Dim the lights, silence your phone, order food and start binge-watching Netflix all at the push of one button. Although Netflix calls that button “The Switch,” the Internet dubbed it a “Netflix and chill” button. Netflix unveiled the prototype over the weekend at the 2015 World Maker Faire.
Sure it’s gimmicky, but plenty of people like the idea of doing it all with one click without needing to get up from the couch. Folks looking for "real" Netflix and chill might be disappointed.
Netflix provided how-to instructions for building The Switch, which include a couple zip files and a schematic (pdf). The prototype used a Particle Core, an Arduino-like development kit that has built-in Wi-Fi, but you can choose a different microcontroller to connect to your network. The materials list (pdf) also includes a lithium-ion polymer battery and charger, red and white LEDs, an IR transmitter to mimic the infrared patterns of your TV’s Netflix button, a transistor, resistor kit, an object to act as the physical switch and an arcade button. Netflix even threw in the how-to for creating a custom wood switch box.
It is implied that your smart TV has a Netflix button and that you have a soldering iron before starting this project. You also need to have a Philips Hue lighting system or be able to tweak the directions to apply to another smart lighting system.
After you have the basics done, Netflix advises you to take the necessary security measures to secure your environment and then setup your application server. The prototype switch used a Raspberry Pi. If your eyes glazed over trying to understand the 14-steps to setup your own Netflix and chill button, then you might not love it that there are additional steps; one is for ordering food via tapping into the API of a third party app and setting it up for food delivery and another is for silencing your mobile device by enabling the Do Not Disturb feature.
One press Dash button to order pizza
For folks who are not inclined to create their own Netflix and chill button, you could pull off the same effect in four pushes by using the Hue app to kill or dim the lights, silence your phone, press the Netflix button on your TV remote and push a hacked Amazon Dash button to order pizza.
In case you don’t know, Amazon recently expanded its line of Dash buttons. If you are a Prime member, then you can connect a Dash button to Wi-Fi and then press it when you want to reorder the item. An order confirmation is sent to your phone. If you accidentally ordered it, you can cancel the order. The “Dash Button Order Protection” is supposed to protect you by not allowing another order to be placed until the first is delivered. This might come in handy if you like the gimmicky button, but have kids who also like to push buttons.
There are plenty of brands represented by Dash buttons, but none order pizza. Brody Berson hacked an Amazon Dash button so he could order pizza at Domino’s with one push. He was inspired by another guy who hacked a Dash button to record baby waste.
Berson created the Domino’s Dash for hungover “technologically advanced frat bros and party-goers.” He posted his code on GitHub. You could hack a Dash button to work with any order-and-deliver food app.
If that is still beyond your comfort level for tinkering, it might take a few more taps on your phone to get it done, but the Netflix Switch process could still be done from the couch. However unless you have a robot, then in any such scenario you still would need to answer the door when the food is delivered.
Hacked Amazon Dash button to control Tesla AC
Unrelated to pizza, but related to Amazon Dash buttons, a programmer hacked his Amazon Dash to control the temperature in his Tesla; it also honks the horn and interacts with Hue bulbs.
Michael Donnelly posted a video showing how he pushes the button to set the temperature to 60 degrees in his Tesla; the horn honks and the indoor Philips Hue light turns red. After the temperature is reached, the horn honks again when it is maintaining the temperature and the light shuts off.