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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Home Automation

I saw an ADT commercial the other day about their "new" automation service called Pulse. It allows you to control your lights, Thermostats, arm/disarm your security system, lock/unlock doors and view cameras all from your smart phone! Here at ADI, we have been doing this for almost 10 years! Who would you trust to do this for you? A mega corporation that has just started this service or a small family owned company that has been doing it for 10 years? By the way, there are no hidden costs with us, you own the equipment and there are no monthly fees like there is with ADT... Call us today for a free estimate of the costs to setup a system for you!

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Posted by on in Home Automation

Last month I wrote about the Control4 iPad application and how I can control my whole house with it. This includes Theater, Whole House Audio, Lighting, Thermostats, Front Door Lock, and see my Video Cameras. Well after a month I am still enjoying it. But I have come to the conclusion that the Control4 7" wireless touchscreen is still a better Home Theater remote than the iPad. This conclusion really comes down to one thing- hard buttons. The Control4 7" wireless touchscreen has some hard buttons for commonly used functions like Volume up/down, Channel up/down, and the cursor functions (up, down, right, left and enter). So when you are sitting in your darkened Theater and need to change the volume, you can do it without looking at the remote control. This is something you just can't do with a pure touchscreen. Another scenario where the hard buttons win is when you are paging through the DirecTV or Cable guide looking for something to watch. With hard buttons, you can watch the TV screen and feel the button as you page through the guide. With a pure touchscreen like the iPad, you are constantly looking from the TV screen to the iPad screen... But for searching through my MP3 library or controlling the Whole House Audio system, the iPad works very well. And of course it can do so much more than a touchscreen!

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Control4 started shipping it's iPad application about the same time as the iPad became available. I had to buy one and give it a try. Well, I have to say that I am a big iPad fan! I think it is one of the coolest devices I have ever had. Now, if it weren't for the Control4 application I might not be so enthusiastic. With the Control4 application I can very easily control my theater, adjust the lights, adjust the thermostats, lock/unlock the front door, and view cameras at either of my houses! One of the problems of control software in general on the iPad/iPhone is the "wake up time". When the device goes in to standby mode, it takes too long to wake up, connect to the wireless network, and then launch the application. Control4 solves this with their "dedicated mode". With this turned on, the Control4 application stays alive and presents its own screen saver. So a tap of the screen wakes up the device and you are right back where you left it. Cool! They have the same feature for the iPhone, but this really drains the battery. But not with the iPad! The iPad battery still lasts a very long time in this dedicated mode.

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I have received two calls just this week where the so called big box retailers have fallen short. The first one was a customer that had bought a Home Theater at Circuit City and had their Firedog installation arm install it. Well, they had some issues and now that Circuit City is out of business, they didn't know what to do. If you have had any issues with a Firedog installation, just call us and we can take care of it!

The second one was a customer that bought some Control4 products from Best Buy and had the Geek Squad install the system. But they never finished the installation and it was only partially functional. Part of the problem was a poor design and the part of the problem was lack of knowledge on the installation & programming of the Control4 products. We were able to get the system working in very short order.

Now, don't get me wrong, I buy products from Best Buy frequently. But their installation services are over-priced and they under deliver on anything but the most basic installations. So contact us before you have that big retailer do anything but the most basic installation. You will save money and it will be done right the first time!

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ADI is proud to announce that we are now a certified reseller for Eragy Energy Management Solutions. This product can be used to monitor your electricity usage so that you can learn to make lifestyle changes in order to save up to 20% on your Electric bill. It can be used stand-alone using the Internet to track usage or integrated in to your Control4 automation system. After living with the solution for about 3 weeks, I am very impressed with this product. I have learned that my swimming pool uses the most electricity with A/C second and the Hot Tub third. I always thought that A/C would be number 1 in the summer time, but apparently not. I also learned that my Home Theater is using over 500 watts when it is on and many times it is only on as background noise.. So by changing habits and adjusting things like only running the pool for 4 hours a day instead of 5, I should be able to easily save 20% or more on my electric bill. See here for more info and screen shots of the solution.

Tagged in: Home Automation
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With HP's announcement that they are exiting the tablet market due to very poor sales, that brings the question "Why does the iPad rule the tablet market"? There are many theories here but it is really quite simple. It's all about the Apps and accessories. So even though the iPad doesn't support flash... And even though I hate iTunes... There just isn't anything out there that has the massive support from developers and accessory manufacturers... And my favorite App is still the Control4 App that allows me to control my whole home from my iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.. Comments?

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Posted by on in Home Automation

Control4 has recently released its PC/MAC application that allows you to control your home from your PC or MAC. This adds to the already shipping iPhone/iPod/iPad application that has been around for a year or so. I installed the app on a Windows 7 laptop and it really works great. Now while watching TV with my laptop on my lap (which is a common thing for me) I can control my whole house without picking up a remote control or touchscreen! Control4 is also talking about a Droid version coming soon. 

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I have seen ads on TV lately from Comcast and ADT showing their "new" Home Automation services. Verizon and others are also talking about doing it. They tout being able to view cameras in your home remotely, arm/disarm your security system and control lights. We have been doing these "new" services for well over 5 years. And you can use your iPhone/iPad or iPod to control everything. So the question is, do you trust these companies and their sub-contractors to this job? Please let me know what you think..

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Control4 is now shipping a new version of its iPad/iPhone/iTouch whole-house control application. There is also a version that runs on Windows machines. This new application is called MyHome and is updated with the new look of their 2.0 operating system. In my testing, it is also faster than the old version. It allows you to control your whole home (thermostats, lighting, shades, alarm, view cameras, TV/Theater control, and whole house music, iPod, etc.). The application is free and downloadable in the App Store, but using it with the control4 system requires a license.

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I received my new iPhone on Verizon last week and I am enjoying it immensely! I had an old Blackberry and was waiting for Verizon to get the iPhone. So far it is working perfectly, no dropped calls like people on AT&T were seeing. And my favorite app is the Control4 application that allows me to control my whole home (Audio, Lighting, Thermostats, Cameras, etc.) from the iPhone.

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Posted by on in 3D TV

Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, things were looking up. Attendance was up, tablets were up, and 3D TV hype was up. 3D TV sales continue to struggle as consumers are confused with the technology, content is limited, and wearing glasses has some people waiting for glasses-les options. First of all, there are more movies coming out on Blu-ray but still a limited number. DirecTV has three 3D channels, but mostly there are running the same 3 or 4 shows over and over. The Toshiba booth had a VERY controlled demo of their new glasses-less technology and a long line to view it. If it was so cool, why would they do that? I must admit that I was not willing to stand in line to watch it. But the press has validated my assumptions. The Toshiba glasses-les TVs are not great and get worse as you go away from the dead center of the TV. So we are still stuck with glasses for now.

On the tablet front, there were over 80 new devices. There were Chinese companies showing direct rip-offs of the iPad, and most others showing tablets running the Android operating system. No one beat the iPad in my opinion..

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