Help me Mute TV when Phone Rings

Thanks JD,

As I mentioned above I already have the Echo Dot and she can use it to mute tv but as you mentioned the volume of the tv is usually up so loud that she does not hear the phone until too late for her to answer it. Having the phone mute automatically will help insure that she hears the phone ring.

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You can definitely do it with Tasker and SharpTools or even Tasker directly to a Harmony plugin. Use the “phone ringing” trigger and then either have SharpTools send a command to start your desired Harmony activity or use the Harmony plugin to send the pause command directly.

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I tried Stringify and could not figure it out.

I downloaded Tasker and ShartTools but still need help to figure it out.
There is no “Phone Ringer” icons. I found 2 identical "call"s, 1 “phone”, and 3 "Phone mode"s all with the same green phone icons but am not sure which one to select.
In SharpTools I could not find out how to link Harmony.

The Tasker profile is Event - Phone - Phone Ringing.

I don’t have a Harmony, but I’m guessing the Harmony plugin has a mute function. That would be the associated Task. It should respond relatively quickly.

EDIT: I should be clearer, since you are obviously not well acquainted with Tasker yet.

To do this, the first thing you need is to establish the conditions under which an action should occur (that is, run a task or series of tasks). Those conditions that must be met in order to start a task are collectively called a Profile. So open Tasker, then click the + sign in the lower right of your default Profiles screen to create a new Profile.

Then go to the sequence above. There are options, choose Event as the option. In that screen, choose the Phone group… and in that group, choose the icon called Phone Ringing. You don’t need to add anything to the screen that comes up; tap the upper left corner, the ‘tasker’ icon. That will bring up the Available task list, at the top of which will be New Task +. Tap that. Give it a name (such as “Mute TV”), and tap the check mark.

Now click the + at screen bottom to add an action. Choose PlugIn, choose Harmony if it’s there.

Others will have to give you the specifics from this point as I don’t have a Harmony device to refer to.

FURTHER EDIT: As a bonus, you could have it automatically un-mute when you hang up the phone! After you get this together, play with it a bit and see if you can figure out that process.

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My apologies! I thought I had linked to the post where I better explained the steps for a different example showing how to flash your lights when the phone rings which also has a video in it:

How can I make a light flash when the cell phone rings?
Flash a light when the phone rings using Tasker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUnJkw-8PzY

Since you want to pause a Harmony controlled device directly, I would consider using the Harmony Plugin rather than SharpTools. I haven’t personally tried that particular plugin, but it looks like it does what you want and seems to be well reviewed.

The Harmony plugin interacts directly with Harmony and has nothing to do with SmartThings per se. This means it can implement it’s own protocol and in this case has implemented the capability to directly send remote commands in addition to starting activities. This means it can directly send the pause command.

So following the concept from the video above, you would first download and setup the Harmony plugin, then:

  1. Create a new Tasker Event profile for PhoneRinging
  2. Create a new Task with an action for the Harmony plugin
  3. Configure the Harmony plugin to select your Hub, then Send Command, then your Device, then Pause
  4. Save and fully back out of Tasker, then test it!

SharpTools can definitely do this, but since it is controlling SmartThings devices and the Harmony ‘device’ in SmartThings only supports starting an activity, this would mean you would have to create a whole Harmony activity dedicated to just pausing your devices.

And to answer your question about linking the Harmony, SharpTools is designed to control your SmartThings devices, so you would have to link your Harmony to SmartThings first (instructions) and then authorize that device in SharpTools.

And SmartThings requires you to pass in an activity ID to the startActivity() command which adds one more more step/complication to getting this running - see this thread for more details and screenshots showing how to set it up if you choose that route.

While this would work, it seems a bit hacky compared to just directly controlling the media device (via the Harmony) using the Harmony Tasker plugin.

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You are all making this way too hard. Phone rings, then say Alexa tell Harmony to Mute. problem solved.

Better yet, Alexa tell Harmony to Pause. Now you don’t miss anything from what you were watching.

If the tv volume is high, as it might be for someone hard of hearing (or for any other reason, or for no reason at all), Alexa might not hear that command. Hence automations such as this.

Only reason it’s hard is because the poster is unfamiliar with Tasker. Someone familiar with the program would do this, Including the second profile to un-mute, in two minutes.

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My Echo sits about 3 feet from my towers and sub. The volume is always up loud because of working in the concert business for 17 yrs, my hearing isn’t what it used to be. The Echo still hears me over the volume. I would t want it to auto mute the tv because half the time I just hit the FU button on the phone because I don’t need to listen to a recording for a credit card scam call.

My Echo can’t hear me when I’m watching a loud movie, unless I yell. Even then, it usually gets the command wrong, or simply doesn’t understand it.

So, it’s not the same for everyone, especially since Alexa cannot distinguish our voices from A/V system dialogue.

Nevertheless, I think the point is that using an incoming call to trigger automation will be more reliable than requiring the Aunt to first hear/notice the call (I still miss like 80% of calls because I don’t hear them or even have my phone on me) and then perform some action to mute the TV.

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Oh how I know this all too well. I hate all of the Alexa commercials. I’d rather have an app that muted my tv every time they come on haha.

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LOL…or watching YouTube vids of someone showing their setup.

haha yes. If I’m doing that I just turn the Echo off until I’m done. I really wish we could use custom names.

This discussion has actually prompted me to consider a mute plan. My landline has a “find me” feature where it rings up to three other phone systems, and the first to pick up receives the call. I’m gonna direct the landline to my google voice account - and when that rings on my android control tablet, it will mute my networked sound system IF that system is being played above a certain level. AutoVoice deals with ambient noise levels, they can be made part of the context/profile… alternatively I can simply obtain the volume level report from the sound system upon phone ringing

For what it’s worth, I bought the Harmony Tasker plugin and it was super easy to use. The hardest part was logging into my router to find the IP address of the Harmony hub so I could configure the plugin.

  1. Open Tasker and create a new Event → Phone → Ringing profile
  2. Create a new Harmony plugin action with Send Command, AV Receiver, Mute
  3. Profit

I called my phone and as soon as it started ringing, the task kicked off and the receiver was muted.

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Different things work for different people. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

I personally don’t use an automatic mute because I get a lot of spam calls which I can tell are spam just from glancing at the caller, and I don’t want my television to mute every time one of those comes in. But my echo hears me just fine over the television, so it’s very easy to give the verbal mute command when I want to. So at my house I rely on my watch to tell me a call is coming in and then I decide whether not to pause or mute the TV. But it’s all about whatever works for you.

In Tasker, you handle that by specifying which number(s) will fulfill the condition of the profile (using something like AutoNotification). So a call from your brother will trigger the mute, while a telemarketer will not. Or alternatively, you can exclude what you specify.

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Thanks all for the help. I was successful at setting it up.

Now when the phone rings, the cable box pauses, the TV mutes (if she is on
Netflix), and the thermostat turns down so the loud furnace shuts off.

She then can look at the phone sitting next to her and say “yes”, “no”, or
"message" to the Voice Answer Free app and answer on speaker or reject the
call.

I also got it to un-mute the TV, un-pause the cable box, and turn the heat
back up when the call ends.

I used Tasker with the Harmony plug in and the Harmony hub.

Thanks again for all of your help.

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I think you could do this with IFTTT.com to let ST know that your phone is ringing. Then use Harmony Hub to mute TV.

I was going to say you can do this with IFTTT but it might not trigger right away since IFTTT is a cloud solution. If it does trigger fast enough, then IFTTT might be the easiest solution.