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Logitech to stop manufacturing Harmony universal remotes

A Logitech Harmony remote
(Photo courtesy Logitech, Graphic by The Desk)

Logitech says it will stop manufacturing its line of Harmony universal remotes, officially putting an end to a business that has been one of its cornerstones since 2004.

The announcement was made earlier this week in a Logitech forum by William Wong, the company’s customer experience manager. It came after users had speculated for years that Logitech would pull out of the universal remote business.

Logitech will no longer ship new remotes to retailers, Wong said, meaning any current inventory at places like Best Buy and Amazon will be the last devices available for sale.

Logitech acquired the Harmony line of universal remotes in 2004 as it sought to deepen its offering of consumer electronics and accessories. The purchase came together at a time when Logitech made a wide array of peripherals, including gaming headsets, speakers and lifestyle electronics.

Early on, Harmony remotes were highly sought after by videophiles for their ability to juggle multiple television accessories, including DVRs, VCRs, DVD and Blu-ray players, cable set-top boxes and TiVos, sound systems and other devices. Harmony’s wide compatibility meant hard-core television enthusiasts could ditch many of their remotes for a single control device, though that convenience came at a price: At the high end, Harmony remotes could cost hundreds of dollars.

As time went on, consumer electronic devices became “smarter” thanks to voice inputs and Internet connectivity. Logitech offered new Harmony remotes that were able to connect to smart hubs and control other devices, including smart lighting. But few consumers felt the need to pay hundreds of dollars for a remote that could do many of the same functions as a smart TV remote, which were becoming better and more universal on their own.

Eventually, some of Harmony’s biggest fans wondered if the company would pull out of the market, speculation that was further fueled when a Logitech executive recently proclaimed Harmony to be a smaller part of the company’s business, one that was being challenged by smart TVs and streaming devices.

On Thursday, Logitech finally confirmed it was moving away from its universal remote business and would stop manufacturing Harmony devices completely.

“While Harmony remotes are and continue to be available through various retailers, moving forward Logitech will no longer manufacture Harmony remotes,” Wong said in a post. “We expect no impact to our customers by this announcement.”

While the remotes are being discontinued, Harmony’s database will continue to expand with new device offerings, warranties will be honored and customer support will still be available. The remotes will also still be supported through software and firmware updates, the company said.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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