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Official Black Friday SMART HOME Discussion Thread


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#1 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 8:58 am

It's looking like smart home products are going to be pretty big this year so we're going to have a thread for these items.

 

Feel free to post questions, ask for recommendations and post reviews of any smart devices you have.

 

This would include things such as Echo speakers, Hue lights, Nest cameras & thermostats, Ring doorbells, etc...



#2 Pnambic  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 9:19 am

This could be a really good thread.  I'm really interested to learn what people are using and what they're getting out of it.

 

Playing music isn't a sell for me - I have headphones or a system with much nicer speakers for that.

Weather reports aren't a sell for me - my Apple watch does that really well actually.

Reminders...well, my phone and Apple watch do that, though I should use them more often...

 

I would love something that allowed me to turn off lights remotely, say from my bedroom at night, tell HAL, "turn off all the lights" and it does.

Or make sure the garage door is shut...

Or make sure the doors are all locked...

Or speak to a particular room...(It's time for dinner kids, get down here.)

 

What else are people doing with the tech?


Da-shiang bad-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!

#3 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 9:25 am

I have both Google Home and an Echo speaker to control various devices but I mostly use the Google Home as the Echo is there just for any Alexa-exclusive deals that pop up.

The Google Home controls the Philips Hue lights that I have both inside and outside. I also have Nest cameras and their smart thermostat which can also be controlled by the Google Home. My TV has Android TV which means I can tell the Home to show any of my camera feeds on the TV if I'd like. My Harmony remote control can also control the lights if I don't want to use voice.

For music I have Sonos speakers throughout the house and they are finally starting to allow devices such as Echo speakers to control those, but I'm still using the app.



#4 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 9:43 am

I have been adding SMART home features. I have an alarm system I installed from Alarm dot com and it's Z Wave based. I have added a garage door controller, I can remotely open and close that, it will alert me via SMS if my door is open more than a set amount of time. I have also added Z Wave light bulbs and switches lately so I can turn lights on and off remotely using the app. I just added in the last month an Ecobee Thermostat which I LOVE, I got a couple of extra remote sensors for it so I can have the system monitor various rooms and turn on/off based on the temp in those rooms also. The Ecobee is homekit enabled so I can ask Siri what my house temperature is and also have her adjust it. My alarm system is supposedly adding Homekit to it at some point so I will be able to fully control that also.

 

I will keep adding new things over time until I eventually have everything remotely controlled. I don't have the home assistant thing at this point though I have thought about an Echo at some point. I'm just not sure I want something listening to every word said in my house lol.



#5 nhughes  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 9:52 am

We recently got a RING doorbell here at our home and let me tell you it works great! Especially because our home is 3 floors, sometimes we can't get downstairs (and who wants to walk 3 flights of stairs) to check immediately. The video quality on the app is my only concern as it freezes every now and then.


BLACK FRIDAY 2017


#6 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 11:45 am

We recently got a RING doorbell here at our home and let me tell you it works great! Especially because our home is 3 floors, sometimes we can't get downstairs (and who wants to walk 3 flights of stairs) to check immediately. The video quality on the app is my only concern as it freezes every now and then.

Which one did you get? I have been thinking about getting the one that's fairly skinny as the doorbell on our house is placed between the door and the side light window. Not a lot of space and the other ones seem to be fairly wide.



#7 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 11:56 am

 

Or speak to a particular room...(It's time for dinner kids, get down here.)

The Amazon devices have the new(ish) "drop in" feature, which enables you to do just that.  I recently went to the app, while at work, thinking I had to set it up. Well, it's already set up, you just use it, so when I touched "drop in" from my phone and could hear someone moving around in my house, I called my son's name (I thought he was at work, and the house should have been empty). Totally freaked him out. I sure wish I could have been there to see the look on his face!  :sidesplit



#8 bluebear  ONLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 2:43 pm

We have SmartThings. Our doorknob works with it too. So when someone gets home (phone sensor) it unlocks the door and turns on the Nest thermostat, and if it's dark outside, the porch lights, hall light, and bedroom lamp turn on. And, at Christmas, the tree will automatically come on too. :) I also like that we get notifications, so I know when my kids get home.
We have a door sensor for the front door, but it hasn't been installed yet...
We also have been looking at a doorbell, we we also have limited space and the Ring is too big. I hadn't seen a skinny one. I'll have to look out for it.

