SmartThings Community

New to smartthings: IR Home Theatre Integration?


#1

Hi all,
Currently have Insteon switches in my man cave. They are starting to fail so am going to z-wave switches.
My current HT setup uses a harmony 880 remote which will turn on everything, plus the lighting scenes using a IR to powerline converter.
I would like to keep the same kind of activities, but I can’t seem to find a IR to z-wave converter to keep that same setup.
So my question is there some sort of “smartthings power strip” that get trigger smartthing lighting?

Ex. If my tv and blue ray player is plugged into one of the outlets on the power strip, once the TV is turned on, my “TV Lighting” scene gets triggered by the power strip? Same if I switch to watching a movie, once my Blue Ray player is powered on the power strip triggers my “Movie Light” scene.

Is there anything out there like that? I know I could just use my remote to control the HT and use the smartthings app to control everything else (lighting), but was hoping to keep the “All in one” options going.
Thanks!


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(Brice; SmartRulesApp.com) #2

I think you can do this with the Pivot Power Genius - LABS RELEASE: Quirky Pivot Power Genius

EDIT: I think I was wrong. It looks like the Pivot Power may only allow control of the outlets; it can’t sense when something is drawing power or not.


(Paul) #3

This is quite possible, but it will require some programming. You’ll need any of the many energy metering smart switches that report power consumption. Then set up a smart app that triggers at different power thresholds. Use that smart app to set your lights.


#4

Welcome to the forums!

“HT” in this context means “home theatre,” right?

There has been some work done on linking harmony with SmartThings (ST), but right now I believe it’s broken. Search the forums for harmony for info. @smart may be able to answer more, I believe he has a HT setup.

For some systems, there may be an IFTTT workaround, but it gets kludgy.

There are definitely some zwave power strips, but ST has been slow to support individual socket control, so that may not be what you need. I do have my entertainment system plugged into a regular “green” power strip, and have that power strip plugged into a zwave controllable appliance receptacle. So during the day I use a regular non networked IR controller to turn on the TV, which then allows power to the accessories like ROKU. At night, I use ST to turn off power to the whole strip, killing vampire draw, as part of a Good Night sequence that also turns off lights.

It’s not fancy, but it helps control energy costs.

There are other community members with much more intricate set ups, though, so hopefully they’ll join in.


(Ron S) #5

As of now Logitech Harmony ultimate home integration remains broken and the harmony hub cannot be recognized by ST. There are some workarounds floating around using ST virtual switches and IFTTT. I have decided on “no more workarounds” for me as it is too much of a pain and strictly use ultimate home for AV functions only. The other side of the integration may or may not work.

I have learnt a lot from this community. But my 2 cents after months of use now on nearly 70 devices… Unless some of the integrations get out of graveyard and go thru some kind of resurrection or are actually born, I have come to love the stock apps these days for Logitech, Hues, Sonos and intend to use the Ecobee’s once hooked the same way. Same goes for Jawbone, Dropcams etc. One extra click is priceless compared to the pain and agony of watching these fail most of the time trying to do it from one front.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #6

Even if they get this working, my feeling is that Harmony is a poor choice for integrating HT and HA, primarily due to it being a closed system with no API. I went the GC iTach route for IR communication, and while the initial setup is more complicated than Harmony, I prefer having the ability to get my fingers between the fan blades to ensure complete control of all IR gear from SmartThings, mobile devices, and computers.

Other limitations of Harmony are line of sight, and sync issues with multiple remotes or using component controls. My setup provides complete control of four rooms of A/V gear from anywhere inside or outside of my home.

One issue is that, while complex scenes (of which there are many involved in HT) can be handled directly with SmartApps, it is pretty messy. If you have a Mac on your network, you can use HAM Bridge to run incredibly complex scene macros, triggered by SmartThings, or anything capable of calling a simple URL.


(Ron S) #7

@scottinpollock I totally agree. We “do” it only because it is an option which is touted. I have never found it to be useful and so never whine about it (the last part about whining may be a lie…) :wink:

And as long as I can switch on the TV and related devices (and missus) using the harmony home remote, iphone or iPad…I am fine… Surprisingly that part works for me with TV, blu-ray player, home theater system, Roku 3, Apple TV and fire, however much I hate the remote and love the fact mother in law always confusing it for a phone for a quick laugh.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #8

I know. But when you consider the cost of entry for a Harmony Ultimate, and with that same coin you can pick up a used Mac Mini, an iTach, and a remote app for your mobile devices, Harmony is an awfully limited option (even if it’s SmartThings integration was flawless).

