Announcr DIY Setup

Congratulations on your fine choice to become the operator of AnnouncrBot! You are clearly a person of distinction and taste, with an appreciation for the finer things in life. Take comfort in the fact that you are making a decision to bring joy and delight into the world. To you, we say “Welcome, welcome”.

If you are going to be putting together your own hardware for AnnouncrBot, this is the guide for you! If you purchased a hardware setup directly from us, some of these steps will already be done for you and you can use the Announcr Prebuilt Setup section instead.

Overview

The setup process is pretty easy! To give you a rough overview of the process, you will need to:

  1. Obtain and setup a FireTV Stick

  2. Hook up the sound (display is not necessary after it’s setup)

  3. Configure the FireTV Stick to run Announcr

  4. Set up AnnouncrBot

Equipment Needed

FireTV Stick Setup

Setup the FireTV Stick like you normally would. You’ll need to sign it into your Amazon account and hook it up to Wifi unless you use an Ethernet adapter and a network cable.

You will probably need to plug the FireTV Stick into a display or TV to do run through the setup, but you won’t need to keep it plugged into a display after AnnouncrBot is set up. It’s primarily meant to be used as an audio output device unless you’re using audio + visual style features.

Audio Setup

To get the audio out of the FireTV Stick, you will need to hook it up to speakers unless you plan on permanently hooking the FireTV Stick directly up to a TV which has decent sound. The speakers you use are up to you.

For a more permanent installation, or an installation in public, you should consider using a wired speaker instead of bluetooth to prevent random people from connecting to your bluetooth speaker unless you can strictly control the Bluetooth pairing mechanism.

You might also want a larger speaker that goes nice and loud vs a small portable speaker. If you plan on mounting the speaker, it’s best to find one that’s already mountable.

There is no audio output connection on a FireTV Stick, so if you use a wired speaker, you need to use an HDMI audio extractor like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Extractor-Converter-Amazon-Optical-Support/dp/B07QY631QR

An HDMI Splitter takes the HDMI + Audio signal which comes out of the FireTV and splits it into separate HDMI and Audio signals.

You’ll need an audio cable to go from the Extractor to the speaker itself. Make sure you get the type of HDMI Audio extractor which matches the speaker input or you’ll need to end up getting an adapter.

There are three different kinds of audio connections available: SPDIF/Optical, 3.6MM (one little hole), or RCA Audio (Red/White plugs). We won’t use the SPDIF option as it requires more expensive cables and speakers

Potentially you will need 3 different available plugs, so a power strip is also recommended.

  1. The FireTV will use a USB power, and comes with its own Plug/cable.

  2. If you use an HDMI Audio extractor, that also uses power

  3. The speakers also need to be plugged in

Some HDMI Audio extractors come with a 1A USB power output, which you could actually use to power the FireTV Stick too.

The type of speakers you get is optional, but ones that come with their own volume control is probably a good idea. This allows you to tweak the sound volume without needing to use the FireTV remote or see it on the screen. Here are some suggestions:

Speaker Bar:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0834RRFT4

Or:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089H1FW8C

OR: USB Speaker Bar

OR: Bookshelf Speakers:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08B5YNW9G

Other Sound Options

Honestly, the options for hooking up sound are virtually endless. You’re just trying to get sound running off the FireTV Stick. Use whatever combination of Bluetooth/Splitter/Cables/Adapters/Wires works for you!

  • You can get a Bluetooth amplifier which connects powerful speakers with speaker wire and run that

  • You can use fancy SPDIF digital speakers and wires

  • You can run speaker wire all over your house and install a speaker in every room and control it with a central stereo system and control it all with a remote

  • You can broadcast the sound to aliens

  • Pretty much any setup you can imagine

Setting up the FireTV Stick to Run Announcr Speaker App

AnnouncrBot is built to run on Android devices very nicely. A FireTV Stick is an Android device, so it works great! However, a few changes to settings are necessary.

Objectives:

  • Prevent the FireTV Stick from showing the screen saver

  • Prevent the FireTV Stick from going to sleep

  • Running AnnouncrBot when the FireTV Stick is powered on

The first couple of settings are not easy to change. If you’re already familiar with USB Debugging for Android devices and have ADB installed, you can plug in the FireTV Stick to your PC/Mac USB hub, which both powers on the FireTV Stick and connects it to your computer. Then Enable USB Debugging in the FireTV, and use the following commands:

adb shell settings get secure sleep_timeout

adb shell settings get system screen_off_timeout

adb shell settings put secure sleep_timeout 0

adb shell settings put system screen_off_timeout 2147460000

Or, to do this via app and network, here’s a guide which shows you how to do this:

https://kinkeadtech.com/how-to-prevent-fire-tv-stick-from-going-to-sleep/

Note: You must be connected to the same network for your PC/Mac to be able to access the IP address of your FireTV Stick. If this is not possible, use the USB/ADB method instead.

Mouse Support

You may find it easier to use mouse support for the AnnouncrBot Interface, or to plug in a USB mouse.

App Auto Launch

Installing this app on your FireTV Stick lets you choose some other app to run when the device boots up. One which has worked quite well is here:

https://www.avstream.tv/AVSLauncher.apk

Run this AVS Launcher app on the FireTV and choose the Announcr Speaker App from the drop down. The next time you reboot your FireTV Stick, it will run automatically!

To install this, have ADB installed or use your favorite SideLoader. Install this APK and then run it. Here are some instructions on how to Sideload apps:

https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-sideload-fire-tv-apps-on-your-fire-tv-4582671

Note: Do not fear! This is perfectly acceptable to do on your FireTV Stick. All of the normal apps on your FireTV still run fine, and you’re not breaking any warranties or doing anything illegal.

Setting up AnnouncrBot

At this point in time you have a working FireTV Stick. The audio is split off and is running through a nice, loud speaker. The Announcr Speaker App runs automatically.

Share your device FID with friends, or send them the link to send messages directly to your device!

All set! Your AnnouncrBot is active and ready to receive announcements or play sounds/music

Announcr Prebuilt Setup

If you got an AnnouncrBot device (ie FireTV Stick) pre-built, then it already has some things done for you. It probably has:

  • AnnouncrBot installed

  • The AVSLauncher app installed

  • The Stay Alive app is installed

  • AnnouncrBot is set to launch on boot

The FireTV Stick is probably also associated with your Amazon account. The only thing left for you to do normally to choose the WiFi network and you’re good to go! If you are using an Ethernet adapter for FireTV, you won’t even have to do that.

However, occasionally a FireTV Stick device needs to be unregistered if we are unable to associate it with your Amazon account. If this happens, all of the apps will be installed, but the sleep/screensaver timers and app configurations may need to be reset.

If this is the case:

  1. Open up the Stay Alive app and set the sleep/screen timeout timers back to 0 and 2147460000, respectively.

  2. Open up the AVSLauncher app and make sure AnnouncrBot is selected.

  3. Open up AnnouncrBot

  4. Test it :)

Troubleshooting

Q: AnnouncrBot stops responding to announcements after 10 minutes or so

A: Make sure you have disabled the sleep and screen timeout timers

Q: AnnouncrBot stopped responding in general

A: Power it off and then on again, it may have experienced a network outage it couldn’t recover from or stubbornly went to sleep

Q: It’s not working, not quite sure what’s going on with it

A: First, try cycling the power. Then plug it into a TV/Display and see what’s on the screen! If it’s a black screen, try hitting the Home button on your remote, forcing the AnnouncrBot app to stop, and restarting it.





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