The Convenience of Digital Movies

February 24, 2015

This guest post comes to us from Alan Chow, Co-Founder of Chowmain Software & Apps.  He develops software that enhances the Control4 Home Automation System with new features and functionality.  For more information about his products please visit

It wasn’t too long ago that movie time meant driving to the video store to rent a DVD. It also involved tweaking the settings of the TV, setting up the room lights and finding the right remote for the DVD player. Not a terribly complicated process, but one that definitely took some time and effort.

Enter the media player. Unlike traditional Blu-ray Disc players, a media player, or server as it is sometimes called, does not require physical media to be loaded each time you watch a movie. Instead, the player extracts content from a disc and stores it digitally onto its internal hard drive. Once this process is complete you no longer need the physical disc. Additionally, a media player can stream and store content from online movie providers, providing you with a huge library of entertainment including movies, TV programs, concert videos, even music, that can be accessed with the tap of a button.  

What’s even more intriguing about many media players is their ability to sync with other electronic devices in your home. For example, when paired with a Control4® Home Automation System, your media player can become a part of a comprehensive movie-time scene where as it activates the lights dim, the motorized window shades close, the sound system turns on and the TV or video projector revs up—all with the touch of one button on a Control4 remote.

One of the most integration-friendly media players is the Kodi Entertainment Center (formerly known as XBMC). By adding it to a Control4 ecosystem you can enjoy so many magical movie experiences.  For example, it can:

  • Detect when a movie starts and set the scene by automatically dimming the room lights
  • Detect when a movie ends and signal the lights to turn on
  • Automatically turn your TV on if you want to stream video or audio content from your phone using Apple AirPlay or UPnP technology
  • Turn off the TV if you fall asleep while watching a movie or if you leave it paused for too long
  • Display all the movies that you digitally own without any form of manual cataloguing of your library
  • Activate a masking system on high-end cinema systems to alter the shape of your projection screen
While all of these scenarios are possible, it takes the right equipment (beyond just the player and Control4 system), good organization of your entertainment content, an intuitive control device and other features to ensures that these setups are simple to engage and unfold flawlessly. No matter how talented a media player may be, it’s only through the integration expertise of an independent authorized Control4 dealer that these fantastic automated movie routines can become a reality in your home. Be sure to consult with your local dealer before investing in a media player.