Control4’s Ultra-Affordable HC-200 Controller to Compete Against Universal Remotes
HC-200 ($499) ZigBee-compatible control system is similar to other RF remote systems, but it also has a TV interface, and controls the whole home.
Control4 is going squarely after the makers of RF universal remotes with its most affordable control system yet – the $499 HC-200.
Like most RF remotes in that price range, the HC-200 includes an RF hub and a handheld remote – both utilizing ZigBee wireless technology, a hallmark of Control4 solutions.
Unlike other similar solutions, though, Control4’s product is also a whole-house controller that can operate lights, thermostats, matrix switchers, amps, security systems and other products from Control4 and partners.
Likewise, the hub can communicate two ways with other Control4 interfaces including touchscreens and keypads.
Of course, the big thing that Control4 has that RTI, URC, Logitech (Harmony), UEI and other remote providers don’t have is a TV interface. Using the HC-200 remote, users can access their music library, browse movies in a connected DVD changer, set the thermostats, and perform other home-control feats via the TV interface.
The system can also support three independent streams of Rhapsody music – no PC required.
“It is priced to compete with universal remotes with the capability of much more control,” says Control4 VP of marketing John Yoon.
In fact, the HC-200 does most of the things that Control4’s flagship HC-300 ($699) can do. It just has fewer I/Os and the handheld remote lacks an LCD screen.
In addition to serving as a standalone control system, the HC-200 It can be used as a secondary controller in larger projects to generate the high definition Control4 user interface on a television. (The product can serve as the main controller only in a single-controller project; you cannot use multiple HC-200s without a step-up Control4 system.)
The HC-200 is rack mountable in a 1U rack mounting bracket that can hold two HC-200 controllers. Yoon adds, however, that the unit “is small and attractive enough to sit on top of a cable box, and thin enough to fit in a junction box behind a flat screen.”
The HC-200 is expected to ship this fall.
- HD on screen display (720p currently)
- ZigBee compatible hub and SR-150 remote
- 10/100 Ethernet (Wi-Fi option)
- One USB 2.0 port for external storage or Wi-Fi network adapter
- 4 IR ports
- 2 DB9 serial adapters (plugs into 2 of the IR ports)
- SR 150 ZigBee remote
- Audio end point capability to stream audio from a digital music collection to a TV or AV receiver
- Compatible with Control4’s complete line of touchscreens and keypads
- Audio input for iPod or other MP3 player
See Control4 at CEDIA Expo 2008 Booth #480
View more information about Control4 at CEDIA
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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 email@example.com
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