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best hub or light switches?

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best hub or light switches?
« on: April 02, 2016, 02:41:06 pm »
Hi. Just got the Echo and have been playing with skills and IFTTT. I read a post from January where SmartThings is the recommended hub, but am wondering if that is still true and if that's suits my purposes. Right now, I just would like to control my entertainment system (Samsung Smart TV, Direct TV, and Yamaha receiver), but is it possible to do more than turn them off/on? Could I pick an input for the receiver or change the DirectTV channel, for example?  The second thing I'd like to do is control my kitchen lights, which are long, fluorescent bulbs.  I was thinking the only thing I could do with the lights is to turn them off/on but not sure which switch would be recommended.  I'd like to grow the system over the next few years so want to buy with that in mind and try not to have too many different brands involved. Recommendations? Thanks for your time.

Re: best hub or light switches?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2016, 04:37:11 pm »
SmartThings has reasonably good integration, unfortunately the platform is not very reliable. It's real advantage is it's open and pretty easy to build your own apps. Just beware the whole thing can be a bit flaky at times and it has been this way for two years!

As far as your A/V gear is concerned, if it is all network controlled, you could send commands over the local net direct from the hub. But if you have IR gear, you're gonna need something like an iTach or go the more opaque Harmony route.

As for switches, you'll need a non dimming, on/off appliance type switch for your fluorescents... either ZigBee or ZWave. I prefer the latter as it is supported by more systems (and are usually cheaper).
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 04:42:33 pm by ScottinPollock »

Re: best hub or light switches?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2016, 05:27:31 pm »
Hi. Just got the Echo and have been playing with skills and IFTTT. I read a post from January where SmartThings is the recommended hub, but am wondering if that is still true and if that's suits my purposes. Right now, I just would like to control my entertainment system (Samsung Smart TV, Direct TV, and Yamaha receiver), but is it possible to do more than turn them off/on? Could I pick an input for the receiver or change the DirectTV channel, for example?  The second thing I'd like to do is control my kitchen lights, which are long, fluorescent bulbs.  I was thinking the only thing I could do with the lights is to turn them off/on but not sure which switch would be recommended.  I'd like to grow the system over the next few years so want to buy with that in mind and try not to have too many different brands involved. Recommendations? Thanks for your time.

We use the vera system, but someone on their user forum has created a bridge that runs on a pi in order to link the vera and echo. That bridge also links the echo with a harmony controller to control the AV system, so you could start with just the harmony, pi and the bridge for AV control.