Beating for the Harmony Ultimate

The Harmony Ultimate is a great remote, but the folks at Logitech have deliberately dumbed down our ability to program it.  Case in point, precise activity control.  There is no way you can add a precise startup sequence containing input changes, delays and power up commands.  myHarmony does this all for you and denies you the ability to change the sequence or add delays.  Sure, you can play with global on/off settings by device to add startup delays to the powerOn commands, but the effects are cumulative with the result being that it can take up to a minute to activate a complex activity involving many devices.

Here: When I start my streaming activity, I need my AV processor to power up and switch to the correct HDMI input, then I need my mediaPC to power up and my TV to switch to the HDMI monitor port.  What’s important here is that the HDMI AV processor input must be up and stable before the mediaPC polls it; a process that can take 5 seconds.  Otherwise, things may not sync up correctly.

Unfortunately, myHarmony does all this for you; It powers up devices then sets inputs.  You can see its order, but you can’t change it or add delays.  Sure, you can add commands after this default sequence, but you can’t choose input or power commands and the result, especially with HDMI is that inputs often don’t sync up properly and you lose picture, sound or both.  WTF???

….until now of course.

I spent the day working on this and I discovered something very interesting:  myHarmony hides all commands that start with “input” or “power” from the available custom programming set so the first thing you need to do is train in custom commands for these on each of your devices.  I start my commands with “mode”, so my AV processor has modeTV, modeVideo, etc.

Now you need to fix the power sequences.  Do this with an older remote that’s not currently used in your setup.  For each device in your system that always powers up at the start of an activity and powers down at the end (typically everything but the TV and the AV processor) add a “nullPowerToggle” (or “nullPowerOn” if your device has a button for on and another for off) command.  Train the command using any button from that unused remote so an IR sequence that isn’t understood by any of your components gets stored.

Now in Power settings, change every one of these devices to have two buttons, one for power on and one for power off.  For the powerOn sequence, send the nullPower command (which will do nothing), and for the powerOff sequence, send that device’s normal powerOff command.  That way, we can still depend on Harmony to automatically power off devices that need it.

For those devices that are used between activities, leave the power commands alone.  You have to allow Harmony to intelligently control the powerOn commands for those as well.

Now your’re ready to program activities.

Make sure that for each device in the activity you choose “do nothing” for the input.  You are going to choose inputs yourself during the custom script you see.  Now you are free to do the full sequential programming including delays where necessary in the custom script section of the activity.  Voila!  You have achieved Harmony.

Here’s my Streaming activity sequence:

(preprogrammed startup that you can’t modify)

  • Power on AV processor
  • Power on mediaPC
  • Power on TV

(preprogrammed input settings that you can’t modify)

  • AV processor : Do Nothing
  • mediaPC:          Do Nothing
  • TV:                    Do Nothing

(Custom Script)

  • Send the AV processor modeGame
  • Delay for 7 seconds
  • Send the mediaPC modePowerToggle
  • Send the TV modeHdmi1

See what’s happening?  Since the mediaPC has its powerOn sequence set to nullPowerToggle, the codes that are sent do nothing except inform the Harmony that the mediaPC is now powered on.  Also, no input commands are sent because I told myHarmony to do nothing with the inputs.  The actual sequence is all contained in the custom script.

Oh yeah.  Total Harmony has been achieved.  Enjoy!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.