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The LG Magic Remote has dedicated buttons for the Netflix and Amazon apps, and they are built-in commands in the Logitech Harmony vocabulary, so the command list for the LG Smart TV device includes those two commands, and you can easily assign them to hard or soft buttons, add them to sequences, etc.

But I would like to do the same with apps like YouTube and Hulu that LG didn’t give dedicated buttons to. Since the LG TV’s on-screen interface automatically re-orders its home menu based on usage recency and frequency, there’s no way to start these apps via a single unchanging sequence of directional button presses (short of using the search function, typing in “YouTube” or “Hulu”, and using the result, which is much too slow to be practical).

But you can assign nine apps to “Quick Access” buttons, meaning a long hold of any of the number keys 1 through 9. So, for instance, right now I can hold the button 2 to launch YouTube and 3 to launch Hulu. (A long-hold on 0 allows editing of these buttons.)

A single remote button-press seems like it should be easily automatable. But I can’t for the life of me figure out how to use this functionality via Harmony.

I’ve tried creating a “command sequence” named YouTube and assigning the 2 button to it, but there’s no way I can see to adjust the duration of the 2 button press so it’s correctly interpreted as a Quick Access command rather than as a number 2.

Note: For what it’s worth, with my Harmony Elite remote, which has a capacitive touch screen instead of a number pad, you can’t hold a number soft button, either—the remote just gives a quick haptic feedback once to let you know it’s sent a single button press. This is unlike the hard buttons, which you can hold down to either:

  1. cause built-in long-hold commands to happen on the commanded device, just as for the native remote (such as long-holding a skip-back button to go to the beginning of chapter or title), or
  2. tell Harmony to treat a long hold as an entirely separate command. (For instance, in my set-top box layout, I use a single button with a short press for “Program guide” and a long press for “Video on demand”, two commands I don’t use that often—and certainly not with a durational component.)

Obviously, perhaps, you can’t use these together—a button programmed with a long-press action in Harmony can no longer send variable-duration commands to the remote device.

Some Harmony remotes have a physical number pad; I don’t know whether they allow sending long-duration number presses to remote devices or not by physically holding those buttons.

I’ve also tried “adding a missing command”, but this requires “teaching” Harmony the command by pointing the IR remote at the Harmony Hub (or, if so equipped, Harmony remote) IR sensor—and it appears that, while the Magic Remote has IR codes that are loaded into the Harmony online vocabulary, it uses Bluetooth to talk to the LG TV itself, so the IR sensor picks up nothing if I point the Magic Remote at it and long-press 2.

(If I had a spare universal remote, perhaps I could teach it the IR for “2” that Harmony already knows, and then use that remote to teach the Harmony what a long-press “2” looks like? But I don’t have a spare learning remote, and don’t want to buy one just for this unless I’m sure it would work.)

Is there some other way I can set it up so that I can command a particular LG TV app to launch via Harmony?

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I found a workaround for this, you add a new TV device for each activity.

I figured I should post it, as I have not found any information on this elsewhere.

In MyHarmony app, click Devices and add a new device for the tv. In Power settings you can add a command after poweron for you quick access button you have defined on your LG Magic Remote, this setting lets you define the duration of the button press, set it to two seconds.

After adding your device, you add a new activity with your new TV device.

You end up with several TV devices, but this is the only way I have got working so far..

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  • Nifty! I will try it when I get home and assuming it works I’ll accept this answer. Thanks! – Trey Nov 16 '19 at 19:57

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