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New Control4 Processor - HC-1000


Julie Jacobson

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I know the HC-1000 was mentioned in one of the threads, but I wanted to point it out here since it's a major new Control4 product.

From the article:

The product is less of a controller, and more of a supplement to Control4’s suite of control systems and interfaces. There is no ZigBee wireless radio built in. The only connectors are a USB port and an Ethernet port. “Rather than a multitasking box, it is pure hard core,” says West. “It runs Director [automation software] and that’s it. It allows the rest of the house to do what it needs to do.”

The full article is here: http://www.cepro.com/article/control4s_hc_1000_is_uber_powerful_ghz_speed_home_control_processor/

More CEDIA news at www.cedianews.com

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I still don't understand where this fits in a large system. No zigbee, no IR, no relays, no contacts and no 232 ports...just one ethernet and USB port. For one it's SUPER expensive for so few parts. It’s PC…

I have a MTC, External disk drive (500 gig), 94 switches/dimmers, (3) Touch Screens, XM/FM/AM Tuner, Audio Matrix, (2) 8 Channel Amps, Contact/Relay Extender and use almost all my contact/relay and IR ports. My system performance is decent. How would this device help me? It would appear to me I would have to keep my MTC, the MTC would become a dumb device (i.e. super large relay extender with Zigbee) and the HC-1000 would run the software and play my tunes. Right?????

Is that correct? Does the HC1000 have more memory? Does it search music faster and do the indexing quicker?

Please elaborate on how C4 sees this being used in large installs. I'm ALL about more power; I just thought it would come with a new highly tuned MTC...

Thx

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I still don't understand where this fits in a large system. No zigbee, no IR, no relays, no contacts and no 232 ports...just one ethernet and USB port. For one it's SUPER expensive for so few parts. It’s PC…

Thx

Big Tex

I think we will see announcements about new C4 hardware and software in the next few days. CEDIA starts today and C4 will be there to show off the latest whiz bang stuff.

In my opinion (I have no inside info from C4, but I do work for a C4 dealer) faster bigger hardware paves the way for more features in software. I would also imagine that the existing HTC and MC are due for product upgrades. Additionally, RaynE has stated that the final specs for the HTC-1000 have not been released yet so the only info we currently have is from the CE Pro article.

You system is very nice and I am glad you have *decent performance*, however sometimes performance is also based on how much usage is concurrently being done. I don't know how much your system is used so I can't comment, but it is possible that smaller systems than yours could have slow performance because there are many backend processes running on the HTC or MC. Remember (and I am sure you are aware of this) that all C4 devices have to constantly provide device status to the HTC. All this backend processing needs CPU power.

I would also think that the larger system (HTC-1000) would be useful in an installation such as the one at Ginns Resorts, see http://www.control4.com/company/press/2007-7-30-ginn.htm. With so many rooms, each probably having local C4 control there will be a need for central monitoring.

Thanks

Alan

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It's a miracle... C4 actually has a new product on their webpage the same day it was annouced. Usually it takes weeks or months....

Check out the data. Solid State Memory and 500 Gigs of it. That's why it's expensive; but it should be A LOT faster than a disk drive. This thing is all about speed and music. Still pretty pricey and it still requires an HC-300 or MTC and will use the Zserver to send all the Zibgee and control functions to that device secondary device...

Smart on C4. Requires the user to buy more stuff. Basically the MTC just became a large relay extender with Zigbee. I wonder if the MTC will ever again be the focus device or if it's intended to be like the Audio Matrix and respond to I/O commands.

I guess I'll be buying on of these bad boys to improve performance. I wish there were some more specs.

Congrats to Dan for being in the press release... He's big time now!

http://www.control4.com/cp/103-9EEB55D4/index.htm

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/070906/20070906005507.html?.v=1

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That stinks... I was getting excited.... Why so expensive then?

rsmout, what else can you share about the HC-1000? What kind of processor? How much mem and what kind of processor does the MTC have? Any other technical details you can share about the HC-1000?

Thx

C4 Details per C4 Webpage. A bit misleading...

Robust Design

Standard Rack Mount – Two rack units, standard 19” chassis.

Solid-State System Hard Drive – Ensures the system will always be up and operational.

Serious Media Server

500 GB hard drive – Store the entire family’s music collections, and picture albums for distribution throughout the home.

