The thought of placing your entire house under the command of a single home automation system can seem like a daunting task. And in some cases, it can be. Whether your home is in the process of being built or is already completely finished, its layout and your budget can all influence the difficulty of the design and installation of the processors, wiring and other components that make up a control system. Fortunately, manufacturers offer solutions that allow you to add home automation gradually, one component at a time, as you deem necessary and financially wise.
A natural place to begin your automating is in the home theater or media room. Here, you can consolidate the controls of every piece of A/V equipment into a single menu on an iPad, a touch screen or the buttons of a handheld remote. A “Movie Time” command issued by these devices is received by the home theater’s home automation processor, which is able to translate the command into signals that each piece of A/V equipment can understand. Beyond this capability, the processor can manage the settings of the room lights; for instance, dimming them as the A/V receiver activates. It can also tell a motorized roller or track to close the shades or drapes over the windows.
These features can provide you with a good sense of what home automation is about. You’ll be able to get familiar and comfortable with the system, and when you’re ready, expand into other rooms or weave in the control of other types of devices with confidence and without breaking the bank. And don’t worry too much about the labor involved. A few additional pieces of hardware and a tweak of the software program by a custom electronics professional will likely be all that’s required to broaden the scope of a home theater-based automation system.