Do you need a HomeKit TV?
With two of the three TV brands that announced support for HomeKit at CES shipping updates this summer, it’s time to start thinking about if your TV can or should be HomeKit compatible. But what does that even mean? And what HomeKit TV features can you already get from your existing hardware?
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4 thoughts on “Do you need a HomeKit TV?”
I’m using Homebridge with a 2017 LG OLED, ATV 4K, TiVo Bolt+, and Pioneer AV receiver. Has some annoyances but have finally gotten us to the point where HK scenes triggered through Siri on a HomePod are reliable enough to be our preferred way to do start-up, input switching, and shutdown. The Home app is 99% reliable but Siri adds a bit of extra adventure and my wife refuses to use the Home app.
1. AV receivers don’t yet exist as a concept in HomeKit. There are some Homebridge hacks but nothing I can run. My solution was to reconfigure to make the TV into the hub and use an optical cable connection to my receiver. I don’t change any settings on it and use a HK outlet to power it on and off. Volume is controlled by adding it to the TiVo and ATV remotes.
2. The LG sometimes runs a picture conditioning routine after it gets turned off and, if you try to use HK while it is running, it goes non-responsive in HK. Worse still, sometimes that results in HK ending up confused about the TV power state if you try to use HK during that time and needs a bit of fiddling to get back in sync. It’s mostly and issue in setup and testing than normal use. That might well be why LG isn’t supporting LG in pre-2019 sets but I have no special info.
3. The world is full of context and semantic ambiguity which is a big issue for Siri and HomeKit In general (I’ve found it best to avoid the word “light” or “lights” unless you want ALL your lights going on or off occasionally when using Siri). “Hey Siri, watch Apple TV” seldom worked (don’t know if it’s because I have several or if “Apple TV” is a reserved phrase). You and I know that I mean the one in this room but a Siri lacks that context even though the HomePod, the ATV, and the TV are all in the same HK room. “Watch ATV” as the scene name works perfectly instead (ATV sounded out by individual letter).
4. Homebridge reduces availability and increases complexity. It runs in its own macOS VM on my Mac Mini so if I am doing maintenance on the Mini or the VM, it doesn’t work. I schedule around so it’s not a frequent issue but still another source of outages.
I should add that Homekit is now on my “must have” feature list for TV purchases going forward. AirPlay 2 and iTunes are “don’t care” features as I prefer using an Apple TV.
I can imagine that an AV receiver would add a lot of complexity to a HomeKit TV setup, but it’s good to hear you prefer it overall. Thanks for the thoughts.
AV setups can get fiendishly complicated but a HomeKit accessory that included the basics like power, volume/mute, and inputs wouldn’t add much complexity and would be a big help. There would be a lot of moaning by everyone as it would mostly only work with new gear (just like TVs) but enough manufacturers would adopt it that within a few years, there would be sufficient options in the market for it to be a mainstream option. In the meantime, those that can’t wait will use Homebridge options or a third party integration like Logitech or Simple Control.
The beauty of HomeKit is that these improvements are relatively simple for Apple as the technical burden falls mostly on the companies rather than Apple. I expect we will see it in the next year or so.
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