An Alternative to Control4 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-11-2019, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Question An Alternative to Control4

Hello,

So far I’ve been looking for options to make my new home smart. Nothing electrical is installed yet, but they have to do it soon, so I have to decide on a company asap.

So far in my last apartment, I only had individual smart appliances, such as alexa, philips HUE, etc. But I loved the idea of a unified system and that's when I found Control4. However, I keep reading complaints of C4 that would bother me as well, as having to need a dealer for everything and so on, I like learning in the process, and implementing things when I like,I would even rather pay more for someone to help me through the process than having someone install it himself, of course when is possible and doesn't involve anything too technical or critical. So, is there any better alternative? I want multi room sound, security, lightning, shades.

Anyone that can give their suggestion or point me to the right company for consultation it would be highly appreciated.

Best Regards
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-11-2019, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Fitum View Post
Hello,

So far I’ve been looking for options to make my new home smart. Nothing electrical is installed yet, but they have to do it soon, so I have to decide on a company asap.

So far in my last apartment, I only had individual smart appliances, such as alexa, philips HUE, etc. But I loved the idea of a unified system and that's when I found Control4. However, I keep reading complaints of C4 that would bother me as well, as having to need a dealer for everything and so on, I like learning in the process, and implementing things when I like,I would even rather pay more for someone to help me through the process than having someone install it himself, of course when is possible and doesn't involve anything too technical or critical. So, is there any better alternative? I want multi room sound, security, lightning, shades.

Anyone that can give their suggestion or point me to the right company for consultation it would be highly appreciated.

Best Regards
big box store offerings like Vera start to come apart when you look at multi room audio.

Wiring is not really different - so just wire wire wire. Ethernet Cat5e or 6 never really go bad - they can be repurposed for some types of blinds, cameras, IR Buds if needed, etc. Its a very generic statement but just saying Ethernet is a worthwhile pre wire adjustment. Also add conduit so you can run new wire easily in the future.

As far as C4, www.c4forums.com will give you 80% who love C4 vs here which is 80% who hate C4 - this is a DIY forum so they will knock any dealer program. Just an FYI - C4 has Composer Home Edition which gives you 100% programming control of your system, it is a 1 time $149 fee. You need a dealer to add hardware to your project but a dealer can do that fairly quick especially a good remote dealer you can find at c4forums.com - end of day once you get settled into the house - how often do you add stuff? In a typical year I may add a new streaming box or a light switch or whatever - 5-10 mins of work for a remote dealer to do while you are at work and you come home and its in your system and you can do all the programming. Again its not a set up for everyone, but just realize how locked down (or in some instances not locked down) the system is.

Others on here talk about Charmed Quark as a DIY system.

How do you want to control the system? A hand held remote - I cannot see watching TV using a phone/tablet device. Do you want in wall touch screens? Voice commands? How much AUTOMATION do you want over control? lots of hubs can control devices, but not all are great at automating devices from various manufacturers to work together.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-23-2019, 11:48 AM
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Home Assistant

It depends on what your goals are. Are you looking for a relationship with a dealer who is going to do everything for you or do you want to do things yourself. If you want to do things yourself I don't think you can beat Home Assistant right now. Its basically a front end that ties everything together quite nicely. Community driven. Free. I use it and have things like my Jandy pool controls, security cameras, harmony remotes, vera hub, etc. all in there. It's very flexible and quite addicting once you get the hang of it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-03-2019, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by GRIMMACE View Post
It depends on what your goals are. Are you looking for a relationship with a dealer who is going to do everything for you or do you want to do things yourself. If you want to do things yourself I don't think you can beat Home Assistant right now. Its basically a front end that ties everything together quite nicely. Community driven. Free. I use it and have things like my Jandy pool controls, security cameras, harmony remotes, vera hub, etc. all in there. It's very flexible and quite addicting once you get the hang of it.
Is there anyplace that has screen shots of the templates people use? I would like to try it out but I would like to see how nice the graphics are first.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-03-2019, 06:35 PM
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Is there anyplace that has screen shots of the templates people use? I would like to try it out but I would like to see how nice the graphics are first.
https://www.home-assistant.io

Go into forum and start looking around. You can literally customize anything and everything
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-05-2019, 10:01 AM
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The rub: These things aren't integrated. They are highly propreitary with private APIs. That is, their commands are completely hidden from the public. Alexa works one way, Apple Home works another way, and they don't have a published document that explains exactly how they work.

Simple controls, such as powering your TV on or off are often completely unavailable to these systems as well because your TV may not actually be controllable over IP. Certainly your cable box isn't either. Even though the remote control works exactly as it did 20+ years ago just fine.

So, this is where things like C4 actually matter. I don't use C4, but I use Crestron for control. The ability to integrate across IP, IR, RS-232, and more gives me the ability to adjust any room in my home for audio and video as well as tie into other devices which have a published API, and even control fairly dumb things in my home like my fireplace.

I always struggle when I see just how limited 'automation' programs are for some systems. I do not consider turning a light on and off a complex automation system, and voice control is a tiny aspect of it as well. I don't want to adjust my lights verbally on a regular basis.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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