#9 abentley  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 3:01 pm

I will be making more purchases this season for our new home as well. I run with Alexa, nest, ring, and Schlage door locks and my "q" garage doors. . I want to be adding more cameras, and proabably more outlets. I spend so much time alone in my home, and we built this one for my "safety" of being home alone......I really utilize everything I have gotten so far.

#10 flosmoney  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 12, 2017 - 3:58 pm

We have a echo, dot and a tap. We have apple devices. My husband has put in hue lights in kitchen, bedroom,living room. We have WeMo switches for Alexa to turn on stereo which connects to tv in dining area and bedroom. We can use Alexa to play music ,add grocery items, set timers. We have led accent lighting in kitchen, dining area and patio and waterfall in backyard that Alexa controls and under counter lights in kitchen. Our receivers are connected to tv and speakers which we can Bluetooth from phones and Alexa. I can use tap in the car or outside. We have a switch on patio table with usb built in to bring out any device for music. Amazon is your friend for cheap led lighting. Under the cabinets by the floor, he connected the lights to a thin board attached for easy installation.

#11 jesusluvu  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 13, 2017 - 5:55 am

I have the Echo but have not really got into the automated home thin. I have this fear that it will backfire and attack me one day or get hacked and I am lived streamed all over the world doing something stupid. Maybe I have watched to many movies but I really want to give it all a try. 



#12 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 13, 2017 - 7:38 am

I was on a conference call yesterday with Amazon and a bunch of their product line managers and other higher-ups and they are really going all in on smart home stuff for the holidays. So expect a lot of deals from them, especially on bundles with things like an Echo speaker and smart lights to get people started.



#13 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 13, 2017 - 7:53 am

I was on a conference call yesterday with Amazon and a bunch of their product line managers and other higher-ups and they are really going all in on smart home stuff for the holidays. So expect a lot of deals from them, especially on bundles with things like an Echo speaker and smart lights to get people started.

I'm excited to see what they offer.  I picked up some smart plugs on Prime Day, but I haven't actually used them yet.  I know I will at Christmas.



#14 jgm8  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 13, 2017 - 8:23 am

 My Harmony remote control can also control the lights if I don't want to use voice.

 

I would love to learn about this remote... We have a Harmony remote, but it barely controls the tv, apple tv, speakers, etc.... 

 

We have Wink, Nest Thermostat, a Schlage Lock on the front door and light bulbs. Can't wait to add more! I will be following this closely as I am no longer tech savvy and need all the help I can get. I recently did a search to find a local company that could network my house.... Not a one. The commercial ones in the area won't do residential.  :no:   


Jenna :eyepoppin
 


#15 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 13, 2017 - 8:57 am

I would love to learn about this remote... We have a Harmony remote, but it barely controls the tv, apple tv, speakers, etc....

 

Here is the one I have: https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B00N3RFC4G/

 

They have another version with a screen on the remote as well. Can work with Hue lights, Nest thermostats and other devices.



#16 stewarta4  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 13, 2017 - 12:04 pm

We have the Nest thermostat, two Nest cams, the Hue bridge (we have switched all of our bulbs out for Hue bulbs over the past few years) and the Amazon echo. We love them all and use them on a daily basis. The Nest thermostat is by far the best purchase, however. It really does cut down on your heating and cooling bill. My only complaint is the fee that you have to pay for the recording on the Nest cams...but for the "plug and play" convenience they give you (No running cables other than the power cable, no monitors, no external hard drives etc) it's pretty much worth it. You just have to watch out...these Hue bulbs will make you lazy LOL

 

also forgot to add that we have the Chamberlain wifi garage door opener....this has came in handy sooooo many times as I constantly leave the house and forget if I closed the garage door. Now I can just look at my phone and see if it's opened or closed...and take care of it if need be!


Edited by stewarta4, Oct 13, 2017 - 12:07 pm.


#17 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 14, 2017 - 9:25 am

We recently got a RING doorbell here at our home and let me tell you it works great! Especially because our home is 3 floors, sometimes we can't get downstairs (and who wants to walk 3 flights of stairs) to check immediately. The video quality on the app is my only concern as it freezes every now and then.

 

We have the same 3-floor issue. Can it do something like ring in multiple places? We can't hear our normal doorbell ring if we are upstairs. We got an extender which seems to be failing already.


The Amazon devices have the new(ish) "drop in" feature, which enables you to do just that.  I recently went to the app, while at work, thinking I had to set it up. Well, it's already set up, you just use it, so when I touched "drop in" from my phone and could hear someone moving around in my house, I called my son's name (I thought he was at work, and the house should have been empty). Totally freaked him out. I sure wish I could have been there to see the look on his face!  :sidesplit

 

All of the new ones? Echo? Dot?



