Following guide given on another thread to automate streaming service but im doing something wrong

Following this guide to automate opening a show with a switch.

I created a switch in ST like it says. I created the automation in alexa where if the switch is used it makes alexa turn on amazon prime. I tested the automation in alexa and it works. But when I use the switch in ST it doesnt run the automation. See pics to see what I have going on. If anyone has any idea whats wrong or things to check just let me know.

I’m sure that’s very frustrating. At this point, we just need to go through things step-by-step, so a few questions:

  1. How exactly did you create the device “Alexa test” in the then part of your routine? Please link to the thread where you found those instructions. Ideally, I’d also like to see a screenshot of the device details page for that device.

  2. same question for the device “movie”

  3. what exactly is supposed to happen when movie turns on? If you are using it as a trigger in an Alexa routine (not a smartthings routine) please show us a screenshot of that routine in the Alexa app.


One reason I’m asking is that some virtual devices will open the virtual sensor when the virtual switch is turned on, and some will close the virtual sensor when the virtual switch is turned on. So first, let’s make sure that that part is set up as you expect.

Also, for now, remove the part of the SmartThings routine that turns the Alexa test device off again. If you do need to turn the same device off in the routine where it is a trigger, it would be better to do that with a delay of about 30 seconds. But we can add that after everything else is working right.

I think this is everything you asked for. Movie is a virtual switch I made in ST, with the routine that if I press it, it dims my livingroom and turns off all the other lights I can see from the couch.


Specifically, i did these steps to make the sensor:

A) And even better, that contact sensor can be a virtual contact sensor. And SmartThings let’s you create a virtual device which is BOTH a switch and a sensor. So you can set up the logic on the SmartThings side however you want, then turning the switch on will mark the sensor as “opened.“ So you can just turn the switch on and off with a SmartThings routine or other automation.

Following the instructions how to make a virtual switch "
Note for those wanting to trigger Alexa: use a virtual Contact device, which contains both a switch and contact needed for full Alexa control. Icon preference can be chosen in device Settings
I opened vedge creator,
Unsure which “select and create vietual devices” and “virtual device inventory” should be the switch and contact, i made two. one had the switch in the create virtual devices(alexa switch test) and the other had the sensor in the create virtual devices. (Alexa sensor test)

I tested out what sensor was identified in amazon and only the " select and create virtual devices" contact using the switch showed up.

So I tried to create a routine using the ST switch that amazon did recognize

B) i followed these instructions to create the test switch from this website: How to use SmartThings to have Alexa do something without speaking to it - Things That Are Smart Wiki

" Note for those wanting to trigger Alexa: use a virtual Contact device, which contains both a switch and contact needed for full Alexa control. Icon preference can be chosen in device Settings"

I create a Switch using Vedge creator v2.7.

  1. create virtual device by downloading the appropriate Edge Driver, then configuring it through the smartthings app following the edge driver author’ instructions

  2. use the Alexa app to disable the smartthings skill.
    Imgur: The magic of the Internet

  3. log out of the Alexa app.
    Security wint let me screenshot

  4. log back into the Alexa app.

  5. re-enable the SmartThings skill.
    Imgur: The magic of the Internet

  6. ask Alexa to discover new devices
    Imgur: The magic of the Internet
    Your virtual device should now be available to trigger an echo routine.

instructions posted in this link

And I followed this to the best of my noob knowledge : “If you live in the United States, Amazon has now added the ability for a “custom action” as the last step in a routine. This allows you to have a routine do anything that you can speak to Alexa. This is a great way to add partial Integration with devices/skills that work with Alexa but not with smartthings. However, it is still only one way: you can have smartthings as the “if“ using the virtual Sensor method and the other device/skill as the “that“, but not the other way around for most items.”

Im stuck. My ST switch is identified in alexa. I set alexa up to “if” sensor is open “then” tell alexa to turn on prime video. Running the automation in the alexa part doesnt do anything and doing the ST trigger doesnt do anything either…

When I activate the ST switch alexa says om the TV om having trouble please try again in a little while. Do I have to have the amazon echo for this to work or does my tv remote microphone coint?

You don’t normally have to have an Echo device, some people just have the Alexa app, but I’m not sure how custom actions work with the Alexa built into Samsung TVs. :thinking:

Because I depend on a screen reader, I can’t follow the details of your images, but other people should be able to.

