right now. That’s not to say you can’t find your way to channels using more traditional methods, but it’s not the focus here.
There are already some devices (Apple TV, Google TV, Roku) that use smartphones and tablets to communicate directly with a device over wi-fi. The Harmony Link is a glimpse at the future when all devices will function as such. Even if the Harmony Link didn’t seem quite as snappy as just pointing an orthodox remote at a device, it definitely proves there are better ways to control your television than what you’re doing now. [Logitech]