How to control TV volume with Alexa, Harmony Hub & Smartthings

“Echo, tell Harmony volume up by 3.”

“Echo, tell Harmony volume down by 1”




Awesome!!! LMAO at a very “duh” moment. I didn’t even think to add numbers. I’ve been playing around with random commands to try to figure out what functionality was added.

Would be nice to have a commands reference and documentation be required to release a new Alexa Skill.

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Also, you can change the default jump for volume.

“Echo, tell Harmony to set volume to 5” changes the default so that the next time you say

“Echo, tell .Harmony volume up” it will go up by five.

Or at anytime you can specify the specific jump amount for one particular command

“Echo, tell Harmony volume up by 3” would turn the volume up by three, but not change the default.


Very nice. I like that they built in that changing of the default volume change.

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Pause works on my FIOS cable box.

Wrote a quick guide that has an overview of the new Harmony skill, including the volume control commands:


I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for a week. Thank you!

Thank you! I don’t know how I missed that but I’ve got it working the way I wanted now!

Has anyone managed to create an activity to set the volume to a particular level? When i turn on the TV id like it to jump to volume 15. I guess i could fire lots of command to turn the volume right down and then up 15 but thats a bit long winded and would probably have a delay.

I am no sure what your TV is set to when it first turns on. My suggestion
is create an activity named “louder” in harmony hub. Then customize it with
5 separate commands, spaced 2 seconds apart, that activates your volume
button. Then create an activity named “softer” the same way but with only 3
separate commands. If you command “louder”, the hub will increase the
volume 5 times. Say it again 2 more times and it should go to 15. If the TV
turns on at 8, well you do the math.

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Harmony doesn’t let you repeat the same activity multiple times. So you wouldn’t be able to do louder, louder, louder in that way. :disappointed_relieved:

That’s why before the official echo/harmony integration, most of us Who require this functionality had two activities for volume up and two activities for volume down. Then you could switch back-and-forth between them.

You may also find that echo doesn’t like switches/activities named with the words that it might use for itself, such as “louder.”

I used “lion” and “tiger” for my two volume up activities, because they were easy to remember and didn’t conflict with any of echo’s reserved words.

Now, however, as long as you have installed the new Harmony red Skill (as opposed to the older harmony blue skill), for many devices you don’t need to use an activity at all. For example, I just tested on mine, and I can say “Alexa, tell Harmony volume up by 8”. And “Alexa, tell Harmony volume down by 10” and both work just as expected. Very nice new feature that was just released this month. Just be careful not to use the word “set” in your instruction or harmony thinks you want to change your default skip amount. So “Alexa, tell Harmony volume up by 6” not " Alexa, tell Harmony set volume up by 6" or you won’t get the result you expect.

For more on the new Harmony red skill:

There is a max of 20 units for volume change at one time.

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Thanks for the help. As i can’t set it to a particular volume i have done the following:

  1. When TV/XBox/Firestick is turned off the activity has 15 volume down commands first.
  2. When the TV/Xbox/FireStick turns on the activity has 15 to 30 (depending on whats being turned on) increases in the volume.

I then just use the Alexa tell harmony to turn up/down the volume from there.

Good enough so far, a bit slow and a bot of a hack but saves having to hunt for the remote.

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More complicated but works very well for Google Home, and I would assume for Alexa also.
Requires the use of Tasker and 2 tasker plugins AutoVoice and SmartTools. I created activities in my harmony for volume up, down, mute, pause, and then a neutral activity. For all the activities, use the TV, set input to n/a. Then command as you wish. In tasker set up a profile using autovoice to give the command, then tasks in Tasker via Smart Tools to turn on the desired activity, wait, and then turn on the neutral activity. That overcomes the issue with harmony not doing the same task 2 times. I used an 8 second wait, but not sure it needs to be that long. Then I can tell google home to tell auto voice volume up and it will execute. This is working seamlessly for now.

I am trying to setup CoRE pistons to run through some diff sub-routines for a bedtime routine. One of them is that I want to be able to lower the volume on the TV gradually over the span of 30 min until it goes to 0 or the TV turns off AFTER 60 min of no motion. Right now, i fall asleep w the TV on, then a commercial comes on and jolts me awake and i am up for hours. From what I can see, creating a Harmony activity is limited to 20 s delays…getting to 30 min would be a long activity. is there an easier way to do this?

Hi Gus,
Using the smart app EchoSistant, you can tell Alexa to turn off the tv in 30 minutes

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thats hard to do when asleep

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I’m not an expert at all, but I’m pretty sure smart watches can detect when you’re asleep. I’m not sure how you’d go about gradually lowering the volume, but you could probably set up a trigger to turn the tv off when your watch detects that you’re asleep.

Hi, I want to have a way that a SmartThings enabled remote can press a button and have it speak to Harmony, to lower the volume on my receiver. The use case is my fiance goes to sleep early and our bedroom shares a wall with the living room. I am always up hours past her bedtime and sometimes I can’t tell that the volume is too loud. I already have a remote for her to trigger certain ST actions, so having a tactile way to lower the volume (one press = 3 click drop) would be great.

I see the solution here is to create a Harmony activity but this is really confusing to me. First of all, it seems like it requires that I change the power settings for all my devices to never turn off, otherwise once the “Volume Down” activity ends, it will turn off the devices. This doesn’t seem really sustainable. I don’t really want to leave my TV, receiver, etc on all the time.

The other problem is I am usually watching cable TV or on my Xbox, which involve different devices and are different activities. If I am watching TV and make the “Volume Down” activity for the Xbox, it will presumably turn off my cable box and switch me over to “Play Xbox”, then lower the volume. I don’t want this. Is there a way for it to just interact with the receiver and lower the volume regardless of the activity that’s active? Thank you.

Edit: I should clarify that I am not interested in the Alexa integration of this process at all. I don’t want my fiance to have to speak to Alexa, while she’s trying to get some sleep. Yes, I think pressing a button is not as bad.

Since you’re not interested in using Alexa, which I entirely understand, it would probably be best if you started a new thread since this thread is about using Alexa. Otherwise we’re getting pretty off topic for this thread. :sunglasses:

Meanwhile, if it’s of any use, my housemate and I use a system where there is a Philips LED light strip off to the side in his room. We just have it change to different colors to notify him of different important events. That’s because when he’s playing video games, he doesn’t notice texts at all. But he does notice the light changing.

So that would be a very easy way for her to signal you that the volume needs to go down and you wouldn’t have to fool around with any of the harmony activity issues.

Just another option. :sunglasses:

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I can totally start a new thread but with all due respect, the solutions here have very little to do with Alexa. The real work is between SmartThings and Harmony, Once the activity is setup, Alexa is only used to trigger it.

Yes, I like your idea with the lights. Right now my fiance pounds the wall. It’s very effective but not as elegant. I’d like her to just be able to lower the volume with a button.