I’ve now been using Openhab for well over 6 months and slowly adding more and more devices into it. Next in line are my home entertainment devices. These seem to be the biggest issue since there is no unified way to control them. I already added my Receiver and my TV because they expose a notwork API. But some devices don’t…
I would like to control my Blu-Ray player and my IPTV set top box through openhab. And maybe even better - use some old IR remote to control my openhab setup. That way I could use one remote to turn on/off the lights, and control the playback of my player.
I am looking at different options for adding IR blasters into openhab. I’ve already tried one of them - Using a separate Rapberry Pi W I added some IR LEDs and a receiver and configured LIRC so it connects to my openhab. And this has been working reliably for a long time now. The only downside - setup is very much a hassle. Configuring a new remote with LIRC is very painful and annoying. The upside - does everything that I want.
The other very popular option seems to be the Harmony Hub. It can be found cheaply online and when it comes to controlling devices does pretty much everything that I want. Even more - it supports controlling my Nvidia Shiled through Bluetooth which is something that I really want. I’ve been trying to find a way to control my Shield for a while now. Downside… The harmony software sucks. I own two products from the harmony line already and they are absolutely horrible. So much that I never use them. Also… what is the status with the Harmony Hub these days? I know that they killed the API at one point, but then quickly released a firmware that enabled you to re-enable the API. Is that back in the official firmware now? Also… if I understand this correctly the Hub doesn’t actually enable you to read IR commands?
What are the other solutions? Boradlink makes some cheap IR blasters… but there isn’t an official binding for OH as far as I am aware? Anything else? What do you guys recommend?
(Stuart Hanlon, UK importer of Velbus hardware)
I use a Keene IRAnywhere setup.
1 unit is a transmitter (under my TV) and sends UDP packets to a Receiver in the cupboard, blasting to the various hardware.
So everything behaves as normal with the standard remotes.
The transmitter ALSO sends UDP packets to the UDP binding in openHAB2, for triggering rules etc.
The receiver doesn’t seem to care where the packets come from, so UDP packets can be sent from openHAB2 to control whatever you like.
Hardest part is capturing a clean sample of the IR code, so that OH can respond to it or send it.
I have two Harmony Hubs, and they work brilliantly. Sure, the app isn’t great, but I only use it to configure remotes and get firmware updates. So, I don’t consider it a significant factor in daily usability, so long as you buy a Harmony Hub with a remote.
Logitech closed a flaw that third-party developers were using to access the Hub, because they identified it as a security risk. I don’t think they were wrong to do that, because for the vast majority of users it is an unnecessary risk. However, the handled it very poorly. They later re-enabled it as an option, but OH developers have worked out a different solution that you can get in the snapshot binding. You can find more details in the forum.
The Harmony Hub doesn’t have an IR receiver. You use the RF remote it comes with to control the hub, which then sends commands to your various devices via IR and Bluetooth. You can also use the app over WiFi, but I don’t personally do that.
For me, the benefit of Harmony Hubs, OH and Google Assistant is that I rarely need to use a remote. If I start casting to my Chromecasts, OH detects the activity and instructs Harmony Hub to power on. If I stop casting, my TVs turn off after five minutes. I’m not using my Harmony Hubs to control OH. No need to pick up a remote and press a button when I can just ask Google to do turn off the lights.
Well the Keene IRAnywhere solution looks pretty much what I can get with LIRC and a Raspberry Pi. Except way more expensive. Plus from what I see it doesn’t even have wifi. I don’t think I really like that.
I didn’t mean the phone app - I don’t have any experiences with that. Though you have confirmed to me that that one sucks as well . Their PC/Mac app is obviously not much better.
What I mean by software is that it relies on those idiotic activities that are horrible to set up and ruin your day. I just want to control 5 devices with a single remote and it is forcing me to do whatever kind of magic it wants despite me not wanting that. I had to jump through hoops only to prevent it from turning my devices on/off when switching activities. It’s just so frustrating.
Really the only reason why I am even considering it is because it supports controlling the Shield via bluetooth.
Well Harmony hub definitely has an IR receiver - according to the logitech website. But seeing how it doesn’t expose that through the API it’s not of much use.
