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Other trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not. Flex Care Hotline 855.362.6464 Flex Support (855.362.6464) or 888.273.7876 (Option 1, then Option 2) Crestron Home Support 888.273.7876 (Option 1, then Option 3). Crestron Certified Drivers are available for AV receivers, Blu-ray® disc players, cable boxes, displays, pool controllers, projectors, and video servers.

Crestron Others Driver Interview

Getting a Crestron Home Driver into Development

We regularly get contact from integrators and manufacturers about writing drivers; usually an email that looks something like this:

'We need a Crestron Home driver for the 'ACME Super-Deluxe Awesomeness'. It's used by everybody in my area and it'd be amazing if we had support for this in Crestron Home. Please let me know if you can do it and how much it will cost.'

Crestron home drivers

I've written the same reply to so many of these emails that it seems like a good idea to give the nuts and bolt of the answer here. So - here we go...

The bottom line - there is no short answer here, as whether one can write an integration driver for any home automation system is partly a technical question, partly commercial, and sometimes even touches on policy for the platform. The questions that need to be answered (in no particular order) are:

Crestron Audio Driver

Crestron
  1. Does the device have an API (Application Programming Interface)?
    Fundamentally - if the 'ACME Super Deluxe Awesomeness' doesn't have an integration API - i.e. there is no programmatic way of controlling the device, then you can probably guess where that leaves us. It's true that some, very simple, devices don't need an API - perhaps they're just controlled by a simple relay - but that leads to a different question (later) and this perhaps a very small edge case, in terms of what we're talking about here.
  2. Is that API publicly available?
    Many devices have APIs, but they're not all published, and sometimes they are actively kept hidden - such as in the case of Apple's MediaRemote protocol. Using the Apple example is intentional, as we've shown that this isn't necessarily a barrier to getting a working integration module, but the point here is - it makes the task considerably harder. This isn't related to the functions of the device either. Something like a power distribution unit may have very simple functionality - switching an outlet on or off - but to make that happen may require complex authentication or involve encryption to avoid someone switching things on and off when they shouldn't. Having the API/protocol documented is a key consideration here.
  3. Is the API any good?
    Not all control protocols are created equal. For every well designed, well implemented and well document protocol, there are many more that are badly designed, poorly implemented and the documentation is vague or just plain wrong. The better the API, the easier the task of implementing it for Crestron Home.
  4. What's the development effort?
    This is a function of different aspects but, primarily, how complicated the API is to implement and how much functionality is required. APIs requiring OAuth or encryption will be more challenging than one that uses a simple ASCII CR/LF delimitered protocol. A device that requires only requires turning on and off will be much simpler that a device that has complex audio DSP control. We can only estimate development effort once we have visibility of the API and an unambiguous specification of what is required - but this will generally be measured in man-days of effort.
    These points have all been technical in nature, but that isn't the only consideration when we schedule work for a new driver.
  5. Is development equipment available?
    It's been done before, but writing an integration module against documentation only is a gamble. Inevitably, the first time you fire up a new driver you immediately find a fundamental issue with the communications. Having equipment to test against is essential. That doesn't necessarily mean you need a complete system - being able to test against the communications board of a display may be sufficient (as long as it can function without the glass). Some manufacturers are happy to provide equipment which makes things much easier. Some manufacturers aren't quite as accommodating - those manufacturers don't get a driver.
    There is a middle ground where people offer to 'be the tester'. As helpful as this is, it's far less efficient than having the device in the development environment. During a day in development, we may iterate through 20 or 30 changes and being able to debug directly, watch the low level communications and identify defects in real-time is the only way to go. When it comes to beta-testing, then we welcome integrators who can really put a device driver through its paces.
  6. Who's covering the cost?
    One way or another, we need to cover the financial cost of the development effort (and testing, any peripheral equipment, rent, power, etc.) and this is where we can take two different approaches.
    Our preferred approach is that we develop a driver, bear the cost of the development, and then recoup that investment through incremental sales over time. For this approach to be viable, we need to be reasonably confident that the finished driver will sell in sufficient quantity to - at least - break even, and if the product is particularly niche, or the development effort is likely to be very high with only limited sales, then the driver is probably not a good candidate for our work pipeline.
    The other common option is for a manufacturer to bear the cost of development. They naturally have a vested interest in having their device supported in Crestron Home so that would open sales opportunities that would otherwise be closed. This then means that the module is free to use to integrators.
    The least common option is for an integrator to cover the full cost so that they can have some sort of exclusivity over a particular device to create a unique proposition for their clients. The risk being that someone else could take a similar view and undermine that exclusivity.
  7. Does it 'fit'?
    This is a particular consideration for Crestron Home. Crestron Home uses the 'Crestron Certified Driver' framework for device drivers which you could look at as a driver being block of a certain shape that will only fit into the hole of the corresponding shape in Crestron Home. So - displays have one shape, cable boxes have a different shape and some things simply don't have a shape at all. To make things more confusing, Crestron Home does support some device types, such as lighting, HVAC or media streamers that aren't available for driver developers and have to be 'baked into' the Crestron Home product. Lutron and Sonos are examples of this.
    When we're looking at developing a driver, we can only do this for driver types that are supported, or try to be creative and fit an unsupported type into one of the supported types - for example - our NVR drivers are masquerading to look like cable boxes from Crestron Home's point of view.
    Crestron Home is expanding the list of driver types all the time, so this constraint is gradually diminishing, and we also have a special device type called 'Extension Devices' which opens up the opportunities for this that can't yet be accommodated by one of the standard types, with the caveat that Crestron Home doesn't really integrate these devices other than providing simple commands in sequences and via the UI.
  8. Timing?
    Sometimes the timing just isn't right. You may need a driver for a project right now and we may be able to develop a driver quickly enough for that need; but if Crestron have already got a driver in their development pipeline and, say, it gets released shortly after, the market for the driver vanishes over night. There's certainly something to be said for being first, but this is another angle that needs consideration.

