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Questions on setting up voice control for HT with a HTPC

jtvang125

Diamond Member
Nov 10, 2004
5,400
49
91
Finally got around to reviving my HTPC after the power supply went bad and zapped my 2 storage drives along with it. I have it running on Win7Pro x64 and using MediaPortal and Moving Pictures for cataloging. My Harmony 880 is also in pieces after I tried fixing the dead buttons but never fully got around to it. I want to get everything working again so the wife and I can enjoy movies and tv shows together instead of us each watching our own stuff on our phones or on the computer.

I have since ditched MediaPortal and gone over to Kodi since it seems to be better supported. While I could just pick up another Harmony remote and be set, I figured since I already have an Echo Dot it would be so cool to control my whole system by voice. I think this will score a few brownie points with the WAF too.

1. It seems like I'll need a Harmony Hub correct? I'm assuming this will be able to turn on my TV, AV receiver, wake up my HTPC and set all inputs to their correct source by voice through the Echo? Something along the line of "Alexa, I want to watch a movie/watch tv/play Xbox."

2. Can the Harmony Hub control Kodi through the Echo? Say I wanna watch the movie The Martian, can I get it to where I tell Alexa, "Alexa, play the movie The Martian."?

3. Can this be setup to control my DirectTV non-dvr box? Such as changing the channel, "Alexa, change channel to ESPN1."
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
21,592
120
106
1. Yes, to control Alexa you'll need the Hub

2. No you can't, but you can control Kodi with Alexa. Follow the instructions on this link, not sure how computer literate you are. I didn't find it too bad. I don't have a Harmony remote and I use my voice to control Kodi.

http://www.ilicomm.com/how-to-control-your-kodi-media-center-with-an-amazon-echo/

Once set up it works beautiful, I tell it to play Bobs Burger season 4 episode 1 and it plays it. I did have to spend some time making Alexa commands for some of the movies and music with unusual names. It doesn't work perfectly, once in awhile it doesn't respond and there's a small pause after a command's been issued. Sometimes it takes longer than others. But I've tried the 2 other Kodi/Alexa methods out there, this one works the best.
 
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jtvang125

Diamond Member
Nov 10, 2004
5,400
49
91
1. Yes, to control Alexa you'll need the Hub

2. No you can't, but you can control Kodi with Alexa. Follow the instructions on this link, not sure how computer literate you are. I didn't find it too bad. I don't have a Harmony remote and I use my voice to control Kodi.

http://www.ilicomm.com/how-to-control-your-kodi-media-center-with-an-amazon-echo/

Once set up it works beautiful, I tell it to play Bobs Burger season 4 episode 1 and it plays it. I did have to spend some time making Alexa commands for some of the movies and music with unusual names. It doesn't work perfectly, once in awhile it doesn't respond and there's a small pause after a command's been issued. Sometimes it takes longer than others. But I've tried the 2 other Kodi/Alexa methods out there, this one works the best.
Thanks for the answers. On Fri I tried getting Kodi to respond from the outside but couldn't for the life of me get it working. I got IIS Express hosting a photo site on this machine so I'm puzzle why it wouldn't work. I'll mess with it again when I have some time. Probably something to do with the port settings.

I also signed up for Amazon's AWS and all that is needed when going this route. The guide said it's free for the first year and after that the use should be low enough that the expense shouldn't be an issue. If you went with this method too, there hasn't been any surprises with the cost right?
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
21,592
120
106
Ports and stuff can be frustrating, but it sounds like you're on the right path already.

And no I haven't paid anything. My hoping is by the time it got to where AWS or that server thingy you sign up for isn't free, Kodi will either have built in Alexa support, or there's a 3rd party add-on. While the method I posted works, it seems like ti could go belly up at any moment, or possibly start costing money. I have no problem paying, but I'd like something less rigg'ish if I'm going to shell out money.
 

jtvang125

Diamond Member
Nov 10, 2004
5,400
49
91
Got the port forwarding stuff working the other night. Not too sure what went wrong there. Had some trouble with the https endpoint not responding too but I think it was due to me incorrectly setting the region to US East because I didn't know a US West existed. Walkthrough said East for US and West for EU. But now something on my kodi box isn't working right. Doing a trace I see the endpoint is receiving the the command and sending it off to my ddns host and the kodi box responding but gettings errors with Zappa and Flask. Started from the beginning for the 3rd time last night and still getting the same damn error. Programming is beyond me so I'm at wits end. I'll try signing up to the kodi forum and see if anyone can help.
 

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