Look Alexa , No Remote - Complete Voice Control for your TV / Entertainment System

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Eliminate the need for any physical remote controls and instead control all of your entertainment devices entirely through voice commands using Alexa, OpenHAB and Harmony Hub.

Remote controls are frustrating - they are never where you need them. With Alexa the opportunity has finally arrived to get rid of those infrared foes. But unfortunately there is no existing Alexa skill that can truly replace remote controls. Sure, via Alexa’s Smart Home skills you can turn your TV on and off, control volume, issue playback commands and invoke predefined activities - no problem. But how do you complete more complex tasks like watching your latest recording, pick a movie on your Apple TV or change your TV settings?

The look-alexa-no-remote project aims to fill the gap. Plus it hopefully serves as a helpful tutorial in general on how to create your own non-trivial Alexa skill and integrate it with OpenHAB.

Watch Demo:

Demo

You will run the Alexa skill in AWS and have it send remote control commands to your OpenHAB server, which in turn will execute the commands via the Harmony Hub binding.

Check out the look-alexa-no-remote Github project for all project code and detailed installation instructions .

Find in-depth videos on installation, architecture and implementation on Youtube by clicking on the demo video above.

I hope you will enjoy this project and let me know your ideas for improvements!

Mark

2 Likes

Was really interested in this and the videos so far are really well done. I was surprised no one had really commented on this ability however thinking I may know why. From the two videos I’ve watched so far, am I right in saying that this requires you to expose your openhab server on the internet? As opposed to utilizing the myopenhab.org to do this? I’ll be reading later the link you sent for securing things, but I’m definitely not exposing my openhab to the internet. Would cause all kinds of fun. Like there is no password on the openhab website. And if you put one on there, then the openhab app doesn’t work as it only expects login credentials on the myopenhab site.

JR

Hi John, I am glad you found the videos helpful. It is your choice how you host OpenHAB. I haven’t had time yet to try out myopenhab.org, but it should integrate with the above project just fine.
I personally host OpenHAB myself and do expose it to the internet following best practices (above you already mentioned the relevant link - https://www.openhab.org/docs/installation/security.html). In particular I use the recommended reverse proxy that adds password/certificate protection on the https layer.
Let me know how this works out for you.

Mark

Thanks Mark. Had to send back my Alexa, was using a Sonos and it had issues and Alexa API limitations which would have probably effected this. Getting the Echo Plus today in the mail.

Side question on this. if Alexa is always listening once you activate her so you don’t have to keep saying Alexa, what happens while the TV is playing and says something like “menu”?

Thanks.

JR

Yep, TV (or any other sound source) can interfere/accidentally send what is interpreted by Alexa as “commands”. That’s why I am muting the TV as soon as you start your session so that won’t happen.