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Simple Do-It-Yourself Internet-of-Things Projects


The Real Netflix & Chill Button

This tutorial will teach you how to build a Wifi Enabled Netflix & Chill Smart Button that sends your viewing partner a text message. It costs about $10 dollars to build, you won’t have to code anything, and you won’t have to solder or buy expensive electronics equipment. Any services you are asked to use will be 100% free. Its that easy. Lets get started!

A few months ago, Netflix released the plans for the “Netflix Button.” Mainly I think it was a cross promotional with Phillips to advertise for Hue Lights, but even so it was a cool concept. Basically, the Netflix Switch dimmed lights and started playing a video at the push of a button. It seemed like it could order some takeout too. You can see it in action here:

Obviously this is a pretty nifty gadget. The only issue is, that it uses a Particle Core (which costs $19 on its own! Way more expensive than any project I’ve written about on and recommends interfacing with a Home Server, which most people don’t have or know how to setup. Thanks again internet nerds. You show us something cool that we’d want, but in reality most people won’t be able to build and enjoy it.

Of course, with the internet being the internet, it wasn’t long before people started calling this the “Netflix & Chill” button. For those of you who have been living in a cave for the last few years, “Netflix & Chill” is a term millenials use for intimate acts while in casual relationships.

Actually, texting your viewing partner was the killer app idea the Netflix Switch SHOULD have supported, but was notably missing from Netflix’s own schematics.

Where’s the “Send a Text to Your Viewing Partner” feature in this diagram?

Fortunately, SimpleIOThings is on the job, so to speak. We’ve already published our $10 DIY Wifi Smart Button Tutorial.  Like all SimpleIOThings projects, building the Wifi Smart Button doesn’t require any coding, requires no soldering, and I’ve done my best to find the lowest cost components to build it.


The Do-It-Yourself Tutorial will walk you through all the following:

After you’ve finished all that, come back here and we’ll walk you through exactly how to setup your Wifi Button to text, email, or even call your Netflix & Chill partner.

Netflix & Chill Specific Setup for the Wifi Smart Button

Alright, if you’ve made it this far, then you should already have a working Wifi Smart Button that uses IFTTT’s Maker Channel to send text messages and smartphone notifications over the cloud. Now, instructions kind of diverge here a bit depending on what type of phone you’ve got. IFTTT has a specific Android SMS channel which makes sending automated texts to your viewing partner extremely easy.

Setting up If This Then That ( for a Netflix & Chill Partner for Android Owners

The Android SMS Channel on IFTTT allows Android phone owners to automate sending text messages out to just about any number. This is possible because it actually automates the task of sending it from your actual phone (and not from the cloud). This has the added benefit of sending the SMS to your Netflix & Chill buddy from a phone number they already know (your number).

To do this, you’ll need to download the IF app on the Google Play Store:

The way the panic button will work is, when you press the Smart Button, it will send your Maker Key and an Event Name of “NetflixChill” to the IFTTT Maker Channel in the cloud. IFTTT will then interpret the message and send it to your phone via the IF app. The IF app will then draft a text message from a pre-existing template and send it from your phone.

To do this, make sure that when you are setting up your sensor, you set your IFTTT Maker Event Name to “NetflixChill” or something similar.


Later, when you setup your IFTTT SMS Channel, make sure to use the SAME Maker Event Name when you setup your SMS channel. Find the Android SMS Channel, and then click Connect.


When you setup your recipe, connect the Maker Channel as the trigger with the event name “NetflixChill” and setup the Action as Send an SMS via the Android SMS Channel. You can setup the text message template here as well.


This goes without saying,  but the person you’re texting should be okay with you sending the text. Remember that it will be sent from YOUR phone number. Your number will not be anonymous and anyone who receives it will also receive your number.

Once you setup this recipe, go ahead and test your IFTTT button. A text message should show as being sent from your phone to the intended recipient.

Setting up If This Then That ( for a Netflix & Chill Partner for Non-Android Phones

Actually, the Netflix & Chill button doesn’t even require a smartphone. You can setup the button without one, but you’ll need to coordinate with your Netflix & Chill partner ahead of time. Just like you can setup your button to send an SMS to your own phone, if your viewing partner provides their Maker Key to you, and verifies their phone number, you can build a Netflix & Chill button that communicates with their phone number.

Setup your Wifi Smart Button with your Partner’s Maker Key in the SensorSetup.bat file like this:


Later when you’re setting up IFTTT, use your viewing partner’s IFTTT Account, and connect to the SMS Channel (i.e. NOT the Android SMS Channel). The difference is that this SMS channel is only designed for sending an SMS to your own phone. When you are connecting to the channel, it will send your partner a verification code to make sure any future recipes are authorized to send text messages to that number. Authorize the channel with the verification code.


Now create a recipe with the Maker Channel as the trigger, and the SMS channel as the Action. Set the Maker Event Name as “NetflixChill.” Then setup the text template.


The key thing to remember in this tutorial is that you are using your partner’s IFTTT Maker Key, and using their phone number to verify that it’s okay to send text messages to that phone number.

Similarly, using this same process, you can also setup the Netflix & Chill button to send a smartphone notification, an email, or make a phone call. Use the same process above, but connect to the IF Notification ChannelPhone Call Channel, or the Email Channel. Potentially, when you press the Netflix & Chill button, it can send a text, a smartphone alert, a phone call, AND an email…just to drive home the urgency of how much you need some Netflix.

I hope you enjoyed building a Netflix & Chill button. If you liked reading, follow us at the links below.

Finally a PSA: Remember to use your Netflix & Chill button safely and responsibly. :)


SimpleIOThings • November 14, 2015

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