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directv-control

Web browser control of DirecTV set top boxes

This simple project was motivated by the needs of a friend and neighbor -- Henry Evans (r4h.org)

Henry is a mute quadraplegic whose primary means of control (and communication) is via a computer where he can move the mouse via eye tracking and click a mouse.

In a conversation it came out that he would like to be able to control the TV from his computer (instead of being reliant on someone to do it for him). Actually, we had tried to set up something like this a few years ago, but with an older set top box, and I wasn't able to find a way to do it at the time.

This time they have more modern set top box and I was able to find some documentation on controlling the set top box via HTTP commands (a copy is included in this repository).

The result is a simple web page that sends HTTP commands to control a DirecTV set top box located on your local subnet. It is designed with simple, large (easy to target) buttons allow you to send almost any command the remote can.

Setup

Clone this repo (or just copy the files) into a directory on your local computer.

You'll need the IP address of your set top box, you can find this in Settings. I suggest you edit directv.html and save it there so you do not have to reenter it each time you load the file. I'd also suggest you configure your router to give your set top box a static IP assignment so it does not change.

Important You must enable remote control of your set top box for this to work; by default it is disabled. See section 2.3 of the enclosed manual for details.

On Henry's box it was at Menu -> System Setup -> Whole-Home; set “External Access" to “Allow”. There are probably other options as well, you can choose to allow them if you want.

Supported Models

We've only tried this on one set top box model: HR24/200, with software version 0xb08. According the manual, which is dated 2010, it should work with HD receiver models H21, HR20 and newer.

Limitations

This does not let you control the TV itself (only the set top box). As such, you cannot adjust the volume or turn the TV on or off. This is unfortunate, but still quite valuable without this ability.

I suspect it might be possible to do so via HDMI-CEC, but I haven't found the necessary documentation. It would also require the appropriate support from the TV. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.

Usage

After copying the files, just open the directv.html file in a browser. Set the IP address of your set top box (if not already saved in the file) and you're good to go.

Customization

The web page is very simple by design and should be easy to modify. Open the file ```directv.html`` in a text editor, make any changes you like, save it and reload in your browser.

Adding / Removing Keys From the Remote

Simply edit the array remote, using the values from table 3-10 in the included documentation. E.g., to add a button which sends a press of the green button, just add this line. The value for command comes from the table, the label is what is displayed in the browser.

{ command: 'green',   label: 'Green',   row: 1, column: 1 },

The row and column entries determine where the button is displayed on the screen.

Be very careful with typos and if the page doesn't load or doesn't work, check for things like a missing comma at the end of each line or a unmatched quote.

Adding / Removing Channel Buttons

To add buttons which go to a specific channel, edit the array channels. E.g., to add a button to go to HBO on channel 501, add a line like this.

{ name: 'HBO', channel: 501 },

To change the number of colums of channel buttons (4 by default in the included layout), edit the line like this to have as many max-content entries as you would like columns of channel buttons.

grid-template-columns: max-content max-content max-content max-content;