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Smartthings+Echo+Harmony Hub = Voice Controlled TV! (2016 version)

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(joe) #70

Here is another app that lets you control your harmony hub from a local PC.

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(Dick Fibber) #71

This is the solution I came up with to MUTE and UNMUTE my tv (through the receiver) using voice commands with Echo/Alexa without changing inputs or powering other devices off.

MY DEVICES: TV, AVR (Sony STRDN1040), Verizon cable set top box, SmartThings hub, Harmony hub, Amazon Echo.

This assumes you already have Alexa/Echo set up correctly to command your activities. (eg. “Alexa, Watch Netflix” – turns on tv and receiver to correct inputs.)

Go into your Harmony app and do the following:

Change the TV, receiver and set top box to the following power setting:

Change Device Settings > Power Settings > I want to keep this device on when switching activities and only turn off if I press the off button.

Save those and then you want to create another activity.

Add Activity > Create “Custom” activity.

I named mine “Shut Up” because I think there was an issue with Alexa recognizing/confused using “Mute” and “Silence”. You might have better luck with another name, but that was my experience in trying those first.

Add your receiver as the only device for this activity. When it asks which input to select, “I do not set an input”. Save.

Select the Activity you just created, then choose “Customize this Activity”. Add a step, select your receiver as the entertainment device, then chose the command “mute” from the drop down list. Save.

Create another activity exactly like you just did above - I named this one "Sound” – and customize it the same way adding the mute command.

NOTE: If you already have your Harmony set up with SmartThings + Echo, you will need to unlink and delete all the Things, then re-add them back in.

Now I can say “Alexa, turn on Shut Up” and it will mute, then I can say “Alexa, turn on Sound” and it will unmute. The inputs and power remain on and correct without any changes. If I want to turn off the TV, I simply tell her to and everything shuts off. Hope this helps- I couldn’t find a solution anywhere for a simple mute command.

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(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #72

@JDRoberts

Are you still having trouble getting Netflix to work? I just set this up a couple of days ago. I have two activities for Netflix:

  • watch Netflix
  • exit Netflix

I tell Alexa to turn on Netflix and she says, sorry that activity is not responding. But, the activity works.

If I do it through askAlexa, there is not a problem at all.

Are you using askAlexa?

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#73

I don’t use AskAlexa. And at this point I don’t use the official harmony/ST integration as it just did not remain stable enough for me.

Instead, I use the IFTTT Channel method, where there’s no issue with the words. So I can say “Alexa, trigger Netflix” with no problems.

Since I am physically unable to use a button remote I need a method which works reliably. The one I’m using isn’t the most elegant, but it’s been super stable. :sunglasses:

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(Paul Haskins) #74

JD - how quick is it that way?

  • really appreciate your knowledgeable posts -
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#75

At my house there’s a pretty standard eight second lag for an IFTTT request. That’s acceptable to me, but I know it’s longer than a lot of people would like.

There are a couple of other method you can try if you want something faster.

I’m not sure how long the official ST/harmony integration takes now, hopefully someone else will answer.

The Yonomi/harmony integration is noticeably faster than IFTTT at the present time. There are quite a few people using that. It’s just a software app, so no additional cost. It doesn’t integrate with smart things, but it does with both echo and harmony.

If you’re willing to set up your own server, you can use askAlexa.

Personally, I’m waiting to see what the official echo/harmony integration does once it comes out of beta. ( it’s being developed by harmony itself.) I have hopes that this will be the fastest available once it’s released. But we’ll have to wait and see. :sunglasses:

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(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #76

Well, with the little bit I’ve got set up with mine, just four activities, it’s pretty fast.

No more than 3-4 second lag.

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(Chris ) #77

I’ve been using ifttt for echo/ harmony integration and can’t complain as the lag is only a few seconds and even though it works great I kept at getting the echo-smarthings-harmony to work also and finally my added activities and edits are showing up on all of smartthings and not just on the harmony smartapp. They’re also showing up on the native alexa app.

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(John Lord) #78

they claim it doesn’t work well with numbers, but i literally have a number assigned to every single light (kbl1 for kitchen bar light one, etc) and have had ZERO problems. I have groups with clear names and i created a couple of groups for the same restroom lights because some people say bathroom. I did have a set up issue though with naming also specifically with harmony. It would turn on “kitchen tv” but wouldn’t launch other activities for the same tv.

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(Ariel) #79

I followed all the instructions to a tee

  1. Installed harmony smart app on ST
    Went through all the steps to sync and no hiccups
    All the activities/switches are present & accounted for
  2. Installed ST skills on Alexa
  3. Alexa recognized all my activities/switches
  4. Give the command to Alexa “satellite” to watch directv which should turn on and select appropriate inputs for all the appliances for that command. I just hear that dull noise from Alexa when a command is not working.

Echo Works perfect with ifttt and also if I use my remote not with “Amazon Echo and ST”

Any advice would be appreciated as I am about to return it after hours of fustration.

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(Don) #80

I don’t have a harmony. So shooting from my hip. Shouldn’t there be “more” to the Alexa command?

Typically it’s Alexa turn on / turn off “name of device”?

So possibly Alexa turn on Satellite. I believe Alexa see’s everthing as switches. So when she turns on the satellite switch the hub will run the commands?

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(Don) #81

You are the man, @JDRoberts.

You can find the correct answer / guide for anything.

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(Ariel) #82

Hi JDRoberts,

That is just one example. I also have commands such as Watch Movie. This are the names of the activities I set up in the harmony app.

Watch Satellite
Watch TV
Satellite

They all appear in the Echo and the ST app but none work.

I limited one of the activities names to a single word like satellite because I read somewhere that echo has some words they reserve for themselves that can’t be used.

Thanks for the help though.

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(Ariel) #83

TN_Oldman

It worked!!! I did not realize you had to say turn on front of the command.

I owe you big time. Many thanks

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(Don) #84

Your welcome.

Was just a lucky guess.

That’s what makes this community what it is. We all help. Now that you know how to set it up and make it work. You can help me (when I get mine) or someone else who is.

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( I hate Mondays) #85

The last resort option is always a bigger hammer. But it looks like the hammer is not needed. Yet.

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(Don) #86

Sometimes throwing it across the room helps! At least I feel better until the reality hits that now it’s really broken and I have to fix it and what it hit now.

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( I hate Mondays) #87

Which is why I always recommend a hammer. Don’t care if the hammer gets scratched ;)))

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#88

I have an Alexa that I connect with SmartThings in my set up. I’m able to control devices but one thing I cannot control is my harmony activities. They import fine but when I try to run a command Alexa has no idea what I’m talking about.

I had one that was: listen to music however this would just have Alexa play music where is it supposed to turn on my AV to CD input. I tried changing this to party time in which case when I said that Alexa said excellent; by the way that was very funny; and then music please but Alexa just played music. Also try some of my other activities like play Nexus player in the light switches gets confused and doesn’t know what to do.

Has anyone had any success getting Alexa into SmartThings and having function how to work through Alexa because I haven’t?

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(Bobby) #89

The days are numbered, I wouldn’t put much effort into this.

@BBoy486 if you really cannot wait, Yonomi is 10 minutes away to to exactly what you need:

Yonomi gives ST and IFTTT a run for their money!

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