HolidayBuyer's Guide

Make your own Netflix button with the Pebblebee Stone

Build a Netflix button? Nonsense! Use a smart button and the Web service IFTTT to make your own in minutes.

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Photo by Taylor Martin/CNET

Back in September, Netflix released instructions for what it called The Switch -- and what everyone else referred to as "The Netflix and Chill Button."

In essence, it's a DIY button that dims the lights, silences your phone, powers on the TV and launches the Netflix app. All of this happens with the press of a button.

The company provided the schematics and the source code for the button so anyone who wanted could make a Netflix button for themselves. That said, the instructions require basic coding knowledge, soldering skills and assembly or fabrication of the button housing.

You can make your own Netflix button with a lot less hassle, however. Here's how.

What you will need

While you won't need a soldering iron or a 3D printer to make your own Netflix button, you will need some smart lights that are compatible with the Web service IFTTT, a Harmony smart hub or smart switch and an IFTTT account. Optionally, you can choose to pick up a Pebblebee Stone, Flic or Bttn.

Also, before starting, make sure all the necessary IFTTT channels are active. From ifttt.com, click Channels in the upper right corner and search for the brand of your smart bulb or smart switch and click on the icon. Click Connect, login to your account for the smart device and authorize the connection.

How to set up your own Netflix button

The first step to creating your own Netflix button is to create a series of IFTTT recipes, all with the same trigger.

Before that, however, you need to select what you will use as the trigger. For this example, I'm going to repurpose the Pebblebee Stone as The Switch.

  • Start by creating a new recipe. Go to ifttt.com from your browser, login and click on your username. In the dropdown menu, click Create.
  • Click This to advance and search for Pebblebee. Click on the Pebblebee channel icon and click Stone press for the Trigger.
  • Select which Stone and press type (press or hold) you want to activate the recipe, then click Create Trigger.
  • Click That to continue, and for the Action Channel in this example, we're going to automate the most important part of any movie night: dimming the lights. Search for your smart bulb channel -- in our case, Lifx -- and click on the channel icon.
  • Select Change color of lights and choose which lights the recipe will affect. Select the color and brightness you want the lights to change to, whether they should turn on first and how long the transition duration should be.
  • Click Create Action, followed by Create Recipe to complete the recipe.

This will just be one recipe in a series that you will need to create to setup your own Netflix button. Some ideas for additional recipes are:

  • Use the Harmony channel to power on the TV
  • Use the Android Text channel to text Dominos to order pizza
  • Use the Nest channel to raise the temperature 1 or 2 degrees
  • Use the Android Device channel to mute ringtone
  • Use the Smartthings channel to lock the doors

If you don't want to spend the cash on a Pebblebee Stone, another neat solution is using a DO Button recipe with an Android Wear device or Apple Watch to send a request to the Maker IFTTT channel. Using a series of Maker IFTTT recipes, you can create an entirely virtual Netflix button.

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