Can we invoke Monocle on Fire TV - without asking alexa to do so via speech?

  • Hi all,

    I use Home Assistant and as such, try to automate as much as I can.

    I’m trying to use my doorbell as a trigger to:
    a) pause tv if playing via the fire tv stick - done…
    b) load monocle to display my driveway camera - this is the part i need help on…

    Is the only way to use this service, to ask alexa via “speech” to show the driveway, or is it possible to load it another way?

    I am able to use Home Assistant to load many other “apps” on the fire tv, such as netflix etc. - is this possible with monocle too?



  • @dasmith83 ,

    Not currently. Monocle is implemented as an Alexa Skill which is not actually an app that gets installed on the FireTV/Alexa device. We do have plans to build a separate installable app for the FireTV where you can access your Monocle defined cameras directly from the FireTV – but sadly it does not exist yet. Once we have an app available, we can certainly discuss/explore API capabilities for the interactions you are looking for.

    Thanks, Robert

  • Thanks for the reply. OK - another question to perhaps achieve the same end result…

    What about using a routine to launch the monocle skill?

    On an echo show, or a fire TV (ideally)?

  • @dasmith83

    Unfortunately the only (current) method to invoke an Alexa Smart Home Camera Skill is via the voice commands on an Alexa supported devices (or via touch input on the new Alexa Echo Show 5). Alexa does not currently provide any external means to invoke a camera skill — at least not that I am aware of.

    I don’t believe that Alexa routines currently support any actions to show camera streams on devices. I briefly tried to create a routine but there were no options for camera devices. If you find a way, please let me know.

    Thanks, Robert

  • OK thanks Robert. At least for now i can trigger with speech - this is a great little solution here 🙂

    I’m going to explore the use of notifications for android TV via Home Assistant and see if there is a way to send a notification (which sits on top of any app running anyway) with a still image from the Hikvision camera at the driveway to at least show a still of who is there automatically…not sure if it will work, but i’ll investigate this route for now.

    I’ll keep an eye for you Fire TV app though, as that would be spot on! Thanks again.

  • @dasmith83

    Let me know if you run across anything interesting with the notifications route. Alexa notifications are something I have intended to look further into for possible integration at some point. In some future context, I would love to be able to receive an ONVIF notification from a camera and then forward that to the Alexa for potential quick access to the alerting camera. I don’t think that can be done today, but it would be a great use case.

    Thanks, Robert

  • Hi Robert,

    Some success 🙂

    I’ve installed “Notifications for Fire TV” on my two Fire TV sticks, one 4k and the other an older non-4k version. Within Home Assistant, I’ve added the component “nfandroidtv”, which then allows me to create a script to send a snapshot still image of the camera of my choice, to the fire TV of my choice and it can be customised to display in different positions on the screen, custom text depending on the reason for the notification etc.

    At present, I’ve just created an automation so when the doorbell is pressed, it sends a notification with a still image from the driveway camera, to both Fire TV sticks.

    It can pause what you’re watching if desired too.

    Not quite a live stream, but it’s better than nothing.

    BTW - the above just uses the ISAPI still image URL direct from my NVR, so for me it doesn’t need monocle as i’m using a home automation system to send the notification.

    Of course if i then say “alexa show me the driveway” etc. it does then utilise this great monocle tool to provide the live stream.

    Hope that’s of use?


  • @dasmith83

    Glad you have found some level of success. We are planning image capturing via ONVIF support in future versions, so sending that as a notification to an Alexa device would be interesting. What does the notification look like on your device? photo?

    Thanks, Robert

  • file-7.jpeg

    So this is a “notification for fire tv” notification, sent by Home Assistant. Static image, not sure i have any control on it’s size atm. but it’s better than nothing for now.

  • That is pretty sweet. Which doorbell are you using with your automation? I think we could capture the camera image and handle the notification once we implement ONVIF in the Monocle Gateway software. The trigger would then be the issue to work out. ONVIF does support some event notifications, I have a Hikvision doorbell camera here – I’ll have to see if the ring is an event that can get forwarded. Apart from that for custom automation, we could certainly provide some API call to trigger the alert. It would be nice if the notification could be clicked to open the skill and stream the camera – I’ll look into the notifications API more and see what might be possible.

    Thanks, Robert

  • @dasmith83

    I just realized … this may not be a true Alexa notification using the Amazon Alexa Notification APIs. This may just be a regular Android App for FireTV. Not sure.

  • I’m using the Ring Doorbell 2 - Home Assistant have a “component” which links to their API…it brings with it, “doorbell press”, “motion trigger”, but only the “last recorded video”, no live stream is available via this API as far as I know. You also get things like WiFi signal strength and battery life too.

    So currently, my trigger is the bell being pressed, HA detecting that, and then HA pulls the Hikvision feed for the driveway as a static image and sends it to the Fire TV via the “nfandroidtv” component.

    I’ve no idea how the various components do all the clever stuff, i just know how to script it all in yaml to do what i want lol. If you wanted to try and explore more with the details, I’m sure if you posted on the HA forums they’d be helpful - the HA community is amazing…some really willing and clever guys there.

    Regarding your second post - the FireTV is capable of displaying the Ring bell live stream, but only by using the utterance “Alexa, show me the front door” etc.
    and as you know, the FireTV can display the Hikvision camera, via Monocle by saying “show me the driveway” etc.

    My personal requirement, is to be able to load a camera stream via Monocle without having to do so via voice…if it was possible to create an Alexa Routine, which starts the monocle stream, that would be perfect, at least for my requirement anyway 🙂

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