Harmony Adapter for the PlayStation 3
Written by John Yan
on 5/27/2009 for
The PlayStation 3 is a good Blu-Ray player in that it's updatable and at the time of release, relatively inexpensive compared to the rest of the offerings out there. There's been reports of people buying the machine just for the Blu-Ray aspect. I've used the console to view many movies so far but the one thing that always bothered me was the inability to control the console with a remote. You'd think that Sony would spend the small amount of money to put an IR receiver on the front instead of making you purchase a Bluetooth remote. I've been using the Nyko adapter for the most part but it doesn't let you turn the machine on or off. Seeing as I love Logitech Harmony remotes, I was very happy to hear they were working on a product to let you control the PlayStation 3 with any of their remotes. Here we are today with the Logitech Harmony Adapter for the PlayStation 3.
The Harmony Adapter for the PlayStation 3 is a pretty simple device. The small receiver takes input from any Harmony remote and translates them to a Bluetooth signal that's sent to your PlayStation 3 supporting all 51 commands available. Physically it's not that big and the black design will allow it to fit into entertainment centers well. On the back are two plugs, one for the power and one for an RF module that's used by some Harmony remotes such as the 1000. Unfortunately, I don't have a Harmony remote that supports RF so I couldn't test this portion out. The one thing I find a little annoying though is the power plug. It's one of those small little bricks but thankfully it sits horizontal in an outlet so it's less likely to interfere with the other power outlets.
Setup of the device is simple and straight forward. If though you are like me that already had a PlayStation 3 device setup with the Harmony remote, you have to remove it and re-add it in in order to get support for the Adapter. You plug the unit into a power source, pair the device up with the PlayStation 3 as a Bluetooth Remote, and you're done. Afterwards, you setup your Harmony remote to use the new PlayStation 3 profile and setup any activities you would want to include the Adapter in and update the remote. For me the total amount of time to get it up and running was pretty minimal with the most time being spent on downloading the profile to the Harmony One remote I was using to test. I was happy at how quickly I was able to get it up and working with the PlayStation 3.
For testing I didn't even have the unit sitting near the PlayStation 3 for it to work since the unit transmits the signal via Bluetooth. Yes, you'll want the unit where all your entertainment center components are most likely but just for fun I had it sitting all the way in the back of the room and aimed my remote at it when I wanted to control the PlayStation 3. The unit had no problems relaying my commands from the Adapter to the PlayStation 3 from across the room. I didn't expect to since it was just transmitting a Bluetooth signal and there weren't any barriers in the way between the adapter and the PlayStation 3.
In operation it just felt like operating any other normal component. Since it has an external power supply you can turn on and off the PlayStation 3 with the remote; something that I have long sought after. I was able to maneuver through the XMB setup with ease and control all the multimedia functions in both movies and music. Performance was really good and it was hard to discern if there was any lag at all. If there is it's very minute but from what I could see the commands translated on the screen as soon as I pressed the button.
You can't play games of course and I wouldn't want to try any game other than something simple like a card game but you'll need a controller if you want to participate in any activity other than controlling the XMB and multimedia. Let me tell you having the ability to use one remote to do it all instead of having to take out the PlayStation 3 controller is such a nice convenience. The missing piece was the ability to power on and off the PlayStation 3 but Logitech has given you this feature with the Harmony Adapter for the PlayStation 3. I know some people might not think of it as being a big deal but besides myself, I have a few friends that have long sought after this functionality. Yes, ir2BT has been out for a while now but with Logitech behind this product, we hopefully will see it in stores so you can easily pick this unit up and it is less expensive than something like ir2BT.
I tried programming one of my very simplistic Microsoft Media Center remotes to transmit some of the PS3 IR signals to the Adapter but they never worked. I don't know if the Media Center remote can't handle the signal even though the remote did flash that it took to programming but none of the commands I tried to program in worked. I don't have another programmable remote other than Harmony in my house so I couldn't tell you if more expensive programmable remotes can take the same IR signal and control the PlayStation 3. Hopefully, I can pick another brand up and try it in the near future but for now I can only say it works for the Harmony line of remotes.
There are a few things I didn't like about the Harmony Adapter for the PlayStation 3 though. One is that it needs an external power supply to operate but that's not the issue that I have with it. I saw that Logitech didn't want to use batteries because they didn't want consumers to worry about power with this device. Also, it has to plug into an outlet rather than taking up a USB port. Now, the PlayStation 3's USB ports aren't always on so I can understand that but I think a combination of ir2BT's design would have been a better choice. I would have liked the option of using a USB port and rechargeable batteries OR an external power supply. Even have the unit be able to charge the batteries when the PlayStation 3 is on would have been a good choice too in my opinion. Then you have all options available and the consumer can pick whichever they would like to use. Just having the ability to not have to plug it into an outlet would have been something I would have liked in the unit.
The other thing I didn't like is the price. It's $60 and you have to think do you want to buy a new game or an adapter to control your PlayStation 3 with your Harmony remote. Really, this is a $60 fix to a $1 part that Sony could have included in when they built the machine. Still I'm happy that Logitech decided to build this device as now I am in complete control of my entertainment center with my Harmony One remote. I think it is a tad bit on the expensive side though but ir2BT costs more than double. It's a little less expensive than PS3IR-1000 too which runs for $80 but that product also has a little more functionality. I would have liked to have seem the Harmony Adapter sell for roughly half of what it's going for but I've seen a few people already pick it up without blinking an eye at the price.
The Harmony Adapter for the PlayStation 3 is a solid device that does what it states and does it well. Setup was a breeze and you'll be able to power on and off as well as control your PS3 with any Harmony remote. I'm wondering why it took so long for Logitech to get something like this out there seeing as they are a leader in remote controls but nevertheless the Harmony Adapter for the PlayStation 3 makes my life a little easier. A little pricey but it's well worth it for me to control my PlayStation 3 with my Harmony One remote.
A little on the pricey side but all things considered this is a great product for those that use the PlayStation 3 as a Blu-Ray player. I would have liked to have seen some modifications to the design in terms of how to get power to the Adapter but nevertheless a solid unit for Harmony remote owners that want to control their PS3.
Rating: 8.9 Class Leading
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.
I'm married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.