Imagine holding the control of your entire home in your hand. Sounds, lights, temperature, everything. You’d be like a sheriff… a true John Wayne of your home. And like a sheriff, you would have all the power and authority to face any problem. After all you have your trusty friend by your side.
We are, of course, talking about your remote control for the IR Blaster Hub. Haven’t heard of it? Essentially, a hub works as an IR signal receiver and blaster. You take the remote control, send a task to the hub which will distribute the signal to all other devices. Let’s say you want to turn on your TV. The hub will turn on the TV as well as turn off or silence any other device.
Sounds rather simple but coupled with Alexa and apps like IFTTT, the potential is endless. Suddenly, you don’t need the 4-5 remote controls you spend hours looking for anyway. The remote (or a smartphone app) is all you need to control every device in your home.
Logitech Harmony Companion Remote Control, Hub and App
Let’s start with Harmony Companion from Logitech. This is the basic model released a couple of years ago. The series now includes Ultimate and Elite models. In fact, if you are searching for a Hub with a remote control, Harmony is the option and the choice of 90% of the customers.
A hub such as Harmony can save you a ton of cash in smartifying your home. You’d spend a fortune on buying smart plugs for each device. While Harmony can handle it all by itself. It’s multilingual – speaks in IR, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even Alexa. Of course, there is an app for that, as well. See the picture now? It all nicely connects into one network and you have a key to it in your hands.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate
\Logitech and their Harmony is a leading product in the market. So, it makes sense giving them a little more room. Especially, when Harmony Ultimate is so much different from the Companion. In a way, it’s still the same Harmony which connects to 25,000 devices. But now your remote has a touchscreen.
On the Companion, you can set 50 favorite TV channels. Harmony’s LCD customizable screen allows you to scroll and swipe – which certainly makes it a easier and fun to use. Plus, the Ultimate comes with rechargeable batteries and a charging dock. Your remote will always be ready to serve. Plus, you’ll know where it is at all times.
Harmony claims to handle 15 different devices at once. Different TV’s is not a problem and neither is lighting, heating, music devices, and everything in between. Harmony can even replace the Wii or PS4 remotes. Whether it’s easier we’ll leave to individual preferences.
If you need more, Logitech Harmony Elite is the highest class IR blaster Hub with a remote. On Amazon, 235 customers have rated Elite 4.0 stars.
Broadlink RM-Mini 3 Black Bean
Believe it or not, Harmony has competitors. And by what we can say, rather tough ones. As we mentioned, you can avoid using Harmony, if you wanted to. For example, with smart plugs. Or devices like Broadlink RM-Mini 3 which replaces traditional (including Harmony-type) remote controls. And it’s a cheap option, as well.
RM-Mini uses Wi-fi and IR to connect and help you control your home network. Overall, over 80,000 devices from TVs and media centers to lights and thermostats. Like any such hub, the Mini 3 need some set up. But via Broadlink’s app it won’t be tough to do. There are some presets that let you optimize the usage to 1-click but you can also create custom scenes.
Here’s what else you should know about Broadlink. They do have a Pro version which enhances the controller to IR, Wi-Fi as well as RF connections. Just like the Mini 3, most of the functionality comes through Android and iOS apps. Which is great, especially if you want to add to your IFTTT.
As a fully Wi-fi connected device, the Pro has its advantages and disadvantages. Understandably, during Wi-fi disconnections it won’t work. But it also means that no matter where you are in the world, you can check up on your home devices and turn them on/off.
The Pro also does much better in connecting to Alexa (though, not perfect).. As advertised, Mini 3 also has Alexa compatibility but it’s really not ideal.You do need an Alexa adapter plugged in at all times for it to work. And even then, customers experienced some setbacks.
There is a new RM-Pro (2018 edition) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078LS96ZH/. We haven’t tested it yet but, if you’re thinking about Mini, you might as well check out the Pro.
I hope you enjoyed our post on best IR home hub. if you have anything you think that should be on this list please let us know in a comment below. Thanks for reading!
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