How to DIY Your Own Smart Home Theater
Turn your Amazon Echo or Google Home into your personal movie theater with these home setups
Amazon Echo and Logitech: One Command for All Devices
If you visited Sunset’s Smart Cottage at our Celebration Weekend event, we demonstrated the power of entertaining by pairing Logitech’s Harmony Hub ($99) with Amazon Echo’s voice control. The Logitech Harmony Hub can control almost any everyday television (not just smart TVs) and streaming players like the Roku stick or Apple TV to instantly turn on and transport you to what you want to watch.
You’ll start by installing the hub in your living room, and then sync it to other entertainment-related devices in your home using the app. For example an Amazon Echo, your streaming device, and the TV. Next, if you have them in your living room, make sure to connect smart light bulbs to the hub.
After you’ve added all the devices to your hub via the app, you can create “Activities.” An Activity is a singular command that triggers multiple things in sequence. In our Smart Cottage, we demonstrated an Activity called “Watch TV.” In it, our TV turned on, the Roku switched to our Amazon Prime Video, the smart lights dimmed, and our previously-on SONOS speaker switched off, prepping the living room for a show or movie to begin. And, when we ended the Activity, the lights turned back to normal and the TV switched off.In setting up your own Activities, you’ll choose the devices you want in the Activity, what you want them to do when it starts, and what you want to happen when it ends. Build the Activity in the app first—but don’t add Alexa to it directly. Instead, once you’re done creating the Activity, open up your Alexa app and activate the Harmony Skill. Once you do that, your Alexa will automatically learn your Activities and their names, so that you can say “Alexa, turn on Watch TV” and the series of events you set up will occur.
Pro tip: If you’ve got smart outlets and a popcorn machine, hook it up to start popping when you ask to watch TV! Make sure you’ve got the kernels in the machine beforehand, though.