MikeSharp01

Remote internet control of TV and such.

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Posted (edited)

We have had a somewhat tragic event with a single friend of ours getting what looks like early onset dementia, Consultants appointment in next couple of days. We have been up working with them, and their immediate family, to sort things but one area maybe has a solution but I cannot immediately see it. Essentially they cannot control their TV anymore - it all works fine and the remote is perfectly normal but the buttons seem not to mean anything to them any longer, 'which button do I press to watch' so I thought it must be possible to remotely control a TV via their internet connection for them or install an ALEXA like system so they can just talk to it to make things happen. I have seen a harmony hub which might do it but I was wondering if there was another way or any experience out there. It would be good if we could control their heating and monitor electricity usage etc, all of which I could do but need a way forward for the TV and we can probably hang the rest of it onto that. Any thoughts?

 

Edited by MikeSharp01

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Most new smart TVs have a remote that you can talk to.  So you tell it to change to BBC 1 etc. Works pretty good,  if it can understand me then it should be fine.   My Samsung and LG smart TVs both have this  function.  

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Silly question, what do they want to watch on the tv?

 

If just freeview, then can you get a "simple" remote or a simple programable remote?

 

My (now departed) MIL complained about the complication and number of buttons on a modern tv remote. She just wanted on/off, volume and buttons 1-5.  It nearly killed her fighting with a separate remote for a freeview box, until we could get her a digital tv.  I had one customer where no matter how many times I showed her and gave written instructions she could just not understand her tv. She ended up leaving it switched on and just turned the volume down hen not watching it.

 

I am convinced  there a market for a "simple" no frills tv for the "older person" with most of the fancy functionality hidden.

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38 minutes ago, ProDave said:

If just freeview, then can you get a "simple" remote or a simple programable remote?

We tried a now tv stick with an 8 button remote but no joy they struggle to do it with you prompting them.

 

@Declan52 I will need to get them a new TV theirs is 3 years old and pretty basic. You can talk to our Samsung but it's pretty clunky. I will take a wander around John Lewis and see what I can find to see if directly talking to the TV is the answer.

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7 minutes ago, MikeSharp01 said:

We tried a now tv stick with an 8 button remote but no joy they struggle to do it with you prompting them.

 

@Declan52 I will need to get them a new TV theirs is 3 years old and pretty basic. You can talk to our Samsung but it's pretty clunky. I will take a wander around John Lewis and see what I can find to see if directly talking to the TV is the answer.

You can trade John Lewis and richer sounds of against each other.  Both do free warrantys that are 5 and 6 years long. 

 

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Posted (edited)

As you’ve said a harmony Hub with echo dot will achieve this. Alternatively the Broadlink devices are cheaper and also support Alexa:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Broadlink-RM33-RM-Pro-Automation-Black/dp/B07F9XCQMM

 

Alexa can be a bit temperamental with both those devices though so it depends on how confused your friend gets.

 

An even simpler alternative would be to pair a harmony hub with a Logitech Pop https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M0V5RYQ/ref=psdc_1938304031_t1_B073XH6RV4 

they don’t get the best reviews but thats mainly down to the limited functionality which is in this case just what you want.

Edited by Barney12

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Sorry for delay folks it's amazing how hard this happening to a friend who is younger than you hits you. Thanks @JSHarris that looks simple enough but they enjoy(ed) catch up TV so wanted something like that if I can get it. @Barney12 Thanks also I descover that a friend has the harmony hub and I am going over there on Thursday to have a play with it. 

 

Wonder if I could get a pi to do this and allow all friends and family to control it remotely?

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I have a similar issue with an 8x parent now; i need simple controls.

 

Not dementia afaik, but increasingly forgetting things.

 

We also cannot get Freeview sufficiently - so I am also looking for a simple to drive service and set top boxes perhaps on Freesat which can work identically across 3 or 4 televisions. 

 

Ferdinand

 

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The latter question, simply get a number of identical freesat boxes so they all function exactly the same.  You might need identical televisions as well if you want them to really operate the same.

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My Mum (88) has mixed dementia - combined vascular dementia along with Alzheimers. Docs reckon she's about 3/4 of the way through it :(

 

Until fairly recently she would sit in front of the TV with the sound muted and just continually press the up/down channel button...all day long.

 

Visual stimuli is hugely important in these cases to try and help stave off the disease progression. So make sure the lghting is bright and curtains are open. Without they will just vegetate. Music too.

 

The stories I could tell!

 

I do feel for you.

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The Harmony works alright with voice but you do have to phrase things perfectly for it to work...

 

"Hey Google, Turn on the kitchen TV"

"Hey Google, watch BBC ONE on the kitchen TV" (provided you have it set up as a favourite in Harmony)

"Hey Google, change the channel to one-zero-one on the kitchen TV" 

 

My wife always says 'television' instead of TV, it seems to find that harder to process. Thankfully its a bit more tightly integrated, previously you had to say "Hey google, ask harmony to..."

 

(same phrases for Alexa).

 

Agreed - there is a market for simple tech for the older folk.

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