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Martin Dew

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NEEO Universal Remote Could Upset Harmony's Market Share
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For some time, Logitech's Harmony line of universal remote controls have held the monopoly, but new-kid-on-the-block NEEO clearly plans to shake up the AV terrain with its newly announced NEEO Remote and NEEO Brain combo, priced at $369. The system is capable of talking to almost any AV setup and a variety of connected smart devices, according to recent news provided by Tech Crunch and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Setup for the Kickstarter-funded NEEO is almost exclusively phone-based, and although Logitech Harmony software can be controlled from iOS and Android, the software is still considered somewhat clunky and geared towards web-based software.

NEEO’s system consists of the 'Brain', which is a smart white disc-shaped device with 360-degree IR blasters around is circumference, and which has one IR extender out for connecting devices located within a closed AV cabinet, for example. This puck-like central hub connects to a Wi-Fi network, and setup requires plugging it into your router via Ethernet to get everything firing up.

The NEEO Remote itself is reported to be of sleek design sporting aerospace-grade aluminum, knocking spots off the aesthetics its Harmony competitor models. The unit is also reputed not to suffer from the ergonomics of the 'which way up' problem that plagues Apple remotes, due to bottom weighting and logical button layout. Indeed the company claims that backlit buttons are not required because you should never have to look down at the intuitive keypad. The remote is not a requirement, as everything can be controlled by the iPhone or Android app and the NEEO Brain in isolation, but using the touch-sensitive display is believed to be a pleasing experience.

An included SOS feature which allows a user to locate the remote if it has planted itself between the cushions on the sofa, and hand recognition and parental controls put the NEEO universal remote ahead of its competitors. Furthermore, one NEEO Remote can control several NEEO Brains in different parts of the house, but it should be noted that one Brain will set you back $200 a piece. Some will also prefer to stick with their Harmony system which still can offer better Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.

Has anyone here on HTF started using the NEEO combo? It would be great to hear your feedback below...
 
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DaveF

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I was intrigued by it. But the one review I’ve read at TheVerge (maybe, not sure now) said it was not yet a robust solution.
 
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Martin Dew

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Yes, I've read that too, Dave. Seems like the software isn't quite there yet. It looks cool, though!
 

DaveF

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I'm keeping an eye out for a replacement for my well-used Harmony One remote in the living room. It's becoming my Velveteen-rabbit of remotes. :) The Neeo is promising, but it's not obvious there yet.
 

xx Brian xx

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This looks like the Savant Pro remote a few years ago that never really hit expectations and faded away. Hopefully they work out the bugs and it takes off. We need other options in this area.
 

Chris Strnad

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We need other options in this area.
With the rise of "smart"-this and "connected"-that, it really seems that manufacturers are really missing the boat when it comes to making their products easier to use in this context. Using a Roku as an example, the included bluetooth remote is a painful interface to a fine media device, but if I put the app on my smartphone, it becomes a much richer experience--If Roku ever lowered device prices and also made the remote an add-on extra, I'd see it as a good thing.

I know this line of thought is pretty rich coming from me, given the vintage of my equipment, but the biggest issue with remotes will always be the physical buttons--eventually they're going to fail. [The input-select for my 15-year-old Toshiba 50HX81 rptv was the first casualty.]
I'll admit that I'd lusted after a Pronto back in the day and I've given the Harmony products a look, but I'm going to go down the DIY road and see how far I can get with a Raspberry Pi 3b+, LIRC (and lirc-client android app), a USB IR Toy and a Google Voice AIY kit. At least it will give me motivation to learn some Python programming...
 

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