Hacking Harmony For Linux

A while back, [Phil] got ticked off and started working on linux support for the Logitech Harmony remotes for quite a while. Having owned one of these sweet remotes, I can honestly say that yes, they rock, and yes, the driver software can be pretty freakin’ annoying. If you’ve got a Harmony remote and would like an alternative to the usual fare, check out [Phil]’s project.

14 thoughts on “Hacking Harmony For Linux

  1. I returned that harmony remote and got a $99 universal unifier. not as sexy, but way more practical, easy to use and durable.

    that harmony remote is made for people that know nothing about technology, and won’t try to learn anything; and I couldn’t even get it to work.

  2. I have to vehemently disagree with theRIAA… I’ve got a home theater setup in my basement which includes a projector, a surround sound amplifier, a surround sound decoder, 3 switch boxes, a dvd player, and 8 video game consoles, not to mention room lighting can also be controlled by remote.

    Most universal remotes don’t even support half of my devices, and I ran a learning remote for a while but youd still have to switch from device to device, turning each one on, or switching to which ever one you want to adjust.

    The Harmony remote is a godsend for my setup… 1 button and it configures the setup for whatever task I programmed, 1 button and it turns everything off. Even better is I was able to setup macros to do do things like dive into the projectors menu to change the aspect ratio and color profile so now I can run different configurations per device, something that was just far too time consuming to be practical in my previous setup.

    Even better is my fiancee is comfortable using it without my help and I’m comfortable with her using it through the remote.

    I only have 2 real gripes, 1 is that it’s IR and occasionally someone will walk in front of the remote and it will get out of sync, but this is my own fault for not buying an RF model. My other gripe is that the programing software will not allow you to set the order of certain devices.

    If this hack fixes my #2 gripe I might be include to dual boot Linux just to use it (I’ve been debating setting up a Linux install anyway)

  3. Quick question- I’ve got a setup much like twistedsymphony (no video game consoles though- that’s awesome), except I’ve been running mythtv to control everything for about 2 years (knoppmyth in particular). I’ve got a few IR blasters coming out of knoppmyth to control peripheral equipment (you can script pretty much anything here, and if the equipment is different you can run your blasters in parallel because it’ll ignore commands to the other stuff), and an IR receiver connected to pick up your remote. I really like the look and concept of the harmony remotes, but would I see any benefit?

  4. Actully, i ended up returning my harmony as well. Logitech is notorious for making good hardware and piss poor software. I actually think the remote is well engineered; I just couldn’t get the mutant web app to recognize my tv for the life of me.

  5. Oh i agree with arthur… My Harmony is AMAZING!!! But the frickin software blows… they must have hired 15 migrant indians to program this stuff at a rate of $300 a year, because the software is putrid… the original software on the original harmony’s was great… now they make it so you cant configure the software freely… its horrid… and the flow is, well, there is no flow…

  6. Harmony remote is for the newbies. URC remotes kick it’s butt hard. I have a MX900 for the family room and a MX-980 + MX-3000 for the Theater and I do things with it that the harmony cant do. add the MRF-300 base and you dont have to even have the gear visible.

    Harmony is ok for the beginners into basic home theater, but the real basic systems use URC and the real ones use Crestron.

  7. I have a easiest way to get a all-in-one remote control … I have my Palm TX with NoviiRemote, who deliver all the convinations to handle IR capable devices, also it can be used to control my PC with Debian using VNC or shh.
    The good news are that you can develop whatever you want without restriction … do you whant Java … you have it … do you want C or C++ you have it too … so this is another good reason to have a PDA.

    I’m not sure if I will buy a universal control … I prefere to have Bluetooth + IR + Wifi in only one device and actually … this is something that a universal control can’t give me.

  8. I have two Harmony 880s, one for each setup. The thing I like about them rather than a “more customizable” one is that they have an incredibly full database of gear. I’ve never owned a piece of equipment that doesn’t already have all the IR codes pre-programmed, and I’ve had only one device where the original IR codes were crappily recorded.

    A bigger bonus is that I don’t have to set up the screens. Creating tedious little boxes here and there, deciding which buttons are “universal” and which ones I could do without, deciding what to stick on “screen 2” or “screen 3”, all that is gone with the Harmony. Sure, I could go back and change all the buttons, but I don’t have to. I’m paying for the convenience of the remote, I want the convenient setup to come along with it.

    My only complaint, though, is not with the Harmony I bought to make my father-in-law’s life easier, but with his new Samsung television. Selecting input on the Samsung is beyond ridiculous. If you’re not in antenna mode, it won’t let you switch to the tuner by pushing the tuner button — it gives you a freakin’ error screen like some lame windows program! It lets you switch away from antenna mode, but not back to it. That does not make programming a Harmony easy.

  9. @fartface… I would hope URC remotes are better than harmony… considering they cost an order of magnitude more. I paid $80 for my harmony, the equivalent urc costs about $400. Yeah the harmony software sucks, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad. It got the job done and I only have to use it for about 20 minutes twice a year. Which IMO isn’t worth the extra $300+

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