Alexa, Turn On My TV

Is This the Best Universal Remote for Non-Techie People?


April 16, 2019 Tech By

The Logitech Harmony Express ($250) is a new universal remote that has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built directly in the device. Unlike the company’s previous universal remotes, like the Harmony Elite and the Harmony 950, the new Harmony Express doesn’t have a touchscreen or lots programmable buttons. Instead, it’s designed to be approachable — not super techie — and something you can talk to.

Alexa is baked right into the remote and you can communicate with it in much same way as you would with an Echo smart speaker. You can use your voice to control your home’s Alexa-enabled smart lights or thermostats, but it’s really optimized for controlling your TV. With the remote you can ask Alexa to do things like turn on your TV, open apps like Netflix or Prime Video, or switch to a specific channel like HBO or ESPN.

There are other Amazon devices that have similar control over your TV, like the Fire TV Cube (which also has an IR blaster built in), but the Harmony Express is designed to work with the home theater setup you already have. It’s compatible with a variety of Roku and Fire TVs, as well as Apple TV. It works with the latest PlayStation and Xbox consoles, in case you use those as for streaming. It works with most DVRs and Blu-ray players, too.

The Harmony Express, like the company’s other universal remotes, is part of an IR blaster system to control your home’s devices. In addition to the remote, the system comes with an IR blaster base, which needs to be situated below your TV, and another small IR baster; these devices automatically detect compatible devices and allow you to sync them with your Harmony Express remote in the setup process. Essentially, if you’re looking for an easy way to consolidate all your existing remotes into one, the new Harmony Express is your answer.

To make sure that the Harmony Express will work with your current setup, check the support page on the company’s website: here.

Gear Patrol also recommends:
Logitech Harmony 350 ($35)
Logitech Harmony 950 ($200)
Logitech Harmony Elite ($270)
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