I’m an old school stereo audio enthusiast who has never had automation in my home beyond an old Nakamichi clock radio next to the bed and a programmable thermostat. So when Nancy and I did a down- to- the- studs remodel of our home, we decided to go all in with a Control 4 home automation system to see if we’d like it.
Two years later you couldn’t yank this thing from our cold, dead fingers (especially Nancy’s) . It does things we never thought of having done for us in the past, but are delightful and now seem indispensable in our lives.
First, operation of the whole house audio/ video system is simple, straightforward and operable by just about anyone. Whatever room you’re in, just be sure the remote (or your I-phone, I-pad) shows that room name at the top. If not, touch the drop down and select the room you’re in. Then, touch ‘watch’ or ‘listen’. A source menu appears with your source choices. If it’s ‘watch’, that’s Ford’s Tivo, Nancy’s Tivo, Blu-Ray and Vudu. Scroll to one of them and press enter. The TV comes on with whatever source you selected and all controls now control that item. If it’s Ford’s Tivo, volume, channel, DVR, start, stop and all others just run Ford’s Tivo. Go to any of four tv’s, and dial up whichever of the four sources you want to watch. Or start a show in the Living Room, pause it, go to the Master Bedroom and bring it up on the tv and start from where you left off.
Same with music. Turn on whole house sonos, select a Pandora station, and have that music all over the house. If I go out to the garage to monkey with motorcycles, I can select garage on the remote, then listen to Ford’s sonos on a jazz station in Paris without disturbing what’s playing in the rest of the house.
Every light switch, indoors and out, are on Control 4. Outdoor lights are programmed to come on each evening at sunset, and go off at 11pm. The Celestial clock in the C4 changes the turn on a little every day as days get longer or shorter. Two small outside fountains come on early in the morning and turn off when we go to work. Except on week-ends, when they stay on all day. This was programmed once and never touched since. We can over-ride the programming with the remote control if we want to start or stop them any other time.
Lights are programmed for scenes, whole house on and off and different light levels. Nancy loves touching one button and setting the scene for every light in the kitchen, dining room and living room. Different buttons set different scenes, across many lights, in all the rooms. No more turning certain lights on, one at a time, and then setting the dimmer levels on each one in the evening. Also easily changed without a programmer when she changes her mind. Of course, the thermostat takes care of temperature, air-conditioning and heating each day, though it is changeable by getting on Wi-Fi and the C4 app from anywhere. Oh yeah, it tells us if the garage doors are open and we can close them with the app, from anywhere if necessary.