If you’re interested in Home Automation, then you most likely have used IFTTT (If-This-Then-That) before, but if you’re a TiVo customer you’ve just been handed a new connection that you can plug into your automations! Even better, even though you are a Cogeco customer and use their locked down TiVo interface, you can join the fun as well! TiVo IFTTT with Cogeco is a fun addition to your home automation strategy.
I recently added the IFTTT app to my Cogeco TiVo box and have been playing with it so I figured I would share my findings and let you know how you can get involved yourself. Note that my experience is with a Cogeco TiVo box, so this may not apply to users of purchased TiVo equipment or TiVo boxes from other cable providers.
Get TiVo+IFTTT Installed
First things first, you need to get the app installed to your TiVo box. To do this you need to send a request to the TiVo team with your box TSN # in order for them to add it to their deployment list. You can do that by going to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScwhHogmi7Jm31cbSrcL91ECE4IiBKuat7oQnhWlv3-SqmOfA/viewform. You need to enter your name and your TiVo TSN #. You can find your TSN # by looking at the back of your TiVo box or by navigating in your settings to TiVo Central > Settings & Messages > Account & System Info > System Information.
Once you’ve made the request you just have to wait. They don’t add new boxes every day as this is a bit of an experimental feature, but you can get involved and get updates through their Facebook Group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tivo.ifttt.innovate. The TiVo moderators regularly provide updates about new actions and triggers as well as providing updates on when they have added new groups to the app.
When they load you in, you’ll see a new app listed under your TiVo Apps section with the IFTTT logo and you’re ready to start integrating.
What You Can Do with IFTTT and TiVo
Currently, the TiVo integration offers the following Triggers and Actions on your TiVo box, but they depend on your TiVo software version so I have found that some don’t work on my Cogeco box:
- Content from My Shows begins playing
This trigger will detect when you start playing something from your recordings and allow you to create an action in IFTTT that includes the Title of the show that has been started.
- New OnePass created
This trigger will detect when someone creates a new OnePass recording schedule and allow you to create an action in IFTTT that includes the name of the Series that has been set up.
- Parental Control PIN entered
This trigger will detect that someone has entered the parental control PIN and create an action in IFTTT with the time and date that it was entered.
- SKIP segment detected
This trigger detects the SKIP segments when you are playing back shows from your recordings and can trigger an action in IFTTT based on that. The common use for this trigger so far is an “Auto-Skip” function which detects the SKIP segment and automatically triggers the “D” button from the remote to skip the commercial break.
- Tune to channel number
Using a trigger like a voice command from Google Home or Alexa you can have the TiVo box change the channel to a specified channel.
- Display message
Using a trigger with a message you can have the TiVo box pop up a message on screen with the message information.
- Send remote control key
Based on a trigger action like a voice command from Google Home or Alexa you can send a specific remote control key to the box (like “Pause TV”)
Limitations I’ve Found on Cogeco’s TiVo Box
I have not had any success yet working with a couple of the Triggers and Actions on my Cogeco TiVo box which I think is largely because it is not running the most recent TiVo software. So far my experience with the Content from My Shows begins playing trigger has been spotty, and the Auto-Skip function isn’t working for me because my “D” button doesn’t skip the segment properly. These may be my own setup, so I’d be interested in how this works for anyone else on Cogeco’s boxes.
Overall Impressions – TiVO IFTTT with Cogeco
Overall I’ve been very happy with the IFTT capabilities and have a number of IFTTT applets now built into my TiVo box. Some examples which I have liked:
- If there is a new in-game update or final score for the Toronto Blue Jays or Toronto Maple Leafs, I get a message displayed on my TiVo with the update from ESPN. While the ESPN updates aren’t always as timely as I would like (and sometimes I’m actually watching the game so I don’t need the update) it is nice to get easy updates on screen.
- I have set up a set of voice commands on my Google Home to trigger channel changes including one that allows me to just say “Channel XXX” and TiVo will change to the number, as well as a few for favourite channels like “Tune to Sportsnet” or “Tune to HGTV” which will trigger the channel change.
- Every day at 7PM I have Weather Underground’s weather forecast for the next day displaying on my TV.
- I can ask Google Home “What Am I Watching” and it will send the “Info” key to the box and pop up the show information for me.
- If I ask Google Home to “Record this show” it will send the “Record” key and start recording for me.
Future integrations I’m working on:
- When someone presses my new Ring Doorbell, pause the TV and display a message on the TV that someone is at the door.
- Using a scripting tool I am working on using a voice command to Google Home to trigger the launch of my Plex Media app using remote control commands on TiVo and changing the lighting in my living room to my preferred movie-watching lighting.
There are lots of other ways I’m sure that you can use the existing triggers and actions on TiVo and they seem to be rolling out new Triggers and Actions on a semi-regular basis, so I’m excited for the possibilities of this integration going forward. Even on the Cogeco boxes, there is enough value here to include your TiVo in your home automation strategy.