Once You Go Rack, You Never Go Back

By Daren Tarpenning | Posted September 12, 2013

Prior to working at Control4, I designed and installed Control4 systems. A question that clients often asked was whether they should have their A/V equipment scattered in respective areas around the home or is there a better solution? I would always explain that there was a better solution and that better solution is called a “rack.” Just as a background for those that do not know, a rack is a metal tower-like structure that houses the main components of a home’s automation and audio/video equipment and is generally located in a discrete location, like a basement or a garage. As an admitted AV geek, I love seeing a huge rack of equipment. But there are many advantages to having the home automation and A/V equipment centrally located in one as well.  Here are my top three reasons:

1. Aesthetics
The primary advantage for a home owner is purely aesthetic. Without having A/V and home automation equipment scattered throughout the home, it generally allows for a cleaner, more sophisticated look that compliments the décor and space rather than a messy distraction of black boxes, cords and cables. When the majority of the equipment is hidden in a rack, only televisions, speakers and elegant user interfaces, such as the Control4 Wireless Configurable Keypad, are visible throughout the home. 

2. System Setup and Performance
In addition to creating a clean aesthetic appearance, a central rack also helps in system performance. When your equipment is installed in a rack, the installer will generally pre-build the rack prior to home installation.  Not only will they pre-assemble the rack, they will also take the time to install all the home automation and A/V equipment, such as the new 8x8 HDMI Matrix Switch, Audio Matrix Switch, HDBaseT Receiver and 100 Series Power Amplifiers from Control4.  This pre-installation setup will allow the installer to program and test the equipment, often leading to a quicker installation along with a more reliable and efficient system from the start.

3. Serviceability
The final reason for choosing to rack your equipment is serviceability.  Have you ever tried to troubleshoot a cable box or hook-up that new Apple TV to your television and end up disconnecting something while dodging dust bunnies all in tight working conditions? A rack helps to eliminate those problems.  Equipment is easily accessible from all sides in an open working environment. Racks are designed for increased serviceability and convenient upgrades of your home automation and A/V equipment.

So next time you are contemplating installing or upgrading your home automation and A/V equipment, consider installing an equipment rack.  It will help keep your home clear of additional equipment, cords and cables, it will assist in system reliability and will allow for easy access and convenient serviceability. And for the A/V geeks, they are just plain sexy.