If you have an Alexa, one of the best things you can buy to go with it is a Harmony Hub remote. Sure, you get a universal remote to control all your home theater equipment, but you’ll hardly use it because the Alexa can virtually push the Harmony buttons for you. The negative word in this paragraph, though, is “buy.” The Harmony Hub isn’t inexpensive. Fortunately [Michael Higginis] has you covered. He has an ESP8266 universal remote that you can control with Alexa. You can see a video of setting the system up below.
On the one hand, the idea is fairly simple. An ESP8266 has plenty of horsepower to read and recreate IR codes. However, we were very impressed with the web portal used to configure the device and integrating it with Alexa is a neat trick.
Unlike a real Harmony Hub, however, the remote only controls IR devices. However, since the Alexa to device connection is WiFi, you probably won’t miss having an RF remote, even if you need to tuck the remote away in an enclosure somewhere.
Besides the cost, the concept that you could hack this to meet your needs is pretty seductive. If you want to be perverse, you could probably marry this with a Zenith Space Command remote. Those remotes, by the way, are mechanical and it is fun to trace the remote from its early origins to telling Alexa to turn on The Orville.