SoundVision

Why is this remote so &!;!!?? complicated!!!! – The power of macros…more

In our last post, we outlined the power of macros and how they can make your life easier by doing some of the things you do every day (or night), all the time, and automate those same tasks.  We went over how, with the press of a button, many different devices can turn on or off.

Now, let’s elaborate a bit more, with respect to non-audio video equipment.  If you will take my word for it, there are a number of pages, like the one you see below, all activated by the previously discussed macro.

I don’t want to belabor the point; rather, I wanted to give you a glimpse into how many different things a single macro, or group of macros can do.  For example, see below….

This string comes in the programming right after the one we showed in our previous blog.  To take a look at that one, click here.

The above macro first checks to see if the garage doors are open, and if so, closes them.  As an aside, guys, how many times have you been in bed and your wife asks you if the garage doors are closed?  This fixes that request.  BTW, the app also shows you when the doors are opened or closed.  I’ve included a screen shot below to show you what this looks like.

Garage door opened and closed

 

Next, the macro tells the system to lock the Yale door lock on the basement door.  This is SUPER helpful, again for the request from your bride, once you are in bed, upstairs, and asked if the basement door is locked.  And, you guessed it, there is another icon on the app confirming this as well.

The system then runs the bedtime lighting scene.  I’ll explained advanced lighting in another blog, but, suffice it to say, it turns off over 15 lights at this time, all at different times.

The system then waits 55 seconds (which is the rough time it takes us to get our things together to head upstairs to bed), and turns off the basement lights and ceiling fan.

After another 60 seconds of waiting, the system locks the Yale door lock in the Great Room and arms the Honeywell alarm system to Instant mode for bed.

Finally, after waiting another 46 seconds (about the time it takes us to get ready for bed), the system turns on the TV in the Owner’s Suite (my wife has to watch a show before she falls to sleep) and starts a 90 minute timer to turn the TV off in the event we fall asleep and forget.

Whew….that’s a LOT!  I hope you can see from this that the limit of macros is only what you can both dream up and articulate to us.  This truly shows the power of the automated or “smart” home.

Next time, we will talk about programming lighting and how we can Simplify Your Life Through Technology and the use of scenes.

Why is this remote so &!;!!?? complicated!!!! – The power of macros

Now that we know what a macro is, let me give you an example of how powerful a macro can be.  Remember, a macro is only limited to our or your imagination!

Below is a screen shot of a macro I use in our home every day.  The idea behind this macro is when we turn off the TV at night and are headed to bed (from between the hours of 8:30pm and 11pm on the weekdays and midnight on the weekends) the following sequence of events happens.  The reason I have chosen to have specific ending times, is I have recognized that if someone is up extra late, and other folks are sleeping, I don’t want lights or TVs coming on and waking them up.

Spoiler alert!!!  This one is VERY long and detailed.

The macro starts simply enough by turning off some audio / video devices.  This is a very common use of a macro (i.e. to turn off (or on) any number of devices from TVs to audio video receivers (AVRs) to anything you can think of).  After turning these off, things get a bit interesting.  You can see a lighting scene, called Intermission is activated.  What this does is slowly bring up the lights to a level that allows us to see and take up and dishes or glasses or else we might have (as the lights were probably off while we were watching a movie).  Yes, that would be another macro.

Macros also allow for you to select certain times they can be run.  Here, you see that if it’s between 7pm and 12:30am, ANOTHER macro (called a nested macro (which, in English means one macro inside another macro)) is run for the thermostats to go to specific “sleeping” temperatures.  After a few delays, another “nested macro” runs a Bedtime series of steps.

As an aside, you might be asking, why have a macro inside a macro?  Why not just list all the steps under one main macro.  The reason is, this way, you can change things associated with one and use it in different places or instances.  Let’s say I want the temperature to change when I go to bed and be executed EITHER when I press the off button on the TV remote OR when I press a button on a lighting keypad in our bedroom.  I can insert the same Temperature Night macro under both buttons.  Now, let’s say I want to change the temperature from, say 68 degrees to 70 degrees, every time I press either button.  I can change this in ONE place, the Temperature Night macro, and it will change the action when I turn off the TV or when I press the button on the lighting keypad.

This is one the first step in a long series of this one macro that we live with every day.  I will go more in depth, next time, showing you alarm arming, door locking, lighting changes, ceiling fans, TVs turning on and off, delayed lighting scenes and more.  For now, just remember that macros are intended to do anything action you normally do, over and over, and automate that action to happen how and when you want it to.

If you have any questions, give us a shot at 704-696-2792 or email me at [email protected]  We LOVE talking about this stuff!

Why is this remote so &!;!!?? complicated!!!! – Macros demystified

Over the past few days, I have been explaining some of the challenges we have regarding making your system more consistent and reliable so that it just works when you want it to.

I have tried to explain why sometimes remotes seem complicated and why, if not programmed correctly, using discrete codes, remotes will not function reliably.  These discrete codes were defined as independent commands for each function that you have (e.g. Power On and Power Off versus simply Power that toggles between on and off on each push).

There is another reason discrete codes are so important and that is because, with them, we can develop macros.  When we go to continuing education (yes, we do that), instructors tell us never to use the word “macro” around a customers.  The reason is, if you are not in the information technology (IT) field, it will just sound like a fancy word that means nothing to a customer.  And they are right.

However, macros are the secret to making the magic happen.  Ever wonder how ALL your equipment turns on, the input changes on the TV and your AVR (audio video receiver), the channel changes to your favorite or the movie starts playing with the touch of one button?  Of course you haven’t!  But, that’s a macro.