One possible way of controlling OH via Harmony hub seems to be Hue emulation. But I am not sure how good that works - if at all.
I don’t want any voice controlled things in my home. So even on things that support it, I have it disabled. I don’t particularly like touch screens either. I want physical buttons.
I haven’t used the PC app in a long time, so I couldn’t say anything about that. Setting up activities is pretty straightforward in the Android app. It’s a little tricky getting the timings right, but that’s more about the end devices than the hub.
Interesting. What you call “idiotic”, I call “magical”. So yeah, if you don’t like or want to use the activities, then there’s no real point considering the Harmony Hub.
Also interesting. I don’t know what the point of that would be…maybe to work with their IR remotes?
I somewhat agree with you. I’m in favour of touchscreens for scenarios where you’re looking at the screen, but I don’t want a touchscreen remote control or touchscreen controls in my car. I’d have a Blackberry Key2 phone with a physical keyboard if they only had OLED screens.
I’ve looked at GlobalCache devices before. They do pretty much what I want, but they are really mighty expensive.
Zmote has a more attractive price, although it still does pretty much what harmony hub does for a similar price.
No, the point of that is to learn IR codes from remotes that aren’t in their database. It’s been a future of the Harmony series since the beginning.
In the end I just decided to go the LIRC way. That way I can completely customize the receiving and transmitting parts. Sure, it is a bit of a hassle, but at least it works and does everything that I want.
As for the Nvidia Shield - I found a way to control it via adb. So I just need to finish up a simple bash script and I can do whatever I want with it.
i use broadlink and its flawless, all my media center autmations is based on it , also my AIRCON…
the binding recently got some updates by a great guy ! that is keeping cato(original binding dev)
anyway i think it is the most cost effective, its working for me for i think two years
Awesome! I didn’t know that there was an actual binding for it.
Which device are you using? Does it have an IR receiver that can be used through the binding as well?
(I’ve seen broadlink stuff everywhere, but there is so little information on them out there)
I think my biggest issue with IR is that there is no feedback. Which means that you either just do something when the user presses some button or you assume some state. This for example is what Logitech does with the Harmony series. Sends some commands and assumes that everyone got them (and that everything was in the correct state before). And this is what I find most annoying about the Harmony.
And thanks for the tip with Broadlink devices. It might be useful.
i spent more money on power monitoring devices to monitor the stupid IR devices
i have something like 3 Sonoff POWs for the TVs and ACs , to know if the device is on or off
and i cannot tell what channel or state they are, i just assume on and off
you can skip it for AC , as you can always send off or on, but my TV don’t have separate on and off so i need to know what is the state
so much mess just to automate the TV, makes you want to go buy a new one…
so i got myself a new Samsung N7100 or something (75 Inch )
and you would think it will be easy but, when the TV is off you cannot control shit! so back again to the broadlink!!!
That is actually the direction I took in the end. I bought a One For All Streamer remote ( https://www.oneforall.com/universal-remotes/urc7935-streamer-remote ) - which is a nice compact learning remote. And I configured it to directly control my TV. But the Shield doesn’t have an IR receiver however it does listen to CEC events. So I configured the remote to work in CEC mode (it is a special option in the settings). And I can now control the TV, my AV receiver, Shield and my Blu Ray player - TV and AV receiver directly, the other two via CEC. I will configure some of the remaining buttons to control my Openhab via an IR receiver and LIRC.
But because the TV is one of the devices controllable via network as well I can send key press events from openhab to the TV and those then get transmitted to the devices connected to it via CEC.
Basically for those unfamiliar with HDMI CEC. It is a standard that enables devices connected via HDMI to control one another. That way a TV can turn on when you power on a bluray player or something similar. It also enables you to control your player/AV receiver just with your TV remote for instance. The only issue - implementations of this standard vary a lot. And not all devices always play nicely with others.
(Stuart Hanlon, UK importer of Velbus hardware)
Any Humax devices fall firmly into that category.
No CEC support at all. (Other than switching the input of my Amp when the Humax gets switched on)
My Denon and Samsung devices behave extremely well together.
Denon AVR-X Android WiFi remote control app shows 3 keypad options for my Samsung Blu-ray player, but nothing at all for the Humax