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Echo and Harmony?

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Echo and Harmony?
« on: January 04, 2018, 11:11:57 am »
I'm getting very confused because there are several different Harmony hub w/remotes to choose from so I don't know which one to get to control my tv. Which one do you recommend and why? I'm in Canada if that makes any difference. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. 


Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 01:59:45 pm »
I just got the Harmony Puck which includes a basic remote at a lesser cost than the puck alone!  Harmony easily paired with tv, yamaha home theater, Dish VIP 622, sony blu ray dvd via smartphone.  Once Harmony has learned all your devices, then add the skill to alexa and you are ready to go. Voice commands to change channels, volume, mute, pause, fast forward, play have all worked with a little voice learning.  Cnet said this is the easiest to use option of those available and that's why I got it...


Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 08:11:10 pm »
I agree, all the Harmony options are very confusing. Add in all the discontinued products you see on Amazon, and it gets really confusing. I have 2 harmony setups. Both are controlled by Alexa, but I still like a remote. I find it easier to just select the channel or volume with a remote instead of calling out to Alexa, and sometimes Alexa won't hear me if the TV volume is too loud at the time I call to Alexa. Alexa basically turns everything on and will turn to the device I request. Then I generally switch to the remote to navigate the menus in the apps, etc. I have a dot specifically for each harmony setup.

My main setup is the Harmony Elite, with the home hub and touchscreen remote. Fantastic product, but it is a bit expensive. Took a while to set it up, but I customized it with one-touch commands to watch Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Prime Video, etc. and I even added icons for each command, and even customized the touchscreen menu for each device, so it is very intuitive. My wife doesn't yell at me about "all the stupid remotes". This is the best option if you have several pieces of equipment -- mine controls TV, Apple TV gen 4, Fire Stick (which is being moved since Prime Video is now on Apple TV), Blu-ray, WDTV Live Hub, soundbar, and stereo receiver. Dot is connected to the receiver, and receiver has speakers in 3 rooms, so I can use it to play music throughout my first floor just using voice commands.

My other setup is a home hub (which came with a free Dot when I ordered) with the Harmony Smart Remote addon. This is just a TV, Apple TV gen 3, and blu-ray, so the 3 device buttons on the remote are perfect (I know you can control 6 with this remote, but don't like double function buttons (long-press, short-press)). I did use black label maker tape to label each input for my wife. Again, Alexa turns everything on, but then we generally switch to the remote for navigation and volume. This setup is in our home gym, so it is nice to have Alexa pause and play a video or change the channel.

It did take me a bit of trial and error to get the Apple TV macros to work to open specific apps, and there are subtle differences in how the gen 3 and gen 4 Apple TVs respond to the harmony commands, so each setup is a bit different. I did find the desktop software a bit easier to program the devices than the iOS apps, and I felt there were more options for editing on my PC than in the apps.

Because I have 2 Harmony hubs, I do need to use a second Amazon account for the second setup, so I can't enable voice recognition for our echos, but that's not an issue for us.

Either setup is highly recommended, it just depends on what you want to control and how much you want to customize things.

Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 03:27:26 pm »
Thanks for the info. I ordered a Harmony Hub with Companion remote to use with my Echo in the livingroom. I will have my LG smart tv hooked up to it as well as my Bell Whole Home PVR, Blue ray player, and LG sound bar and possibly a couple of other things. I hope I can get everything to work.

I purchased an Echo dot for my bedroom where I have a tv with a receiver for the PVR so I can have access to my PVR in my room. What will I need to purchase so that my dot can control my tv and pvr in my bedroom?

Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 08:16:28 pm »
You can actually use one Alexa Account for both hubs IF you use YONOMI app... they will help you through the process to set up multiple harmony hubs. I have done it and it was not *that* bad to set up. but it is not my system and I don't use it so I don't know how well it works at all... It was set up for my Aunt and Uncle. She is a Quadriplegic and he's technically challenged... so I set them up. I do get to be his help desk at times with just one of the two systems. the other evidently never has an issue???? but the one that has issues is the one my Aunt uses, and voice command is essential to her having that independence and control. So ANY issues (yeah... even the ones that are user error) I get to walk them through fixes for.
My Alexa environment includes :
1 Full Sized Echo
3 Echo Dots 2nd gen
2 Echo Dot 3rd gen, One with Clock
1 Echo Spot
Several Hue Lights with a single bridge
5 Fire Tablets (1 as a control panel in Kitchen)
One Ring Doorbell Pro
Also 4 cell phones with Alexa app installed!
You should see My Apple Device List!

Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 06:45:59 am »
You can actually use one Alexa Account for both hubs IF you use YONOMI app... they will help you through the process to set up multiple harmony hubs. I have done it and it was not *that* bad to set up. but it is not my system and I don't use it so I don't know how well it works at all... It was set up for my Aunt and Uncle. She is a Quadriplegic and he's technically challenged... so I set them up. I do get to be his help desk at times with just one of the two systems. the other evidently never has an issue???? but the one that has issues is the one my Aunt uses, and voice command is essential to her having that independence and control. So ANY issues (yeah... even the ones that are user error) I get to walk them through fixes for.

So I will basically have to purchase another hub and remote to have the same set up as I will have in my livingroom?

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Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2018, 10:25:57 am »
Depending on the setup of your house, if the bedroom is close to the living room you could potentially run an IR blaster from the hub to the bedroom, and only need one Harmony Hub. More likely, you'll need two hubs.

Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2018, 10:40:45 am »
You can actually use one Alexa Account for both hubs IF you use YONOMI app... they will help you through the process to set up multiple harmony hubs. I have done it and it was not *that* bad to set up. but it is not my system and I don't use it so I don't know how well it works at all... It was set up for my Aunt and Uncle. She is a Quadriplegic and he's technically challenged... so I set them up. I do get to be his help desk at times with just one of the two systems. the other evidently never has an issue???? but the one that has issues is the one my Aunt uses, and voice command is essential to her having that independence and control. So ANY issues (yeah... even the ones that are user error) I get to walk them through fixes for.

So I will basically have to purchase another hub and remote to have the same set up as I will have in my livingroom?

Only if you want another remote do you need it... but a second hub will be needed to keep the entertainment systems separate. YONOMI is free.
My Alexa environment includes :
1 Full Sized Echo
3 Echo Dots 2nd gen
2 Echo Dot 3rd gen, One with Clock
1 Echo Spot
Several Hue Lights with a single bridge
5 Fire Tablets (1 as a control panel in Kitchen)
One Ring Doorbell Pro
Also 4 cell phones with Alexa app installed!
You should see My Apple Device List!

Re: Echo and Harmony?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 07:42:57 pm »
Thanks for the info. I ordered a Harmony Hub with Companion remote to use with my Echo in the livingroom. I will have my LG smart tv hooked up to it as well as my Bell Whole Home PVR, Blue ray player, and LG sound bar and possibly a couple of other things. I hope I can get everything to work.

I purchased an Echo dot for my bedroom where I have a tv with a receiver for the PVR so I can have access to my PVR in my room. What will I need to purchase so that my dot can control my tv and pvr in my bedroom?

Sorry I just saw this post. In your case I probably would have gone with the same purchase for the living room. Any time you want to control many devices that use IR as the remote, you will need to bridge from Alexa to something that can send IR signals. I have 5 TVs in various rooms around the house, in most cases it is easier just to use a single remote to turn on Tv and control PVR. Alexa and Dot should be used as a voice input device and to control other home automation items.

If you want to Turn your TV in the bedroom on and off with your voice you will need another hub, just like other shave said.
An independent consumer hoping to drive discussion and offer advice on using Echo and Alexa in Canada and home automation in general.