When Phil Dunphy demonstrated how he could switch off the TV, fade in the music, dim the lights and ignite the fireplace with a few taps on his tablet, he inspired me. It got me thinking about how I too, could make my life as effortless on a daily basis.
After a long day’s work, I have dinner then shower and head to bed and spend most of my time there relaxing. Once I’m in bed, the idea of getting up to turn off the lights or look for the TV remote is just too much work. So being able to control all of these things with a few taps on a tablet would be a relief.So I set out to fix these #firstworldproblems one by one. The first thing I needed was a tablet to control everything with. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 was a good choice as it’s slim, fast, relatively well priced and very light, so I don’t have to activate too many muscles lifting it up to use.
The light problem was easy, I just got a couple of LIFX Wi-Fi lights. They can be controlled via the LIFX Android app over the internet. I can program them with preset colours and intensity… I have a setting called, ‘Dim’ for bed time. I can also get them to fade off slowly while I drift off to sleep. This is great for anyone who is afraid of the dark, not that I am.
Watching TV in bed, I use the TV Sideview app that allows me control the Sony Bravia without the remote. It even comes with a live programme schedule so I can see what’s playing on every channel without having to channel surf.
What I mostly watch is YouTube, and you guessed it, I can control that on the Samsung tablet too using the YouTube app. YouTube is much easier to browse on a tablet than a phone. As I find videos I want to watch, I just queue them to play on the TV.
The Samsung Tab2 has a split screen mode that lets me browse the web on one half while controlling YouTube on the other half. Pretty handy.
I have a Sonos sound system throughout my home and it can only be controlled through a Sonos app. The TV in my bedroom is hooked up to the Sonos PLAYBAR and SUB which really enhances the viewing experience. Alongside that is a PLAY:3 in the kitchen, PLAY:5 in the living room and a PLAY:1 in the bathroom. Each of these speakers can be played individually or synced together to play the same sound.
When I’m done watching TV, with just a few taps on the Sonos app, I can start playing my “calming music” playlist to help me drift off to sleep.
This one was tricky. I don’t believe anyone has invented a wi-fi heater yet, at least not one that’s not part of an air conditioning unit. I had to look for something that would work with my existing heater. The Belkin WeMo was perfect, it’s basically a power switched that can be controlled via wi-fi. So, I plugged my heater into it and could turn it on and off via the tablet. So when it gets a bit chilly, I just tap it on for a few minutes. This is a far cry from Phil’s magnificent fireplace switch, but at least I don’t have to get out of bed to warm the place up.
You can check out more about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 at samsung.com.