Starting out. Need help understanding


I’m a newbie here and it’s my first time planning any smart home system. (have never even had a smart bulb).

While my questions may be simple for the community please bear with me and it would be greatly appreciated if you would help me understand this a little more.

Sort of background introduction:
I always lived in a smaller apt and never needed any automation.
However, we are moving into a new home and would like some help setting up.
I’m not a very tech-bright guy, but I’m pretty geeky and I like tinkering, which lead me to home assistant. I like the idea of home assistant over amazon echo, or google.

My plan for the new house is to get an ecobee smart thermostat, an encode plus smart lock, smartwings (matter) blinds, and matter/thread switches from inovelli.
Probably a smart video doorbell and some cameras around the house as well.

While I tried to learn a lot by myself, a lot confused me.

Well, first of all, is home assistant considered a hub?
A lot of devices say “This device needs a hub.”
I get confused reading about whether Homeassisant Green is a ‘hub’ or not.

Would I have a problem connecting Encode Plus smart lock, smartwings (matter/thread) blinds, inovelli switches with just home assisant green?
or do I need some other machine such as the echo? or homepod?

To control things on my phone – to unlock the smart lock, roll down the blinds, turn the light off, I see tech influencers on YouTube using Apple Home app.
Can I use Apple Home app with just Home Assistant green? or do I need a Homepod as well?
What other app do home assisant users use to control their home?

When I purchase smart home devices, I often see : ‘compatible with: echo, apple, google etc’ but I have never seen: compatible with Home Assistant.
How can I tell if the device I’m planning to purchase work with Home assisant?

I recently found out about zigbee, matter, wifi connections in smart homes.
As many have suggested, I’m trying to stay away from wifi.
Should I focus only on a matter/thread devices since it seems like a new technology?
or is zigbee still good to start out in mid-2024?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Just be aware that companies are also disappearing from the list

It did this too in the first place just to waste money and time on ZigBee just to find out it is not as resilient or stable as wifi. I sold all my ZigBee and went all in on esphome, nothing to regret as since I dropped ZigBee things started finally to become totally stable

Yes in that sense Home Assistant is a hub.
But Home Assistant is not a hub for everything. That is important to know.
For instance, Shelly bulbs/switches that operate over wifi works fine with just HA.
A Philips Hue bulb needs additional hardware since it uses ZigBee. That hardware can be a USB stick or a Philips Hue bridge (I prefer the stick).
If you look at the integrations page you can see what kind of devices it can control.
Some of them needs extra hardware, not sure if that is mentioned on the page though.

I try to stay far away from Apple products so I can’t speak on specific points here.
But I tend to think of my home as Home Assistant is the master and I can connect smart speakers from Google, Amazon or Apple to HA, not the other way around.
Having multiple masters will get confusing and hard to work with. So I create my entities and devices in HA and share them to Google.
Does that mean you can use Apple app? Perhaps… I don’t know. But Apple isn’t know for letting stuff go unnoticed by them.
We use Home Assistant app, and in case it’s some specific thing that I need to like restart a google speaker or something then I use the google app for that.

Integrations page, Google “<Device> home assistant”.
Make sure you look at recent threads/articles/videos.
Things happen quick.

This is personal preference.
I have ZigBee and wifi at home.
If your option is between standard wifi and ZigBee, then I would say ZigBee.
But if you choose your wifi devices to be locally controlled/flashable etc. then I would say pick either.
If you choose a Tuya/TP-link/[insert name here] wifi product and don’t flash it then it will need to contact the manufacturers server for everything, you need an account there, everything will be slower, if they make changes to their API it could be weeks or worse without working lights, or they decide you must pay for it or they just decide to brick your device.
The downside of wifi is that it could overload your router. A ZigBee network (should in theory) be stronger the more devices you add.
Is ZigBee worth it in 2024? Sure… There are still loads of devices that work and I’m sure there will be for many years.
With the pace matter/thread is moving then it will be decades until you can get a working home.

You might browse through some of the articles here:

The Home Assistant Cookbook - Index.

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