A whole information to high-end sensible house automation

You’ve got most likely seen a Control4 system someplace. Possibly on a documentary that confirmed off the within of a footballer/rapper/NBA star’s home. Possibly in a swanky resort you stayed in.

You most likely did not realise it was Control4 as a result of it is not a model you may see marketed within the mainstream media. And also you definitely will not discover any Control4 equipment on the cabinets at Greatest Purchase, or listed on Amazon.

Complete verdict: Control4 sensible house overview

Control4 has been within the house automation for the reason that early 2000s, method earlier than the present sensible house increase took maintain, and when the one echo at Amazon was the one you’d hear in case you shouted one thing in one in all its massive warehouses.

Nonetheless, whereas Control4 is ready to management lighting, multi-room audio, HVAC programs, safety platforms, sensible locks and extra – working through the likes of Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – and is suitable with over 35,000 units, it is an unique membership reserved for individuals with the money to undergo an authorised Control4 seller.

Need in? This is all the pieces you must know in an effort to get began.

Control4: Set up and sellers

The very first thing you must know is that Control4 is something however plug and play. You may must find an authorised Control4 seller after which prepare for them to pay you a go to.

Control4 really recommends getting a number of quotes from a variety of sellers earlier than you resolve on precisely what system you need put in, however place to begin is its Product Planner portal, the place you may reply a sequence of questions and be emailed prompt gear lists and setup concepts.

Your seller is not simply there to put in the {hardware} although. They may configure all the pieces in your system from the software program to make connected units suitable to particular gadget settings and scenes.

In contrast to the likes of Alexa, HomeKit and devoted sensible house hubs reminiscent of SmartThings or Wink, the person does not actually get entry to configure something on their system. Every little thing must be executed by way of the seller.

Positive, there are some providers reminiscent of When>>Then (Control4’s reply to IFTTT) that allow you to add layers of automations to preset ones, nevertheless it’s very a lot a system that is designed for those who need another person to take care (and management) of their sensible house upgrades.

What is Control4: A complete guide to high-end smart home automation

Control4: Controllers

The one core part you may want in an effort to become involved within the Control4 occasion is a controller. A Control4 controller – primarily the brains of the operation, a wise house hub of kinds – connects to your own home community and, in flip, hooks as much as any suitable tech.

Probably the most fundamental Control4 controller, the CA-1, is a bit of white field that provides Zigbee and Wi-Fi connectivity (you may add in an extra module for Z-Wave) so you may management issues like sensible lights, electrical blinds and related locks.

Improve to the EA-series controllers – the EA-1, EA-3 or EA-5 – and also you get streaming audio thrown in (the quantity of streams correlates with the quantity within the mannequin quantity, so three on the EA-3, for instance) in addition to HDMI out, for whole management over your TV, digital media and suitable set-top packing containers.

The CA-10, the latest addition, is the top-end controller. It boasts 4 instances the processing energy and reminiscence of the EA-5 and is actually designed for huge sensible house programs, with a whole bunch – and even 1000’s – of related units.

What is Control4: A complete guide to high-end smart home automation

Control4: Person interface

Controlling your Control4 system, and all the tech you’ve got arrange inside it, is completed in various methods.

For those who’ve obtained a EA controller going into your TV’s HDMI enter, you may see the Control4 UI on that TV. And the best method to navigate that’s with a devoted ‘common’ distant management that not solely controls your audio and video feeds, however may also management any related lights, thermostats, safety programs and so forth. You’ve got the selection between the usual, SR-260 distant or the brand new Neeo Distant for Control4.

What is Control4: A complete guide to high-end smart home automation

A greater method of taking a extra in-depth and intuitive strategy to controlling your Control4 system is thru a devoted touchscreen panel – Control4 supply 7-inch and 10-inch fashions that both go in a wall, or sit on a desk.

These devoted touchscreen panels may be replicated – with some limitations – on smartphones or tablets; there are variations out there on each iOS and Android.

Other than touchscreens, Control4 additionally gives keypads that wire into your common gentle switches. These may be configured to not solely flip lights on and off, clearly, however can be the triggers for Control4 scenes. Scenes, as you most likely guessed, are routines that automate sensible house actions. So you possibly can have a ‘good morning’ scene that activates your favorite radio station, turns off the alarm and switches the kettle on.

Lastly – we are saying lastly as a result of it is the least helpful method of utilizing Control4 – there may be Alexa compatibility. It is not the smoothest Alexa integration, with scenes, settings and units all pulled over in case you add the Control4 ability to your Alexa setup. It takes a heck of lots of sorting earlier than it is wherever close to useable.

In August 2019, Control4 additionally added Google Assistant to the combination as properly.

