Do you have a bunch of remotes on your coffee table for every item in your home theater? Tired of universal remotes that lack buttons? Here’s how to solve all your remote control problems with one Logitech Harmony remote.

The Logitech Harmony line is designed to take the hassle out of controlling your home theater (and, in some cases, some of the more expensive remotes and SmartHome devices). While it doesn’t really eliminate the hassle entirely — since Logitech’s setup software is a little dreadful — it does give you much more control over movies, music, and other devices in your living room. Here we’ll show you how to set up your Harmony remote to control everything at the same time.

NOTE. If you can, try to follow these instructions as closely as possible. While Logitech makes great hardware, their software isn’t great and things can go wrong and it’s very easy to get confused (especially when it comes to Harmony Hub remote devices). The closer you follow these instructions to the letter and in the correct order, the less likely you are to run into a problem.

First: choose your remote model

Logitech offers several different remote controls, and they are all perfect for different situations. Their current lineup consists of:

  • Harmony 350 ($40, $37 at Amazon): This is Logitech’s simplest remote, offering control of eight devices with four buttons (one with short presses, one with long presses). It works like most universal remotes but offers the benefit of programmable buttons. It has one macro for «Watch TV» which turns on multiple devices at the same time, but other than that it doesn’t offer any other advanced features.
  • Harmony 650 ($80, $52 on Amazon): This is my personal favorite and strikes a great balance between functionality and price. It can control up to eight devices, you can create different «macros» that turn on multiple devices at the same time, and it has a screen for any functions that are not available as remote buttons. This means you can recreate just about any remote with your Harmony 650 and press fewer buttons to turn them on—all for about $50. Never rush through that drawer full of remotes again.
  • Harmony Companion ($150, $125 at Amazon): The Harmony Companion ditches the 650’s on-screen buttons, but adds a SmartHome control with the inclusion of the Harmony Hub. This is Logitech’s cheapest and easiest SmartHome remote. Not only can you control your home theater, but you can also dim your smart lights, turn on your smart plug, or even control your motorized blinds at the touch of a button. There are four smart home buttons on the remote — more devices than that and you’ll have to use the Harmony app on a phone or tablet that connects to the hub.
  • Harmony Elite ($350, $312 at Amazon): The Harmony Elite is Logitech’s best remote with full custom home theater controls and SmartHome devices. The Elite can control up to 15 devices with programmable buttons as well as the screen, so you can add any custom controls that the buttons don’t cover. It also means that unlike the Companion, you can control more SmartHome devices than the four Home buttons allow. Because it also comes with the Harmony Hub, you can use the Logitech app to control all of your devices, but the remote is advanced enough that you probably won’t need it.
  • The Harmony Ultimate One ($250): The Harmony Ultimate One is cheaper than the Elite, but we’re listing it last because it occupies a very odd space between the Companion and Elite. It’s basically the old version of the Elite that Logitech still makes (for whatever reason). Its functionality is almost the same as its successor (see above), but the touchscreen is a little slower and the play, pause and rewind buttons are inexplicably located above touch screen. Amazon is $250 bundled with the Harmony Hub, which gives you smart home control and use of the Harmony mobile app. However, you can buy it yourself for $190 and use it as a standard infrared remote control — though I don’t know why if the Harmony 650 does the same for just $50.

Which remote you choose is up to you, but if you want to control smarthome devices, you’ll definitely need one of the last three. You can see the Logitech SmartHome compatibility list here. The hub that comes with the last three remotes works with multiple devices, but the Harmon Home Hub Extender extends that support to many $100 ZigBee and Z-Wave devices.

If all you need is home theater control, I recommend the Harmony 650 — it costs an extra $15 compared to the Harmony 350. If you have SmartHome devices, the Companion is fine, but the Ultimate One and Elite will be a lot more versatile thanks to their touchscreens. . You can probably save money by switching from the Ultimate One, provided you can get past the odd button layout and less responsive touchscreen.

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll only go through the initial setup of home theater devices — we’ll cover smarthome devices in a separate guide very soon.

All about activity, the central function of harmony


The cheapest universal remotes—like the one that probably came with your cable DVR, or the one you got from RadioShack for $20—lets you control multiple devices from a single remote by pressing a device button and then using the remote. to control this device. But most can only control one device at a time.

Logitech remotes are different. They let you manage each device individually if you want, but expect you to use Actions for multiple devices first. So instead of turning on the TV and then pressing the DVD button to control the DVD player, you press the Watch Movie button on the Logitech remote, which turns on the TV, sets it to the correct input, and turns it on the DVD player. You can assign some buttons to the DVD player and some to the TV so that this activity is better suited to your use case. If you want to switch to a different activity—say, Listen to Music—it will reconfigure the buttons (and screen functions, if applicable) for music, not movies.

If this sounds confusing, don’t worry — you’ll get the hang of it once you start customizing the remote. Suffice it to say that if you’ve only used cheap universal remotes so far, try to forget your old instincts. It will be weird at first, but once set up, you will have a fully customized remote focused on what you do not what devices you have.

