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Any advice for a newbie tackling smart home options for the first time? Phillips hue/Logitech harmony hub/google home

327 128 December 22, 2017 at 09:32 AM
Trying to hook all this up today or tomorrow. Anyone have any advice on how to proceed? Along the lines of in which order I should set them up? any tips to make it easier or more intuitive for the user(doing all this for my sister's new apartment). She's not the most tech savvy,,, neither am I LOL

So I have a Phillips hue 4 White bulb starter kit with bridge, One Phillips hue color bulb, the harmony smart control hub that comes with the basic remote, and a Google home mini.

Her cable company's(rcn) remote control for the tivo does not work with her TV or with the sound bar

She has a large Roku TV, access to most of the streaming services.

She is coming back from a long stint overseas with hardly any services / barely any Internet etc. I want her to be blown away with how easy everything is, I'm assuming she can control the TV and everything else with her voice or through the app on her iphone right?

Any advice would be much appreciated!



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If she is not the most tech savvy, my question is why? In my experience people who are not savvy usually want KIS (Keep it Simple). Does she want to unlock her phone, start and app, to just change the channel? It's pretty rare unless the TV is ancient that universal remotes don't work. Sometimes they require manual programming and trying several codes. If it was me I would setup the Google Home (Needs to be on her google account) and maybe get a universal remote working with her TV and sound bar and stop till you talk.

Can the hubs interface with the TV more then just basic features like turn on, volume up, change channel? I would start with the Google Home and then build from there. I would also want to make sure I had a router that was high quality, secure, and stable to run all this stuff. Dual band at a minimum. Don't rent from the ISP in this case, you want full control.
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I have similar equipment in our media room except instead of google home we use alexa and instead of harmony smart control we have the harmony elite.

I would suggest starting with setting up your harmony hub and remote. I prefer to do the initial setup using the MyHarmony software on a PC or laptop. The mobile app can also be used but I only use it when making small tweaks to my existing setup. First, you will add all the equipment through MyHarmony such as the TV, sound bar, hue bridge, harmony hub, etc. Then you can create activities such as Watch Netflix which the software will guide you through pretty well. You can also have that activity automatically start the Netflix app on the Roku TV. And you can even add another step to the activity to dim, change colors or turn off your hue lights when the activity starts. Once you get that all working you should move on to google home. I can't speak to how it integrates with the harmony hub but hopefully it does. I can say for alexa it integrates pretty easily in that you add a Harmony "skill" through the alexa app and then import all the activities and even lets you customize the activity names through the app. So then you can change the "Watch Netflix" activity to just "Netflix" through the app which then allows you to just say "Alexa, turn on Netflix" and it will start the "Watch Netflix" activity.

I tend to only usually the voice commands for starting the activities as I walk into the room while using the remote for the volume, playback and navigation control. However, there is voice control for other commands as well but you may have to research those for google mini.

One last note, you may have to play around with the harmony hub's and its mini ir blaster placement in order for it to blast IR signals to all the components in the room. You don't have to worry about this for the hue lights since those are controlled by wi-fi and not IR...and maybe not the Roku TV if it is IP-controlled. Only equipment that is IR controlled needs to get those signals. Here is an article that explains a little more:
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