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Logitech Harmony Link: a $100 wireless IR blaster for your iPad or smartphone (video)

Logitech Harmony Link: a $100 wireless IR blaster for your iPad or smartphone (video)

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Losing the TV remote may be a thing of the past, if Logitech has its way -- today, it's introducing the Harmony Link, a shiny black puck that promises to give every iOS and Android device in your household control over your home entertainment system simultaneously. The $100 device is pretty simple, just a Wi-Fi radio hooked up to five infrared LEDs which beam out commands from your synced tablet or phone, but it all connects to a free iPad app which pulls down local TV listings and changes the channels for you. More after the break, including pictures and video!

Logitech's partnered with TV data provider Rovi for the information, which -- after the usual setup procedure -- makes it as easy as browsing listings of current programming and tapping to pick your show, though we're afraid there's no grid-style programming guide and the IR blaster setup's still not quite robust enough to automatically program your TiVo. Smartphone apps for iPhone, iPod touch (iOS 4.0 and above) and Android handsets will also be available at launch, but those won't have the TV guide functionality out the door.

Still, when we got a first look at the Harmony Link and iPad controls a couple months back, we liked what we saw -- it's a lot prettier than a physical remote, and even compared to our top-of-the-line Harmony 900, the iPad app felt a touch more responsive when changing channels and volume. While the full slate of controls is a little overwhelming, they seem more thorough than the RedEye and Peel competition, and they're also all easily hidden in a pull-out drawer when you don't need them in front of you. Of course, there's no shortage of competitors in this new smartphone remote control space, and at $100 we wonder how well the Link can do, when the very same money can buy you a Google TV on top of Harmony functionality in Logitech's own Revue.

Logitech Harmony Link and iPad remote photos