NOTE. Harmony 350 is the only exception as it only allows one action. For the most part, using your Harmony 350 is just like using a regular remote—you press a device button like «DVD» and then use the remote’s buttons to control your DVD player.

How to set up your initial devices and activities

Okay, at this point, you’re probably itching to get started. Here’s how to set up your remote using the Logitech MyHarmony software.

Step One: Download and Install the MyHarmony Software

To get started, go to the Logitech download page and download the MyHarmony software for your platform—Windows Vista/7, Windows 8/10, or Mac OS X. Double-click the EXE to install the program, then launch the MyHarmony program when it’s finished. ,

You will be prompted to sign in to your Logitech account. If you don’t have one, create it now. (Don’t worry, a Logitech account is very handy — it backs up all your configurations, and if you ever buy a new remote, you can carry over the settings from your previous remote, which is very handy.)


If you have a remote with Harmony Hub, such as the Harmony Elite or Ultimate One, you can also set up the remote using the Harmony app for iOS or Android. But to be honest, we still think that the MyHarmony desktop software is — as flawed as it is — easier and more powerful for a basic home theater setup, so we’ll be using it for this tutorial.

Step Two: Adding a Remote

On the welcome screen, you will see a list of remotes connected to your account, as well as an «Add Remote» button. If you’re logging in for the first time, you’ll obviously just see an «Add» button. Click on it to add a new remote.

2 - add-on remote

Once instructed, connect the remote to your computer using the supplied USB cable.


MyHarmony will walk you through some of the initial setup. If you have a previous Harmony remote, you’ll be given the option to copy your settings, which — depending on your remotes — works decently well. For the purposes of this guide, we will be performing «New Settings».

Step Two, Point Five: Add a Harmony Hub

If you have a Harmony Hub remote, such as the Harmony Elite or Ultimate One, you’ll also need to set up the hub during this process. (If you don’t have a Harmony Center, skip to step three.)

First choose a location for your Harmony Hub. It will use infrared to communicate with most of your devices, but that doesn’t mean it needs line of sight to them. Unbeknownst to many, infrared commands will bounce off walls and surroundings, so you can mount the Harmony Hub under a TV or in an entertainment cabinet and it will likely work just fine. If you’re placing it behind a closed door — like in a closet or indoor entertainment center — plug in one or both of the included infrared blasters and make sure one of them is outside that closed space.


I found that I didn’t need blasters at all — just putting a hub on top of the receiver was enough to control my entire home theater.

Back in the MyHarmony software, you will need to accept the license agreement, after which you will be prompted to enter your Harmony Hub. Click Next when you’re done.


Next, MyHarmony will present you with a list of nearby Wi-Fi networks. Select the one you want to use to communicate with the Harmony Hub from the list and click Next.


MyHarmony will search for and connect to your hub. If it doesn’t find it, it will return to the «Name Your Hub» screen. I found that I had to go through this step on a Wi-Fi connected laptop and sit right next to my Harmony Hub for it to work properly.

You will then be asked if you want to continue the process from your computer or use the Harmony mobile app. I recommend sticking with the desktop app for now. Again, the desktop software has its drawbacks, but it’s still easier to use than the mobile app thanks to the mouse and keyboard. You will need to use the mobile app to control the PC or SmartHome devices on the higher remote, but those are instructions for another guide. Today we will just add your standard home theater devices.


MyHarmony will walk you through some of the initial setup. If you have a previous Harmony remote, you’ll be given the option to copy your settings, which, depending on your remote’s models, works decently. For the purposes of this guide, we will be performing «New Settings».


If your remote supports SmartHome devices, they will appear in the list. You can select them to add them to your remote, or do it manually later. We will now discuss adding home theater devices and adding smarthome devices at the end of this guide, so you can skip this step.

When you reach the Add Your Devices screen, click the Add Device button and proceed to the next step below.

Step Three: Add Your Devices

MyHarmony will ask you to enter information for your first device. For this example, we will start with our TV — Samsung UN55H6203AF. Find your model number on your TV (or in your TV manual), enter it, and click the Add button.


If it recognizes your device’s model number, it will appear in your device list. Click «Add Device» to repeat this process for other devices in your setup — your receiver, your DVD or Blu-ray player, your cable box, and so on.


When you’re done, click Done.

Step Four: Create Your Activity

Next, MyHarmony will walk you through setting up your activity. You will tell it which devices are involved in this activity and which inputs should be set for those devices.

First, we’ll set up the Watch TV event. For this, we want to turn on our TV and our AV receiver. We’re using an antenna to watch TV, so we don’t need anything else — though if you have cable, you’ll also want to include a cable box. Press «Next.


MyHarmony will ask you which device you are using to control the volume. If you have an audio or AV receiver, you’ll probably want to select it here. If not, select your TV.

7-volume activity

Next, you’ll tell MyHarmony which input to set on your TV and receiver. It’s easy for us — we’ll set the input on both TVs since we’re using an antenna.

Of course, it will be different for everyone and different for each activity. If you set up the Watch Movie action, you could set your TV’s input to «HDMI1» where your receiver is connected and your receiver’s input to «DVD» where your Blu-ray player is connected.


