I've discovered that when controlling my 3 TCL Roku TVs with a Harmony Hub, there's a command available in the starting sequence called "Starting Channel", which can be configured to open any currently installed app. The list is always accurate and up-to-date. This is great, for instance, for going straight to YouTube TV when starting the "Watch TV" activity.
But those channels aren't available elsewhere in Harmony. Only certain apps like Amazon, Vudu, M-GO, and a couple others show in the command library for assigning to buttons.
I've posted about this in the Harmony forums and Logitech Support seems to be suggesting that the 'Starting Channel' step is a pre-packaged command provided by Roku, which is why it always has an up-to-date list of installed apps. But those app shortcuts aren't available to Harmony otherwise.
Is this accurate? And if so, is there any plan to make those commands available to Harmony overall? That would be a game-changer, since more and more people are cutting the cord and moving to streaming services for live TV. Now, there's less need for switching between, say, HDMI 1, HDMI 2, and maybe one or two Roku apps. It's more likely that people only need to switch only between apps in Roku itself. So it's more necessary now to be able to just switch directly between apps, rather than backing out to the home screen each time and cursoring to tiles.
"IcyKettle" wrote: I've posted about this in the Harmony forums and Logitech Support seems to be suggesting that the 'Starting Channel' step is a pre-packaged command provided by Roku, which is why it always has an up-to-date list of installed apps. But those app shortcuts aren't available to Harmony otherwise.
Is this accurate?
I don't think that's accurate. I'm pretty sure the hub uses ECP to control the Roku and launch the 'Starting Channel'. Those few channels that you see in the command library were probably Partner buttons at one time or another. Doesn't the Harmony phone/tablet app allow you to launch any installed channel? I set one of these things up for my mother recently, but I'm not there to check things out. I do remember it being a royal pain involving multiple apps, web sites, software downloads, and lots of cursing from me, but I was also integrating it with her Echo. I know I got it to the point where she could tell Alexa to launch one of a few Roku channels I configured for her.
In both of my Harmonys I've been able to configure just about every nuance that I desire, although starting a Roku channel at onset isn't one I've tried. There is a screen in the software to add additional commands. I like programming my Streaming activity to send the Home command to the Roku when leaving Streaming. I then know that I haven't left something streaming. You can add commands for starting an activity too, like when I turn on Watch TV it goes to one particular channel. See if you can modify your Roku activity and add an additional step when starting up to go to one of the preprogrammed channel options. More complicated than that, you could likewise program it, as I did, to go to Roku home when turned off, then try programming a sequence (right, down, down, right, select, for example) to navigate the Roku home screen to the desired channel.