Let’s try this as a troubleshooting step.


let’s try something which isn’t a custom action.

So create a new Test routine in the Alexa app (not the smartthings app.)

Use the same virtual contact sensor opening, Alexa Test, as the trigger.

But for the “what happens next,” instead of doing anything with the tv, pick one of your smartthings-controlled lights and turn it on. Just one light, we want to keep this test simple.

Save the routine.

Now if you turn on the associated virtual device in the SmartThings app using its device tile does the test light also come on? If so, we know the virtual sensor is working as a trigger for an Alexa routine, the issue is with the custom command to the television.

If not, ask in the author thread for that virtual device and people there should be able to get it working.

Once it is working, proceed to the next test.

troubleshooting test 2

If the virtual sensor DID work as a trigger in the Alexa routine, we’re ready for the next step.

Now let’s change the test routine in the Alexa app. remove the turn on the light action we used in the previous test and instead add a custom action to turn on the light. It’s the same light, but we’re turning it on in a different way.

So if the light you used in that test was called “table lamp,’ your custom action would be “turn on table lamp.”

Now turn on the Test Alexa device in the SmartThings app just using its device tile.

If the test light comes on, then the issue is probably having the Samsung television give a custom command to itself, so for the next step we may need to get help from someone familiar with the details of these televisions.

If the test light does not come on, custom actions may not work with the Samsung television as the Alexa device, in which case we’ll have to try a different approach.

But let’s start with just those two troubleshooting tests.

First, does your virtual device work as an Alexa trigger for a non custom action?

If it does, then second, does your Alexa routine work for a custom action which is just a light, not a television feature?

I am 80% surw it works now as a stand alone. If I add turning the TV on to the ST automation it doesnt work. Also, is there a way to get the HBO max app to not just open, but go to the movie section? I asked HBO if they knew what alexa command would teigger that and they said call alexa support at amazon and it was 530am and I couldnt make it

I’m not sure what to say at this point: I’m sure it’s very frustrating. Hopefully Amazon support can help. :thinking:

As I mentioned at the beginning, the method I gave you is only a way to create a trigger for an Alexa routine. It doesn’t add functionality that those routines don’t already have. So if the Alexa routine won’t work with the television, unfortunately we can’t use that method. :disappointed_relieved:

So in the future, when you are talking to other people who are trying to help you, make sure that you are clear about whether what you were trying to do “can be done with Alexa” or “can be done with an Alexa routine.” most third-party integrations will be limited to what you can do with an Alexa routine.

(Also, I don’t know for sure, but I think there may also be an issue between what you can do with a hands-free Alexa device and what you can do by pushing the Alexa button on your Samsung TV remote. That’s because the button push itself is distinct information. So again for integrations you’re looking for what you can do without picking up that Samsung remote.)

Would this setting in google automation allow for this same type of thing to work in google assistant?

The alexa routine works with my tv, I just dont know rather alexa has a command to turn to a specific part of a streaming service or not… like alexa go to HBO movies ect. I atleast for now have a way to have a button press for different streaming aervices, im just curious how far the automations can go with the right workarounds. Click a button and load your favorite show on amazon? That would be awesome. Click a button and all the HBO movies show up for you to pick one? Also awesome. I dont know what alexa can and cant do, and I dont know anywhere that will list out what she can do functionality wise in a TV. With this switch, to turn on HBO it didnt work until I called customer support and got the exact phrasing alexa needed to hear to turn on HBO. Once I typed that into the routine, bam worked everytime.

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I’m glad you’ve got something working, at least. :sunglasses:

I myself am quadriparetic and cannot use a button remote. I also can’t press the microphone button on a handheld remote. I need total hands-free voice control.

Fortunately about two years ago the fire TV cube model introduced this, so that I can scroll around on the screen by voice, or launch a specific episode of a specific show on some streaming services (but not all.).

Even with that, though, I can’t open HBO to sub categories: that option just isn’t available. But what I can do is tell it to open to a specific movie, then go back, and usually I’m in the movies section.

But my guess is most people wouldn’t add a fire TV device to an already smart television, so you need to work with the features that your device offers. That may mean calling Amazon support multiple times to get all the answers.

Good luck, I hope you get it working the way you want.