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Control4 Introduces $499 Home Automation Controller

Home automation has been the wave of the future for what seems like forever, but it's been more of a gentle wave than something tsunami-strength. But the ability to control lighting, security, and other home systems from a centralized unit is slowly making inroads, and that trend will continue with affordable products like Control4's $499 HC-200 controller, which was announced last week at the 2008 CEDIA Expo and will be available this November.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

Home automation has been the wave of the future for what seems like forever, but it's been more of a gentle wave than something tsunami-strength. But the ability to control lighting, security, and other home systems from a centralized unit is slowly making inroads, and that trend will continue with affordable products like Control4's $499 HC-200 controller, which was announced last week at the 2008 CEDIA Expo and will be available this November.

The HC-200 can serve as the hub of your home automation system, controlling your other devices through a number of different protocols, including the ZigBee wireless spec. While it can handle unsexy tasks like climate control through its on-screen interface, the HC-200 can also manage your home theater setup, including multi-room audio. The unit includes the SR-150 remote control (which Control4 also sells separately), which can function as a universal remote at a price close to that of some hyper-complex universal remotes sold by themselves. The HC-200 also comes with a USB port, which can accept Wi-Fi adapters and turn the device into a wireless access point.

While the HC-200, and the benefits of home automation, are pretty compelling, a lot of us still don't have it on our to-do list for our houses. (I'm as guilty as anyone.) What do you think it will take for home automation to really take off as a mainstream phenomenon?

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