Basics of Control4 Smart Home Automation
Plus, how it can make your homelife more pleasant during this challenging time
Note: We originally wrote this popular blog post last year, before COVID-19 became part of every discussion and the stay-at-home lifestyle became mainstream. No one knows how long this pandemic or these stringent social distancing mandates will last, so it doesn’t surprise us that searches for smart home automation, lighting, integrated security systems and more have skyrocketed lately.
One of our favorite smart home systems, Control4, will elevate your at-home experience with its unparalleled convenience, seamless integration, and abundant security and entertainment features -- capabilities that you’ll appreciate both now and after this passes. Why should you work with a Control4 provider to make your time at home more pleasant? And how can you get started with a step-by-step approach, instead of building a top-to-bottom integrated home experience? Control4 offers impressive product updates year after year to make it more competitive in a crowded market. Keep reading for some of our favorite automation perks and how to bring them to your Georgia home.
When you think of home automation and smart home technology, do you imagine something that sounds both complicated and expensive? No doubt the underlying technology is sophisticated, as is most of today's consumer technology upon which we rely every day – like your smartphone.
Most likely, you find your smartphone as a device that is not complicated to use, and a boon to your daily life. That's because the system and apps use technology intelligently to simplify everyday tasks – whether it’s communication, managing your calendar and tasks, getting information on your finances, or the myriad of other things smartphones bring to the palm of your hand.
Home automation sounds complicated, but it is much the same as the smartphone. Some sophisticated technology under the veneer of a simple-to-use interface makes it easy to manage a host of functions in your home. The good news is that home automation systems are not an all-or-nothing thing; you can start small and scale up in functionality and size. It's much like your smartphone: You can do many things in the digital realm with them, but some people stick to basics like communication and taking pictures. You can always add more apps to do more, but you don’t have to.
If you haven’t dipped the proverbial toe into smart home technology, there’s no reason not to. You can start with something as simple as taming the pack of audio-video remote controls sitting on your coffee table. A Control4 home automation system would banish all those remotes in your Alpharetta-area family room to a drawer and replace it with a clean interface that makes your A/V setup work just the way you like it. But of course, it can do much more.
Keep reading to see how a Control4 smart home system can cinch those quick 8-yard slant passes, but also go long for the touchdown, automating your whole house.
Start with One Room
Many people’s pet peeve is the complexity of managing an A/V system with various devices connected through a TV or an A/V receiver – or both. A typical setup might involve a Blu-ray player for movies, a streaming player like an Apple TV, and a gaming console like an Xbox One. If you have a record collection, you might have a turntable connected there too. Often, you need two or three remotes to set the right input on the receiver, TV, or both, select the correct audio format, and maybe change the video settings on the TV as well.
A/V control is greatly simplified with a starter solution like the Control4 EA-1. The slim 1-inch thick box can tuck easily behind a TV or on a shelf. As it runs the same powerful Control4’s automation system as bigger solutions, it can easily control any A/V device with an infrared, R-232 (included in many AV receivers), and IP control (through the network). The EA-1 comes with Control4’s programmable remote that consolidates all your remotes into one and offers one-touch control for movies, music, and more.
Another neat feature of Control4 is the choice it gives you for control; you can use an app on your smartphone or tablet, a traditional button A/V remote, a dedicated Control4 touchscreen, or your TV screen as the interface with a remote.
Integrate and Add More Smart Automation
Even with Control4’s EA-1, you’re not limited to just a fancy way of controlling your home A/V. It adds a music server to consolidate your digital music library and make it easy to find and play your tunes, as well as integrated streaming from Pandora, Spotify, and other services from connected speakers throughout your house. The system supports up to 50 devices in total, more than enough for one room and enough for small properties.
What are those other devices? They can be smart thermostats like a Nest, smart lighting, smart doorbells, smart locks and more. So, when you’re ready to settle in for movie night, one touch of a preprogrammed scene can start the A/V system, dim the lights, set the temperature you prefer – and even lock all the doors equipped with smart locks.
If and when you are ready to expand your home’s repertoire of smart capabilities, Control4 can scale up to your needs. You can add additional controllers with more power and other features while still being able to utilize your existing investment in smart devices and A/V control. The upgrades might include video monitoring with smart cameras indoors and out, additional audio zones throughout your property, additional control of HVAC features like humidifiers, motorized shades and window treatments, pool and spa control, and much more. Control4 home automation systems work with over 13,000 third-party devices, so it can work with almost anything you can think of.