Video and Audio Center Blog

Monday, February 17, 2014

Control Your Home

More than one science fiction novel has taken place in a "futuristic" home; one where all the domestic chores are automated and all the appliances are smart enough to know what to do and when to do it. We who live in the 21st Century aren't at this point yet, but having home automation is far from a dream and a lot less expensive than just a few years ago. The secret to controlling your home electronically is to know what you want to do and then find what you need to do it -- and some of this is already built into the equipment you have. As an example, who would have thought that you could control your TV from your phone or tablet; apps that do more than just  turn it on or off are plentiful for TVs and even amplifiers and video players.
So lets look at a few of the electronic devices that can be used to automate functions in the home that otherwise require the drudgery of hand-holding. And no, none of this is science fiction because it's all available today and ready for DIY (do-it-yourself). Think of it as a President’s Day gift that you can give to yourself.

Remote Control of Your Home Theater -- courtesy of Consumer Electronics Control

There’s a DVD or Blu-ray player connected to the TV. When it comes time to watch, one remote turns the player on while another remote turns on the TV -- what a time waster! Now you could get a master remote to control them both, but that's a costly solution that puts yet another remote on the couch waiting to fall inside the cracks. Instead  just use the remote that came with your TV because if you have a same-make DVD or Blu-ray player as the TV, then CEC (Consumer Electronic Control) can activate them both. This control protocol works through HDMI connections between TVs, Sound bars, DVD players, set-top boxes, etc. for considerable automation. All the major consumer electronics manufacturers have this built-in; for example it’s called Anynet+ from Samsung, Bravia Link and Bravia Sync from Sony, Regza Link from Toshiba. Let’s not forget LG (Simplink) or Panasonic either (Viera Link).

Whole House Control -- courtesy of Sony's ES AV Receiver

There are companies that make products whose only purpose is to integrate the things a house can do together (for example Control4 systems). But you can do much of this yourself, or prepare for adding additional technologies later, by getting an AV receiver that has such things already built-in. Take Sony’s STRDA2800ES 7.2 channel 4K WiFi AV Receiver for example. It has the capability to control other components in your home theater using its remote or an app on your smartphone. It also can control compatible-make switches and dimmers for lighting. And with the help of a Sony ES dealer or a Control4 dealer, support for expanded home automation becomes possible: multi-zone audio, lighting and window shade control, security systems control and more.

Home Temperature Control -- courtesy of nest Learning Thermostat

Back in the 1990's a cousin of mine spent months hooking up his gas furnace to a thermostat that would turn itself on when he dialed a special phone number. That was clever, but being able to control a thermostat anywhere and at any time is better: that's what the nest Learning Thermostat can do, thanks to the Internet. It takes about a 1/2 hour to install (about as complicated as changing out a light bulb, but of course care must be taken when dealing with electricity), and has enough AI going on to do such things as avoid turning on when you're not hone, unless of course you're given it a schedule to follow.  It learns about what is important to you and can be controlled in real time through WiFi no matter where you are. Are there other electronic devices that will do some of the things that NEST does or other things -- you bet!  Controlling the heat or AC is now no longer rocket science.

"Smart Locks" That Know Who You Are

Why shouldn’t your front door (or any) have a “smart” lock that you can put in yourself? There’s a number of these on the market, for example, the Goji Smart Lock which is just now coming out.  This electronic deadbolt has a subtle LED display, no keypad or key slot, and has a built-in camera for sending real-time alerts to a smartphone. It can also be adjusted to let certain people in at certain times. WiFi integration means it can be accessed at anytime from anywhere. It even uses key fobs for those not wanting to use a smartphone for access. And because it pairs with Bluetooth and uses “AA” batteries, it’s a DIY (do-it-yourself) easy replacement for the deadbolt it will be replacing.


  1. home automation

    please keep sharing of knowledges with us.Thanks a lot for your great posting.

  2. I am glad that you liked it, I appreciate the feedback…

  3. I am very impress with this article and Love this home theater and looking digital tv aerial installers. Thanks for share.

  4. This is an amazing post for car lovers.

  5. i really appreciate your post, and you impressed me a lot, what kind of automation equipment did you use in this digital tv player? could you please share it with us? thanks.

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