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  #1  
Old 06-14-2021, 07:31 PM
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jughead jughead is offline
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Lightbulb Cool things to do with SageTV!

Over the years, I've added some capabilities to my SageTV UI (with Gemstone), hopefully I can make them sound as interesting as I think they are and maybe you will find some of them useful too. If you want the details about how I did any of them, just ask and I can share my setup. Some are basic and some a little more complicated.

Also, I'm curious what creative things do you do/control using the SageTV UI??

Within the Sage UI I have created menu items which successfully:

Lock and Unlock my front door
Turn on/off lights and equipment which have no IR or network control features
(SageTV menu -> voxcommando -> smart hub -> smart lock/plugs)

Manually select different screen refresh rates. I don't like automatic switching. Works with multi monitors/projectors too. Pauses playback until switch is complete. (resets to 59.94Hz when projector is turned off in case I forget it is in 23.976 or 50 at the conclusion of a movie) (SageTV menu -> built in capability of eventghost)

Turn my subwoofer and center channel up or down in 1db increments, dim the receiver display, toggle loudness, DRC, etc. with OSD popup indicating the change. I find it more convenient to use the Sage UI than mapped buttons to my remote for these functions.
(SageTV menu -> eventghost-> network control of my receiver, but easy to do via IR too)

Open Steam in Big Picture mode, or emulator, or Foobar2000, minimize Sage and switch remote profile (restores Sage when steam or emulators close)

Switch my receiver input and remote profile to PS5 or Shield TV.

Start/stop pre-configured internet audio streams directly
(SageTV menu -> Voxcommando)

I like to calibrate my projector fairly often, especially black levels in different lighting situations, so I created a folder with a few of my "go-to" calibration videos, accessible directly from the menu. Simple but a huge time saver for me. I also took screenshots of each video to set as its fanart background so when you hover over the files you can see quickly which one it is.

I also used eventghost to add an OSD to Sage with play, pause, short skip, long skip, play faster and play slower icons that appear on screen, as sometimes my guests got confused if I skip backwards etc during sports, so now a clear, unique icon pops up for a second with any of those commands.

Is there a way to do this with an existing add on or setting, by the way?

Well, if you found any of these interesting or can share some of your own ideas, please add to the list

play.png

pause.png

big skip back.png

refresh.png

automation.png

Last edited by jughead; 06-14-2021 at 07:40 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-14-2021, 07:57 PM
jchiso jchiso is offline
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I had no idea Sage could serve as a hub for environment control. I have a device that has prevented me from running X10 controls for my media room lighting. I'm interested in alternative options for lighting controls.

Also, building a delay into projection switching sync sounds like a really useful feature.

It would be pretty cool if you can post a YouTube video of some of these enhancements ...
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  #3  
Old 06-15-2021, 08:33 AM
sic0048 sic0048 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchiso View Post
I had no idea Sage could serve as a hub for environment control. I have a device that has prevented me from running X10 controls for my media room lighting. I'm interested in alternative options for lighting controls.

Also, building a delay into projection switching sync sounds like a really useful feature.

It would be pretty cool if you can post a YouTube video of some of these enhancements ...
If you are just starting to look at alternatives for smart lighting, I'd really recommend that you look at Wifi plugs/switches that are compatible with Tasmota.

Tasmota is a third party firmware that takes a normal wifi enabled device and removes all the "cloud/internet" reliance that these devices typically have. It makes the devices work solely on the local network which obviously greatly improves security. It also adds a lot of extra functionality like rules based programming in the firmware itself (so you don't have to rely on an additional automation hub), MQTT integration so you can tie it into a larger automation system, and more.

Not all wifi plugs/switches work with Tasmota (it really depends on the wifi chip the device uses). But there are plenty of options out there that do work with Tasmota. The devices are also pretty inexpensive. Most wifi plugs are $10 or less and most wifi switches are $20 or less.

I've replaced a lot of my "dumb" switches with Tasmota flashed wifi switches. These switches are on their own IOT vlan on my network and that vlan is blocked from accessing the internet. Not only do all my devices work, but they even work with Alexa (as local devices). I'm constantly using voice commands to turn lights on/off. For example, if the light over my kitchen table is on, it produces a glare on my Den TV. It's great to be able to simply say, "Alexa, turn off the kitchen table" and have the light go out.