Not to mention that SmartThings mobile app makes a lousy remote control, where apps like iRule or Roomie provide quick access, unlimited capability, and the ability to design any number of interfaces to exactly fit your needs.


#10

For the original poster:

Instead of a zwave to IR bridge as you asked about, @scottinpollock is using the Global Cache iTach, which is a WiFi or Ethernet to IR bridge. (Two different models.) I believe each bridge costs around $90.

http://www.globalcache.com/products/itach/models2/

Then there are multiple ways of connecting to the iTach, one of which is using the HAM bridge server ($30 software for a Mac) which itself then connects to SmartThings as a web service via HTTP GET.

http://www.solutionsetcetera.com/HAMBridge/index.html

So in that configuration you have your ST talk to $30 software running on a Mac. That software talks to a $90 hardware bridge which is what issues the IR commands to your home theatre equipment.

But it’s not exactly plug and play, there’s configuration at every step.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind having different networks doing different things, as long as everything works well and is easy to trigger. I like ST for control of smart light switches (not smart bulbs), and noncritical control of power receptacles, motion sensors, contact sensors, and limited but useful control of my door lock. And since I’m quadriparetic, handsfree voice control is essential. But that’s just me. Your priorities might be very different.

“All home automation is local.” :blush:


#11

Thanks all for your replies! This helps a lot. I had no idea about the “smart apps”. I am an application developer (have been for a long time), so these smart app development options is very intriguing to me! Just put Smartthings over the edge for me :smile:
I do not own the Harmony ultimate, just a harmony remote. Thanks for the heads up there. I really don’t mind, for now, just using the harmony remote to control my AV equipment and an app on my phone for controlling the lighting scenes. Then add on to the network later. I will definitely look into the iTach. I don’t have a mac, right now. Is there a Windows version of that server you were mentioning?
Thanks again for the help!


#12

You don’t need the HAM bridge (Mac software) to talk to the iTach, it’s just one option. Pretty much any scheduler will work, including PC options. Just start investigating from the iTach side, it’s the hardware you need to issue the IR signals.


(Alex) #13

I ordered a Harmony Home remote and I want to see if there is an elegant way of integrating it into SmartTiles Dashboard.

(Assuming I can hook it up to SmartThings)


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #14

At the moment… no. But I could consider porting it. I am not a big windows guy so I can’t really say if a Windows version is practical. The Mac OS has numerous hooks for inter-application communication along with a Unix shell and Python built in, which makes it a good candidate for this type of app.

I am not sure what kind of command line prowess/scripting components exist in WIndows at this point.


#15

Actually, iTach is designed to be used with a Windows PC, and the manufacturer’s official configuration utilities are all available as Windows programs.

http://www.globalcache.com/downloads/

You still need to decide how you’re going to schedule the individual actions. If you just want to turn things on and off, you can basically use the system like a remote. For something more complicated, you’ll have to add more code or interface to another system, but people are definitely doing this on PC’s as well.

Edited to correct my error implying that the utilities were all you needed to equate to HAM bridge. as @scottinpollock pointed out, these are two separate areas of functionality. The utilities are for configuring the iTach, not running schedules for it.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #16

With all due respect, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The GC utils (which have also been ported to Mac OS) are designed to learn, convert, and test IR commands. HAM Bridge is an HTTP interface for executing scripts (including AppleScript, Automator workflows, shell, and python) on a Mac.


#17

Got it, thanks. I have made the correction to my post above yours.


(Jody) #18

I have two of them if there is something you want to test out.


(Alex) #19

Thanks, I hoped I would get it by weekend, but it’s going to be delivered on Monday.

A D-pad maybe?


(Jody) #20

Nothing I have seen suggests that is possible. The current API allows access to the hub via “actions”. Currently the integration only works via Harmony to ST. ST to Harmony is still not functioning. I already have my lights set to go to a tungsten color via IFTTT and ST at sunset. I have my computer monitors going to a warmer color at sunset via f.lux. I have been trying to figure out how to get harmony to change the backlighting and color temp of my TV at sunset as well. It is proving to be a challenge.


(Mike Maxwell) #21

Yea, given harmony seems pretty stuck in the activity paradigm, and the fact that HA is a complete bolt on after thought, I have no hope of them figuring out how to export individual device commands via their API.