his January, just ahead of the Famous ISE Show in Amsterdam, Control4 decided to launch their new EA Series Controllers. So what is an automation controller and what does it do for your home automation system? Think of the controller as the brain of your automation system. It is what you communicate with when you give a command from your smartphone or smart keypad to turn a light on or off, open or close blinds, or any communication that is required between the components of your automation system. It provides all the signals and controls all the connections which make up the framework of your smart home. With the new EA Series Controllers, Control4 has created super brains of sorts, which are much faster and interoperable with the latest trends and technologies.
Let’s take a look at some of the new features these EA Controllers bring to Control4 Home Automation and also how they affect how you use the system. One of the key changes in the EA Series controllers is the controller’s ability to support high-resolution audio. Its advanced audio system delivers high-resolution audio with 118db signal-to-noise ratio. This is amazing for the masses who want to stream high resolution songs or online audio content directly from a centralized source to a multi-zone amplifier. Now you just need to connect a external USB driver or hard drive to the controller, or even download content from a local NAS, and you can send quality audio over the high-resolution audio outputs these controllers provide to a single audio endpoint for single zone audio or multi-zone amp for multi-zone audio. This family of smart home solutions delivers the clarity and fidelity of high-resolution audio as a standard feature of every Control4 Smart Home, the ability to stream personal music from any iOS device to different rooms in the home, along with native support for popular music services including: Deezer, Pandora, Rhapsody, Napster, TIDAL, and TuneIn. In a nutshell, higher quality audio through a faster processor playable in any room in your house.
The new EA-3 and EA-5 both sport multi-core processors for high automation and audio processing. The new EA-1 controller has a Dual-Core 1.2 Ghz processor. Control4 saw a huge difference when they shifted from the Flash Based User Interface in their Touchscreens to the Android Based system. After seeing this dramatic difference, it became clear to them; to integrate future high performance peripherals like the new Version 3 Touchscreens they would need their core processors to be that much more robust and capable of vigorous multi-tasking.
We have already installed a few of the new EA Series controllers in residential projects and have found them to have an increased zigbee range, further complementing their superlative laden list of new features. This can definitely be attributed to the external Zigbee antenna on the new EA Series Controllers. We found this to be a huge plus especially in residential apartments where zigbee range is deterred by cement or brick walls. When installed with the new Version 3 touchscreens and the new SR260 universal remote control, these controllers really show their value. There is a noticeable difference in response time of commands issued and speed of the user interface. Even the slightest delay is no longer present and it feels almost like the system executes your command even before you execute it.
Everything else aside, these controllers offer incredible value for money. Control4 has developed an entertainment bundle where they offer an EA-1 controller along with the SR-260 Universal Remote control for $1,000.00. That is the only entertainment solution of its kind which can be found on the market today, offering this many features and expandability options, within a $1,000.00. You can start with the entertainment bundle and automate your Home Entertainment zone, later adding lighting control, security, motorized window shadings and much more at your convenience. Come visit our Kemps Corner showroom to take a test drive of the new EA Series Controllers.