#18 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 14, 2017 - 9:49 am

Here is the one I have: https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B00N3RFC4G/

 

They have another version with a screen on the remote as well. Can work with Hue lights, Nest thermostats and other devices.

 

I would love to learn about this remote... We have a Harmony remote, but it barely controls the tv, apple tv, speakers, etc.... 

 

We have Wink, Nest Thermostat, a Schlage Lock on the front door and light bulbs. Can't wait to add more! I will be following this closely as I am no longer tech savvy and need all the help I can get. I recently did a search to find a local company that could network my house.... Not a one. The commercial ones in the area won't do residential.  :no:   

 

 

Here is the one I have: https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B00N3RFC4G/

 

They have another version with a screen on the remote as well. Can work with Hue lights, Nest thermostats and other devices.

 

I have 2 of these: https://www.bestbuy....p?skuId=8574049(picked up at BestBuy on Deal of the Day in 2016 for $38.99 each; often they are DotD for $59.99)

and 1 of these: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B014PDFP9S(I'm pretty sure this was the one Brad is referring to).

 

LOVE my Harmony Elite. Well worth the price paid. It locks up once a month and just needs rebooted, but we use it allllllll the time. Kids can turn on Netflix with the touch of the screen, set up activities for watching DVR, streaming tv, BluRay, etc. I haven't bought any lights, but those are easy to incorporate, as well.

The Harmony Smart Control, I only use sporadically (on other TVs), but it's also a quality remote that works with Philips Hue, and WeMos, etc.



#19 bluebear  ONLINE  

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Posted Oct 14, 2017 - 12:25 pm

We went and looked at the slim Rings today, and I just measured the door trim, and it will fit! With .15" to spare. Hooray! It would be awesome if those are $200 for black Friday.

Edited by bluebear, Oct 14, 2017 - 12:25 pm.


#20 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 14, 2017 - 1:02 pm

I have a slew of Harmony Hub remotes, and Q Garage door. That's all we have.

 

I will be getting a Nest Camera (as baby monitor); hoping for less than the usual $149.99.

I've had my eye on Philips Hue for a while, but haven't opened that can of worms. Definitely could get some switches/outlets.

 

Debating on an echo for DD7 (she wants to ask it questions); maybe could get a few of those and use the drop-in feature, as well. Not sure if we'd be able to take advantage of more with Google Home.

 

DW just started talking about Ring like it was the newest thing this year, so she's excited about one of those.



#21 budgetsRsexy  ONLINE  

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Posted Oct 14, 2017 - 4:22 pm

So far we have replaced a few light switches with TPlink ones which we can control with our dot, through our iPhones and manually. We also have a few of their outlet adapters for the TV and we like them all. We had a Canary security camera at one point but realized it just wasn't for us. I didn't like that it will catch those moments where you inevitability have to run down to the laundry room for some article of clothing that you forgot to bring up to the bedroom.

#22 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 14, 2017 - 5:23 pm

 

All of the new ones? Echo? Dot?

Yes, I believe so. We have echos, but I'm pretty sure the dot and the new devices have all the same features and skills.



#23 laddhorn  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 15, 2017 - 6:00 pm

I'm looking for security cameras this year.  Ones NOT tied to a monthly fee, or very small one.  We are currently looking at the Netgear ones that are fully wireless.  Any thoughts on pricing on 3+ camera systems?



#24 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 15, 2017 - 11:28 pm

We have been dabbling in home automation since the 90s (anyone remember x10 vouchers?) and have found it to be mostly gimmick.  I remember using X10 to 'manage' energy usage in areas of my home where lights were left on and I think I toned my arms a bit keeping those motion detectors happy.  We also had a programmable thermostat before smartphones.  Unfortunately, our family did not have patterns of presence that could be easily detected or anticipated.  In the end, I turned the thermostat down before I went to bed and turned it up when I got up in the morning.  We also automated a coffee pot which we often forgot to fill with coffee and water.

 

The most success I ever had was to program a remote in my bedroom to control lights and the television.  That, in fact, was the reason I initially invested in x10.  We had lights in our bedroom which were controlled by a switch at the door but were easily turned off from the bed.  Unfortunately, once you turned them off at the bed, the switch at the door did nothing.  The remote also dimmed the lights...which was fun...for a while...for me.  In the end, a Clapper probably would have solved the problem for less.

