Back in the late 80's, a particular episode from Jim Henson's TV series Dinosaurs, was showing Robbie, the son, , challenging Earl, his father, for the alpha-male supremacy by taking the TV remote from him.
To secure this fact, a sophisticated device that you only can understand is a great help: for me the first Harmony "web-powered" remote control was just that!
Back in 2001, the Canadian company Intrigue Technologies launched a small remote, shaped like a mobile phone, called Harmony 745: the idea was brilliant, the staff behind the web site very responsive, and despite the relative complexity of fine-tuning the configuration directly from the xml source, the remote was very flexible. There was even a page (it actually still exists) to convert waveform files grabbed from other evolved universal remotes (such as Philips Pronto). The developers quickly overcame some difficulties with non-standard waveforms (Nokia, B&O,...) and added support for home automation IR to X10 converters such as IR7243) and soon the H745 could virtually control everything.
Around 2004, Logitech aquired Intrigue Technologies and the Harmony remote range started to be officially distributed in Europe. Logitech even advertised his new remotes through short videos basically claiming "it's so simple, even your wife can used it!" ...Doh!
My next model, the Logitech Harmony 659, was a major evolution, more like a traditional remote, making it simpler to use indeed. The web site also received a lifting and while it became nicer, some options, like the waveform lab page, disappeared.
It would probably still be in use if the soft rubber buttons around the LCD screen had not started to literally liquefy at some stage! This was a know design flaw that many H659 users experienced.
Logitech Harmony 525 and 555: Today, these 2 similar remotes are the entry range of Logitech Harmony, starting at €60, far better and cheaper than the first model (H745) that was around €200!
Resources: RemoteCentral.com , Logitech UK