Lighting Automation ideas for Home Theater/Basement?

Hey all,

Our basement is currently setup as a home theater/office space. I initially had a motion sensor in the room to turn on the Hue lights, which became more of a PITA than anything. I have added a door contact sensor to the mix so when the basement room door is opened the lights automatically turn on. However, I still have a few problems (listed below). I’ve added a bullet list of what I’m looking for and was hoping for some ideas on how I can accomplish it, in the most efficient way (device count and economically!)

Room size is 22x11


  • One motion sensor couldn’t cover the entire length. Tried Iris v2 and the new Zooz.
  • When sitting at my desk doing work, the lights would turn off and I would have to get up, walk to 3/4 the way across the room to turn them back on.
  • Motion Sensor (Zooz) was cloud based and thus lagged to turn the lights on. This is why I added the contact.

How I want it to work:

  1. Ideally, a motion sensor in the room that can cover the whole area (I’m ok if I need 2) but they have to be pet sensitive (2 dogs (40lbs ea) /1 cat).
  2. I should be able to wave arms in any area to get the lights to kick back on, should they turn off due to lack of motion
  3. If I’m working at the computer or if we are watching a movie/tv through the HT, I don’t want the lights to change from whatever state they are in. For example, if I dim the lights or turn them off, I don’t want the lights to turn on with the contact or motion (when watching/using the HT). Basically, when the HT is in use, I almost want the automations to stop, and leave lighting to be manually controlled, until the movie is over or the HT system is turned off.

For #3, I have been toying with a couple of ideas. We use Plex a lot and I know there is third-party integration there. So when using plex, I can have a default action set to dim or off. I was then thinking of using some type of smart outlet that monitors energy consumption and connect it to my TV. This way, if the TV is drawing power over X amount, don’t change lights. When TV stops drawing power, re-enable automations based on home-mode? I was thinking I could do something similar with my PC monitor, to prevent the lights from turning off when in use considering I always shut it off when walking away and if not, it will go into power-save anyhow. I just don’t know if smart outlets, 2 motion sensors and a door contact is overkill to achieve what I’m looking for? I also don’t want to over complicate it to where if it doesn’t work I now have to troubleshoot more than I need to.

I do have a Logitech Harmony remote (non-smart hub though). another option was swapping that out with the smart hub version and use the virtual switches for activities to handle the HT on/off status. However, I already have a Logitech Elite up ion the main floor but you can pair more than one Harmony to ST, correct?

Any ideas on how to accomplish this or does my 2 motion, 2 outlets (or 1 outlet + harmony) and the contact sound like the best course of action, coupled with some WebCoRE programming?

Thank you!

Sounds like a fun project! :sunglasses:

You can see project reports from other community members on home theater projects that might give you some additional ideas by checking the quick browse list in the community – created wiki. Look down near the bottom of that page for the project report section and then there is a list that has A/Vprojects and a list that has lighting projects.

And if you go just past that, there is a section for projects by room and that includes home theater rooms.

I would start with the rooms list, and then if you want to go deeper into AV equipment or look at some of the lighting project reports for other rooms, you can go back into those lists. :sunglasses:

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I have some what of a similar scenario for my garage bar, but I have a few things that are always on or open that stop the automations. (Similarly, I have something for my living room and I use a custom DTH for my Sony TV and know when power is on/off).

Ultimately you need a way to tell if the TV is on or not to really control your scenario.

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You might also take a look at the rooms manager smartapp as an alternative to using webCoRE:


Possibly even a z-wave/zigbee button next to couch and desk to set a virtual switch that show you are in the HT or Working. That may be the cheapest/easiest way…

Then use WebCoRE to build a piston similar to what I provided above.

as @TonyFleisher said … in rooms manager with these you would be able to create rules to handle every scenario you have described in your post and go beyond that.

thru rules in rooms manager complex scenarios are much easier to setup because its purpose built to solving the occupancy need we all have where we want some lights and switches to be set in a certain way when we are watching TV vs when we are working at a computer vs just lounging in the room and reading a book.

I made a virtual switch that tracks the state of the harmony activity. So, part of the harmony activity is to throw the virtual switch on when the activity is starting and to close the virtual switch when done. This allows me to have granular rules that change depending whether the harmony activity (and therefore the virtual switch) is running.

So, then my rule can say, if motion then turn on light–except if the virtual switch is on (indicating the harmony activity is in operation).

Bonus points: I also had multiple lights on the same switch. Some of them I wanted to come on even while the TV is operating (stairs) and others closer to the screen I wanted to stay off. So, I put programmable Philips Hue bulbs in the spot lights that I don’t want to go on while the Harmony activity is operating. That way my rule can say, if motion then turn on lights–except if the virtual switch is on (i.e., TV is running), in which case turn on the light switch, but keep the Philips Hue spotlights off.


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Hey all!

First off, I want to apologize for asking the question then going MIA for a little bit. I do appreciate everyone’s responses and help. I haven’t gotten a chance to dive in to the suggestions yet as I had some family stuff going on. One of our dogs is recovering well from surgery though, so we are on the upswing! I plan to check all of the suggestions out this week and go from there.

I just wanted to express my thanks and didn’t want you all to think that the posts fell on deaf ears! I appreciate the time and effort you all put into helping!


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