Wifi is obviously much more robust and reliable than X10 stuff and isn't going to "disappear" like some of these automation protocols tend to do. It's also pretty inexpensive. I for one could never bring myself to spend $75-150 per switch to make them "smart". But this wifi stuff is cheap enough that I have been swapping out a lot of my switches for wifi switches.

Check it out: https://tasmota.github.io/docs/Getting-Started/

Here is another site that keep pretty good track of what devices are compatible with Tasmota: https://templates.blakadder.com/
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Ceton InfiniTV ETH 6 cable card tuner (Spectrum cable)
OpenDCT
HD-300 HD Extenders (hooked to my whole-house A/V system for synched playback on multiple TVs - great during a Superbowl party)
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Using CQC to control it all

Last edited by sic0048; 06-15-2021 at 08:43 AM.
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  #4  
Old 06-15-2021, 08:20 PM
Zogg Zogg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic0048 View Post
If you are just starting to look at alternatives for smart lighting, I'd really recommend that you look at Wifi plugs/switches that are compatible with Tasmota.

Tasmota is a third party firmware that takes a normal wifi enabled device and removes all the "cloud/internet" reliance that these devices typically have. It makes the devices work solely on the local network which obviously greatly improves security. It also adds a lot of extra functionality like rules based programming in the firmware itself (so you don't have to rely on an additional automation hub), MQTT integration so you can tie it into a larger automation system, and more.

Not all wifi plugs/switches work with Tasmota (it really depends on the wifi chip the device uses). But there are plenty of options out there that do work with Tasmota. The devices are also pretty inexpensive. Most wifi plugs are $10 or less and most wifi switches are $20 or less.

I've replaced a lot of my "dumb" switches with Tasmota flashed wifi switches. These switches are on their own IOT vlan on my network and that vlan is blocked from accessing the internet. Not only do all my devices work, but they even work with Alexa (as local devices). I'm constantly using voice commands to turn lights on/off. For example, if the light over my kitchen table is on, it produces a glare on my Den TV. It's great to be able to simply say, "Alexa, turn off the kitchen table" and have the light go out.

Wifi is obviously much more robust and reliable than X10 stuff and isn't going to "disappear" like some of these automation protocols tend to do. It's also pretty inexpensive. I for one could never bring myself to spend $75-150 per switch to make them "smart". But this wifi stuff is cheap enough that I have been swapping out a lot of my switches for wifi switches.

Check it out: https://tasmota.github.io/docs/Getting-Started/

Here is another site that keep pretty good track of what devices are compatible with Tasmota: https://templates.blakadder.com/
I run Home Assistant in a VM on my Unraid server. You can run it on a Pi, or I think in a docker too. Used to use a Vera but as of this weekend I am fully on HA. There are plugins to incorporate Tasmota devices and some with their native Wifi firmware, Zwave, etc.

But on the TV, I use EventGhost to control SageTV, and EG can fire off other tasks as well. For example some videos just won't play nicely in SageTV, so with one button SageTV is minimized and MPC-HC opens up using the same remote control buttons. EG will control whichever program you have activated. I also use it to do certain tasks like reset a network encoder upstairs. And with MQTT it can interface with Home Assistant.
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  #5  
Old 06-15-2021, 09:00 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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I have done something similar, but in the opposite direction. I have a Control4 Home Automation system and I wrote a driver for Control4 that uses the web API for IP control.

So my SageTV "remote", which is my Control4 remote can control all of this stuff, as can the app on my phone or keypads throughout my house. My HA system can control lights, unlock doors, turn on fireplaces, open/close blinds, play local or streaming music, control all A/V, etc.
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Old Server - Sage7 on Win7Pro-i660CPU with 4.6TB, HD-PVR, HDHR OTA, HVR-1850 OTA
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2021, 04:05 AM
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stuckless stuckless is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic0048 View Post
If you are just starting to look at alternatives for smart lighting, I'd really recommend that you look at Wifi plugs/switches that are compatible with Tasmota.

