10 Ways To Transform Your Lifestyle with Control 4 Home Automation
Control 4 home automation system covers automating lighting, audio, video, security, climate, and energy management in the home.
How’s talking to your home components sound like? Like a scene out of a James Bond film. That is what Salt Lake City-based Control 4 home automation aspires to do. Warning! The stimulation is inevitable. Roger that.
So you can switch off the porch lights you didn’t realise were on at the time you left for work while on your way there from your car, and save big on that monthly electricity bill. You can also get a hold on that water bill by regulating water running around the home.
Heck, you can program your home like you do your smartphone and make the lights flicker above your head as you walk your date to the guest room and reminiscent that opening scene out of MJ’s Billie Jean video. Then snap your fingers (ahem! Home smartphone app) and kick-start the whole-house home audio system to life.
Everything in and around your smart home can run under your watch. You can literally set the mood using the best home automation system around.
It could be from a touch screen, or a screen-embedded remote control, or from one room on your smart TV. The lights, thermostat, AV controllers, pool, and security detail. Staying on top of things has never been more exhilarating. Well, not until you get to the very detailed particulars of the home automation system. Not every home automation system is the same, obviously. And that is where that manual every Home Automation System manufacturer slaps on the package becomes pretty much irrelevant. Those are always pitchy, and simply don’t nail the fine, end-user relevant details.
So let’s talk Control 4 products specifics, shall we?
10 Control 4 Home Automation Features To Forever Change your Lifestyle
Let’s start with the very best you can look forward to experiencing from Control 4 Home Automation, and then pick a bone with what we rigorously hate so much that we want a Control 4 remote button to help make it stop.
1. Control 4 Ease of Use
Since setting up your home to rival those Star Wars cribs can be so annoyingly frustrating, Control 4 thought we should all have fun installing and controlling smart home components from any one room at your house or business. Most other Control 4 reviews (e.g. Toptenreviews.com) we have received have given C4 top marks for ease of use.
Control 4 has one of, if not THE, most easy-to-use home automation system on the market right now. From controlling your lights, HVAC system, water supply, CCTV cameras, security alarm, to configuring that smart coffee maker and connected fridge in the kitchen, and pretty much every connected home appliance. You can set things up in an orderly fashion from a remote control or mobile phone touch screen. Using C4 products can be too easy — if initially installed properly. The products are pretty intuitive to get a hang on, and if you feel affection for fiddling with your smartphone you will have a blast here.
2. Control 4 Custom Installation — C4 Dealers
One of the things that make Control 4 systems easy to use is the fact that the company requires that you hire a certified installer (CI) near you to install the system in your home. Having a professionally installed home automation system affords you the peace you need to know your home is under your control — less hassles for you.
Control 4 claims to have a network of nearly 3500 custom integrators (CIs) located in 88 countries globally. These are mostly A/V, lighting and security fitters. Meaning you can find one near you, which translates to quick install times, less down times thanks to quick response times, and, apparently, lower installation costs. A little time initially spent on configuring the Control 4 system can save you a lot of heart ache in future. And when a pro is doing it on your behalf, all is well — at least, that is how it should be.
We must admit, though: we still have a fight to brew up on this particular point—later on here.
3. Control 4 Cost
Similar to Crestron’s Prodigy line, Control 4 is an entry-level home automation system targeted squarely at the entrant, budget market. C4 is looking to be the people HA system by availing a snappy and useful operating system for your smart home at a great bargain. Note that this is acres different from what a home control system does. Control 4 products act as the grey matter that links and helps you to “talk” to your home devices, and the devices with each other, over a, primarily, wireless network.
“Great bargain” is particularly subjective, as the cheapest Control 4 system can generally start out for $1,000 and wildly out-figure this amount depending on extra functions and the size of the home to pipeline. A multifaceted, multi-room or whole house pipeline work starts from $10,000 and scales up dramatically depending on the size of the home or business premises.
