One of the use cases that we identified in the scenarios was the changing of channel on the TV, something that my father is unable to manage with the TV remotes control (too many, too confusing!).
The most widely available solution for this is the Logictech Harmony Hub costs around £70 to £100 in the UK.
You don’t need a smart remote control as well, just the hub, but of course need an android phone to set-up (it is possible to manage via a windows app on a PC), but not via web portal which has been removed as an option for security reasons.
Initially I had issues in trying to get the channels to change, as was trying to create an activity in the Harmony App via an IFTTT recipe – but then discovered that the Google Home does have native integration and you can link Google Home to Harmony directly.
The Harmony hub has large list of devices that it will control, in the set-up I tested we were using an LG TV (43LF510V) and Humax Freesat box (HDR 1000S) both of which were supported out of the box.
- Download application to smartphone
- plug in and turn on hub
- use phone to connect to hub (via bluetooth) and set-up connection to WiFi
- let hub scan for devices (didn’t find anything as nothing “smart” on network)
- manually set-up TV and Set top Box
- create an activity (Watch TV) using both TV and Box, test and ensure works ok
- set-up favourite channels (important to do this for voice control)
Bonding of Harmony to Google
- Link accounts (see link above)
- test the control of the STB via the application on the phone, try the favourites etc.
Google commands that now work
- “OK google ask harmony BBC1” [works with addition of BBC1 South West]
- “OK google ask harmony BBC2” [not currently working]
- “OK google ask harmony ITV” [not currently working]
- “OK google ask harmony Channel 4”
- “OK google ask harmony Channel 5”
- “OK google ask harmony mute volume”
- “OK google ask harmony channel up”
- “OK google ask harmony channel down”
Having issues with some channels set-up in the favorites being recognised. Found that BBC1 wouldn’t be picked up, but that as I used “localised” channels I needed to use BBC1 South West, currently cannot get ITV or BBC2 to work, so some more investigation to be done. Although BBC2 does not seem to have any additional text, ITV does (Carlton etc.) so further testing to get a voice match required, so I may set “national” channels vs “regional” ones to see if that fixes the issue…in the short term channel up and channel down work and is a possible work around.
Also need to try shortcuts to simplyfy the voice command, as “ok google ask harmony BBC1 south west” is not the easiest thing for someone with dementia to say!
So, shortcuts on google home work well and is a massive difference to make the language more natural, have now set up a number of short cuts to ease control. These are easy to set-up, by logging onto the Android Home App and I was able to set these up remotely without being at the installed location 🙂
- “OK google ask harmony Channel Up” becomes “Ok google tv up“
- “OK google ask harmony Channel Up” becomes “ok google tv down“
- “OK google ask harmony mute volume” becomes “ok google tv mute“
- “OK google play bbc Radio 4” becomes “ok google Radio on“