Proper lighting control is essential to a well-designed home theater. Careful control of ambient light levels is critical for the viewing experience and requires careful planning of the lighting system which includes the window coverings and light dimming.

Today’s sophisticated lighting control systems can put control of theater lighting and motorized blinds at your fingertips through universal learning remote controls. With a universal remote control, you will be able to turn on or off all the home theater components, adjust the blinds, and dim the lights, all from where you are seated.

Lighting control systems for a home theater are available to fit a wide range of budgets. So don’t despair if your theater budget is sunk into plasmas and sound systems. You can still get quality lighting control without spending a fortune.

But how do you choose a lighting control system? Some key features to look for in a good lighting control system are reliability, ease of use, and the ability to integrate with other household electronic systems.

Is It Reliable?

When it comes to working each and every time, it is hard to beat a hard-wired lighting control system. As the name suggests, hard-wired systems use dedicated low voltage cables to signal switches to turn on and off. These systems work 100% of the time. Bear in mind though hard-wired systems are limited to new construction since it is difficult to retrofit the cabling into existing structures. The other two types of lighting control systems work in retrofit situations, but have their own weaknesses. Power line carrier (PLC) systems use a structure’s electrical power lines as a path for signaling. PLC systems are usually fine for smaller homes and can reach 99% success rates. However, not all PLC products are created equally; some older technologies don’t do much better than 70%. Wireless lighting control products provide an exciting alternative to hard-wired and power line carrier technology. However, these systems use radio frequency transceivers for signaling and are prone to fail in buildings which use metal studs, metal switch boxes and concrete or stucco construction.

Is It Easy to Use?

While most lighting control systems are easy to operate, many are difficult or impossible for the homeowner to program themselves. Look for a system that can be programmed manually through the switches themselves and can also be programmed through a computer or central controller. Systems which offer both types of programming are both sophisticated enough to accomplish complicated lighting scenes and simple enough for the homeowner to make changes without having to call a technician.

Can It Integrate with Other Household Systems?

Many home automation products can control subsystems from other manufacturers. For example, some security panels can turn on lights, adjust thermostats, and more. Many of these controllers communicate through serial RS-232 cables. If you have this type of controller or your house is pre-wired for such a controller, choose a lighting control system which has a serial connection for third-party devices.

“That’s a Wrap”

Among the myriad choices in lighting control, it is easy to find a system within your budget. Your best bet is a lighting control system which works reliably in your home, is easy to program, and integrates with your home automation controller.

The i-LiNE Lighting Control System by Electronic Design Technology is a hard-wired lighting control system featuring dimmer switches and on/off relay switches which require no additional electrical wiring and install in regular switch boxes. Switches are daisy-chained together with Category 5E cable. Lighting scenes can be programmed manually through any switch or remotely through a PC. For more information, please visit or call 866-753-4180.