Apple TV and the automated home: Will anyone really care?

“CES showed me that Apple’s HomeKit is the platform that has legs and will more than likely be the core of any successful home automation solution,” Mark Reschke writes for T-GAAP.

“Recent rumors suggest that the next generation Apple TV will reveal it isn’t always about the TV, but also home automation. Apple TV may act as the home’s automation hub,” Reschke writes. “It makes a lot of sense and it destroys the up-front costs associated with so many start-ups looking to hock their costly hardware.”

Reschke writes, “For this T-GAAP-er, Apple’s HomeKit or not, I see little value in the rush to home automation.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple TV required for controlling HomeKit devices with Siri while away from home – January 11, 2015


  1. I can’t see anybody wanting to control their home from the TV. Would you leave your TV on just so you can control your lighting, temperature, or irrigation? Or would you turn on the TV (then wait for it to show a picture, select the appropriate input, and fumble through the Apple TV menu to set something) or would you just want an iPhone app? Doesn’t make sense. If it’s just a server it should be built into AirPort base stations, not a set-top box.

  2. In 1979 I could control the lights in my house… turn ANY ac device on/off. It used voice recognition along with BASIC. Do really think this is a big deal? I would rather see Apple come out with SuperBasic.

    1. I’d rather see them trash AppleScript and start using something similar to BASIC for that. AppleScript seems so convoluted you have to have your head on backwards to program with it.

  3. HomeKit options will give people ability to easily cause some action to take place at home remotely.

    Initially people might not see a need. Then, they might want to turn the AC on only when it is hot and they are getting home early. The paranoid may want to see their security cams scan around their house.

    A person will find something they want to activate or deactivate and think, I need that and it will be easy to accomplish. As people try things and talk, it will become so common no one thinks about it much.

  4. To answer the headline, “Yes, I care”. I’m in the process of building a log home and it’s going to be automated to the max. Right now I’m using Insteon stuff in my existing house as a testbed for what I plan to put in the new one. So far so good, and I was happy to see Insteon listed at CES as one of the manufacturers that are on board with HomeKit.

  5. Dream: Wouldn’t it be great if I came home and the coffee was already made?

    Reality: You come home tired and late from work one day to a soaked kitchen floor because the coffee filter plugged the drain causing the coffee to overflow. The hot brown water bloated the MDF in the cupboards causing over a grand to replace. You never use the auto feature again.

    Dream: The lights turn on when you enter the room and go off when you leave, saving you money.

    Reality: The lights go out again while you are reading a book or watching TV making you get up and wave you arms around to turn them back on. You program them to stay on for two hours each time they sense motion, negating any savings. They now come on for two hours every time the cat creeps around at night. You spend hours upon hours vainly trying to “pet proof” sensors around a pet that climbs on top of refrigerators, counters and chair backs. Now the lights frequently don’t come on at all because they’ve been masked so much they see almost nothing. You would limit the lights to a time frame but then they would never come when you get up in the middle of the night. One night you wake up to all the lights cycling on and off because one unknown device failed somewhere sending a signal for all lights to go on, while the main logic software keeps turning them off again because it’s night. Your wife wakes up and screams “I’ve had enough! I want that #@&#ing crap out of my house!! You paid through the nose for these expensive devices, spent far too many weary hours trying to program out all the pitfalls, then end up giving it all away to some other sucker just to reinstall basic mechanical switches again.
    (Thank you … Insteon!!)

    Dream: lights come on when you enter the room with your iPhone or wearing your Apple watch.
    Reality: They don’t come on if you leave your phone in the other room or get up in the middle of the night while you watch is charging … or suffer radio interference … or your AppleTV loses connection (Mavericks issue) …. or a myriad of other scenarios. Having BTooth enabled drains your iPhone battery much faster.

    Simplicity rules in homes for a damn good reason.

    Apple’s Homekit is just a sales gimmick and will make NO difference to the human dilemma. It’s another vain promise of utopia. The sad truth is, the more complicated, the harder it is to diagnose and fix … so K.I.S.S. remains the best rule.

    As well, Apple has a historically well documented horrific reputation with cross hardware integration in anything beyond iTunes and the iPod (IE: iTools, .Mac, iSync, MobileMe, iCloud, Automator [AppleScript], iOS8/Mavericks WiFi/Bluetooth). Install Homekit devices this year and you’ll be lucky if their still supported in three years or less, just like my “unsupported” 2012 Snow Leopard iMac.

    ps. I wrote this in the hope of saving even one person the money, time, and grief, buying into automated devices and Apple’s lofty MobileMe promises of “everything synchronized” have caused me. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether any Mac zealots opt to take offence or think they are wiser, so save your breath.

    1. Funny. I’ve had Insteon in two different houses for going on ten years, and I’ve never had any of the problems or issues you describe. Of course, I never used motion sensors because it was clear to me that there’s no way to build automated logic around something as unpredictable as whether you want the lights to be on – or not.

      The problem with a system like Insteon is that it’s infinitely configurable. It will be as good (or bad) as the person designing and programming the system. If you try to make it do something it isn’t practical to do, then it’s going to be frustrating. It sounds to me like you did exactly that.

      In my ten years of personal experience, the benefits and advantages of having a (mildly) automated home has far, far outweighed the disadvantages. My wife would totally a agree.

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