Monthly Archives: January 2017

Onkyo TX-NR656 AV Amplifier

With the recent TV upgrade (see this post) I also upgraded my AV Amplifier.

My old Denon was nice but without any HDMI port, it means I needed lots of cables, and I had an issue with the central speaker channel: I could hear a big “bang” noise every time I switched on, off, changed the source or the sound mode. Being 10 years old, it wasn’t worth getting it repaired.

So I upgraded to an Onkyo TX-NR656.

Onkyo TX-NR656

Onkyo TX-NR656

With all the latest features, I cut in half the number of cables at the back since video and audio go from the device to the amplifier via the HDMI cable.

And with ARC (Audio Return Channel), I don’t even need an audio cable from the TV to the amplifier if I watch a video that’s not connected to the amplifier (e.g. a movie off a DLNA server)

Another neat feature is that the amplifier is WiFi enabled, and can be controlled over the network.

DomotiGa supports the Onkyo, but the commands are still a bit sparse and somewhat buggy / not user friendly, so that’s a work in progress that I have with their team.

I have however discovered which offers native integration with the Onkyo. More on this in the dedicated Home-Assistant post.

I’ve recently discovered Home-Assistant ( which offers a manufacturer agnostic home automation platform.

I’m still in in the learning curve and will post here what I’m doing with it. Watch this space.

[15th Feb 2017]

The good news first:

  • The web interface looks really good and easy to interact with.
  • There is also a huge list of supported devices and platforms, including the much wanted Nest for me.
  • The install is quick and painless

Now for the not so good:

  • I have spent hours trying to achieve some of the most very basic tasks (add a device, add a simple automation) because there is no graphical UI for this, it’s all code driven.
  • Some of the devices that I use (e.g. CurrentCost) are not supported

So all in all, I’m not going away from DomotiGa just yet, but will most likely try and get both platforms to talk to each other to get the best of both worlds.

I’ll try and post some config and UI examples in the near future

[16 Aug 2017]

Home-Assistant gets updated every other week and already since I started using it, loads of components have been added thanks to its massive community.

The GUI has also been updated to now allow creation of automations with minimum coding required, so I’m now seriously thinking about switching over from DomotiGa to Home-Assistant. This is even more prevalent since SmartVISU doesn’t appear to connect to DomotiGa since the last apt-get upgrade a couple of weeks ago, which is a shame as I really grew fond of the design.

Panasonic Smart TV

I’ve finally upgraded my TV. My previous 42” Plasma was very nice, but only HD ready (so 720p) and not smart.

I’ve now got a 4K 58” Panasonic TX58DX700B which has the advantage of having a network interface.

Panasonic Viera TX58DX700B

Panasonic Viera TX58DX700B

And the bonus is that there is already a plugin in DomotiGa that supports Panasonic Viera TVs.

This means I can now receive the mute status (on/off) and the TV volume, but more important I also get the TV status (on/off) and I can switch off the TV from DomotiGa.

This is very handy for my home automation, i.e. dim the lights when the TV in on, and don’t switch the lights off if there is no motion detected on the PIRs AND the TV is on.

Nest Thermostat

My old “dumb” thermostat packed up while doing some redecorating, so I upgraded to a smart one: the Nest Thermostat:

Nest Thermostat 3rd Gen

Nest Thermostat 3rd Gen

One of the cool features of this thermostat is that it can be remotely controlled via the web ( or via an app on a smart phone.

Now what would be even better is if I could integrate this with the rest of my home automation setup. And so I went looking online for ways to connect with the intent of 1) extracting data such as temperature and humidity and 2) control the target temperature remotely from DomotiGa.

My first connection attempt was via gboudreau’s unofficial API on GitHub

Although it works perfectly fine, there is some sort of limit on the number of times you can poll the info and eventually the connection gets closed.

I then looked at Google’s official API, and I’ve even followed their tutorial and managed to connect to my Nest, but it’s a little bit too much out of my area of expertise, plus I think the Google codelabs example is intended to be ran on mobile devices rather than a simple web interface. So for now I’ve parked this project for later.

[26th Jan 2017]

Edit: supports Nest natively, using Google Nest official API. I’m currently working through integrating my Nest with and get it to talk to DomotiGa. Watch this space.