Check it out: https://tasmota.github.io/docs/Getting-Started/

Here is another site that keep pretty good track of what devices are compatible with Tasmota: https://templates.blakadder.com/
Very cool. This is something I'll definitely be looking into.
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  #7  
Old 06-16-2021, 05:40 PM
jughead's Avatar
jughead jughead is offline
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Posts: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jchiso View Post
Also, building a delay into projection switching sync sounds like a really useful feature.

It would be pretty cool if you can post a YouTube video of some of these enhancements ...
Yes, once I finally added that pause to the eventghost macro that switches refresh rates, I was loving it. Also had to add a command to hide the sage UI bc it would pop up, so now it is all seamless.

And thanks, I've considered making a youtube video, just to demo things and perhaps explain them if there is interest in something specific, so thanks for the suggestion. Maybe one of these days I'll actually do it.

I'm using a Vera hub, which I was given several years ago and it has been 100% reliable for me, even over the longest distances in my house. I've never looked into other hubs or solutions so definitely check out the other options mentioned. The Tasmota sounds interesting for sure.

I'll take some screenshots of my SageTV settings that I use to "talk" to Voxcommando, which tells the Vera what to do, triggers things in eventghost, lets me build macros and "if/then/else" logic with a great, intuitive UI. Voxcommando also allows you to use voice commands to control your HTPC or automation and can respond via text-to-speech as well. It is a lot of fun to mess around with. You:"computer, lock the door"- computer:"the door is already locked", etc. I can't recommend it highly enough, if you use something like eventghost. There is also at least one universal remote that has a mic built in that you can use with voxcommando too.

An interesting sidenote.. I exported my gemstone menu from a Sage Client and imported it on a Shield TV Sage miniclient and my home automation (lights,locks) menu items still worked. I guess my Sage server actually executes them and not the clients. Makes sense but it pleasantly surprised me

Quote:
Originally Posted by sic0048 View Post
Tasmota is a third party firmware that takes a normal wifi enabled device and removes all the "cloud/internet" reliance that these devices typically have.

Not only do all my devices work, but they even work with Alexa (as local devices). I'm constantly using voice commands to turn lights on/off.
Tasmota looks very interesting. So you're kind of rooting/jailbreaking a proprietary device to work with a DIY hub?

I would like to use the mic in my Alexa for voice control, but not have it connect to the internet. Is that possible?? I never set mine up bc of constant listening etc. Maybe I can already do this with voxcommando, but haven't looked into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zogg View Post
Used to use a Vera but as of this weekend I am fully on HA.

some videos just won't play nicely in SageTV, so with one button SageTV is minimized and MPC-HC opens up using the same remote control buttons

And with MQTT it can interface with Home Assistant.
What are the advantages of HA over Vera, just curious

And does MPC-HC automatically open the video Sage had issues with? I've been trying to think of a way to do this

Quote:
Originally Posted by wayner View Post
I have done something similar, but in the opposite direction. I have a Control4 Home Automation system and I wrote a driver for Control4 that uses the web API for IP control.

So my SageTV "remote", which is my Control4 remote can control all of this stuff, as can the app on my phone or keypads throughout my house. My HA system can control lights, unlock doors, turn on fireplaces, open/close blinds, play local or streaming music, control all A/V, etc.
I still use a "dumb" non-learning RF Tivo remote and leave all the "smarts" to eventghost and voxcommando. I created shortcuts to control lights etc in my windows start menu/taskbar too but haven't tackled keypads yet. Does your remote have a mic built in? It sure looks nice too

I'm VERY interested in learning how to write plugins for eventghost to control network devices. Do you have any resources that are good for someone who has plenty of tinkering, but no programming experience?

I would LOVE to control my Shield TV over the network via eventghost, bc using a USB-UIRT -> Flirc adds an annoying delay to button presses. Also I know my projector can be controlled over the network (I have a PC app for it) but I do not know how to control it other than IR or that app. I assume I can capture the packets from the app with wireshark to learn the port etc. I tried, but it is beyond my current experience. If you can point me in the right direction, I'd love to learn how to do either one of these things.
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  #8  
Old 06-16-2021, 06:03 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jughead View Post
I still use a "dumb" non-learning RF Tivo remote and leave all the "smarts" to eventghost and voxcommando. I created shortcuts to control lights etc in my windows start menu/taskbar too but haven't tackled keypads yet. Does your remote have a mic built in? It sure looks nice too

I'm VERY interested in learning how to write plugins for eventghost to control network devices. Do you have any resources that are good for someone who has plenty of tinkering, but no programming experience?

