How to integrate PS4 and Xbox One with smart home devices using Logitech’s Harmony Hub
With the Amazon Echo and the Google Home now readily available, we are one step closer to the “House of Tomorrow.” You know, the futuristic house we saw in old cartoons like the Jetsons, where everything was controlled by voice commands. These smart speakers can integrate with everything from Smart TVs to Smart Lights to even Smart Showers. So if you really want to flush your toilet with your voice, you can do that with enough money and technical know-how.
Unfortunately, there’s one thing that these devices don’t naturally integrate with: video games. No console currently on the market can integrate with any smart home device right out of the box. Both the PS4 and Xbox One do have natural voice automation, but to use it you’d need to have a Kinect or a PS Move hooked up, and those have fallen out of favor. Luckily there is a way to get your consoles working with your smart speaker. It just takes another device in order to get them to speak to each other.
Enter the Logitech Harmony. This smart remote allows you to control your game consoles without a game controller. Also, it is controllable via your smart home device. While it’s a little cludgy, it will allow you to integrate your game consoles with your smart home speakers.
Step 1: Connect Your Console and Your Harmony Hub
The first step is to make sure both your Logitech Harmony and your game console is fully updated. Once you’ve done that, open the Harmony app, select “Devices” and then select “Add Device.” Under “Entertainment Device” select the console you want to control.
For the Xbox One, this should be it. For the PS4, the Harmony will prompt you to create an Activity. Select yes and answer a series of questions. It will then prompt you to pair your Harmony and PS4 with Bluetooth.
To do go, go into the PS4’s “Settings” menu, then “Devices,” and then “Bluetooth Devices.”
If you followed the steps we outlined earlier, the Harmony should already be visible to the PS4. Select it, and then select “yes” when prompted to register. Your Harmony and game consoles should now be paired.
Unfortunately, the Switch is not compatible with the Harmony or any other smart home devices at this time. However, the Switch also doesn’t have many streaming apps or really any apps you would want to use via voice commands, so until Nintendo pushes out a few updates, you aren’t missing anything.
Step 2: Connect Your Smart Home Device and Your Harmony Hub
Now you have to connect your smart speaker to the Logitech Harmony. This process differs a bit depending on which you have.
For Amazon’s Echo, first open the Alexa app and enable the Harmony skill under the skills menu. Log in to your Harmony account the same way you did when you first set it up. After a little bit of time you should be able to see your Harmony actions. You can then link these Harmony actions to Amazon Echo voice commands. Check the commands you want in the Select Activities screen, then click link account, and then click “Discover Devices.” If your Harmony and your console is already linked, you can now command your Harmony via your Echo, and take advantage of all of its console controls.
Linking a Google Home is just as easy. Tell your Google Home “OK Google, ask Harmony to link to my account.” Launch the Google Home app on a smart device and you should be prompted to link to your Harmony. After choosing to link you can once again customize your voice commands, just as you could on the Echo. After doing so, choose to link your account at the bottom of the screen and once again you are ready to go.
Refining Your Voice Commands
Unfortunately, smart home console control is still very rudimentary. You can turn your consoles on and navigate with directional commands, but more complex commands like “turn on Netflix” or “play God of War” don’t really work. That being said, these complex commands do work with your system’s built in voice control. So if you have a microphone you can hook up, we recommend doing so rather than attempting to control everything through a smart speaker.
If you still want to have more control, you can use IFTTT (If This Then That). It’s a handy service that sets up simple if-then statements to trigger multiple behaviors in multiple apps. You can use this service to create your own quick commands, though these commands will still only be using rudimentary controls. “Start Netflix” for example, could input a series of directional movements into your console which would land it on Netflix if started from a home position. This is a bit of a kludge, however, and we don’t necessarily recommend doing it.
What we do recommend doing, however, is using IFTTT to integrate your gaming habits with your other smart home devices. You can, for example, trigger your lights to dim when you start up your game consoles. Corny, we know, but it’s just one step closer to a gaming house of tomorrow.
Have you had success integrating your gaming consoles with your smart home devices? Let us know in the comments.