An entire information to high-end sensible residence automation

You have in all probability seen a Control4 system someplace. Perhaps on a documentary that confirmed off the within of a footballer/rapper/NBA star’s home. Perhaps in a swanky lodge you stayed in.

You in all probability 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 package on the cabinets at Greatest Purchase, or listed on Amazon.

Complete verdict: Control4 sensible residence evaluation

Control4 has been within the residence automation because the early 2000s, means earlier than the present sensible residence increase took maintain, and when the one echo at Amazon was the one you’d hear if you happen to shouted one thing in one among its massive warehouses.

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

Need in? This is every part that you must know with the intention to get began.

Control4: Set up and sellers

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

Control4 really recommends getting a couple 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 steered tools lists and setup concepts.

Your seller is not simply there to put in the {hardware} although. They are going to configure every part in your system from the software program to make connected gadgets appropriate to particular gadget settings and scenes.

In contrast to the likes of Alexa, HomeKit and devoted sensible residence hubs equivalent to SmartThings or Wink, the consumer would not actually get entry to configure something on their system. Every thing must be achieved via the seller.

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

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

Control4: Controllers

The one core element you may want with the intention to get entangled within the Control4 get together is a controller. A Control4 controller – basically the brains of the operation, a wise residence hub of kinds – connects to your own home community and, in flip, hooks as much as any appropriate tech.

Essentially the most fundamental Control4 controller, the CA-1, is a bit white field that gives Zigbee and Wi-Fi connectivity (you’ll be able to add in an extra module for Z-Wave) so you’ll be able to 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 appropriate set-top bins.

The CA-10, the latest addition, is the top-end controller. It boasts 4 occasions the processing energy and reminiscence of the EA-5 and is admittedly designed for huge sensible residence methods, with lots of – and even hundreds – of related gadgets.

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

Control4: Person interface

Controlling your Control4 system, and all the tech you may have arrange inside it, is completed in a lot of methods.

When you’ve received a EA controller going into your TV’s HDMI enter, you’ll be able to see the Control4 UI on that TV. And the simplest strategy to navigate that’s with a devoted ‘common’ distant management that not solely controls your audio and video feeds, however may management any related lights, thermostats, safety methods and so forth. You’ve 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 means of taking a extra in-depth and intuitive method 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 will be replicated – with some limitations – on smartphones or tablets; there are variations accessible on each iOS and Android.

Except for touchscreens, Control4 additionally gives keypads that wire into your common mild switches. These will be configured to not solely flip lights on and off, clearly, however may also be the triggers for Control4 scenes. Scenes, as you in all probability guessed, are routines that automate sensible residence actions. So you might 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 means of utilizing Control4 – there’s Alexa compatibility. It is not the smoothest Alexa integration, with scenes, settings and gadgets all pulled over if you happen to add the Control4 talent to your Alexa setup. It takes a heck of a variety of sorting earlier than it is anyplace 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, gadgets and drivers

As we talked about up prime, Control4 is appropriate with over 35,000 gadgets from an enormous variety of manufacturers. Nevertheless, in contrast to the mainstream sensible residence ecosystems, it is not only a case of scanning your own home community with the intention to see what’s accessible to sync up.

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

It’s kind of of a problem, it is costly and it is hardly embracing the openness of the ‘works with’ sensible residence motion. Nevertheless, as we stated already, Control4 shouldn’t be a wise residence system for individuals who like configuring their very own gadgets; it is designed for those that need another person to handle every part.

If that is you then you definitely’ll be happy to know that a complete host of main sensible residence gadgets, together with a lot 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 gadgets

Control4 additionally gives purpose-built merchandise – and that is actually the place the corporate excels. The tech it makes is significantly high-end and, if you happen to’re trying to splash some money on an outstanding multi-room media setup, otherwise you desire a skilled grade residence community, then you definitely actually ought to contemplate Control4 above a few of its higher recognized 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 parts to the combination – equivalent to Sonos – though you may get a significantly better, and pure, expertise if you happen to hold all of it in-house.

There’s an enormous array of audio and video options from Control4, from one-zone methods designed to take a seat beneath your TV, to vastly highly effective matrix methods that may reside in a rack and energy the audio and video for the most important of mansions. There are even out of doors speaker methods just like the awesome-looking (and sounding) Triad Backyard Array out of doors 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 every part simply works significantly better if you happen to do. Particularly if you happen to add in a Pakedge NK-1 wi-fi controller that fixes glitches in your community with out you even figuring out they’ve occurred, and in addition permits your seller to entry your system remotely to make modifications 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 can be accessible 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 will let you 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 evaluation

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

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

That is not it although. Control4 additionally gives sensible retailers, safety cameras, thermostats, centralised lightning panels, movement sensors, KNX gadgets and rather a lot, 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 probably 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 definitely’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 residence system. If you need contact panels in each room, multi-room audio, knowledgeable grade residence community, a cinema room – you get the concept – then you’ll be able to simply run up a five-figure invoice. Heck, go for a house like this and also you’d in all probability be taking a look at six figures.

The price of some particular person gadgets offers 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 mild change prices from $500. A 2.1 system with a Triad Soundbar, an amp and a subwoofer might be round $4,000.

Even the Door Station video doorbell is pricey. 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 be capable to stroll into a store and stroll out with a load of Control4 package. 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.