Today’s topic is not really related to home theater but it is related to home automation and many of our listeners have expressed an interest in the subject. Please allow us to take a brief side street off the main HDTV and Home Theater highway.
There are a few reasons you would want to automate your home. Very close to the top of the list is saving money. And the one item that uses the most energy is your heating and air conditioning system. Today we’ll take a look at four thermostats that let you monitor and control your HVAC system from anywhere in the world. When you decide to build out a complete automation system these thermostats can be integrated right in.
Nest made a big splash with their learning thermostat a couple of years ago and the second generation model is even better. Its sleeker and compatible with 95% of the homes out there. Unlike other programmable thermostats the Nest learns how you live and automatically adjusts. This process takes about a week. One of the cool things about having access to your thermostat over the internet is being able to turn it on or off from anywhere you are. This of course is if you remember to do that. The Nest will auto sense that no one is in the house and turn off the system automatically.
The nest is easy to install and they even provide a helpful video to take some of the stress out of it. If you want, they can help you find an installer in your area. They also include a great app for iOS and Android for controlling the thermostat but the coolest thing about the app is the Energy History. The Nest keeps detailed information about your energy usage and displays it in an easy to read graphical report. It will really help you zero in on your energy usage. This truly is one of the best thermostats out there!
Honeywell is a name that is very familiar and they make a lot of thermostats. The RTH8589WF gives you access over the Internet via an iOS or Android app for your smartphone or tablet. Unlike the nest you’ll have to program the thermostat. It allows four periods a day for up to seven days and it installs like any other thermostat. The biggest drawback we can see is the interface is very bland but it is the lowest priced thermostat on our list.
The ecobee is the most expensive thermostat on our list and the best looking and most feature packed. It comes with a big color LCD that makes everything easy to read and use. The ecobee has an intuitive interface that makes setting it up easy, it even includes your local weather forecast at a touch of a button. Like the Nest the ecobee will learn how you control your home and make decisions on how to heat and cool your home.
There are Android, iOS, and Blackberry apps as well as access from a computer. There is a web portal that allows you to setup a vacation schedule. This is a cool feature since you can set it up weeks or even months in advance. You won’t leave for a weekend and forget to turn off the system, even though you have the power to from anywhere in the world. You can setup alerts to get sent when it gets too cold. So if you are away you can have an alert go to your contractor or your neighbor and they can make keep an eye on your place for you. The ecobee also provides reports on energy usage making it a truly smart thermostat.
ColorTouch has customizable backgrounds, including the users’ own photos, and more than a dozen preset themes, including holiday themes. You can even set up a slideshow screen saver turning your thermostat into a digital picture frame. You can monitor thermostat information like how many hours its been running and temperature ranges. You can setup alerts based on the home’s inside temperature and you can view a pictorial display of the current weather and weather forecast for all thermostat locations. One of the coolest features is you can send text messages from a mobile device to the thermostat display for family members to see.
Posted by The HT Guys, February 1, 2013 12:18 AM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.