Control4 intros EA smart home systems line
Control4 is introducing a three-model series of controllers called EA (for Entertainment and Automation) that offers what Paul Williams, vice president of solutions, told us is “higher horsepower” than its predecessor, the four-year-old HC series. It has been designed to deal with increasing needs within homes for expanded streaming, communication and control capabilities, he said. The EA lineup will also provide support for native streaming of lossless Hi-Res Audio content as a standard feature, and each model, as a Control4 product, will support over 9,500 third-party devices, said Williams. Moreover, ShairBridge, a method of connecting AirPlay-enabled devices without needing additional hardware, is built into the models.
“It will let us expand opportunities – change the way the market and consumers think about smart home technology,” Williams said when describing the benefits of the models, which range from the EA-1 single-room solution, to the three-zone EA-3, designed to serve the needs of small-to medium-sized homes, to the flagship five-zone EA-5, offering the most flexibility of the three systems. “People want technology like this but they fear complexity and fear cost. We’re addressing both.”
The EA line rolled out Jan. 26 in 12 cities, at a series of launch events run by internally trained Control4 “evangelists,” and will begin shipping immediately to the company’s 3,700-certified-dealer network.
It was estimated at press time that each event would be attended by anywhere from 50 to 70 installers, who would be walked through a basic system setup using Composer Express software in under 10 minutes. A video stream of a representative setup was also slated to be fed in real time for interested installers and was to be recorded and available for viewing later.
“We believe this will be a way for dealers to retool their businesses – a way to sell something scalable,” Williams said, noting that gaining expertise in working with EA series products could make it possible for an installer to get four or five systems up and running within a day.