Simpleremote for home cinema demonstration

This demonstration shows integration of few home cinema components under the simpleremote concept. It shows how a cumbersome task of using a traditional remote control device in the modern home cinema setup can be simplified with the help of Openremote platform.

The test environment consists of:

  • Samsung TV UE46D7000 – LAN controlled;
  • Bose AV35 Home Theater – RS232 controlled;
  • Ferguson Ariva Satellite receive – LAN controlled;
  • Openremote eBox – controls everything;
  • EnOcean USB300 and PTM200 devices from EnOcean starter kit – energy harvesting devices (battery less).

During the demo you see how switching the source with Bose universal remote can be accelerated by the EnOcean 2 buttons switch. This is in fact not a demo but a real application which I’m using in my home everyday. Once I’ve made it I don’t want to switch sources traditional way anymore and I’m planning to buy more EnOcean switches and add them to my setup.

The integration of all components were possible thanks to the open source Openremote middleware. Although not visible on video, Openremote is the brain sitting behind all of this. I’m using a customized version of Openremote because not everything which I’m showing in this video is possible with the standard build. However, my changes are backward compatible, meaning that all Openremote legacy code would run on my version too. I’m planning to contribute my customization as soon as possible.

From the technical point of view the most interesting part is the usage of rules in Openremote to change buttons behavior based on a sensor value.
Here is code snippet a rule used for the ‘Switch TV’ button:

rule "Switch TV"
  ($evt : Event(source=="Button BI On", value=="ROCKER_BO_1")
       or Event(source=="V_TV STATUS", value=="ON"))
   $src : Event(source=="V1 STATUS")
    System.out.println("Switch to TV");
    execute.command("V1 ON","TV");

As you see the button function depends on the “V1 STATUS” sensor value which keeps the current selected source.

If you want to know more about this example please leave a comment.

First things first

The fist question is of course:

How am I going to interface with Bose Lifestyle Home Theater?

As you probably know Bose uses RF remote controls which are bidirectional (they send and receive data). This universal remote can takeover all other remotes therefore the Bose console itself is also capable to send IR signal. I was not sure what path should be the best therefore I’ve asked the question directly on Bose’s web site. After a while I’ve received the answer from customer support:

It’s possible to control your Bose V35 system via the serialdata input at the back of the console, with for instance Crestron equipment.

Of course I don’t want to use Cresteron but OpenRemote instead. I’ve asked them for the protocol explaining what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, the protocol is confidential and I had to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement before they were able send it to me. Nevertheless, I have it now and will be adding it to OpenRemote.

Before this I needed to physically interface with this serialdata input. I’ve searched internet for correct cable and oddly enough I was unable to find correct one for my config (eBox with USB)! So let’s go to China and indeed I was able to order a custom cable directly from manufacturer. The price was better than any partial solution available, including soldering it myself, but the catch was that I had to order at least a lot of minimum 10 pieces. This even not knowing for sure that it will work without problems :-0. Anyway, I’ve took the risk and here they are. I’ve plugged it between eBox and Bose V35, launched terminal and… it works!! 🙂 🙂 Now the real development and integration can start.

The only problem is that I have 9 more spare cables. I can imagine that there will be more people within OpenRemote community trying to control Bose equipment with the serialdata interface therefore I’m offering spare cables for sale. One can buy it from my online shop which is located here.


My first OpenRemote project

For the first task I’ve decided to add my home cinema hardware to OpenRemote. This is Bose Lifestyle V35 with great sound quality but rather cumbersome remote. It has a universal one which integrates all other remotes into its own but unfortunately it does not come without pain 😉 For example, when I’m watching TV and want to switch to Apple TV to listen some music streamed from my ITunes library then I need to do at least 8 button presses in correct order!

  1. TV input button – to call TV source menu;
  2. Down button – to change TV source from TV to HDMI1;
  3. Source button – to call Bose’s source selection menu;
  4. press three times Up button – to select Apple TV;
  5. Menu button – to switch Apple TV on;
  6. depending on Apple TV state multiple clicks to navigate to my iTunes library on one of my PC’s on the attic.

I’m sure that I can cut it to just one click using OpenRemote! Project started 🙂 Please follow the progress here.