June 25, 2009
| by Julie Jacobson
Say you have a Control4 home automation system and a Slingbox remote-viewing product.
You’re on the road and you want to check in on your house. Easy enough: Just pull up your personal Control4 Web site to check the temperature at your place, play with the lights and check out the surveillance video.
Now you want to watch Dexter, recorded on your home cable box. Close the Control4 window and open the Slingbox window.
What a drag!
Now you can do it all through the Control4 interface, thanks to a new application from integration firm CytexOne.
“We have many clients that live in multiple homes, especially out of the country and they wanted a Slingbox so they could watch their cable box from overseas,” says Cytex principal Dan Levine. “We wanted to kick it up a notch by giving them access to their entire [automation] system.”
So what’s so interesting about that?
Already you can access Control4 (and virtually any respectable home control system) from a remote location ... with this caveat: “You can remotely control the lighting, temperature, alarm and cameras,” says Levine, “but not the A/V devices.”
So why integrate Control4 with Slingbox? Why not just use Slingbox to access content remotely? That, after all, is the purpose of the box.
For starters, it’s pretty handy that consumers can access their home—lights, security and content—remotely through a single familiar Control4 interface.
Furthermore, with Slingbox, users can only access one or two devices.
“They may have five cable boxes,” says Levine.
Integrating two devices like Slingbox and Control4 generally is not terribly challenging for a seasoned programmer.
But the tricky part here is that Slingbox is controlled via infrared (IR) signals, and Control4 uses RF.
“Normally, you just send them [Slingbox developer Sling Media] the remote and they copy the IR codes,” Levine says. “But Control4 doesn’t put out any IR codes.”
So Cytex converted the Control4 remote codes to hex and hounded Slingbox to implement them into the Slingbox products. Slingbox relented.
If you have a Control4 system and a Slingbox, tell your integrator to hook you up with this freebie, available from the Cytex Web site.
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.