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Understanding Harmony "activities"

Updated:  08/31/2014 07:55 PM

Understanding activities

Your Harmony remote is an "activity-based" remote.  An "activity" is a series of commands your Harmony remote runs to perform a specific function (for example, watch TV or a DVD, play a game, or listen to music).  Traditional remotes send commands individually to each device that's needed for a function. Your Harmony remote can send commands that control multiple devices at once, while also letting you control them individually (for example, change channels on your cable/satellite receiver, and then adjust the volume on your audio/video (AV) receiver).

Traditional vs. activity-based remotes

With traditional remotes, you need multiple remotes to perform a function. For example, to watch a DVD, you:

  1. Use the AV receiver remote to turn on the receiver.

  2. Use the AV receiver remote to then select the correct input for your DVD player.

  3. Use the TV remote to turn on the TV.

  4. Use the TV remote to then select the correct input (to allow video to pass from the DVD player through the receiver to the TV).

  5. Use the DVD player remote to power on the DVD player.

  6. Use the DVD player remote to then play the DVD.

With the activity-based Harmony remote, you:

  1. Use the Harmony remote to watch a DVD by pressing the Watch a Movie activity button.

    The AV receiver, TV, and DVD player will power on in the correct order (set to the proper inputs) and your DVD will begin to play. The Harmony remote buttons are now set to control the devices that you need to watch a DVD: volume control of the AV receiver, DVD controls for pausing, stopping, etc.

Setting up activities

If you're using the Harmony app to set up activities, the software will guide you through creating and testing each activity. For example:

  1. You'll be prompted to add your TV, AVR and Satellite/Cable box.

  2. An activity will be created for Watch TV.

  3. You'll then be asked if you want to add a DVD/BluRay player.

    NOTE: A Watch a Movie activity will be created if you add a DVD player.

  4. You'll then be asked if you want to add a Game Console.

    NOTE: A Play Game activity will be created if you add a game console.

  5. You'll then be given the option to add other devices and activities.

  6. At the end of the setup process you'll be given an option to create a Listen to Music activity with the devices you added to your account.

To set up activities on

  1. Add your devices.

    To create an activity for a Harmony remote, first you need to gather identifying information (manufacturer and model number) from your home entertainment devices (see answer 35177), and add these devices to your Harmony account.

  2. Add activities.

    Next, you need to either:

    • Select activities from recommendations, based on the devices you added to your Harmony account.


    • Configure your Harmony activities manually (for advanced users).

    During setup for each activity, you'll be prompted to select which device controls which function for that activity (for example, which device changes channels, displays video, or controls the volume). You'll also be prompted to designate which inputs are used on your devices to control video and/or sound.

    For information on how to set up activities with an AV receiver, see answer 35184.

    For information on how to set up activities without an AV receiver, see answer 35183.

  3. Update your remote.

    Once you've configured all the activities you want on your Harmony account, you need to transfer that information to your Harmony remote. Here's how:

    1. Make sure your Harmony remote or hub is connected to your computer using the USB cable.

    2. Click Sync in your account.

    3. Disconnect and use your remote when the update is complete.

NOTE: This case is for a new setup for If you want information on how to add additional activities after the initial setup, see your product's support page.


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