When you’re done, MyHarmony will ask you to confirm your settings, after which you can go back and change them if something doesn’t look right. Otherwise, click Done.

When you’re done, you’ll see a list of your actions. You can click «Add Activity» to add others as above (such as watching a movie, listening to music, or watching a Chromecast).


When you’re done, click Done. You will be asked any lingering questions and prompted to sync the remote via USB. This will take a minute or two, but when you’re done you can move on to the next step.


How to Customize Your Remote Control Buttons

Adding your devices and activities is only the first part of setting up your remote. What really makes the Harmony remotes worth considering is the setup. With a few clicks, you can remap any button to any function you want. MyHarmony will assign some automatically—like your TV’s menu function to the Harmony menu button—but if any button names don’t quite match, you can remap them in the Harmony software.

To get started, open the MyHarmony app and tap your remote in the list.


From the main menu, you can click «Devices» in the sidebar to add or edit devices, just like you did in step three above. You can also select «Actions» in the sidebar to repeat step four. However, to customize individual buttons, click Buttons in the sidebar.

12-main menu

How to set up physical buttons

Your remote has several «sets» of buttons. It has standard physical buttons (play, pause, up-down, menu, etc.), has Activity buttons (Watch TV, Watch Movie, etc.), has on-screen buttons (if you have your remote has a screen) and it has SmartHome buttons (if your remote supports it).

On this screen, you can customize any of these button sets. Let’s start by setting up the physical buttons on the remote. Click «Select an activity or device» under «Remote Buttons» and select an activity from the list, such as «Watch TV.» Click Go.


You will now see a close-up of your remote. You can hover over a button to see what action it has currently assigned to it. For example, in the Watch TV exercise, we can hover over the Menu button to see that it invokes the TV menu function. If we hover over the volume buttons, we can see that they call up the AV receiver’s volume function.


You can also remap buttons. For example, let’s say I want the Guide button to show a list of channels, not a TV guide. From the «Device» drop down menu on the left, I would choose «Samsung TV»…

15 devices of choice

… Then drag the «ChannelList» function onto the «Guide» button to assign it.

16 Successor button

On some high-end Logitech remotes, you can assign short and long press functions to each button. In these cases, you need to click on the button to see what it does in the top right corner. To remap it, you can hover over a function in the right sidebar and select Short Press, Long Press, or Both to assign it to a button.


Repeat this process for any functions for which you want buttons on the remote control. (Any functions in bold are not assigned; functions in gray are already assigned to a button.) You can also do this for other actions of yours, or for specific devices, in the rare case that you will control that device separately from the action. ,

How to customize the on-screen buttons (for supported remotes)

If your remote has a screen, you can use it to add any functionality that doesn’t have obvious button assignments. For example, my receiver has a «Night Mode» that reduces the dynamic range of sound so I can watch at a comfortable volume without waking up my neighbors. My remote doesn’t have a physical «Night Mode» button, but I can add one to the screen very easily.

On the main button page, select an action (or device) from the Display Options drop-down menu. In this case, I’m going to edit the «Watch Movie» action (since this is the feature I need most in movies). Click Go.

17-button screen

MyHarmony has probably already added a few options to your screen. You can remove them by clicking the «X» next to them. (This screen may vary slightly depending on your remote, but the process is the same for all remotes.)


To add a new feature, click the «Select Device» dropdown on the right and select the device that contains the feature you want to add. Since I want to add my receiver’s «Night Mode» to my movie view, I will select my receiver from this list.

19-screen selection-device

Then I scroll down to the «Night» option (which is my receiver’s night mode) and drag it onto the screen.

20-drag night mode

And voila! It is displayed on the screen with other functions. You can rename it by clicking it and adding a new name in the Label field.

21-rename-screen button

Repeat this process for any other features you want to add to the screen, as well as for your other activities or devices.

22 Screen button trim

Don’t forget to sync your remote!

Once you’ve made your button settings, you’ll need to sync those changes to the remote. Plug in the included USB cable and the Sync button on the MyHarmony page should change from yellow to blue.

23-sync button

Click the Sync button to sync your changes to your remote. This will take a few minutes, but your changes should sync to your remote, ready to use.


If you have a remote that connects to the Harmony Hub, you don’t need to sync over USB (although you can if you want). Since your remote settings are stored online, you can simply press the Settings button on the remote screen and go to Settings > Sync Remote. Your remote and its hub will be synced to the Harmony servers and your latest changes should appear once it’s complete.

remote end menu-v2

If you have one of Logitech’s higher quality remotes, you can also change the icons corresponding to different actions using the remote’s on-screen settings (or via the Harmony app for iOS and Android).

2016-03-22 15.29.54

It seems like a long, complicated process, but believe it or not, these are just the basics. You can also create complex sequences of functions to assign to buttons, or add or fix commands that don’t work. But for most devices, the instructions above should cover 99% of your needs. When you’re done, you should have a sleek remote that controls your entire home theater with ease — and with far fewer button presses.

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