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Big_Tex, I haven't seen any specific information on the processor. What I have read is it has five times the processing power of first generation controllers (that would be the MC and the HTC I guess.)

Direct quote: "Complex programming tasks and media searches happen instantaneously."

HC-1000 - The HC-1000 is designed to operate as the master controller for projects with a large number of devices, extensive programming, and projects with vast media libraries. The HC-1000 has ample SD-RAM, a 1 GB solid state Hard Drive, as well as a half a terabyte drive for handling the largest of media libraries. The HC-1000's processing power is optimized to handle the largest and most complex projects. The HC-1000 is designed to be paired with one or more slave controllers.

They have started accepting orders but these won't ship until October.

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Big Tex, I think MSRP is $2,995.

Kirill, there are arguments for either NAS or HDD. Since the HC-1000 has a hard drive included, why spend more for NAS? My opinion is NAS is good if you have other reasons to have it, such as a music collection that won't fit on a 500 gb hard drive or you want to back up files from your home PC or the HC-1000. (A USB Hard drive can be used for this too, but then speed can be an issue.) If you only need back-up capabilities, USB is less expensive than NAS and totally functional. (On a side note, if you get a NAS server, you can plug one or two USB hard drives into them and increase your storage.) It all boils down to need and cost. If money is no object, spring for a 2 terabyte NAS. If you are just building your music collection and can afford to re-rip the music if necessary, the HDD should be sufficient. Plan on some extra storage down the road for back up purposes if nothing else. (I'm at the USB stage currently. In a year, I'll probably spring for a NAS.)

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Kirill, there are arguments for either NAS or HDD. Since the HC-1000 has a hard drive included, why spend more for NAS? My opinion is NAS is good if you have other reasons to have it, such as a music collection that won't fit on a 500 gb hard drive or you want to back up files from your home PC or the HC-1000. (A USB Hard drive can be used for this too, but then speed can be an issue.) If you only need back-up capabilities, USB is less expensive than NAS and totally functional. (On a side note, if you get a NAS server, you can plug one or two USB hard drives into them and increase your storage.) It all boils down to need and cost. If money is no object, spring for a 2 terabyte NAS. If you are just building your music collection and can afford to re-rip the music if necessary, the HDD should be sufficient. Plan on some extra storage down the road for back up purposes if nothing else. (I'm at the USB stage currently. In a year, I'll probably spring for a NAS.)

These are good arguments. But in real world - if somebody springing up for C4 system - it's very likely they have some other MP3 players. (I have PhatBox in car and Ipod) - These players need to synchronized with MP3 archive - and it's no point to maintain few copies of MP3s - so NAS is a clear winner - as it can be easily and quickly accessed by C4, Itunes, and whatever else.

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Kirill and Big Tex,

If your system is performing well, you don't have a need for the HC-1000.

There are a few cases where the HC-1000 will come in very handy:

* If your system is extensive (many devices, large project, lots of zigbee devices), you might need more processor power, or if you want a faster responding system. The HC-1000 has a 1.3GHz processor, 1 Gig SDRAM, and the 1 Gig Solid-State disk, for reliability. Things like page flips and scrolling large media lists require a lot of director lookups, and with the 1.3 release, the Navigator code is about as fast as it's going to get for those sorts of things, so speeding up director makes sense.

* If you do a *lot* of custom programming, with large scripts, the faster processor will execute those scripts without affecting any other director processing.

* If you have a large media database (many DVD's, many MP3's, etc.), you might want an HC-1000. Whether or not you store the MP3 media on the HC-1000 controller, the metadata should be stored locally to the master controller (cover art, data about tracks and DVDs), and I've been told that the media database on the HC-1000 *screams*.

* If you do a lot of audio streaming, the HC-1000's faster processor and NIC will be able to stream more audio over the network to more slave devices (speakerpoint, HTC, MC, and Mini-Touch).

We have dealers who have told us that they will be putting an HC-1000 in most if not all of their new projects, and retrofitting it into some of the high-end existing installs, for these reasons.

As far as it not having on-screen and zigbee and IR, etc., that was a conscious decision on Control4's part. The HC-1000 is designed to run large systems, and be dedicated to that task. No Navigator insures that the system will be responded to instantaneously.

