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How to make a smart home for $200

Even just a few years ago,smart homes were not a thing. Or, they were, but you had to be a total nerd or super rich to have one. Now everything's different. If you have an Amazon Echo, you have the beginning of a smart home. If you have any applianceyou can turn on or off from your phone, you havepart of a smart home. It turns out that smarthomes are really easy to start building, now a days. And you can do some prettycool things with them, like control your lights,your heating, your TV. You're often more limited by what would be dumb and excessive, thanwhat you actually want to do. So, how do you get started? We're gonna go to myapartment and I'm going to show you what you cando for under $200 dollars to make you're home a little bit smarter. (snappy upbeat music) Alright, so the first placeto start is a voice assistant. I'll admit, these can be kinda creepy, but once you start to get used to them, they actually turn into afun and pretty convenient way to control your stuff. I chose the Google Home Mini. It's $49 but they're on sale all the time, so don't pay that much. Obviously, you can usethis to look stuff up, or play music or podcasts,but I mostly use mine to turn my lights and airconditioner on and off. I could just use a buttonor do it in my phone, as I see a lot moreconvenient a lot of the time, especially if I'm on my way out the door or going to bed. Now, we're going to getinto the smart lights and how I turned a dumb air conditioner into a smart one, but before I do that, I want to talk about how all these devices are talking to each other.'Cause there's a lot going on and it can get pretty confusing. (energetic music) You're probably familiarwith Bluetooth and Wi-fi. Bluetooth is great forthings like fitness trackers, headphones, mice and keyboards.

Wi-fi is great for,well, bringing internet to your laptop, smartphone,smart tv, and so on. But they're using differentgagets for a reason. They're designed to do different things. Bluetooth is pretty slowat transferring data and it can't travel very far, but it doesn't use a ton of power. Wi-fi is really fastand can travel farther, but it does use a ton of power. There's really only one distinction that you have to remember. Bluetooth gadgets usually aren'tconnected to the internet, so, unless you connectthem to some kind of hub, you can't control them whileyou're out of the home. Where things get more complicated is when you get deeperinto smart home tech. Turns out, Bluetooth and Wi-fi just don't fit the bill for everything. Neither are great forthings like lightbulbs that need to be reached atthe way far end of the house. For that, there are otherwireless technologies, like Zigbee and Z-wave. These use really tiny amounts of energy. So, you can have sensors sitting around on battery power for months. But that means they're superslow at transmitting data. They're also built to travel much farther, because their messages can jump around. So, one lightbulb cantransmit an off command to the next one and thenext one, and so on. What this means is that,if you're buying something, you'll have to make sure itactually works with your stuff. One of the things thatyou're gonna need a hub for is smart lights. I think the best smartlights are from Philips Hue and you'll want to startwith their starter kit, because it comes with thathub, which is gonna hook up to your router.

so thateverything can talk together. The starter kit costs $64 dollars. It comes with a bunch ofbulbs and, while Philips has a bunch of, like,color changing stuff, too. Don't worry about that. It's just more than you need. Smart lights are great for just a bunch of little conveniences. You can have them automaticallycome on when you come home or when the sun goes down. I bet you have at leastone speaker in your house that isn't smart or could be smarter. For $35 you can plug aChromecast Audio into it and it will be able to do a lot more. So, I have this two speaker system here. It's old, it's from 2004 or something, but if I hook the Chromecast Audio up by pluging into the AUXport, I can now control it from my phone or do this, I can say "Hey Google, play ChildishGambino on those speakers". [Google Voice] - Alright,Donald Glover from Spotify... - And there we go. - [Google Voice] -Playing on both speakers. ("This is America"playing on the speakers) - Alright, so the lastthing is a smart plug. It's basically just an individual outlet that you can plug somethinginto and then turn on and off. I got TP-link's Kasa, you can get a two pack of them for $45 bucks. So, these things are reallycool because they're all at once really versitle, but also really limited, because they literally justturn things on and off.

So, I connected my twoair conditioners to them, so that I can controlthem and turn them on when I'm coming home from work. Now, some caveats. They are literally justkilling power to these things and turning them back on. They can't control anything at all. So, my air conditioner, it turns out, will automatically resume it's prior state when it turns back on. So, because of that, thisworks out really well, because, I can just flipit on and it's just gonna start making things cool again. You can use this for thingslike fans and lamps, too, that are just gonna automaticallyresume their same state. So, that's it, that'sjust about $200 dollars. But there's a lot more you can do with the stuff you alreadyhave, if you want to get a little bit more complicated. Using apps in your phone,you can hook things together to do even more. There's a service calledIFTTT, If This Than That. That's really good for this. So, for instance, I setup a rule saying that if it's over 80 degrees inBrooklyn, my air conditioner will automatically turnon and you can do that for all kinds of stuff, with your lights, with your speakers. Now, I really think the best way to get into your smart home is to doit piece by piece, like this. Buy one thing, see how it works for you, and then get whateverelse makes sense next.

Now, I went with the Google Home Mini, but it might make more sense for you to go with Alexa, or if youuse tons of Apple devices, to go with the HomeKit system. Just start with whatever works for you and then add on, bit bybit, and before you know it, you're gonna have a much smarter home. Hey, thanks for watching. If you like what we'redoing, you might like what our friends at Life Noggin are doing. They make a bunch of animations,explainging stuff like, who is winning the global tech race? 

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