What is Control4: A complete guide to high-end smart home automation

Control4: Appropriate manufacturers, units and drivers

As we talked about up prime, Control4 is suitable with over 35,000 units from an enormous variety of manufacturers. Nonetheless, in contrast to the mainstream sensible house ecosystems, it is not only a case of scanning your own home community in an effort to see what’s out there to sync up.

You may have to get devoted drivers put in for non-native tech; i.e. something Control4 does not instantly make itself. And you may have to get your seller to put in these drivers. Generally – properly, more often than not – these drivers will value you cash.

It is a bit of a problem, it is costly and it is hardly embracing the openness of the ‘works with’ sensible house motion. Nonetheless, as we mentioned already, Control4 isn’t a wise house system for individuals who like configuring their very own units; it is designed for those who need another person to care for all the pieces.

If that is you then you definately’ll be happy to know that a complete host of main sensible house units, together with many of the mainstream digital audio and video providers, play properly with Control4, together with Philips Hue, Nest, Sonos, Apple TV, Yale, Netflix, Amazon Music, Lutron and extra.

What is Control4: A complete guide to high-end smart home automation

Control4: Native units

Control4 additionally gives purpose-built merchandise – and that is actually the place the corporate excels. The tech it makes is critically high-end and, in case you’re trying to splash some money on an excellent multi-room media setup, otherwise you desire a skilled grade house community, then you definately actually ought to think about Control4 above a few of its higher identified rivals.

Beginning with digital media, these EA controllers we talked about earlier work alongside a variety of audio switches, amps and audio system – some branded Control4, some branded Triad (an audio firm it acquired in 2017). You possibly can add third-party audio elements to the combination – reminiscent of Sonos – though you may get a a lot better, and pure, expertise in case you maintain all of it in-house.

There’s an enormous array of audio and video options from Control4, from one-zone programs designed to sit down below your TV, to massively highly effective matrix programs that may dwell in a rack and energy the audio and video for the biggest of mansions. There are even outside speaker programs just like the awesome-looking (and sounding) Triad Backyard Array outside system pictured above.

One other massive Control4 acquisition, Pakedge (bought again in 2016), leads to a house community that can blow even one of the best consumer-grade mesh system out of the water. You do not want a Pakedge router for a Control4 system however all the pieces simply works a lot better in case you do. Particularly in case you add in a Pakedge NK-1 wi-fi controller that fixes glitches in your community with out you even realizing they’ve occurred, and in addition permits your seller to entry your system remotely to make adjustments with out paying you a go to.

Once more, as with the audio facet of issues, there is a huge vary of switches, entry factors and community equipment which are out there to create a world-class community in your own home.

Control4 additionally has its personal sensible doorbell answer. The Door Station DS2, syncs up with the Utah-based firm’s SmartOS 3 app (no want for the separate Intercom Wherever app these days) to permit you to remotely talk with whoever is knocking at your door.

There may be additionally a brand new Chime Doorbell, launched in 2020, which is a bit sleeker than the Door Station vary.

Ding dong: Control4 Chime overview

Good video doorbell model DoorBird was formally licensed to be used inside a Control4 system in 2021.

Which means, slightly than utilizing premium third-party drivers, DoorBird IP door stations can now be built-in instantly into Control4 programs, utilizing an official – and crucially, free – driver.

That is not it although. Control4 additionally gives sensible shops, safety cameras, thermostats, centralised lightning panels, movement sensors, KNX units and quite a bit, lot extra.

What is Control4: A complete guide to high-end smart home automation

Control4: What it prices

Control4 doesn’t come low-cost. Even for essentially the most fundamental of setups – as an instance simplifying your AV controls – you may must fork out, say, $1,000 for an EA-3 controller and $300 for the distant management; and then you definately’ll must pay for the go to of an authorised Control4 seller on prime to set all of it up.

From that fundamental setup, the sky is just about the restrict when compiling your Control4 house system. If you’d like contact panels in each room, multi-room audio, knowledgeable grade house community, a cinema room – you get the concept – then you may simply run up a five-figure invoice. Heck, go for a house like this and also you’d most likely be six figures.

The price of some particular person objects provides you an concept of the price-brackets we’re coping with right here. A ten-inch in-wall contact panel is $1,200. The Pakedge router Control4 recommends is $750. A single load gentle change prices from $500. A 2.1 system with a Triad Soundbar, an amp and a subwoofer will probably be round $4,000.

Even the Door Station video doorbell is dear. That is $1,050 by itself, with a $99 subscription on prime.

You get the concept. It is costly.

Control4: The place can you purchase

As talked about, you will not have the ability to stroll into a store and stroll out with a load of Control4 equipment. You may want to go to an authorised seller – or, higher nonetheless, have them go to you – and have them configure your system.

To get began merely find a dealer located near you.