Not having Zigbee makes sense, since this will likely be located in a central rack, far away from where most of your zigbee devices will be found. It's better for your Zigbee server to be basically central to your core of Zigbee devices. Better to put it on an HC-300 located behind a TV.

So why does it have a 500G hard drive? Well, my guess is that even though it doesn't need such a large drive in situations like yours (with NAS storage readily available), a hard drive is needed in the unit even for metadata, and if we need a hard drive in the unit, you can't buy small drives, and it doesn't make economic sense to buy anything smaller than about 250G, which is what was originally announced for the HC-1000.

All of this, of course, remains my own personal opinion, and not Control4's official view, like most everything else I say on the forums.

RyanE

P.S. I haven't played with it, but I suspect that the media on the HC-1000 can be used as a NAS for other devices, so even if you have other MP3 players, you could sync them to the drive on the HC-1000 as easily as to a drive on the network.

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Thanks Ryan...

While my system performs well I'd love for it to be FASTER. Switching between rooms could be faster and scrolling media could be A LOT faster. Additionally I struggle getting more than two music streams going consistently. I have 280 gigs of MP3's or something like 50k songs. It's is very slow to pull down cover art and music metadata; especially when there are 6 albums or more. This baby was made for me.

I assume my MTC will become my "controller" that sends out all my zigbee, IR, 232, IP and contact commands; but the MTC takes its commands from the HC-1000...right? When you say it doesn't run navigator, what do you mean? I assume when my dealer logs in with composer he'll now log into the MC-1000 and make all his composer adjustments on the HC 1000 (vs. the MTC) which will then send all the commands to the proper devices (Tuner, MTC, HC, Etc...). Is the new processor a Intel product like a dual core or Pentium?

When you say complicated scripts, do you mean it's faster on simple items like "go to bed and it turns off 90 lights simultaneously" or is it faster when I run something exotic like "if the door opens, play x song, send me an email, turn off the alarm and call the security company". I'm sure it's faster in both instances; but in which scenario was it designed to be more efficient in...? One is an easy script with lots of action while the other is a more complicated script with few actions... Just curious....

Thanks

James

PS. Any comment on NAS versus external drive for speed? We had this debate last week. NAS seems to be the winner. Is the USB port on the HC-1000 2.0?

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These are good arguments. But in real world - if somebody springing up for C4 system - it's very likely they have some other MP3 players. (I have PhatBox in car and Ipod) - These players need to synchronized with MP3 archive - and it's no point to maintain few copies of MP3s - so NAS is a clear winner - as it can be easily and quickly accessed by C4, Itunes, and whatever else.

Kirill,

You're correct. In your situation the argument for NAS is stronger. Getting NAS just to have NAS, in my opinion, satisfies a want, not a need. Syncing to other devices can be done with a USB since it could be made available on the network, but NAS is much faster and in your situation, obviously a cleaner solution. I would recommend NAS over USB for this.

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Yeah, it does not provide an on-screen, as the other controllers do.

As far as what kind of scripts does it speed up, it speeds up all execution, where it's not bound by something else.

I was specifically referring to long scripts. We have dealers who put in scripts that take up multiple pages of complexity of if/then statements.

RyanE

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have to say that after seeing the speed of the HC1000 in action (Early Pre Beta) in one of my largest installations, I will be specifying that sucker in every house I work in. I have a modest 4 zone system in my house and one of our big installations (22 audio and 18 video zones) runs faster on the touchscreens, onscreen menus and remotes. The lighting is faster (still a popcorn effect on big light scenes due to zigbee) and the media access is blazing fast. You almost cannot get your finger off the button before the system has the media list up regardless of the amount of music or videos you have in the system. When you trigger a whole house on for audio on one of our big installations, it would popcorn on in all the rooms over about a minute or so. Now it just comes all on in less than 2 seconds. The price is a little steep, but after having one in action, I have to get one for my house.

-Sean

Experience AV Home Theater

Montrose, CO

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  • 7 months later...

Houston this is Kennedy, please hold, our 200 x600 ft video wall used as a C4 onscreen Navigator just froze, seems that someone with a V2 remote was trying to use the navigator on another tv that was connected, I repeat was connected to the same HC-300, please call the CI who installed it and have him bring another one.

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