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How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/06/2016 12:32 PM

I have enjoyed following CR4 for several years now but this is my first post. I cannot find a satisfactory answer to this problem on the internet so I thought the resourceful folks on here might be able to help. Here goes:

A relative in North Carolina has ALS. She has very limited movement of her hands and can no longer use the remote control to change the channels on her TV. She has specific shows she likes to watch at specific times. There are aids who come in several times a day but sometimes they are not right there to change the channel for her.

I called Charter Cable, her provider, to see if they had a cable box that could be scheduled to change channels at particular times. They said they do not.

I also called Sling Box after reading an online post indicating that one of their models might be able to do this. They said it cannot.

Shopping for a remote that could be paired with her cable box also turned up no products that could be scheduled to change channels.

Any suggestions for a reasonable solution that her son or daughter could set up would be appreciated. Thanks.

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#1

Re: How to automatically change channels on a cable box

10/06/2016 12:46 PM

How is her speach they have a voice activated remote.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: How to automatically change channels on a cable box

10/06/2016 1:18 PM

Good thought. Her voice is weak but this could be a fallback solution.

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#3

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/06/2016 3:16 PM
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#4

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 8:22 AM

Check out some of the devices here...just google "Assistive Technology" for more.

http://www.infogrip.com/

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#5

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 8:26 AM

I have seen giant remotes that may be easier to use.

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#6

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 8:40 AM

One thought would be to record a lot of the shows ahead of time. Then instead of changing channels she would just need to use the 'play next' button; though, maybe there is a continuous play option.

This would have been easier with a VCR, but there should be an option like this with her cable box or Tevo.

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#7

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 8:53 AM

Think about changing this person's system from cable to a satellite feed. All of the satellite control systems allow for the setting of many timers to switch to a particular channel at a given time. They could easily be set well enough in advance by the care givers.

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#8

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 9:38 AM

We have installed flatscreen TVs to function as industrial display panels. The TVs were sealed inside an enclosure with glass front for viewing. Since there was no easy way to access the TV buttons we installed an infrared USB transmitter and receiver controlled by a computer.

If you have a computer and suitable programming skills you can schedule the TV and channel to come on at certain times per her viewing schedule

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 2:32 PM

After additional thought this could be a valuable tool. What the infirm crave most is human interaction, especially by a loved one. However with today’s busy lifestyle and family members separated by distance, providing personal attention can be quite demanding.

Instead of “automatically” changing channels, the computer with infrared transmitter can be accessed remotely by the family members. A webcam can be connected to allow visual communication with the infirm, and everyone takes their scheduled shift to login. The family member can remotely change the channel and virtually watch & discuss the program with the infirm (which will be much more interesting than just discussing the weather). Everyone can assist in comforting the infirm regardless of the distance.

Hmmm…maybe I have found my next business venture.

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#9

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 1:34 PM

I have a Sky TV system that can be set up to do such without too much manipulation. It depends on how bad the ALS is, and also if the shows are at regular times. It also matters if a person wants to watch stuff 'live'. This is not possible without some degree of movement in thew hands, though as somebody (sorry, I forget who) had mentioned it is possible to get large size remotes.

Another possibility is to install a computer linked to the TV. With remote access enabled it may be possible for you to change channels for your relative.

One more possibility is to contact a local rehab fascility for people with disabilities. There are some amazing gadgets available, and they might know of something that can help. I'm thinking perhaps foot operated, but any muscular movement can be used to trigger a switch.

That's probably all useless, but hopefuilly your post will yield a workable result. Good luck with finding a solution. It would be great if you can let us all know how the matter is sorted (and I'm sure it will be).

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#11

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 4:41 PM

Don't know if this will work for you, since I dumped the cable box years ago for satellite, so I am a bit unsure of the cable box options. On the satellite box with DVR, if you try to record 2 shows simultaneously, both are recorded, but one of them is also sent to the (1) primary output (the TV), so if you set up to record 2 shows every time she wanted to watch a channel, and set the channel desired to the primary output, not (2) secondary, it would be on the TV as it recorded. These DVR's hold probably a months worth of hour long shows before needing erased. Just go in and delete every so often.

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#12

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/07/2016 9:32 PM

If you have the skills you can open the remote and solder a thin cable to the channel change push button connections on the PCB. Indeed i have found that sometimes the tracks from the switch have pads that can be drilled and the cable soldered there. Exit the cable from the body of the remote and attach a TASH switch. The TASH switch can be placed anywhere that she has movement. Attachment via Velcro, safety pin, ribbon or cord etc. I admit i haven't done this with a TV remote but i have done several toy car remotes using 4 cables with 3.5mm jack connections. This is so that faulty switches can be replaced by carers. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=tash+switch&client=firefox-b-ab&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1xaHehcrPAhWGrJQKHU7JC7sQsAQIHA&biw=749&bih=631 Jim

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#13

Re: How To Automatically Change Channels On A Cable Box

10/26/2016 1:34 AM

To do it on your own, I'd contact a home automation company.

==

To do it with a lot of work, This device: http://www.globalcache.com/products/gc-100/models1/ plus checking to see if the IR codes are in the database.

A PC running Labview. http://store.digilentinc.com/labview-home-bundle/ It's expensive for commercial use, but this isn't commercial.

Plus what else might be needed (connection to internet, USB to serial adapter - maybe)

Programming. LabVEW is a graphical programming language.

I could see something like a big foot switch for on/off

It's really easy to turn a program into a webserver, so you could change from afar. It may be possible to integrate a webcam. So, it could be autonomous and as well.

To look to see if IR codes are available, you'll need a real model number.

It's off the mark in many ways.

==

Hacking a remote to make huge buttons isn't a bad idea.

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