Using TiVo with Amazon Fire TV Cube

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Nutcase, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Nutcase

    Nutcase New Member

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    Apr 18, 2004
    I'm considering adding a Fire TV Cube to a couple of TiVos and have a bunch of questions that I'm not finding answers to on Amazon's website. I'm hoping someone out there has done this and can help out before I drop some money on something that might not work as desired.

    cwoody222 had posted that initially the Cube wouldn't launch the Guide on the TiVo mini, but it later worked. Does it work? Can you say "Alexa, show guide?" or do you have to use "Alexa, go to guide?" and do you have to add "on TiVo"?

    Does saying "Alexa, change channel to [channel number]" work to switch to that channel on TiVo? do you have to add "on TiVo"?

    Does the Cube control the TiVo over the network (like the Echo Dot does) or with the IR blaster? (I'm asking because other than hanging the blaster from the ceiling in the middle of the room, there's no place to mount the blaster so that both TV and TiVo can see it.)

    Can each Cube be paired with a specific TiVo? (e.g. can the Cube in the kitchen be paired with kitch TiVo and the Cube in the office be paired with the office TiVo?)

    Mostly I'm looking into this because my mom's eyesight is failing and she's having a hard time using the remotes. The current "Echo Dot + TiVo Premiere" setups in each room work to an extent, but she still needs the remote (for one TV) or the buttons on the TV (for the other) to turn the TVs on and off and change the volume. My hope was that Fire TV Cubes could control the TiVos, turn the TVs on and off, and change the volume on the TV -- in addition to being able to answer questions like "Alexa, what time is it?"

    Thanks, in advance, for any help you can give.
     
  2. steelersruleman

    steelersruleman Member

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    Now I have NOT used the FireTV Cube with my Tivo ROAMIO, but with a Spectrum Samsung HDTV Box, and it works quite well(using a 55" Samsung HDTV 55H7150).

    My father has parkinson's, and the FireTV Cube works better than any voice control remote I have yet to use.

    I Do not know if the the TIVO Vox Remote with voice control works on volume or turning the TV On and off, but I know it works with the firetv cube.

    The one thing you have to be aware of is when using the FIRETV Cube, SYNTAX is very important. Fewer words(commands) work best IMHO with the cube.

    If your mom can use the included remote, even better(if it works with the TIVO).

    Because with the included remote, you DON'T have to say "Alexa" every time you issue a command(with regards to HDTV Box operation)

    Not using the remote at all would cause you to have to begin every command with "Alexa". That i show it works.

    Since I have yet to try it with the Tivo(I will), I can't answer what commands work and don't.

    When I do, I will post them here. In this thread, or a new one.

    If someone has time to make a thread and paste it here in this forum, all the better.

    P.S. A little tip. With the black firetv cube remote. I found buying WHITE velcro strips used to hang paintings, or light/flat HDTV antenna's.

    You can find them for like $3/pack at WalMart. Since they are white, have a sticky back, and the ROUGH velcro feel, I take one, cut it down small enough just to cover up the MICROPHONE button(make it too big and the sticky bottom will keep the button stuck/depressed when you press it). So cut it small enough where it covers the button only.

    Since your Mom has poor eyesight(my Father as well due to the Parkinson's), the rough/white/velcro on the microphone button makes it SO MUCH easier for her to locate on the button on the remote.

    It really helps.
     
  3. steelersruleman

    steelersruleman Member

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    Aug 29, 2014
    NW Pennsylvania
    tampa8 likes this.
  4. Nutcase

    Nutcase New Member

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    Apr 18, 2004
    Thanks for the info, steelersruleman. I looked at the link provided by tampa8, but there's no mention of the Cube at all, which would seem to imply that the Cube and TiVo don't get along. But cwoody222 posted that they got it working so now I'm at a loss.

    I don't think using "Alexa" for all commands is a problem (with the current Echo Dot + TiVo setups, she already uses, "Alexa, show guide" and "Alexa, change channel to [whatever]"; using a remote she's unfamiliar with will just exacerbate the issues, I fear). The biggest thing for her is being able to get the guide to show up which cwoody222 said didn't work at first but then did later on. If it works, I'm curious about the exact syntax needed to bring it up.

    At this point I may wait for the price of the Cube to drop back down and just experiment with it.
     
  5. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    Feb 18, 2016
    It sounds like you already have an Echo Dot, so I'm curious what you want the Fire Cube for.

    I don't have a Fire Cube, but I do have an Echo Show, Echo Dot and having multiple TiVos in multiple rooms is no problem. During the device linking it asks you which room it's in and can be set to control the TiVo in the same room. It should be able to control the Tivo over the network and leave the blaster for controlling the TV.

    You do have to add "on TiVo" to the end of your first command, but it'll assume you are referring to the TiVo for your next command. I think it remembers you are talking about the TiVo for 90 minutes from the last command or until you tell it to control something else.
     
  6. Nutcase

    Nutcase New Member

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    Apr 18, 2004
    The Dot can’t turn on the TV or change its volume. My mother’s eyesight is diminishing, so finding the right buttons on the TiVo remote to do power and volume for the TV is becoming an issue. The Cubes could control the TVs. The question is whether they can do everything with the TiVo that the Dot can (bringing up the guide on the TiVo is the most important one for my mother).
     
