I now this is a rather subjective question but what is the most reliable cheap speaker output for smartthings. I don’t want to spend a bunch of money, and would like something that functions without additional complexities to make reliability a problem. I have google assistant stuff, but frankly everything I have seen reports that points to somewhat regular issues based on updates to the google environment that breaks the bridges.
I have dabbled with VLC Things on a old windows tablet. That works pretty well except it has to be woken up after a while when it drops it’s network connection. It also works with Big Talker, but not speaker Companion.
Echo Speaks is working great with Echo devices.
Should that old tablet be running the Fully Browser, the Fully Kiosk Browser Controller smartapp does TTS, plays MP3 sound files and much more. It’s been 100% reliable, very easy to use, and it works with BigTalker.
What do you want it for? If it’s just for voice announcements, it’s really hard to beat an Echo Dot. Sound quality is good, lots of additional features, integration with SmartThings is good, and you can get voice announcements on multiple specific devices for a single event if that’s what you want.
Lists at $50, but is frequently on sale for $10 off, sometimes even less than that.
And it’s often bundled with something else. Right now you can get a free Wi-Fi smart plug for the same price:
The tablet is a windows 10 tablet so I dont think fully kiosks will work for it. Honestly with VLC and the edge browser I dont see a need for it. If that was my go to solution. I have had it working for a while so it isn’t a stretch for that to become a solution.
I have also been playing with Alexa on my Ecobee4. I know it is limited but certainly make Echo/Alexa a possibility. But not 100% sure it will work for what I am thinking. Can you send MP3’s to play on alexa to do things like a psuedo simulated presense device or siren.
You can, but only if they’re in your music library and now you can no longer upload your own files, so they have to be ones that you bought from Amazon.
There are some pretty good sound effects albums on Amazon where you can buy the whole album and it will have dozens of sound effects. Or you can buy individual sound effects for around $.99.
A friend of mine who is in community theater recommended the following, it has really good variety:
But there are lots of choices.
For the longest time I used VLC running on a PI 3b+, a small speaker attached to the PI and BigTalker without any issues at all. Couple of months ago moved to BigTalker2/Echo Dot when Echo Speaks came along. Works like a charm and now my PI is free for other projects. My 10 yrs old son wants me to help him build a magic mirror.
I think I need to make sure we are also thinking about what is supported by native Smartthings and not unsupported community apps like bigtalker. The new smartthings app launched in the last few days has added audio notifications to the rule engine for device state changes. That is cool but it doesn’t see VLC Thing as a audio device. So what works with the built in tts functionality that Smartthings has