...is a Homebridge plugin for controlling iTunes and associated AirPlay speakers with HomeKit and Siri.
Mainly, it makes it possible for you control your music system with Siri or via HomeKit scenes. Besides just play and pause, there are some handy features that make this particularly easy to do. It is geared toward audio uses, but will work in most cases to control video as well.
This plugin requires a Mac running iTunes, and presently requires Homebridge to be running on that Mac. Already running Homebridge on a Raspberry Pi? No problem: remember that you can run more than one instance of Homebridge on a network, just install Node on your iTunes Mac and run Homebridge there, being sure to change the
"username" field in
config.json to be unique.
Node v4 or greater is required, and Homebridge v0.3 or higher.
sudo npm install -g homebridge, See the Homebridge project site for more information, and to configure Homebridge
sudo npm install -g homebridge-itunes
- Configure the platform...
This can be done using one of two methods:
Hesperus menu-driven configuration
Using the Hesperus app, configure Homebridge by tapping the gear icon in the upper-right, selecting "Accessories", and swiping to the left on the Homebridge device and tapping "Config". From there, you can set various configuration options and either add all iTunes/AirPlay devices or add and remove devices selectively.
Manually add to
Add the following platform definition to
...and then restart Homebridge. Your iTunes application and all your AirPlay destinations will be added as HomeKit accessories
To play music, switch the iTunes accessory "On". To change the AirPlay speaker destination(s), turn on the individual AirPlay speakers (the Mac itself will show up as "Computer"). If you are using Eve, you can control the volume of each AirPlay speaker or the iTunes overall volume (not your Mac's volume) via the "Audio Volume" characteristic.
If you turn on the iTunes accessory or any AirPlay accessory and there is no music playing, the plugin will start playing from the "Music" library. You can customize what plays by default by creating a playlist in iTunes named "AutoPlay"--this can be a regular playlist or a Smart Playlist. If an AutoPlay playlist is found, it will be played by default instead of "Music".
Also of note:
- If there is no music playing and you turn on an individual audio destination (not the main iTunes accessory), the plugin will first turn off all the other audio destinations and so music will play only from the one you turned on. If you turn on a single audio destination and music is already playing, the other destinations will be left on. This sounds convoluted, but should be very natural in normal use.
- If you turn off the last speaker destination (AirPlay or built-in), it will pause the playback automatically.
Track Skipper and Album Skipper
HomeKit has no built-in controls for media playback, and therefore neither does Siri. This plugin includes some custom characteristics to skip tracks and control playback, but these won't work with Siri.
So, there are two "On/Off" switches called "Track Skipper" and "Album Skipper". This lets you tell Siri, "Turn on the Track Skipper" to skip a track and "Turn on the Album Skipper" to skip to the next album. Not quite as natural as saying "Skip this album", but it'll have to do for now.
Use "speakers" in name for Siri control
To switch on/off airplay destinations with Siri, you may want to rename the AirPlay devices that this plugin creates, and add "Speaker" or "Speakers" to the name. If you name them "Music", for instance, Siri will think you're talking about your device's built-in music player.
(Note that the previous guidance about using service groups was either incorrect or has become a bad idea!)
"Now Playing" video feed
A new feature is the ability to have a "Now Playing" video feed that looks like a camera in HomeKit. To do this, you will need the homebridge-camera-ffmpeg plugin, and add a camera definition to it that looks like the following:
"name": "Now Playing",
"source": "-re -loop 1 -framerate 1 -r 1 -i /tmp/homebridge-itunes-nowplaying.jpg",
(Note that for this to work, you will need ffmpeg installed with libfreetype support--if you are using Homebrew, you can get this by running
brew install ffmpeg --with-freetype)
Then, add the camera device to HomeKit (all camera devices have to be added individually, they can't be attached to a bridge device). This is an experimental feature so please provide feedback!
With the latest Homebridge API, devices are added persistently, meaning that uninstalling the
homebridge-itunes module will not remove the devices from Homebridge. To remove the devices from HomeKit, either use the configuration mechanism in Hesperus described above, or manually remove the iTunes platform from your
config.json file and restart Homebridge. After this, you can uninstall the module if you like (but it won't really do anything at this point).
CPU Usage High
It is believed that most of the high-CPU issues reported were actually due to bugs in the dependent AppleScript parsing modules in previous versions. As of 0.2.0-alpha1, there is only one AppleScript library being used and it is a new updated version which is not believed to have these problems. Be sure to update to 0.2.0-alpha1 or later if you are experiencing these problems.
That said, there may be high CPU usage in some applications. As near as I can tell so far, this is a result of launching the
osascript executable each time the plugin polls iTunes for its status. Since this is the only way I have to access iTunes and the
osascript integration is provided in an upstream module, there is a limit to what I can do. At present, if this is a problem for you, your best course would be to use the Hesperus app to configure a longer polling interval in the iTunes platform preferences. (You can also do this without Hesperus by adding a
poll_interval value in the platform in
config.json, using a milliseconds value such as
5000 for five seconds.) The default is 2 seconds, so try a higher value.
Crashes on startup
Previous crash-on-startup issues were due to version mismatches after upgrades. This is believed to be resolved as of version 0.2.0-alpha1. Please upgrade to 0.2.0-alpha1 or higher if you are experiencing this problem, and if you have already done so, please file an issue.