updated 07:00 pm EST, Tue March 4, 2014
Compatible with Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, 2.5K other devices
Accessories maker Logitech has extended its line of Harmony remote controls to include a new "Harmony Smart Keyboard" that the company is aiming for the growing number of non-computer "smart devices" around the home -- particularly "living room" devices like Apple TVs, video game consoles, audio systems and digital video recorders, among others. Logitech says the keyboard is compatible with 225,000 home-entertainment devices covering 5,000 brands.
The $150 keyboard includes a touchpad, a Harmony Hub and mini IR transmitter, two USB micro receivers and a USB extender. While some devices (such as the Apple TV) will already let users use the built-in keyboard on their smartphone or tablet to control or type in requests, many other and older devices continue to use the laborious remote-based text input system the Smart Keyboard hopes to bypass.
The Harmony Hub will also let iPhones and other smartphones enjoy greater functionality as replacement remote controllers, including customization functions. The keyboard can have up to eight devices paired at the same time, and allows assigning a single key to multiple functions -- for example, setting a key that automatically turns on the stereo system and HDTV to the right inputs for a particular service, such as Netflix through an Apple TV or Vudu through their cable connection.
The Smart Keyboard, despite being Windows-centric, is also compatible for those who have hooked up a Mac or Windows PC to their television. It includes special buttons for video game consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation, and can use RF, Wi-Fi , Bluetooth or infrared extenders to allow devices to be stored in a cabinet and yet still connect to them.