We built a switch that does everything you need to get ready for a Netflix marathon with just one press. It turns on your TV and brings you right to Netflix, dims your lights, silences your phone, and even orders you food. Intrigued? Follow along with our instructions to make your own.
No two switches need to be the same. We’ll walk you through how we made ours, but encourage you to make your switch your own. You should be comfortable with a soldering iron and have a solid understanding of electronics and programming before embarking on your journey to one-switch watching.
As you build your switch, consult the system diagram to understand the relationships between components. This zip file contains all the files you will need to build your own version. Refer to the materials list as you gather your materials in the steps below. (Updated LED materials list thanks to @Keebie81)
At the heart of your switch’s electronics is the micro controller. Your switch needs network access, so it’s easiest to use a development platform that has built-in WiFi. We built our prototype using the Particle Core and our instructions are specifically tailored to this micro controller, but you can use another platform if preferred and adjust accordingly.
We used a Netflix Recommended TV that has a remote with a Netflix button to start the console and launch Netflix. Our switch recreates this function. No matter which model you use, you’ll need to know the device’s infrared (IR) patterns. More on this later—stay tuned.
Our switch is wireless and uses a lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) battery with a charging circuit that connects by Micro USB cable. If you plan on using your switch multiple times a week, you may want to hardwire the power.
For our switch, we used a custom wooden enclosure with a standard momentary push button. If you like ours, check out the 3D model and the inner enclosure here. You can also use an off-the-shelf E-stop button with its own enclosure.
Our schematic is available for your reference. Feeling adventurous? You can try optional add-ons like the piezo for sound feedback and the LED indicators embedded into our wooden enclosure.
Now it’s time to solder the components together. You may find it helpful to use a prototyping board.
In order to turn on your TV and start Netflix in one swift motion, you’ll need to send the same IR signal as the Netflix button on your TV remote. If you’re not using a TV with a Netflix Button or if you have an older TV, this may involve pressing more than one button—and you’ll need to adjust accordingly. An easy way to obtain the IR signals is to read them. We like this method, which uses an IR receiver and an Arduino.
Certain functions of the switch require local network access. If you’re following our lead and using the same micro controller, we recommend this guide or the command line setup tool.
To set the stage for the best viewing experience, we used smart LED light bulbs. You’ll find that our code and instructions are specific to the Philips hue–but other options are out there. We dimmed our lights to optimal Netflix-watching levels. To get started, follow this guideto get the bridge’s IP and setup a dev username. You’ll use it when programming the micro controller.
The basic micro controller source code listens for the switch, sends the appropriate IR signals, and dims the lights. You can find the source code here with detailed descriptions in the comments.
If you’re following our lead, you can setup your Particle’s environment using this guide. To use the basic source, you’ll need to input the IP address for your bridge and add the appropriate IR timing from step 9.
Your switch is good to go. Now you’re ready for one-switch watching. Want to do more? Check out our how to or use your imagination to adapt and expand upon your own.
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