For most people, home automation begins and ends with the principle of appliance control. When any household device such as a video or TV is controlled by something other than a button on its front panel or its original remote control, it is deemed somewhat magical and a topic of further inquiry, particularly if the control is done remotely. Lights and toasters don’t need to be controlled by a wall switch, and your TV doesn’t need to be fed signals from your video, DVD player, or satellite receiver. Each device has its own idiosyncrasies and control methods, and each has specific functionality that cannot easily be abstracted into any general-purpose form of control interface. However, it is possible to control the vast majority of them using one of two basic methods:
Mains line-powered control (lightbulbs, toasters, electric teakettles)
Infrared (IR) remote control (TV, video)
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© Steven Goodwin 2010