Control4 Demos v2.0 at CEDIA
Control4 is probably most well known as the company that woke up the industry and said "Um, why are you guys killing yourselves over this horrendous AMX/Crestron programming lnguage?" Serious, in an industry where time is money and competition is fierce, Control4 has brought the Apple computer to the Windows convention. And you can see it, While the booth may not be as big as Crestron, the attitude and makeup of the people are different. Control4 installers are curious, excited and energetic... Crestron's booth seem filled with beaten down old-timers who are so entrenched in an outdated obsolete system that they have no choiuce but to cntinue to pay exobitant pricing and allow the gaint freighter to turn slowly towards a future that Control4 brought several years ago.
At the show, Control4 demonstrated its second-generation operating system (“OS 2.0”). OS 2.0 enables new levels of customization for the installer and personalization for the homeowner. This next-generation release offers new home-control functionality, easy-to-access whole-home systems, integration of third-party applications, and improved media management. Featuring an elegant new user interface, Control4 OS 2.0 is a marked step up to an already decent system.
With a Flash-based software development kit (SDK) now available, the Control4 OS 2.0 will further the integration of third-party devices by adding the flexibility to design and integrate an interface to the control capabilities that are unique to a device and are delivered directly via the Control4 user interface (UI). What also makes the software so unique is that third-party companies can create applications that provide information to the customer, ranging from local weather and traffic reports to RSS Feeds. Installers can then then easily download these applications and integrate them into their systems. You can also customize the interface without using the SDK, simply by taking advantage of pre-set macros and system shortcuts.
Control4 OS 2.0 implements the ZigBee Pro standard, including the Home Automation (HA) profile, which we are seeing more and more of throughout the industry. This allows a greater number of interoperable devices to be added to the Control4 system. The new OS 2.0 also implements the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard, enabling media served up by other products to be automatically available for playback within the Control4 system which all but automates the management of video and audio files.
The OS 2.0 has new whole-home capabilities to interact more effectively with media management, lighting, HVAC, and security. This enables easy expansion by third parties to support other subsystems.
The Control4 OS 2.0 consists of the following software:
- Navigator 2.0 – Updated user interface software for both Touch Screen and On Screen interface devices. Navigator 2.0 is based on Adobe® Flash and features an elegant, easy-to-use, and customizable interface with improved whole-home functionality.
- Director 2.0 – The core of the Control4® system, Director 2.0, features significant improvements to include additional security settings, updated system components, and support for the industry-standard ZigBee Pro RF communications protocol.
- Composer 2.0 – Composer 2.0 ensures that all Control4® solutions are easy to install and configure. Control4 has implemented a Composer 2.0 license activation, which allows authorized dealers to specify the installers allowed to use Composer 2.0 and to lock projects to prevent inadvertent changes.
Improved Media Support
- Digital Living Network Alliance– With Director 2.0, Control4 has added support for the industry-standard DLNA protocol, allowing Control4® systems to automatically access audio files located on DLNA servers, including network-attached storage devices and Control4® controller hard drives.
- Support for third-party media manager software – Control4 customers can select the media management tool of their choice (e.g, iTunes®, Windows Media Player, MediaMonkey, and others) to manage their media. Via DLNA, updated items will automatically be reflected in Navigator 2.0.
- Improved Media Database – Director 2.0 has an updated media database featuring improved performance, scalability and user features such as song and artist selection.
Improved Third-party extensibility
- Flash-based Navigator SDK – Control4’s use of Adobe Flash includes a Flash-based Navigator SDK that enables the creation of information and control applications, which can extend the Control4 solution.
- Information Apps – Navigator 2.0 provides several information applications, including weather, temperature, and RSS feeds. The Navigator Application SDK allows Control4 and third parties to create additional applications that present information to the user of the Navigator interface.
- Control Apps – Third-party developers and Control4 dealers can create and edit control applications to provide customized control interfaces for specific devices or systems used by the customer.
- UI customization – Customization becomes easier with the new Control4® OS 2.0, offering increased flexibility for integrators to do more custom programming as well as to create applications for the Control4® platform when a custom UI is desired.
For more information on Control4, please visit www.control4.com.
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.
Where Control 4 shines is with the mid-level home systems that don't demand AMX/Crestron level equipment, but definitely need a step up from the URC basic remote control, and perhaps go beyond the advanced URC type remotes.
It certainly isn't dinosaurs using Crestron as they are something like a three hundred MILLION dollar company with half that business coming from residential sales. So clearly, people are buying in and they offer unique product which crosses over and allows nearly 100% integration of all systems whether or not there is already a 3rd party application written.
The plus side of Control 4 is the ease of integration with what has existing macros, graphics, and control written for it. It definitely hits on that mid-tier market which doesn't require the full custom scope which more advanced control systems can deliver upon. They also are doing a great job pushing their product forward and advancing which hopefully will continue to drive the other players into making more product which is more affordable and works even better than it already does.
Get one of the new SR250 remotes and that will resolve your only problem!
This article is over my head and I understood very little, but Control 4 is a great product I have it myself and it is my favorite feature of my home theater. under 2k installed including light dimmers etc 24 months now and no trouble and so easy to use my 6 year old or my mother in law can watch a movie. One remote, press play… lights dim its movie time!
I haven't even tapped into the rest of the house-yet.
That is another beauty thing it can be built over time no wires to run ever!
my only complaint is a non backlit remote
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