  7. Mar 1, 2019 #8 of 13
    Nutcase

    Nutcase New Member

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    Apr 18, 2004
    For now, I've added an IR blaster that can be controlled via Alexa to one of the rooms. We'll see how that goes and maybe look into adding one in the other room. Commands to power on/off, mute, increase/decrease volume on TV have to include "TV" in them. First command for TiVo often needs "on TiVo" which is sometimes heard as "on TV" which then fails.
     
  8. Mar 1, 2019 #9 of 13
    krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Any background or product details/how-to available?
     
  9. Bruce24

    Bruce24 Member

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    Jan 8, 2003
    boston
    Nutcase, I'd guess that the Alexa Support page on the Tivo site was created before the Cube came out and that is why it is not mentioned.

    As far as controlling your TV via Alexa, you can do it using the Logitech Harmony Hub, which sells for $70. I set this up for someone a couple of years ago and it works well. I suggest this as an alternative because it seems you really don't want to stream anything from the Cube; you just want to use Alexa to control your Tivo and TV, which you can do from your existing DOT.
     
  10. Nutcase

    Nutcase New Member

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    Apr 18, 2004
    @Bruce24 I read about the Harmony Hub, but as near as I can tell, you can only link one Hub per Amazon account, but there are 2 TVs in different rooms that would need to be controlled.

    @krkaufman It's called the "Broadlink RM Mini3" and was ~$24 on Amazon (the Mini3 only does IR, Broadlink also has an "RM Pro" that does RF & IR).

    The Mini3 doesn't include a wall wart but does include a USB cable for power, so I plugged it in to one of the ports on the TiVo.

    Set up was a bit of a pain:
    1) Create disposable email account on the web (I'm not giving a no-name company my real email)
    2) Download Broadlink IHC app to phone
    3) Create Broadlink account
    4) Get PIN sent by Broadlink to email and enter it in app
    5) Try to scan barcode on Mini3 using camera in app; fail (never locks on to the barcode)
    6) Type serial number of Mini3 into app; fail ("device not in database")
    7) Hard-reset Mini3 (using paperclip) twice
    8) Switch phone's WiFi to Mini3 hotspot
    9) Go back to Broadlink app
    10) Enter my WiFi network's SSID & password in app
    11) Switch phone back to my WiFi then go back to Broadlink app
    12) Wait for app to find Mini3
    13) Tell app that the Mini3 should control a "TV" device
    14) Tell app who the manufacturer of the TV is
    15) Try the code-sets built in to app for that manufacturer; none work
    16) Tell app to tell Mini3 to learn remote codes
    16a) Teach "power"
    16b) Teach "mute"
    16c) Teach "volume up"
    16d) Teach "volume down"
    17) Test all commands by tapping icons in app
    18) Find best location for Mini3 so TV sees signals from it
    19) Launch "Alexa" app
    20) Install Broadlink skill
    21) Link Broadlink skill to Broadlink account
    22) Tell Alexa app that [Room A] now includes the "TV" device
    23) Figure out syntax for commands by trying to tell Alexa to do things with the TV and TiVo

    Changing channels once the TiVo skill has timed out now has to be done by saying "Alexa change to channel [whatever] on TiVo" and hoping she hears "TiVo" and not "TV" -- which is hit-or-miss (otherwise she'll try to do that on the TV but wind up unable because I haven't taught the Mini3 any numbers; I may try teaching the Mini3 the numbers from the TiVo remote; it would probably be slower but might work).

    Changing volume on the TV is done with "Alexa, increase TV volume" or "Alexa decrease TV volume" (otherwise she'll increase or decrease her own volume sometimes and sometimes change the TV volume).

    For volume up/down from Alexa, the Mini3 sends a string of 9 or 10 "up" or "down" commands (not configurable as far as I can tell). But I can say "Alexa, increase TV volume by 5" and it will go up by around 5 notches (usually 4, sometimes 5).

    I was hoping to figure out a way to teach the "Live TV" button and have it available to Alexa, but "custom buttons" created in the Broadlink app aren't available to Alexa so I tried assigning "Live TV" to "exit" in the app and saying "Alexa, exit on TV" but that didn't work. Only way I've figured out to get to Live TV with Alexa is the roundabout: "Alexa show guide", see what channel is tuned to, "Alexa go to channel [whatever is tuned]".

    One issue I have is that once a button has been "learned" by the Broadlink app, it cannot be unassigned (for instance, I cannot unassign the "exit" button even though I can't get Alexa to use it). I would have to remove the TV device from Alexa, remove the TV device from the Broadlink app, set up a new TV device in the Broadlink app and teach the buttons I want to the Mini3, then set the new TV device up in the Alexa app.
     
    krkaufman likes this.
  11. Bruce24

    Bruce24 Member

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    Jan 8, 2003
    boston
    FYI, Just happen to notice that woot.com has the Cube on sale for $60 if you are Prime member.

    Amazon Fire TV Devices
     
  12. Nutcase

    Nutcase New Member

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    Apr 18, 2004
    @Bruce24 thanks for the link; I missed out on the deal though.

    And back to the Broadlink remote: It appears that unlike the TiVo skill where you can link a particular Echo to a particular TiVo, Broadlink and/or Alexa doesn't allow the same kind of thing. Every Echo can control the remote. I have no idea what would happen if I added a second remote into the mix.

    Unless I can find something else in the meantime, I'm going to wait for the TiVo app to come to Fire TV Cube and see what happens then.
     

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