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Control4’s New HC-800 Home Automation Hub is Powerful, Packed with Connectors

Better ZigBee performance, faster processing, lots of I/Os highlight $999 HC-800 home control processor from Control4, debuting at CES 2012; new HC-250 is Control4's powerful new in-room controller.

Julie Jacobson · January 10, 2012

Introduced today at CES 2012, the new HC-800 from Control4 is the company’s most powerful home automation controller yet, and it’s packed with connectors that were lacking in its predecessor, the HC-1000.

The 1U piece is “the most powerful processor we’ve ever delivered,” says product manager Kordon Vaughn, ticking off the list of features: on-screen Navigator (Control4 interface) and audio through HDMI, analog and digital outputs to deliver four independent audio zones, two RS-232 ports, six IR ports and more ….

“eSATA on the back panel is wicked! says Joey Ferrell of Tennessee Home Theater by HomeSecure, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

For seasoned Control4 dealers, the new unit could be described like this: “Take the power of the HC-1000, combine that with the features of the old HC-500 and you have a blazingly fast controller that can keep up just about anything you throw at it,” says Shawn Lemay, president of Sound & Theater, an integration firm based in Buffalo, N.Y.

In addition to its powerful processor, the HC-800 offers much better ZigBee performance than previous Control4 hubs, with an external antenna and a 20db amp to boost the wireless signal.

“Expect much faster performance,” says Vaughn. “It can process ZigBee packets much more quickly and offers much greater coverage.”

Complementing the HC-800 is the new HC-250 in-room controller with PoE for a “really clean install,” Vaughn says.

Control4’s new HC-800 home automation hub and HC-250 in-room controller are packed with connectors and boast better performance than predecessors (click to enlarge).

With its next-gen 1 GHz processor, the “wicked fast” unit can serve as an HC-800 extender for an “instantaneous Navigator experience” or serve as a standalone piece for a rich home theater controller with a Control4 remote, Vaughn says.

It too features better ZigBee performance, along with two audio outputs for modest multiroom audio, four IR ports, a couple of relays and 802.11n WiFi.

The HC-800 will “retail” for $999 and Control4 is taking orders now for February delivery. The HC-250 will ship in Q2 for $599.

Control4 Touchscreens with Video Intercom

In addition to the new controllers, previewed by CE Pro prior to CES, Control4 is demonstrating its new in-wall and portable touchscreens with built-in video intercom. The products were previewed at the CEDIA Expo in September 2011. (Read: The Big To-do Over $999 Portable Touchscreen from Control4)

The system, which includes door stations with built-in cameras, delivers full-motion video inside and around the house.

Vaughn says the audio is exceptional, thanks to wideband audio for better intelligibility, and beam-forming for noise cancellation.

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

Audio/Video · Distributed Audio · News · CES · Control4 · All Topics
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