More with our Amazon Echo

July 4, 2018

I finally got around to integrating the new plug in for Indigo to integrate with Alexa. Still working through a few issues trying to control items that are not actual lights. A few lights that I set up and one light scene work GREAT.

Alexa, turn on Kitchen

Turns on the Kitchen florescent light, and

Alexa, turn on TV

Turns on the lighting scene (a number of lights) to a predetermined dim level. I should have used something different than “TV” though, and will need to change it (more on that in a bit).

Inspired with the Echo -> Indigo link working, off to set up TiVo.

YES I still have TiVo, I have three of them. I did not realize that that was so last decade until a few months ago. Most people just use the DVR that comes with their cable service. I record a lot, so 5TB is important, integration with other streaming services was important before my ROKU, but still has features that other DVR, do not. I REALY like the QuickMode for watching the news. We record the 5am news, and watch the recording at 5:30, in QuickMode. The news reporters talk so slow that speeding up their speach actually makes the news more enjoyable. All those features, and now Alexa integration.

As most ‘skills’ for Alexa, quick and easy to install. Now comes why the Lighting scene for watching TV at night needs to change from ‘TV’. You need to call the TiVo a name if you have more than one, we have three. Though all of these work

• “Alexa, pause” to pause playback.

• “Alexa, play” to resume watching.

• “Alexa, fast forward.” To fast forward at higher speeds (up to three times faster), say “Alexa fast forward again.”

• “Alexa, previous” is like pressing the Instant Replay button (jumps back 8 seconds).

• “Alexa, skip” or “Alexa, next” will skip a commercial break on SkipMode®-enabled shows.

• “Alexa, change the channel to < number>.”

• “Alexa, change channel to <network name>” (e.g., CBS or ESPN). You must set up your Zip code in the Alexa app to enable this command. (Go to Settings, choose your device, then verify the Zip code under ‘Device Location.’)

• “Alexa, go to Guide” opens the TiVo program guide.

• “Alexa, go to Home” opens the TiVo Home screen.

• “Alexa, go to settings” opens the TiVo settings screen.

• “Alexa, launch <app name>” opens a streaming video app. Available apps include Prime Video, Netflix, HBO GO, and YouTube

I need to instruct which TiVo, so I need to

Alexa, pause <TiVo Name>

Well having ‘TV’ as a name would have been cool, using ‘TiVo” seems to confuse Alexa wanting to control FireTV….

Now we are free in the Kitchen, which is open to the Living Room, to ask Alexa to pause TiVo with a

Alexa, pause Living Room

With lights, and TiVo, off to the Logitech Harmony Remote. A similar setup of the skill for the echo, and now we can almost control the whole Audio Visual system. With the Harmony Elite, we moved everything into the basement, and one HDMI to the TV, and wires to the speakers. The remote is RF, and sends the command to the basement, controls all of the equipment, EXCEPT the TV Power. That still needs the Remote’s IR to be pointed at it. I think there are a few ways around this but for now, the hand held remote needs to point to the screen.

With this integration, I can now command the echo

Alexa, turn on ROKU

And the AV System switches to Roku. Once again, I used the noun ‘TV” so to switch back to the TiVo, I needed to use ‘Television’. As a show off, the integrations are GREAT.

One QUICK value is that I do not have all of the TV Channels memorized, so

Alexa, change the channel to Fox News on the Living Room

Is useful, but remembering not to say “on the TV” or “on the Television” will become confusing. We will see how many times I need to voice control the AV from the kitchen.

About the Author

Kevin Cossaboon

A networking profesional located in Northren Virginia, USA. My hobbies are Technology and Photography. Love playing with the latest technology, and will try to post reviews of them. Also love my life long journey of learning to capture light, to trigger emotions, through photography.

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