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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Logitech Adds Sonos Control to Harmony Remote

A peek at the updated Harmony app with Sonos integration on its own (right) and on the iPhone 5 (left).

The Harmony continues to be one of the most popular products for controlling audio and video devices. Now, Logitech is hoping to gain a few more fans for its line of remote controls, by announcing two new interesting features.

Logitech just announced plans to add Sonos integration into the Harmony line. This is very good news for those of you currently getting a whole-house audio fix from wireless Sonos speakers. That means that no matter where those speakers are in the home, the Harmony can tap into playback and volume controls, as well as options like the Sonos Favorites playlist. The new addition will work with the Harmony Ultimate as well as the Harmony Smart Control, which uses the Harmony app for iOS and Android devices.

The Harmony Ultimate has a 2.4-inch color touchscreen, vibration feedback, tilt sensors, programmable buttons, and Bluetooth. Although it's compatible with over 225,000 home theater devices, the Ultimate can control up to 15 of your AV essentials and even has infrared technology for tapping into AV devices that are tucked away inside closed cabinets.

Designed for those of you that depend on your smartphone or tablet for everything, the Harmony Smart Control can turn those iOS and Android devices into a universal remote. It works in conjunction with the Harmony Hub and the free Harmony app. A few of the features include options for 50 favorite-channel icons, one-touch activities, and gesture media controls.

"With these added integrations, we're creating an even more robust Harmony ecosystem that makes it easier for you to create the optimum home-entertainment experience, including listening to your favorite playlists on Sonos wireless speakers and setting your Philips Hue lights to the perfect brightness and color for watching a movie," said Chad Thompson, senior director of marketing and product management for Logitech's digital home business group. "Harmony's heritage lies in control of your home-theater devices, and with this update you can easily create the ideal entertainment experience, for the living room and beyond."

Another interesting development is that Logitech has added speech-to-text capabilities to the free Harmony app. Available today, this promises to make searching for content on any streaming device much faster. Just bring up the search field in the streaming media app and use the keyboard on your smartphone or tablet to enter text or even dictate search terms right into your favorite portable. That voice recognition is powered by Siri for iOS devices and Google Voice Search for Android users.

Harmony expects to make the software update available starting June 9, 2014. (That's today!) The upgrade also tweaks the setup process a little, so that the Harmony can automatically detect goodies like Philips Hue lights, Roku streaming players, and Sonos speakers. For more information on the Harmony line and how to add in your Sonos wireless speakers, check out Logitech's Harmony blog.

 The Harmony Ultimate can access IR devices and Bluetooth game consoles, as well as tie into your smartphone as another method of home control.

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