I've been wanting to try out a HomeKit device for quite awhile now. A friend that uses Alexa first set up a couple of lights well over a year ago and ever since his first demonstration I've been eager to try it out in my tiny house. But I'm stubborn and so I was waiting for a light or plug to drop down to a price I was willing to pay. A few months ago I'd taken note of the Koogeek plugs at Amazon. At about $35 per plug they were about the least expensive HomeKit plug but still I decided to hold out for a sale. Last week I noticed an Amazon deal via 9to5Mac that, with a code, dropped the price down to just under $24 per plug so I bought two of them.
Setting up the lights
They arrived today and I had them set-up in just a few minutes thanks to a very simple process. I installed the Koogeek app and was prompted to set-up an account which I did. Next I was prompted to use the iPad's camera to scan a unique number code that comes with each plug. Upon detection the plug went through an auto set-up and then I was prompted to name it. Done. Each plug took less that a minute. I opened Control Center and sure enough I now had a third panel to the far right where each plug now resided as a button I could select. I touched one and the light popped on. I'm pretty sure I giggled. I touched the other and it lit up. I felt like a wizard. But when I tried to use Siri on my phone it didn't work as it found no devices. Doh. My fault. I was not on my wifi network. I rarely put the iPhone on the wifi as I have limited satellite bandwidth. How to use Siri via my LTE connection? A second later I remembered that I also needed to set-up my AppleTV to serve as a HomeKit Hub. This would allow me to access the plugs via the internet from home or anywhere else. The next question: how to set-up the AppleTV? This was a little less obvious.
Setting up the AppleTV as a hub
I opened the Home app on the iPad and saw no indicator of how to do this. I hopped over to the AppleTV and poked around settings. Didn't see any mention of using the AppleTV as a Home Hub. Did I need an app? Hmm. I asked Siri knowing she'd likely send me to a web search which she did. Two clicks later and I had my answer. I needed to sign into my primary iCloud account on the AppleTV in the accounts section of the Settings app. Duh. Of course it would all go through iCloud. I did that and that was it. Finished. I called to Siri from across the room and requested that one of the lights be turned off. Poof. Neat. I can now control the plugs from anywhere I have internet assuming my cabin internet is connected which it usually is. Sometimes I really do feel like I'm living in an episode of Star Trek.