Audio Accessories Misc

Control4 HC-250 System


Installation and Setup of the Control4 HC-250 System

Before the Control4 system was to be installed, I had to add some extra gear to make this a challenge. Anything can control a TV and a Blu-ray player and nothing else. Paradigm helped out and provided a set of their Millennia One speakers as well as an Anthem MRX 500 receiver for the audio. I also added an SVS PB-1000 subwoofer and a Roku 3 media streamer. The remaining components are an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player and a Samsung PN50B650 Plasma TV.

To control everything, Control4 provided an HC-250 control unit and an SR-250 remote control. The HC-250 is their smaller control unit, capable of controlling a system of this size. A larger system, like my main home theater, could require the HC-800 that is faster and has more inputs and outputs. Control4 systems can be controlled with a free iOS or Android app but I still prefer a hard remote. Unlocking my phone, opening an app, and bringing up a menu to adjust the volume instead of hitting the 'Vol +' button doesn't appeal to me.

Control4 systems are installed and programmed by a certified installer. I got to understand the reasoning for this first hand when I took the installer class and discuss that in-depth later. My installer came from Chelsea Audio Video, a local store in Beaverton, OR. My system is still simple compared to what the installer often sees, and installation took around two and one-half hours to complete.

Control of the components was handled with IR repeaters connected to the HC-250 controller. Some devices provide Control4 with drivers that allow for RS232 or IP control. Both methods are more robust and stable than IR if available. IP control has the benefit of not requiring any additional cables or connections as well, making it the easiest to implement. Regardless, the installer can handle any control method and make sure the setup is robust and fully works before leaving.

The only information I had to provide the installer is a login and password for my network attached storage (NAS) to allow streaming of my music library. Aside from that information he was able to accomplish the install without any other input. A quick five-minute tutorial on the remote and I was ready to see how well Control4 worked.