I love … LOVE … do you understand the word I’m using here? I HEART, I love, I less than three … Woody Allen would tell Diane Keaton, “Love isn’t strong enough a word. I lurve!” … home automation. Bet you thought I was going to say, “bacon.” That too, but I really am passionate about the subject of home automation because I believe this thing that was initially a toy of the very wealthy is being democratized so that more and more things in our homes can be controlled from an interface on a smartphone or tablet.
We know Apple is working on a TV. Steve Jobs told biographer, Walter Isaacson he cracked it. He figured out a drop dead simple interface for controlling a TV. A lot of people think that is Siri. I don’t. I don’t think it makes sense to control a device that talks with talking. Think about it. If a voice command turns up the volume, I’m going to write that into a show to get your attention. Siri, turn up the volume.
Siri: I’m turning up the volume.
Those of us who follow Apple know they’re not going to release whatever Steve Jobs was so excited about until it’s market changing perfect. That could be later this year or it might turn out to be a unicorn we never see.
One thing is for certain … hardware universal remote controls are not a wonderful thing. Soon all new devices will have wi-fi and associated apps, but that doesn’t help with the TV, DVD player, A/V receiver and gaming console you already own. Logitech created something to automate your entertainment system right now, right out of the box.
It’s called the Logitech Harmony Link. It’s a little round disk that attaches to your Wi-Fi network. The Logitech Harmony Link App is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices and it gives you the ability to control up to eight devices from over 5000 brands.
It starts by selecting an Activity. If you want to watch TV, select that as your activity and Harmony Link will turn on the display, the DVR or cable box, and the AV audio gear you use for sound. If you want change from TV to music, it will turn off your TV and switch to whatever kind of music system you use.
Now I’ve gotta tell you, this isn’t as good as it’s going to get, but if you want universal control right now this is one of the simplest systems I’ve seen for incorporating automation into the gear you already own. One of the smartest things Logitech did is price the Harmony Link at $99. Just a couple years ago, people were paying thousands of dollars for the same kind of control. My favorite thing about this kind of control is that it means no single person in your family is king or queen of the remote. Everyone with a phone or tablet can control the gear as long as they have the App.
That’s a gadget Report! I’m @Neal Campbell. Help me spread the word. Tell your gadget loving friends about GadgetReport.TV/9.