HSTouch Sonos Style Iphone App

The sonos app on the Iphone works so well I had to copy it's style for my HSTouch application.  I always wanted Sonos to control my video and other devices so here's what i've built so far.  It's along way from finished or tidy and will be changing alot over the next few months.

HSTouch_sonos_style_home HSTouch_sonos_style_partyhut2

HSTouch Sonos Style Version 1 - not finished!

Some of the sonos graphics still need a bit of attention and a few things need lining up but it's in a usable state.  I've always used mainlobby as to control my house using the web app on my itouch, but when I saw Homeseers HSTouch I just had to have a go.  It's still in it's early stages, but so far I'm a fan of HSTouch.  It's fairly easy to use and does alot.  If you are used to a Visual Studio style environment you'll get to grips with it in no time.  So far this has taken me an hour or so a day over 2 weeks.  The main hassle was the graphics and they're still not right!

Zones

The Sonos concept of zones works very well, so thats how i kept it.  Problem is, HST doesn't have scrolling for an area(not that i know of) so that's why i had to divide the full width boxes in half.  The other work aroud is to build a webpage and include that in the centre so you can get scrolling.

Lights

Most probably the easiest thing to control using HSTouch.  I might lay this screen out more like the Sonos Bass and Treble screen in the future, but for flood lights with no dim control this format seems to work.

HSTouch_sonos_style_lights HSTouch_sonos_style_tv_page

TV Screens

Each Zone with a screen in it has it's own TV Now playing screen.  The state of my Matrix switcher is held in Homeseer(via mainlobby), so pulling it out and using it in HSTouch Designer is easy.  The TV screen is really just a copy of the Now playing Sonos screen without the image tilted and shadowed because I haven't worked that out yet!

When you press the image of the Sky+ box it opens up a pop up which gives you a choice of inputs for that Zone.  These inputs all need a physical screen in the room to operate.  I use one screen for this pop up and then pass the CurrentZone value I've stored in a hidden text field.  The CurrentZone is set when a Zone is pressed on the front page.

Remotes

Not very pretty at the moment, but does the job.  I also used one script for each remote page so I can keep all my IR commands in one place and make the volume buttons different depending on which zone the user is controlling.   I've also used a pop up for the keypad because I like big buttons!

 

HSTouch_sonos_style_source_select HSTouch_sonos_stye_skyremote

HSTouch_sonos_style_skyremote_keypad HSTouch_sonos_style_xbmc_remote

CCTV

HSTouch makes adding camera feeds easy.  I had no problem using ICatcher.  I've only added the cams i use most at the moment but will add all the others using a 'more' button to show another screen

HSTouch_sonos_style_gate_cam_dark HSTouch_sonos_style_cams

Gate

I'm using X10 to open my gate so it's easy using HSTouch.

Sonos

I'm still playing with my favourite layout.  I've never liked the slider bar on the real Sonos App so that's why I added buttons.  I also had to add buttons for amps controlled via IR.  Without 2 way communication a slider is impossible.  I didn't like the slider bar because i was always to heavy handed and either crank it up too loud or kill the party!  Controlling Sonos via Homeseer and HSTouch is now very easy using the new Sonos Homeseer Plugin.  It's a great homeseer plugin and well worth the money.

HSTouch_sonos_style_music_selector HSTouch_sonos_style_music_bedroom

Next Steps

TV Channel Select

I'm going to use an html page to show a list of favourite channels.  Using an HTML page will let me scroll through the selections as I won't be able to fit them on one page.

Status Bar

Hoping that the next release of HSTouch will have the status bar included as an option, hence i've left the space.

Weather feed

I'm looking at a wireless weather station for the garden that i can build into the system.

Heating

Just need to change my thermostat and away i go! Also thinking about about Z-wave radiator thermostats for each room.

More IR remotes to add

I really need to add all the IR remotes I have kicking around, but I'm in a hurry to get something working so have only included the basic functions so far.  It will be a tedious task, but i gotta do it!

Better Media Centre integration

I'm planning to use the the webserver control for xbmc so i can browse my media libary on the client.  Also thinking about using Media Portal to stream the video.

DownSides so far...

Don't get me wrong, this product is great, but there are few bugs which still need ironing out.  HSTouch has a long boot up time is possibly the most annoying.  I've been using MainLobby via Safari on my Itouch to date, so the difference in start up is huge.  There are other small things like date doesn't update properly(look at my cam screen shots to compare!).  But I'm confident these will be fixed with new releases.

Conclusion

For me, if HSTouch made it easier and did a better job than MainLobby's web app I'd be happy.  I started out on a 30 day trial before i bought and within the first hour of playing with it I knew I was going to buy it at $199.  Then, as if by magic a Homeseer email came in with $50 off.  Sold!

So yes, for me the HSTouch from Homeseer is my best control device so far.  The reason why is because I have done so much more with it in 2 weeks than I ever did with MainLobby on the iphone.  And that's because it's easy and quick.  There is a learning curve if you want to customise the original templates, but if you're used to this kind of stuff it's fairly straight forward.  The HStouch Designer GUI is nice to use.

Does the Sonos Style work?

So far, yes.  Why reinvent the wheel?!  The other half can use it and i haven't even explained it to her so that's enough evidence for me. Anyway, I'm not a graphic designer so creating my own design would look awful anyway!

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