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Sage To Compete With Iris and Insteon

Hughes' new smart home system uses your TV to connect your smart devices

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Last updated: October 17, 2016

Meet Sage, a new smart home system from Hughes–the Dish Network satellite people, with a complete ecosystem of security products.

The smart device lineup has a fairly large suite of products that may sound similar to ecosystems from Lowe's Iris, Insteon and others. But Sage stand out in two unique ways. One, you control Sage from your TV. Two, Sage can contact your home's local 911 dispatch—even if you're placing the call while on vacation.

We got a demo of the system's aspects and capabilities and found much to recommend. But like many first iterations, Hughes still has a bit of work to do.

Hughes has three kits, each featuring a specialized remote control and a hub set-top box, that you connect using an HDMI cable between your TV cable or satellite box, and then to your TV. Not only can you control your system from the TV with a Sage remote control, but you can also tap into the system's security cameras. Any TV will do: You don't need one of the newer smart television sets.

Aside from the hub and remote control, a Starter kit ($199.99) gives you a door and window sensor plus a motion detector. The Security Kit ($349.99) adds a Sage doorbell sensor to the two Starter sensors. Finally, the Home Automation Kit ($229.99) has a hub and remote control, a light switch, an LED light bulb and an appliance switch. Sage's complete line includes cameras, bolt door locks, varying sized smart LED bulbs and floods, thermostat, AC switches, motion detectors, sensors plus other accessories.

Yes, you can also add on any of these devices ala carte. For instance, there is an indoor security camera ($139.99) and an outdoor camera ($249.99), a Yale-build smart lock ($239.99), a thermostat ($130.99) and standard A19 LED bulbs ($19.99).

Hughes set-up seems simple, from their own explanation. Each time you add a device, the Sage smartphone app walks you through the process—there are video guides as well. You can control and remotely monitor your home through the connection from your home TV, and there's a prominent MyLocal911 button on the app that calls your home police precinct, and not the emergency services where you may be traveling. As far as we know, no other smart home security system offers this local 911 option.

For true security, you'll need a subscription for MyLocal911 and cloud camera video storage, however. There's a monthly fee for each camera connected to the system starting at $9 for one camera and up to $24 for four cameras. That includes one free month of MyLocal911 and single camera video storage.

The system's components all wirelessly connect through ZigBee, yet you can't add ZigBee device to the system: only those devices "qualified" by Hughes, the company says. Hughes is expecting to get Nest certification "soon," adds Hughes. But compatibility with other protocols such as Apple's HomeKit or Amazon's Alexa isn't likely—at least in the near term— because for now, Sage is a closed system.

Also, you can't network multiple TVs to Sage. Fortunately, you can access the network from a smartphone or tablet when you're not in the room with your hub-connected TV.

As a new smart home network, there's much to applaud. But given how green Sage is we're hoping to get a Sage system to test out in the near future.

If you need help installing a smart home system, you can visit HomeAdvisor.com to find a local trusted professional.

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