The average features system setup will cost about 5k to 30k. Mind you this is not all, as you will have to foot the bill for the custom installer that comes to nail it and the cost for every other additional equipment and custom add-on tweaks. The company provides both one room systems and whole-house home automation solutions, with the later demanding more of your wallet or pulse.
Generally, your definition of smart home system will determine whether you find C4 cheap or make you feel as if you just committed yourself to another mortgage payment, unwillingly. However, you can ask the company for a personalised quote through its official website.
3. Control 4 Remote
The device comes in two varieties: the English C4-SR260 and the international version, C4-SR260-I. At the core, both function the same way. The only difference is in the language settings, where the international version is “multilingual”—so we figure.
All Control 4 Remote buttons are context-sensitive programmable. The remote features light and motion sensors too. That means it’ll “wake up” when motion is detected and will then automatically adjust screen brightness depending on surrounding light conditions. That screen features 8-bit col or OLED (160X128 pixels), which is not anywhere near your awe-inspiring smartphone display but, by and large, gets the job done. Both Control 4 remotes support multi-byte characters and diacritics if you fancy or need to use those.
You can only use the C4 Remote indoors, and once you are out and about, you would need a long-distance wireless connector to your home. When you need to switch off the bathroom lights, and you are kilometres away from the switch, what do you do? Well, that is the Y-junction where a cool web-accessible app is so necessary.
4. MyControl 4 Function is really on point—for a bit more cash
If you would rather take control remotely and on the web, use My Control 4.
Just log in to your online Control 4 account and set up home devices to work remotely with the Control 4 system. All you need is an email address, password, and a Control 4 account. That account contains information about what devices you need to be configured to the web application, and what purposes they serve. For full remote access and control, however, you’ll need to get a 4Sight subscription that the company bills on a monthly basis.
A Control 4 CI can set up a centralised control panel for you, which would also be accessible through a convenient and functional web portal (MyControl 4) via an internet connection. The centralised operation is one thing we believe ramps up the systems ease of use score.
Because you don’t have to deal with multiple control panels in different rooms, you can easily and quickly learn the system to a point where you can troubleshoot small nuances yourself—or at the very least, understand various customisation options you can use.
5. The C4 HA system is as mobile as you are
If both the C4 remote and MyControl 4 web tool feel too off-road for your liking, there are more access and mobile-friendly (as in on-the-move) options to spoil your HA bud. It is pretty easy to configure your system to be your home stalker.
Control 4 users can access all functions, triggers and switches and sensors from Control 4 mobile apps for Android and IOS. You can also use your computer, or in-wall touch screens provided they run Control 4 home automation software.
At this time, the company is advertising its T3 series of 7″ High Definition Tabletop Touch screens as the unsurpassed, most sturdy way to control your home from any room. Sure enough, the tablet-like, edge-to-edge glass devices are very portable, and make moving control from one room of your home or business to another a breeze. Just remember to check the tablet’s prices and add those to the system cost, they are standalone additions.
6. Custom-made Control 4
You can bet C4 derives some serious delight out of wanting you to suit your Control 4 system with ultra customisation. All facets of your home are customisable and suitably controllable. It is a good, great thing. That translates to easing your ability to control your home in numerous different ways without actually being around. To help with this task, all you need to do is log on to your central control panel and tweak the settings. For example, you can program lighting and alerts to come on and off as you deem appropriate.
Settings let you program your home audio, dim lights, trigger and disarm the alarm system, start a fire, and if you want, add and retrieve your favourite recipes using Control 4 home automation. After a simple set up process, you can access satellite radio and music playlists, as well as start-up and distribute powerful 4K video from anywhere in the home. Set security alerts and receive notifications when a garage door, front door, window, or any other home entry point opens.
7. Ramp up home security with the DS2 Door Station
To further build on current security features of its home automation system, the company just introduced a DS2 Door Station, which is a Control 4 OS 2.8 exclusive.
