Ravi's Tech Blog

Fixing the Modern TV Interface

There are a lot of things about modern TV interfaces that annoy me. There is no room for customization. If I have multiple sources of TV channels, why am I forced to switch inputs if I want to switch between them? Why cant I just seamlessly switch to a different channel on a different input without having to manually switch the source? And why do I have to flip through every single channel when scrolling? I NEVER watch some channels and just want to hide them so I don’t have to see it when flipping through. While we’re at it, why can’t I reorganize the order of all of the channels?

I kept thinking about these problems every time I would turn on the TV. Tvheadend is the closest thing to a solution that I found. So I set out to implement on my home setup.

This is going to be a running post of my attempt to get my tv interface running to my satisfaction.

Sending antenna channels to Tvheadend

I wanted to get the entire interface done from start to finish with just one input. This way I can enjoy my project while still working on it and add other sources to it as I go. Doing it this way also lets me learn about the entire process through the easy antenna source before I try to tackle the Comcast and Dish source. At some point I may even figure out a way to add Netflix and Hulu, Amazon Prime Video to the interface as well.

First we need to be able to get antenna channels and then send them to Tvheadend. I did some research and settled on the Hauppage 950q TV tuner because it seemed like it was tried, tested, and cheap enough that I wouldn’t be too upset if it didn’t work.

Mute or Lower Volume of Pandora ads with Tasker

This Tasker profile requires you to have the AutoNotification plugin to work. The way that this works is by monitoring your Pandora Notifications for when The ads turn on. Typically, Pandora shows the song that is playing in the notification bar. When the ad is playing, it says” Advertisement.” Our AutoNotification plugin waits for this to happen and then Tasker turns down the volume so that we either mute the ad or reduce the volume of our phone. Tasker reverts the volume to what it was originally.

rest of this coming up……I promise

High and Low Battery Notifications with Tasker

Tasker is an extremely powerful automation app for Android. Almost any feature or annoyance you want to change with android can be changed with Tasker. Unfortunately it is as powerful as it is daunting for inexperienced users to get started. I am going to list a few things I use Tasker for and how you can do the same on your Android phone. You can find Tasker here at the google play store.

Notify when to charge and stop charging for Li-Ion batteries

Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries are some of the best commercially available batteries. They hold more charge for their size than most other types of batteries and can be recharged many times. Chances are that your phone uses a Li-Ion battery. One of the downsides of this type of battery is that putting it through many wide charging cycles is damaging to the battery. This is one of the reason why you might have to buy a new battery for your phone after a year or two. Li-Ion batteries are kept healthy by keeping the charge on them between 40% and 80%. I don’t always follow this guideline but I try to when I have a power source nearby.

I have a Nexus 5x which I think is great but it doesn’t have a removable battery. So I can’t replace my battery if it goes bad. Instead I would have to deal with a phone that loses charge or buy a new phone. In order to remind me to follow this guideline I made a task in Tasker to give me a notification to charge my phone when it gets down to 40% and to tell me to stop charging when it gets to 80%.

First were going to make the profile to notify you to disconnect when it gets to 80%:

1. Open Tasker

2. In the profile menu, press the “+” icon. Then press “state”>”power”> Battery Level.

3. Set battery level to from 80 to 100 and then go back

4. A new option will pop up. Press “new task” in the menu that popped up. Give it a name, I named it “battery high.”

5. This will go to a new page. Press the “+” icon> “alert”> “notify”(you can change this if you want to be alerted a different way). You can name this high battery or anything else you prefer. Go back twice. Now the Tasker will notify you to that the battery is high when it is 80-100%.

The following steps are optional but I like to charge my phone to 100 overnight so I don’t want it to tell me to stop charging at night. I do this by adding a time condition. To do this:

1. In the Profile menu, press the profile menu you just made. Now hold down Battery Level 80, 100> “Add”> “Time”, set from whatever time you plug your phone in to the time you unplug in the morning.

2. Go all the way back and you are done!

You have now made a Tasker profile! It’s a very simple one but you can build on this example to make some very complex automated sequences.


Upcoming Tasker Profiles:

Automatically take a picture and email it if incorrect unlock code is entered into phone.

Lower volume on Pandora for ads

Stop your screen from dimming or turning off when using certain apps.

Force your phone to go landscape mode for certain apps (I like this for watching videos or reading).

And more…