TV Ambient Lighting, with Node-RED

I have a Hue LED strip mounted to the back of my 65″ TV, and I like to have it change color, according to input and activity on screen. It’s a pretty straight forward and easy setup, but one that people really enjoy.

Listed below is my setup and config, but I will try to show how to do this in the simplest way possible, in the hopes that it will work with whatever your setup is.

Hardware, and related integrations and addons:

(Amazon links are affiliate links, where I get a small commission of purchased item)


  • Home Assistant
    • Node-RED addon
      • Built in nodes – (Nodes that are included with Node-RED)
        1. function node
        2. event: state (server-state-changed) node
        3. switch node
        4. call service (api-call-service) node

Don’t worry if you do not have this exact configuration, since we’ll be using all generic nodes, this should work with virtually all configurations.

To start, we’re going to need to get the status of the TV. To do that, we’re going to use the Activities from the Harmony Hub and remote. The Harmony Hub integration will automatically pull all the activities you created when you first setup your Harmony Hub. The names of those activities are located in the harmony config file located at the root of the Home Assistant config directory. Using the file manager of your choice (I use the Visual Studio Code addon) navigate to this directory and take note of the activity names. Case is important, so make sure to note them exactly as they are.

Now that we know the activity names, we need to figure out how to filter them and use them to kick off flows. To do that, we’re going to grab an “events: state” node, and configure it like so:

Then we’re going to grab a debug node, and configure like so:

And then we are going to connect the two, open the debug window and then start an activity on your TV remote. You’ll see the debug output on the right. This shows all of the information passed on by the state node

If you drill down to “data.new_state.attributes.current_activity”, you’ll see the name of the current Activity, in this example it is “Google TV”. We now need to take this path, plug it into a switch node, and filter the activities. Start by copying the path by clicking the little > emblem.

This will copy the path to your clipboard.

Next, grab a switch node, and paste the path that you copied into the Property field. Then, in the fields below make sure == is selected and then enter the Activity names. This will filter everything that comes in through “data.new_state.attributes.current_activity” to the corresponding output. Nothing else will get passed through. Now, connect the event state node you created earlier to the switch node, and connect properly labeled debug nodes to each output on the switch node. Don’t forget the PowerOff activity!

Switch node configuration

With them all connected, when you start an activity from your remote, you can hover over the debug output and it will highlight the debug node that it came from. Doing this, you can verify that the switch node is routing the payload correctly.

Now that we know when we press Google TV on the remote, it will route through the Google TV output of the switch (along with all the other activities routing through the correct output), we can start programming the lighting per output.

Grab a “call service” node node, and we’re going to program it to turn on the light when PS5 is selected. I like to Google the RGB code of whatever service it is that I’m working with. For example, I would Google “Netflix logo RGB color” and it will give me the RGB code for Netflix Red. Same with Playstation Blue, etc. With that info, the call service node to turn the light Playstation Blue, would look like this:

Domain is light, service is “turn_on. Click the three dots to open the JSON editor to program the settings for the light. “brightness_pct”: 55 will set the light to 55% brightness. “transition”:1.5 means that the light will reach 55% brightness when turned on in one and a half seconds. “rgb_color”:102, 92, 190 is the RGB color for PlayStation Blue. “entity_id” is the name of the light you want to control. You will need to repeat this until you have all the outputs done. One for TV, one for Nintendo Switch, etc.

Lastly, don’t forget about the PowerOff activity, to turn the lights off when you turn off the TV. It’s the same setup, different service. Grab another “call service node”, and program similar to before, except the only thing you need to worry about is the service, which is now “turn_off, and the entity_id of course. It will look like this:

The completed flow will look like this:

Here is a video showing how it can look. Keep in mind, in the video, I’m using a more advanced version of the flow to change colors based on the currently selected app in my Google TV, but the effect is the same. I may do a part two later to show how to do that. Also, don’t mind the creepy whispering at the end of the video, I was lightly bullying my buddy cause his TV isn’t this awesome.

Finally, here is the code.

Using smart switches and smart bulbs together, with Home Assistant and Node-RED.

(Amazon links are affiliate links, where I get a small commission of purchased item)

I have 6 Hue A19 Color bulbs in the ceiling of my kitchen. We were using them with standard dummy switches, which was a pain as I had to constantly remind people to leave the switches on. Not to mention that it is bad for smart bulbs to be constantly powered on and off. I was about to pull out the smart bulbs and install standard LED lights and go with smart switches, but I really did not want to do this, as the individual bulbs are used for certain automations. For example, a nightlight where bulbs 1 and 3 are motion controlled to come on at 5% if everything else is turned off, and it’s dark outside.

