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In Use

The setup program for initial configuration is built into the same Harmony app that you run to control your devices. As mentioned earlier, the applications for iOS and Android are similar, but there are some variations due to screen size and aspect ratio. I suspect that there would also be variations between the displays on the iPad and on iPhones, as well.

The next three screenshots show a comparison of the UI on an iPad (left) and on a Nexus 7 (right). (All screenshots were resized to 30% of their original size.)

The first image below shows the landing page with no activities running. Configured activities are shown down the left side of the screen. The center of the screen shows a controller configured correctly for the running activity. On the right side of the screen you can see a list of devices.

Harmony Home Hub landing page - iPad (left) and Nexus (right)

Harmony Home Hub landing page - iPad (left) and Nexus (right)

The composite image below shows the "Watch TV" activity. This activity was configured to use the TV for audio; all other functions are handled by the XFinity cable box via IR commands. Taping the power icon associated with the currently running activity will end the activity and turn power off for all devices associated with the activity.

If you look carefully at the two screens, you'll see some differences in the screen layout. On the iPad screen, the layout, because of its aspect ratio, had enough screen real estate to accommodate a menu bar across the bottom of the screen. On the Android device, those same functions are arranged below the navigation circle.

Harmony Home Hub Watch TV - iPad (left) and Nexus (right)

Harmony Home Hub Watch TV - iPad (left) and Nexus (right)

The three horizontal bars in the upper left corner provide access to the application's menu, where you can change settings, add/edit devices, etc. The most frequently used submenus will be the Edit/Reset menu and the Harmony Setup menu.

The Edit/Reset sub menu lets you reorder activities and devices, edit favorites, gestures and buttons and reset favorites and buttons. The Harmony Setup sub menu lets you add/edit devices and activities, add a smart keyboard or smart remote, set up a new remote or sync the device to the settings in your account at MyHarmony.com.

When adding or editing an activity or device, you run through screens very similar to those shown in the setup gallery above.

Harmony Home Hub Menu - iPad (left) and Nexus (right)

Harmony Home Hub Menu - iPad (left) and Nexus (right)

If you look at the bottom of the screenshots above, you'll notice that there are three icons: a pointing finger, a star, and an icon that returns you to the controller screen. The pointing finger icon takes you to the Gestures screen. The gestures screen lets you configure various combinations of swipe, tap and swipe/hold. There are 11 combinations for using a single finger and 11 combinations for using two fingers. These gestures are associated with the current activity.

Gestures are also configured for individual mobile devices, though you can sync gestures from your MyHarmony.com account. You can accept the defaults, or change any of the 22 combinations for each activity. When you choose to edit a gesture within an activity, you can set it to send a command to any of your configured devices.

You could, for example, change the Long Press gesture to send a mute command to your AV receiver rather than muting the speakers on your TV. The image below shows the Edit Gesture screen for the "Watch Roku" activity.

Harmony Home Hub - Configure Gesture

Harmony Home Hub - Configure Gesture

Some activities have favorites. The composite screenshot below shows favorite channels for the Watch TV activity (left) as well as favorite channels for the Watch Roku activity (right). For TV channels, you can configure favorites for each mobile device. For example, I could have a different set of favorites on my iPad than on my wife's iPad. Alternatively, you can use the same set of favorites for every mobile device, using settings stored on your MyHarmony.com account.

You get the list of available channels by entering in your ZIP code and selecting your service provider when configuring favorites. For the Watch Roku activity, I was surprised (and pleased) that the list was pulled from my Roku device. For favorites in either activity, a tap on one of the icons takes you directly to the corresponding channel.

Harmony Home Hub favorites for Watch TV (left) and Watch Roku (right)

Harmony Home Hub favorites for Watch TV (left) and Watch Roku (right)

Within any current activity, you can select a device on the right hand side of the screen and open a controller for that device. Here's a possible scenario. You're watching TV and you're controlling the sound coming out of your TV with the Harmony application. But you also have music coming out of speakers attached to your AV receiver. If you want to change the volume on your AV receiver, you tap on the AV receiver device icon and use the on-screen controller to adjust the volume. The screenshot below shows my Pioneer AV receiver's controller..

Harmony Home Hub - virtual controller for AV Receiver

Harmony Home Hub - virtual controller for AV Receiver

The Home Hub keeps track of the status of each device, so it's recommended you don't change power state or inputs using the original controllers. The mobile applications are also kept up-to-date with the current status over your Wi-Fi network. As one of my tests, I had the Harmony app running on both my phone and iPad. When I started or ended an activity on one mobile device, that changed status was immediately reflected on the other mobile device.

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