If the answers to these items are generally positive, or if you'd like to discuss the possibility of having a driver developed for Crestron Home, then we would love to hear from you. Just contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Crestron Others Drivers

Crestron Certified Drivers - Fire TV 4K CEC - no control

Crestron Others Driver Training

CrestronCrestron Others Driver

Crestron Others Driver App

#232755

i can control a 4th generation Apple TV OK CCD, but not the Fire TV
serial CEC commands are going back & forth, but i don't have control
CEC is turned on in the Fire TV
anyone make this work?
mark
#232756

Mark,

The Fire TV uses RF type commands but can be controlled with the aid of an outboard “FLIRC” Widget, which is inserted into the Fire TV’s USB Port and provides IR type commands to be utilized.

Available on the Interweb. The FLIRC provides “Learning Capability” for IR commands and you essentially replicate the commands utilizing any remote that has the appropriate button types, i.e., Up/Dn/Left/Right/Enter, Menu, Play/Pause.

Again, search for “FLIRC” widget on the internet.

Good Luck.

M S Moran

toggle quoted messageShow quoted text

From: [email protected] <[email protected]> On Behalf Of mark kaye
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:17 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: [crestron] Crestron Certified Drivers - Fire TV 4K CEC - no control

i can control a 4th generation Apple TV OK CCD, but not the Fire TV
serial CEC commands are going back & forth, but i don't have control
CEC is turned on in the Fire TV
anyone make this work?
mark

#232757

Plus 1 for flirc great little device
Regards
Bruce
toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
On 14 Nov 2019, at 18:50, Michael S Moran <[email protected]> wrote:

Mark,

The Fire TV uses RF type commands but can be controlled with the aid of an outboard “FLIRC” Widget, which is inserted into the Fire TV’s USB Port and provides IR type commands to be utilized.

Available on the Interweb. The FLIRC provides “Learning Capability” for IR commands and you essentially replicate the commands utilizing any remote that has the appropriate button types, i.e., Up/Dn/Left/Right/Enter, Menu, Play/Pause.

Again, search for “FLIRC” widget on the internet.

Good Luck.