I would LOVE to control my Shield TV over the network via eventghost, bc using a USB-UIRT -> Flirc adds an annoying delay to button presses. Also I know my projector can be controlled over the network (I have a PC app for it) but I do not know how to control it other than IR or that app. I assume I can capture the packets from the app with wireshark to learn the port etc. I tried, but it is beyond my current experience. If you can point me in the right direction, I'd love to learn how to do either one of these things.
Actually my remotes aren't very nice looking. The most recent Control4 remote, the Neeo, looks very sleek but it doesn't have enough buttons for my liking and is very expensive at $600. It doesn't have a built in mic - but I do have Echo devices in pretty much every room in my house. I use that to control lights, turn on the TV, etc.

I would guess that you should be able to use Eventghost to control the Shield, or even SageTV. If you can find some existing applications similar to this you should be able to alter them to do what you want. Sometimes you can find an example in another "open" Home Automation system (like Home Assistant) and adapt that.
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New Server - Sage9 on unRAID 2xHD-PVR, HDHR for OTA
Old Server - Sage7 on Win7Pro-i660CPU with 4.6TB, HD-PVR, HDHR OTA, HVR-1850 OTA
Clients - 2xHD-300, 8xHD-200 Extenders, Client+2xPlaceshifter and a WHS which acts as a backup Sage server
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  #9  
Old 06-16-2021, 10:34 PM
Zogg Zogg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jughead View Post
What are the advantages of HA over Vera, just curious

And does MPC-HC automatically open the video Sage had issues with? I've been trying to think of a way to do this


I still use a "dumb" non-learning RF Tivo remote and leave all the "smarts" to eventghost and voxcommando. I created shortcuts to control lights etc in my windows start menu/taskbar too but haven't tackled keypads yet. Does your remote have a mic built in? It sure looks nice too

I'm VERY interested in learning how to write plugins for eventghost to control network devices. Do you have any resources that are good for someone who has plenty of tinkering, but no programming experience?

I would LOVE to control my Shield TV over the network via eventghost, bc using a USB-UIRT -> Flirc adds an annoying delay to button presses. Also I know my projector can be controlled over the network (I have a PC app for it) but I do not know how to control it other than IR or that app. I assume I can capture the packets from the app with wireshark to learn the port etc. I tried, but it is beyond my current experience. If you can point me in the right direction, I'd love to learn how to do either one of these things.
Vera is pretty much stalled now, as Ezlo is spending all their energy developing newer platforms. And supposedly the Vera code is pretty bad, and many users experience lock ups. I had mine set to reboot every night.

Home Assistant is software that you can run on several platforms, is being actively developed, and supports many interfaces through custom integrations. There is a bit of a learning curve, though, but the good news is that there is a Vera integration so it will import all Vera devices and scenes, letting you have access to all of them. So you can start out doing some automation using Vera and ease into it, which is what I did.

MPC-HC doesn't automatically open the video. I suppose you could somehow script a way to capture the video in question, but I hadn't thought of that to be honest. However, I keep all my downloaded videos under the same root folder, and when EventGhost task switches to MPC-HC (could be VLC or other player, BTW) I have it set to also enable Mouse Mode with a couple of buttons mapped to left-click and right-click. So I can push "Menu" to open File Selection, then use the arrow keys and mouse buttons to navigate to the desired video.

I also use Harmony 650 remotes programmed for WMC, and EG decodes all the keypresses. The SageTV plugin works well, you just map your keypresses to the SageTV functions. I have used both WMC IR receivers and now a USB-UIRT with EG, oh and also an old ATI RF Wonder (X10) receiver. I also used to use a web interface, similar to the SageTV web remote, that I found and modified for my use.

There's a Shield app that you could possibly capture web commands from using Wireshark. If so then you could probably emulate these in EG. It would take some work though.
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