The rather sturdy door guard features a bevy of cool specs, at least on paper. You get motion detection, flush or surface mounting, support for email snapshots, and an optional keypad. The latter can be great for fixing next to a front door or any busy home entry point.
So in addition to the automatic security alerts and notifications function, you can integrate the DS2 Door Station to act as the crusting on the cake that is the C4 automatic security system. This way you get to keep tabs with who comes or goes in and out of your home.
8. Better performance thanks to the Control 4 OS v2.8 Update
The company revamped its operating system from version 2.7 in 2015. The current OS is mostly concerned with entertaining you. So what do you get with the update? Cool, contemporary stuff.
Control 4 has introduced new native streaming services that include Tidal, Pandora, and Deezer with v2.8. For example, if the ability to stream music is a major checkpoint for buying a home automation system for yourself, then Control 4 thought about you, this time, around.
Moreover, with improved search function you can search music in large libraries and blaze the home with your favourite tunes. You can also connect and share your IOS device’s music playlists from your hand without needing additional peripherals—and so can a guest also share their iPhone, iPad or iPod music with and throughout your home.
9. Wondering which brands can connect to your Control 4 home system?
As of this writing, Control 4 claims it has licensed over 100 developers to build on its Supported Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP) code. That would help C4’s home automation system to support over 500 devices that are coded in this way.
Those include products from the likes of Denon, Sharp, and Sub-Zero. Immediately you add any of these brands’ products to your home automation system, Control 4 will automatically discover any device embedded with the SDDP code. So you don’t have to kill time while trying to do so manually, something we feel should not even be an option if the system claims to be smart.
Your home automation, wireless technology of choice should not come in the way too. Control 4 home automation systems utilise the popular wireless connectivity technologies to talk to each other and enable communications between itself and the home owner.
These comprise of peripherals that use KNX, ZigBee, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi technology. That also means your Control 4 HA can support most other devices that work with other home automation systems. Further, it means if you are coming in from another home automation company, and you still have a bit of that other company’s devices around the home, you don’t need to make a resentful run to Home Depot to purchase a slew of Control 4-only compatible devices.
Also, there are about 8000 consumer electronic products on the compatibility list of Control 4 HA. Those include Kwikset smart locks, Sony smart home products, Nest thermostat, Lilin smart cameras, Sonos products, and Roku routers. So worry not about your favourite smart appliance missing on the list.
10. Now, on to what’s really disturbing about Control 4 Home Automation
Some Control 4 dealers are spot on, no doubt, but some others make end users want to puke. To start with, you may not be as close up to a dealer as Control 4 would have you believe. Then there is the problem of these guys not being nearly as qualified to troubleshoot little technical nuances that their pitchy web content or well-practised customer support would sultry convince you.
Moreover, once a CI fixes your bundle, it can be pretty off-putting to try and add to the system. That is because once the C4 is fixed, your flexibility might as well leave with the “professionals” who install the package at your home.
Furthermore, whoever at Salt Lake City related customer needs with mandatory installation help must be totally out of touch with the clientele—probably needs a field trip or seminar instead of relying on some complex software computation somewhere. If Control 4 afforded its users an option for them to Do-It-Yourself, maybe some other Control 4 reviews would not reflect this. Then maybe C4 would win top marks for best home automation solutions. However, this is heavily subjective.
To sum it up
Control 4 is an ideal home automation solution that can help users to control almost all connected devices in their home. If you are looking for an all-encompassing smart home system OS, then Control 4 is worth checking if you have a medium to lavish budget.
The system will integrate with literally thousands of your favourite consumer electronics. Alert and notify you on security, execute your programming to dim lights at particular times, set and reset the thermostat as required, as well as stream high-quality audio and video (both wired and wirelessly) throughout the home or home theatre. Plus you can do all that from a highly portable, hand-held touch screen such as your smartphone.
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