Pro to the Rescue When DIY Project Fails
Know when you're in over your head
Photos by Anna Bruce
February 19, 2013 by Grant Clauser

It can be very satisfying to complete a big DIY project, especially when it’s a home theater and control project you spend months planning and building. There’s a grand sense of accomplishment one gets when it’s finally time to sit down, press the button and watch the magic happen.

And then there’s that other sense when you press the button and… yup, nothing happens. It’s all too common, and it’s something like that that turned this DIY project into a professionally-programmed Control4 project. Justin Tsuchida of iHomeIntegration in Burke, VA, was asked to install some home theater seats in a mostly DIY project. An electrician did some of the wiring, but most everything else in this multiroom area, which included a large home theater and a bar room with TVs and audio, was all done by the home owner.

It all looked nice, but it didn’t work.

When Tsuchida arrived, the homeowner had already spent hours fighting with an off-the-shelf universal remote (including six hours on the phone with technical support).

That’s not a big surprise, of course. Getting a serious home theater, multiroom audio and video distribution system and lighting to all work together with a simple learning remote is a challenge that devices like that aren’t suited for. Tsuchida arrived just in time.

He suggested that the homeowner scrap the Harmony remote and move instead into a Control4 system. By this point the homeowner didn’t need much convincing—he knew he was in over his head, so he gave Tsushida the go-ahead. Tsuchida based the system around a Control4 HC300 processor and used an Episode matrix switch and Netgear GigE switch to help rout signals around the space. Now instead of a frustrating remote, the homeowner primarily uses his iPad to operate everything.

Check out more pictures of the system here.

Learn More: What’s the Best Place for a Control Panel.

Learn More: Home Automation FAQs.

Homeowner-installed Equipment:
Optoma Projector w/media Box
Focupix 110” screen
Pioneer Receiver
Proficient in-wall speakers
Belkin Surge Protector
Sony Bluray player
Apple TV
Verizon Fios boxes
Samsung TV’s 55 and 46

iHome Integration-installed Equipment:
Control4 HC300
Control4 IO Extender
Control4 iPad License
SnapAV Matrix Switcher
Netgear GigE Switch
Binary Interconnects


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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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