My second Harmony hub has stopped working and it’s time to replace it. I don’t really want another remote; but I would like to regain the functionality of the hub. Any suggestions?
What specific functionality do you need?
I have replaced mine with two different devices which cover different purposes.
- TV and entertainment control by voice. For this set of use cases, I find the fire TV cube (not the stick, the cube has more functionality) to be the best, and I’ve tried pretty much everything. Because I am quadriparetic, I cannot use a regular button remote. The fire TV cube gives me full voice control of everything, including scrolling right left up and down on the screen, changing the input mode, switching between devices, etc. It’s been pretty amazing.
You can also get integration with smartthings through an Alexa routine (not an ST routine). It’s not full integration, but it’s at least equal to what I had with Harmony.
It’s normally $119, but on the day this post was written, 20 March 2022, it happens to be on sale for $69. I don’t know if that’s a temporary sale or if that means a new generation may be coming out soon, but this is the one that I have and I really like it.
- an inexpensive IR blaster for other devices. I used to use my Harmony to control things like battery powered candles, a tabletop fan with an IR remote, etc. Now I use the SwitchBot mini hub, which lists For $39 and is often on sale for a bit less. This one has a manufacturer-provided SmartThings integration. It’s a little clunky: I find the integration works best if I create scenes in the SwitchBot app and then just activate those from smartthings. But it’s worth looking at.
- control Bluetooth devices. The harmony hub also had a Bluetooth radio which could be used to control Bluetooth devices. But the only thing I was personally using that for was to switch input mode with a device that I had for that, and I no longer need it now that I use the fire TV cube. So I’m not sure what the best option is for that right now, hopefully someone else will post if you’re interested in those use cases.
I know there are other people in the community who are using BroadLink for some similar use cases as Harmony, but last time I looked integration was pretty complicated and required an additional device. But again hopefully someone who knows more about that option will post.
If you use whatever google home is called these days then there are also some options with Chromecast, but I don’t know the details on that option.
Spec update on the Fire TV Cube…
Looking at the specs compared to the latest Fire tv stick, I see the cube is missing WiFi 6 support. Not a big deal for most people except as a marketing bulletpoint, but the current sale might mean they’re planning to release a new generation with WiFi 6 support later this year and they want to reduce inventory before that happens. They like this device for Father’s Day promotions, so maybe a new generation in June?
Anyway, this is all pure guesswork, it could just be a random sale during a slow period, but I thought I’d mention it.
Can this do routines like the Harmony?
@mwiseman if you want another harmony hub I have one I’m no longer using.
It’s been a long time since I used Harmony with smartthings and the integration changed multiple times when I was using it, so I don’t remember exactly how it worked.
With SwitchBot, it’s complicated. A device, including a TV with controls, will show up as a device in smartthings unless it was in the “other“ category.
A switchbot scene will show up as actionable in both Alexa routines and IFTTT actions, but not currently in the smartthings app.
So there are ways to do most things, but it just depends on exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
You can see discussion by people who have more complex actions in the following thread:
Sorry JD, I linked the wrong thing. I was speaking of the Cube. I have one in my cart and wanted to check it out. Right now in the room I’m considering getting it for has a Echo Dot, Harmony Hub and Fire TV4K Stick. Thinking the Cube could be all 3…
Devices controlled are: Z-Wave Fan Controller, Z-Wave Light Dimmer, Yamaha AVR, Pioneer AVR, BenQ Projector, HTPC and a PS4. I use SmartThings as my central SmartThings Hub.
Guess I’ll give it a go since I know the Harmony Hubs are a dying breed…
I’m not sure about the specific home theater devices. A lot depends on the type of connection. The Harmony definitely worked with more devices, so you may want to check with Amazon support to be sure.
As far as anything connected via Alexa to SmartThings, that works exactly the same as the Dot. The cube does what the Dot does except its own speaker isn’t as good for music playback (not that the Dot is great) since it assumes you’ll play music through the tv/entertainment center.
For onscreen voice navigation, the cube is better than the Dot on prime video since it can scroll right and left, it can also turn IR devices on. I don’t know about on other devices, though, it’s been a long time since I tried any.
@JDRoberts, welp, gave it a go with the Cube and it’s a nogo for me. Can’t get it to work my projector correctly. It will turn off but off needs to be pressed off twice. I also have 2 receivers for my setup. One main Atmos AVR that runs my 7 base speakers and a secondary AVR that runs my 4 height speakers. Can’t get the cube to add a second AVR to turn both of them on.
Just like the Harmony Activities come up as switches in ST that can be programmatically turned on/off, I see that you can mimic this by creating a Virtual Contact Sensor in ST and using an Alexa Routine to toggle various FireTV Actions. That’s cool and gets us close but really wish you had more device control like the Harmony.
Don’t really see a difference in picture quality from the Cube and the 4K Stick so, it was a good experiment for $70 but still need the Harmony for my situation.
Sorry it didn’t work for you. There’s no question, the Harmony works with a lot more devices than most of the competition.
As far as the difference between the fire TV stick and fire TV cube, the cube supports some “hands-free“ commands which the stick does not, such as “scroll right.“ That probably doesn’t matter to most people, it’s a big issue for me since I need to do everything totally hands-free.