Control4 Automation Systems
Control4 – Simplify Your Life
Control4 home automation has been around for about six years. We have been installing them for four. My field supervisor has been installing them since the beginning. There has been a lot of discussion that Control4 is inferior, especially among the “giants”, AMX and Crestron. They say it is unreliable. They say sometimes it just doesn’t work. And admittedly early on, I was one of those people. And in their first year or so, those comments may have had some truth to them. Every company has growing pains when they first launch. When my field supervisor joined us, he suggested that we carry their line. I repeatedly told him that I wasn’t convinced. One day we had a request for a project that just seemed perfect for the job, so we decided to give it a try with the understanding that he would have to lose his head, if it went awry. Well, I am pleased to say it went well. It went extremely well. At that time four years ago, there were still a few minor things that I didn’t like (5 to be exact), but it was solid. It did work, and it is reliable. Within 6 months they had another major software release which fixed four of them. I honestly can’t remember what the 5th one was at this time, but it must not have been that important. For us, the bottom line is that Control4 has delivered and continues to do so. They get better with each release. They offer an affordable control system that most people can afford.
Control4 – A Better Universal Remote
One of the things we love about Control4 is that it is easy and affordable to start. Maybe you don’t want all your lights and your heat and your security system on the system right now. But you would like to get rid of the six remotes on your coffee table. Enter Control4. We used to install a lot of RTI remotes. RTI is relatively easy to program, and they offer a large number of interfaces from the most basic remotes to remotes with touch screens to full size touch screens, much like the iPad is now. However, we found Control4 configured in the the same way would cost only slightly more, but it has much more capability. You have an LCD screen on the remote. You can easily add those additional systems such as lights, HVAC, security, cameras, door locks, music and video management. The list keeps growing every day.
Not only do you have well-made, comfortable in your hand, and easy to use remote, but you also have an on-screen interface or display (OSD). This gives you all the function of (at the time) very expensive touch panels, yet it’s the size of your large flatscreen. Navigate any of your home’s services all from your television. Fantastic!
We love Control4 for many reasons.
- Economical - Control4 has a low cost of entry point, and upgrading every system in your home is possible. Many things don’t even need to be rewired, so that means the cost of upgrading can be even less.
- Amazing Possibilities - Control4 natively controls most of your homes’ systems. Audio video systems lighting, HVAC, and door locks are all part of the native Control4 family. This means better results and higher reliability because these products were designed to be a part of your Control4 system.
- Mesh Networking - Mesh networking or Zigbee is a type of wireless communication. You do not have to point your remotes at anything in order for them to work. More importantly, the more Control4 devices you install in your home, the larger and more reliable your network becomes.
- Software Upgrades – Control4 continuously looks to improve their software even more. They constantly add new and useful features, such as the 4Store. Similar to the app store from iTunes, 4Store allows you to add additional functionality to your system. Some apps install themselves. Some apps need us to help you. Some are free, and some cost a little money. Just like the iPhone, the 4Store allows 3rd party developers to add even more fun and function to your system. And if you own an iPhone or iPad, you know firsthand what a myriad of apps can do for you. The 4Store is still in its infancy but look for this platform to continue to grow.
- Best Handheld Remote - I wasn’t enamored with the original Control4 remote. It had a look and feel of a Dish Network remote, of which I wasn’t a big fan either. It had small buttons, and they did not seem logically located. The LCD screen was small with no backlight. It would go to sleep and only wake up with a button press. However, this button press would always “do” something, so the results could be occasionally annoying. With the release of the SR-250 series Control4 really created something special. They definitely did their homework on this one. It is comfortable in your hand. Almost all the buttons can be reached without having to readjust your grip. They added a backlight to the LCD screen and the remote wakes up when you lift it. They also added the fantastic “Watch” and “Listen” buttons. These buttons allow you to easily select your video or audio source. Its only negative is its slightly shorter battery life.
- Keypad Access Door Locks – This is a category that will be exploited by the other companies before long. But right now, Control4′s keypad access locks are one of the coolest features that you can add to you Control4 system. You no longer need to worry about having a key. You can lock your house with the touch of a button. If you want to get a little more fancy, you can lock all of your doors at the same time you arm your security system. You can unlock your doors remotely. Maybe someone needs to get inside to feed your pet. Don’t worry as you can unlock it for them and lock it after they leave just in case they forget. I relate it much to keyless entry of your car. Up until we had it, it was something that didn’t really matter but anyone who does knows how handy that little feature is.
One of the most overlooked aspects of Control4 is their LED keypads. Each keypad has a programmable LED which can change colors based on just about anything. We always tell our clients that knowledge is power. Your home automation system can’t do everything for you. Sometimes it needs your input to make a decision. By programming the LED’s, you can gain that knowledge and decide how to act. Take these examples. It is late at night, and as you are going to bed, you notice that the one of the buttons on your nightstand keypad is red. You know immediately that means your front door is still unlocked. Another button glows orange. That lets you know that you left the garage door open. Immediately, you press each button individually, and you doors lock, and your garage door closes. You didn’t have to get up, and you don’t have to make sure because you know by the change in color, that the task was done.
Outstanding Media Support
With the release of Control4′s 2.0 software, media support has increased exponentially. Initially, only mp3 formats could be played. While this is still the most popular file type, it left many out in the cold especially if you were entrenched in Apples iTunes.
Now Control4 has added several popular formats such as mp4 (Apple) and FLAC. With the addition of one of our media systems you can expand that to all of your video formats, too. Play MP4 (Apple TV), Blu-Ray and DVD formats easily. Use your iPad interface for very fast selections of your favorite media. Control4 offers the best media interface overall of any integration system available.
Economical, Fun, Powerful
Everything you see here is just the beginning of what you control. Additional systems and devices are added every day. Call us now to find out how Control4 home automation can simplify your life.