Canadians who control their televisions using Logitech Harmony's hub-based smart remotes will be happy to learn that those devices will also be gaining voice controls through Google Assitant and Amazon Alexa. That's according to an announcement made via the company's official blog on November 16 and support will be coming for Harmony Elite, Harmony Hub, and Harmony Companion. In fact, starting today, voice actions are already available via Google Assistant on Android Devices. Support for voice controls will arrive for Amazon Alexa-enabled devices when those begin to ship to customers within the country and for Google Home at some point in the coming weeks. Better still, there won't be any costs associated with the voice controls themselves.
For Amazon Alexa, the new controls will allow users to turn their television on or off, adjust the volume, pause and play content where applicable, and change channels by either the channel name or number. For example, saying "Alexa, turn on CBC" should result in the television turning on and switching to the appropriate channel. Of course, since the effect is accomplished through an Amazon Alexa Skill, users will need to enable the skill in order to take advantage of the voice controls through Amazon's Echo device. That can be accomplished via the dedicated Amazon Alexa application. Meanwhile, similar voice commands will be available via both Google Home and through the mobile-based Google Assistant, although the triggering mechanism will be somewhat different. For Google Assistant-based platforms, users simply need to say, "Ok Google, ask Harmony to...," followed by a command, in order to interact with their remote.
Although voice functionality is a new for Canada, Logitech Harmony users in the U.S. have already been able to take advantage of them for some time and it is at least one key selling point for the devices. Meanwhile, for those Canadians who haven't yet discovered the universal smart remotes, those are currently available in the country via both Amazon and Best Buy. Pricing starts out at CAD $129.99 ($101.81) for the Logitech Harmony Hub and CAD $179.99 ($140.98) for the mid-range Harmony Companion. The top-of-the-line Logitech Harmony Elite, meanwhile, is priced at CAD $499.99 ($391.61).