Simply put, a macro is a series of steps that are programmed in a particular sequence after a something else happens first.  The most common of these is after the Power On button is pressed.

Once this “trigger” happens, the system can process the event (pressing the Power On button) and then tell other components to turn on, go to particular  inputs, change channels, dim the lights, lower the shades, change the volume or any other host of things you might want to happen.  The amount of things that can happen are infinite and only limited by your imagination.

This is another reason that discrete codes are SO important.  Think about it, one series of events can happen when the Power On button is pressed and another series of events can happen when the Power Off button is pressed.  Macros are not limited to power commands either.  They can be “triggered” by any button press, time event (think dawn or dusk or midnight or when you wake up), motion from security sensors, doors opening or closing, and the list goes on and on.  Essentially, anything that is tied to your system’s brain, can trigger anything else tied to the system.

This is one reason why, at SoundVision, we implemented the 30 day “live in” program.  We will, AT NO CHARGE, come back out to your home and make programming changes and RE-TRAIN YOUR FAMILY.  This give you the opportunity to live with the system for a period of time and actually figure out what you would like these magical macros to do.  

Next time, I’ll elaborate a bit more on macros and actually show you some from our projects that will give you some ideas on how we can make your home or place of business smarter.  It’s just another way we are trying to Simplify Your Life Through Technology.

If you have ANY questions, or want more information, please feel free to reach out at [email protected] or give us a call at 704-696-2792.  We are here and happy to talk with you.

 

Why is this remote so &!;!!?? complicated!!!! Switching sources

Last time we talked about why remotes seem to be so difficult.  We said that, if not designed correctly in a system that incorporates equipment that is new enough to have “discrete” codes, telling the remote if the TV, or any other piece of equipment, is on or off, for example, could create a big problem.

The second biggest PITA (pain in the -_- (you know)), is changing from one source to another.  Let’s say you are watching your Spectrum cable box and you want to switch to Apple TV (or Roku, a Sony Blu-Ray player, an Amazon Firestick, or any other source you can think of).  How do you do that?

To further complicate matters, there are three words used by manufacturers to make this happen.  Some call it a “Source” button, some “TV/Video” and still others “Input.”  Regardless, what this means is the ability to switch from one source of content to another.

Much like we said in the last blog post regarding the importance of having a true POWER ON and POWER OFF command, having direct access to EACH input is what’s important.  Whether you have a television or an audio video receiver (AVR), being able to access Input 1 versus Input 4 (or TV / Sat versus Blu-Ray, for example on an AVR) is critical so everything works smoothly.

We are back to our old friend, the “discrete code.”  The products we recommend and use, all have codes for EACH INDIVIDUAL INPUT so that we can access them quickly, directly, and consistently EVERY TIME.  This makes your experience consistent and reliable.  What’s great is that, regardless of the brand of equipment used, we can mix and match so that when you press the WATCH ROKU button, everything happens behind the scenes in a “macro” (more on that word next time),  and you get to watch and hear your Roku player.

Oh, yeah, we subscribe to the Watch and Listen nomenclature.  This means, on the remotes we work with, most notably the Control 4 SR260 and Control 4 OS3 app, when you want to “watch” something you press the “Watch” button and when you want to “listen” to something, you press the “Listen” button.  The main difference being, if you listen to something, we typically don’t turn on the TV.

So, now you get the jist of why these discrete codes are so important.  Next time, we will show you a little behind the scenes trick on how we do a bunch of things in succession and further cement why these codes are so important.  We will enter the world of macros….  Next time….

In the meantime, if you have a question, give us a call at 704-696-2792 or email us at [email protected]

Why is this remote so &!;!!?? complicated!!!!

Have a remote like this one? It’s crazy, right. Too many buttons, to hard to read.

Quick question, how do you turn on the TV? Stumped, don’t feel bad. I was too.

We hear all to often that today’s audio video systems are just to hard to use and the remotes are even worse.

The thing to remember is that the remote and the equipment are, like I said before, a SYSTEM. For them to work in concert, they have to be able to “talk” to one another.

Simply put, the remote needs to know what “state,” on or off, the system is. This is the first problem. With older equipment, and even some of today’s cable boxes, there is no way for the remote to know if they are on or off.

That’s because they don’t use “discrete” codes. Now, that’s a fancy way of saying, either on or off. Meaning, you could press the power on 100 times and it would never turn the TV off; conversely, you could press the power off command 100 times and the TV would never turn on. Now we are getting somewhere!

Quick, look at the remote above. You only see a POWER button, NOT a power on and power off button. Even the system on / off does not know whether the components are on or off. And, therein lies the problem.

Without knowing for sure if the TV is on or off, the remote doesn’t know what command to send when you push the power button. Worse yet, some older TVs internally don’t even have a power on and power off command. Whew, that’s a lot to take in.

One of the things we do when we program all our remotes is to make sure that the equipment we are working with always has these “discrete” codes so our systems work all the time. In fact, if we work with a client that has older equipment, we check to make sure it works. Otherwise, we tell them that they need to have newer equipment so their system will work consistently and efficiently ALL THE TIME, EVERY TIME!

And all this is just for power. Wait til I tell you how we take charge of multiple services, like cable TV, DirecTV, Dish Network, Apple TV, Roku, and any other video source you can think of. We can even cut the cord.

But that’s for next time….Until then, check is out on Instagram at soundvisionllc

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