 

These days, a couple strategically placed low power LEDs light the once automated paths.  I manage to find the lights (and most other things) on my bed in the dark.  We do have Alexa devices scattered throughout the house but that is just to help me maintain my shopping list, figure out how many tablespoons of juice in in a lime, or know when dinner is done.  I do like the drop in feature (we have three shows).  

 

I have not decided whether to install garage door openers and have only used the remote starter on my car once (to see if it works -- it does).  I have never used the remote for my air conditioner.  I do appreciate being able to program my TiVos remotely.

 

But I will follow here hoping to find motivation in your hopes and aspirations for automation.  Good luck!



#25 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 16, 2017 - 6:15 am

We have been dabbling in home automation since the 90s (anyone remember x10 vouchers?) and have found it to be mostly gimmick.  I remember using X10 to 'manage' energy usage in areas of my home where lights were left on and I think I toned my arms a bit keeping those motion detectors happy.  We also had a programmable thermostat before smartphones.  Unfortunately, our family did not have patterns of presence that could be easily detected or anticipated.  In the end, I turned the thermostat down before I went to bed and turned it up when I got up in the morning.  We also automated a coffee pot which we often forgot to fill with coffee and water.

 

The most success I ever had was to program a remote in my bedroom to control lights and the television.  That, in fact, was the reason I initially invested in x10.  We had lights in our bedroom which were controlled by a switch at the door but were easily turned off from the bed.  Unfortunately, once you turned them off at the bed, the switch at the door did nothing.  The remote also dimmed the lights...which was fun...for a while...for me.  In the end, a Clapper probably would have solved the problem for less.

 

These days, a couple strategically placed low power LEDs light the once automated paths.  I manage to find the lights (and most other things) on my bed in the dark.  We do have Alexa devices scattered throughout the house but that is just to help me maintain my shopping list, figure out how many tablespoons of juice in in a lime, or know when dinner is done.  I do like the drop in feature (we have three shows).  

 

I have not decided whether to install garage door openers and have only used the remote starter on my car once (to see if it works -- it does).  I have never used the remote for my air conditioner.  I do appreciate being able to program my TiVos remotely.

 

But I will follow here hoping to find motivation in your hopes and aspirations for automation.  Good luck!

I think the best use for the garage door opener portion is when it doesn't close (dd or dw left something in the way) and the door alerts me on the phone that it's still open. I got an alert the other day, wife had bumped a rake and it was in the way and door didn't close and she didn't know it. I went and looked moved the rake and closed the door. Other times it's useful is when you are outside cutting the lawn, garage closes itself (we have it set to close after 15 mins if left open and hold isn't on) and you're cutting the lawn. I pull out the phone open my alarm app and hit Open.



#26 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 16, 2017 - 6:19 am

I use the garage door to allow others access to get in our house when they don't have a key, and not require to give out our garage code.

Sent from my SM-G930V using GottaDEAL mobile app

#27 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 16, 2017 - 6:28 am

I use the garage door to allow others access to get in our house when they don't have a key, and not require to give out our garage code.

Sent from my SM-G930V using GottaDEAL mobile app

I've thought about getting a smart lock for that but I have an issue the seal on my front door requires you to push the door in some in order to lock the dead bolt so that would make a smart lock useless. :(



#28 nhughes  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 16, 2017 - 9:04 am

Which one did you get? I have been thinking about getting the one that's fairly skinny as the doorbell on our house is placed between the door and the side light window. Not a lot of space and the other ones seem to be fairly wide.

Yeah its the skinny one. Fits nicely right beside our deal. Not sure exactly what its called, but its great. One of the great benefits is that its saves your video on your phone (using wifi) so you dont use up all your data.


BLACK FRIDAY 2017


#29 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 16, 2017 - 9:21 am

Yeah its the skinny one. Fits nicely right beside our deal. Not sure exactly what its called, but its great. One of the great benefits is that its saves your video on your phone (using wifi) so you dont use up all your data.

Excellent, thank you for the feedback. I think I am going to have to get one.



#30 jesusluvu  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 16, 2017 - 7:57 pm

I was on a conference call yesterday with Amazon and a bunch of their product line managers and other higher-ups and they are really going all in on smart home stuff for the holidays. So expect a lot of deals from them, especially on bundles with things like an Echo speaker and smart lights to get people started.


Did they offer some feebees for the site. Sign me up Brad



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