M S Moran

From:[email protected] <[email protected]>On Behalf Of mark kaye
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:17 PM
To:[email protected]
Subject: [crestron] Crestron Certified Drivers - Fire TV 4K CEC - no control

i can control a 4th generation Apple TV OK CCD, but not the Fire TV
serial CEC commands are going back & forth, but i don't have control
CEC is turned on in the Fire TV
anyone make this work?
mark

#232758
Edited

i must be slow today - sorry
where would i get the IR commands for the Fire TV to load?
mark
update: OK, i see i can use any IR commands i choose & map them in the software - very cool!!
#232760

still confused...
FLIRC is a USB dongle - only micro USB on the 4K Fire TV
i would need some sort of breakout cable to allow power via the micro USB port & the dongle on a standard USB?
mark
#232761

This is what I use on my FireTV at home https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KPPWRQH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
toggle quoted messageShow quoted text

On Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 3:42 PM mark kaye <[email protected]> wrote:
still confused...
FLIRC is a USB dongle - only micro USB on the 4K Fire TV
i would need some sort of breakout cable to allow power via the micro USB port & the dongle on a standard USB?
mark

--

G Miller
G Miller Designs and IntegrationPros
(314) 550-2566
www.gmillerdesigns.com
www.integrationpros.org
Skype: cidocs
#232762

Mark,

I have the 4K version, which does have a standard USB port.

toggle quoted messageShow quoted text

From: [email protected] <[email protected]> On Behalf Of mark kaye
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2019 4:43 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: [crestron] Crestron Certified Drivers - Fire TV 4K CEC - no control

still confused...
FLIRC is a USB dongle - only micro USB on the 4K Fire TV
i would need some sort of breakout cable to allow power via the micro USB port & the dongle on a standard USB?
mark

#232765

It works very well, for me, so far. Good luck.

Best regards,
Michael S. Moran
toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
On Nov 14, 2019, at 4:14 PM, mark kaye <[email protected]> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

i must be slow today - sorry
where would i get the IR commands for the Fire TV to load?
mark
update: OK, i see i can use any IR commands i choose & map them in the software - very cool!!
#233132

FLIRC - how did you manage long presses?
i.e. fast forward through multiple speeds
mark
#233136

CEC control of Fire TV 4K sticks using the 'Crestron Certified Drivers Video Server CED v1.1' has been rock solid for me. In one configuration I have the FireTV 4K installed in a DMC-4KZ-HD in a DM-MD8x8 and another directly in a DM-MD6x4. I have noticed that if FireTV 4K does stop responding, you need to power cycle the FireTV 4K stick to get it to respond. I use up, down, left, right, select, exit, home, and menu.
#233137

Jnardone_PDX +1 for me as the 4K FireTV stick has been working great over CEC with my 8x8, and I have the same occasional problem with it locking up and needing to be rebooted. Searching the internet, it looks like FireTV's are known to occasionally stop responding over CEC for some reason. I wasn't sold on it being a FireTV issue thinking it might be a Crestron issue but I wound up confirming its the FireTV by waiting until mine locked up and then moving the HDMI cable over to a 2nd FireTV and Crestron controlled the other unit just fine, which proved it was the FireTV.
#233138

If you simply unplugged and plugged the HDMI back into the original FireTV it also may have worked because it should renegotiate the CEC handshake. I used a FireTV 4K at home from when it was released, until a few weeks ago when I replaced it with a Roku Ultra, and it made me realize how slow and buggy the FireTV products are. I didn't bother integrating it with Crestron at home, because I don't have DM, and it still had to be rebooted pretty often. The device isn't even powerful enough to stream HD videos from remote Plex servers.
#233139

Well, the FTV is fine for me for some basic stuff mostly for the kids. Content is included in Amazon Prime and the device is cheap. Never had an issue with lock-ups (also 1st gen FTV). So no need to switch for me.
And as long as there are customers who would like to integrate it, it will be a topic to be discussed.

toggle quoted messageShow quoted text

Am 18.12.2019 14:54:40 schrieb Steve McNally <[email protected]>:

If you simply unplugged and plugged the HDMI back into the original FireTV it also may have worked because it should renegotiate the CEC handshake. I used a FireTV 4K at home from when it was released, until a few weeks ago when I replaced it with a Roku Ultra, and it made me realize how slow and buggy the FireTV products are. I didn't bother integrating it with Crestron at home, because I don't have DM, and it still had to be rebooted pretty often. The device isn't even powerful enough to stream HD videos from remote Plex servers.
#233140

I also switched from a FireTV to a Roku Ultra after changes killed the really nice module from the files section for the FireTV.
The Crestron certified module works great. It is fast and reliable. I couldn't say the same for the Roku modules I tried from the file section. That being said I am using one of the modules from the file section with the Crestron certified module for direct app selection so, for example, a single button press can navigate to Youtube.
I remember that there was talk of the Crestron certified module being updated to support app selection but, since what I'm doing is working perfectly, I haven't kept up to see if there is a newer version.
Hope this helps
Jay
toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
From: 'Steve McNally' <[email protected]>
Sent: 12/18/2019 6:54:30 AM
Subject: Re: [crestron] Crestron Certified Drivers - Fire TV 4K CEC - no control
If you simply unplugged and plugged the HDMI back into the original FireTV it also may have worked because it should renegotiate the CEC handshake. I used a FireTV 4K at home from when it was released, until a few weeks ago when I replaced it with a Roku Ultra, and it made me realize how slow and buggy the FireTV products are. I didn't bother integrating it with Crestron at home, because I don't have DM, and it still had to be rebooted pretty often. The device isn't even powerful enough to stream HD videos from remote Plex servers.
#233160

FireTV's do have a few glitches that require reboot from time to time (not related to controlling them). I have several FireTV 4K's, and I don't notice too big of a speed problem with them. The Fire Stick is definately slower than the standard FireTV box, are you referring to the stick when doing a comparison, or is Roku that much smoother (even compared to the normal FireTV box)? Having not used a Roku before, I've not compared them. It's a shame that Amazon dropped the ADB support, I did not hear about this (that sucks!).
The reason I think the FireTV still has an edge is that you can sideload android .apk's to them still, so they are widely popular for cheap Kodi boxes. My only problem is they are a bit short on memory. 8GB doesn't go far when you start installing a bunch of apps or have Kodi installed. Roku's are very popular, but not very open or flexible to other things with them. Unless they've changed, they were way more locked down that the alternatives (other than Apple) and so were not popular in the 'alternative use' market. FireTV's problem is they were great when they were released several years ago, but the spec's haven't kept pace. The newer versions are dopping ethernet ports, and they are trying to add Alexa in instead of making a version with a faster processor or more memory. I want something similar to the FireTV 4K, but faster, double the memory, and keep the built-in ethernet connector. They can keep Alexa out of it for all I care, that is not what I want in a streaming box. I also prefer an actual box that can sit on a shelf or near network connectors, and my AV receiver, and not 'hang off the back of the TV from the HDMI connector (waiting to fall out).
I would probably try out an NVidia shield as my next box, just for the openness of it, and I hear they are pretty fast running. I would hope they have more than 8GB of memory too, and they still allow .apk sideloads.
--
Jason Mussetter

Control Systems Designer

Mussetter Programming Services
www.mpsav.com

#233163

I wasn't talking about the 4K stick, I was talking about THIS original Fire TV 4K. The Roku Ultra blows it out of the water.
#233570

I might have spoke too soon about generally solid control of FireTV 4K over CEC. I was testing the latest DB (crestron database 86.00.002.00 & device database 112.00.001.00) and found the error log filling up from the Crestron Certified Video Server CED v1.1 driver module. Functionality doesn't appear to be impacted. I'm using the FireTV 4K driver Amazon Fire TV 4K_2.04.002.0031CEC. The FireTV 4K stick is plugged into a DMC-4KZ-CO-HD in a DM-MD8X8 (CPU3) and has the latest digitalmedia firmware 3.02.12.
Log File filling up with 'Error ...CrestronCertifiedDriversVideoServerModule at line 945: Invalid remove length: 0 String length : 0'
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