How to get around this to keep my smart bulbs AND keep them powered at all times? At first, I tried using a Sylvania Dimming switch and control the lights with a scene. This switch is placed over the existing dummy switch, which you leave flipped on. Since this was a 3-way setup, I put a switch cover over the second switch (you could also get a second Sylvania switch). This worked….I now had always powered and physically controllable smart bulbs, and although it was a practical solution, it was kind of ugly. The wife definitely didn’t like the look in her new home, so I was back to trying to figure this out.

All of the smart switches in my house are of the Go Control / Linear / Nu Tone variety. These are all made by the same manufacturer, but sold under different names. They are not Z-Wave Plus, but I got the first one years ago and have been matching them together ever since. I haven’t noticed any downfalls of them not being Z-Wave Plus, but they’ll eventually be upgraded. For a three way setup, there is the NuTone NWT00Z which are not standard add-on switches. These are “virtual 3-way” switches. The low ratings on Amazon are somewhat understandable as the documentation (PDF of the manual here and here) is cryptic at best, and does not say explicitly how to use these. I will say that we’ve had these installed for a few months now with zero issues.

The way these are intended to work, are as “remotes” to other switches. In my entryway, I have one installed in a 3-way setup with a NWD500Z dimmer switch. You wire it up and and it controls the master switch in a zwave group association, but we’re going to do something different with them.

I used two of these in my kitchen. The way to wire them and have the lights always on is an odd way. Take the load, line and traveler wires from the wall, as well as the load line from the first switch and connect them all together. The ground and neutral are wired up as normal. The second switch needs to be wired a little differently as well. Take the line and load wires from the wall, cap them together and stuff them into the wall. Take the traveler wire, which is now a constant 120v line, and connect it to the load line of the NWT00Z. Wire the ground and neutral up as normal.

Now what we have are two smart switches that are wired up and connected to the mains, but they do not control the power to the lights. The power is now constant to the smart bulbs. At this point, the lights will stay powered on, unless you control them from Lovelace or using voice if you have Google Home/Alexa setup, but theres no way to mechanically control them yet. The hard part is done and we now have to head over to Node-RED and start working on the automation to turn these on or off.

We can’t add the switches to a Zwave group association, as the Hue lights are zigbee. So we need to grab the zwave event type commands coming from the switch. To do this, use a “events: all” node and filter “zwave.node_event” commands. Example below.

“events: all” node

So now we’re grabbing all node_events from the “zwave.” domain, now we need to filter them. To do this, we need a switch node to filter the “payload.entity_id” from the specific switches we setup. You’ll need to use the name that you gave these switches when including them in your network. One thing to remember, you need to use the “zwave” domain name, NOT the “switch” domain name.

At this point, we’re filtering the two switches with “payload.entity_id”. Now we need to filter it down again to get the actual commands from the switches. With these switches, “0” is off and “255” is on. We need another switch node and filter “payload.event.basic_level“. This will grab all “.basic_level” events that come over the two switches. You’ll want to connect both output nodes from the previous switch node to the input on this switch node. This will filter all commands from both switches to this node. In this node, the top output will be “on” and the bottom output will be “off”.

We’re almost done at this point. Now we need to use a call service node to turn on, and off the lights. I forgot to mention earlier that the easiest way to control multiple lights, is with a light group. This will create a “group.kitchen_lights” entity in Home Assistant. You’ll need to do this in your config.yaml or groups.yaml in Home Assistant.

Now we take a call service node, and configure it to control the kitchen_lights group. We need one for on, and one for off. The “on” node will be connected to the top output, and the “off” node will be connected to the bottom output.

Call service node to turn on the kitchen_light group.
Call service node to turn off the kitchen_light group.

Here is how the entire flow looks:

With this setup, we have Hue smart bulbs that are always powered and can be manually controlled by a switch. This allows individual bulbs to be used in automations and you don’t have to worry about the switches, like in me previous example of using lights 1 and 3 for a nightlight.

One more thing to keep in mind; When smart bulbs lose power, they will come on at full brightness when power is restored. The Hue bridge however has a setting for “power on behavior” where you can tell the bulbs what to do when power is restored.

Here is the formatted code if you’d like to import it and work off of it.