Holiday gift ideas: home and office gear

By , Network World |  Personal Tech, gift ideas, monitors

Control4 Home Automation System

We know what you really want for the holidays -- a complete home automation system that can, from any of a number of hand-held consoles and remotes (and a big variety of wall-mounted switches and controls), manage all of the major systems in your home -- entertainment, lighting, security, energy, and more.

Control4 is a very high-end solution, but -- here's the good part -- it's also very modular, flexible, easy-to-use, and, get this, it all starts at $499, making it ideal for both new and existing homes of all sizes and family budgets. The Control4 solution is sold by a network of dealers, and we got our demo from Mark Komanecky, president of simpleHome in Westborough, Mass. After configuration and installation, the system is fully customized to the needs of a particular household, with all manner of favorites, parental controls, and everything else we could think of for a complete home automation environment.

Keep in mind that you'll need an ongoing relationship with your dealer; this isn't a system for the do-it-yourselfer or the nerd who wants to hack code. But if you need a complete wired and/or wireless home automation solution (and who doesn't?), Control4 is great place to start - and likely finish as well.

Cool Yule Rating: 5 stars
Price: Starts at $499.
Product Web site.
Reviewed by Craig Mathias

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