Originally Posted by destropaul
Like any professional system, it's only as good as it works, and it only works as good as it's installed and programmed.
Regardless who you buy the components from, you're in for a good investment, and it only makes sense to have it programmed correctly. If you program this stuff yourself without having years of experience, you mine as well just have gotten a Harmony Remote for under half the cost, because it will probably work just as good and better.
I'm not trying to be discouraging from attempting the programming yourself (or steer you to Harmony), most anyone can get one of these RTI remotes programmed to work. However, it's simply a matter of making it work simply. The remote has a brain and it needs a good teacher.
I agree with a lot of what you have to say, except that a harmony will never be an RTI.
If you have a TV a receiver, bluray along with some sat / cable box you can do ok with a harmony, beyond that forget it.
RTI can do almost anything that Crestron can in the control department, and at a much lower price point. RTI is designed to be extremely end user friendly. However, even though a lot of you could master the basics of the software pretty easily, it's the deeper functions that will leave you seriously scratching your head.
I have been installing RTI longer than 99 percent of the installers out there and I am still learning things about the software, and that is it is constantly being updated because of suggestions by installers in the field. This is one of the coolest things about RTI, in that it is a product that was essentially developed by installers. This is why it is easy to use and has ergonomics & features that if you truly understood them would make you drool to have it in your home, because frankly, besides the fact that it is an expandable system, we can make it to be or do or mimic anything you want.
If you want the first screen to be a picture of your dog and his nose is a button and his eyes are a button and he blinks when you press it we can do that. We have full two way communication now on touch panels and some of the remotes.
We can control anything that can be controlled via IR, Serial 232, Rs485, or IP, or contact closure. We can trigger events to happen based upon a contact closure, or a voltage change, or an optical signal, or what time of day it is, or motion.
Besides the audio video aspects we can control
Blinds and drapes
Spas and pools
Security and related
Garage doors & gates
And pretty much everything else you can think of
So yes you could probably program some basic stuff and be happy that you have learned how to put a channel macro on the ESPN2 HD icon, but beyond that you would be lost and frustrated without some kind of training.
It is also true that control system programmers are like artists, there are always shades of grey when dealing with art, some of it just plain sucks. So it is important to truly check out the company you hire, ask them to show you some of their work before you buy.
You also want someone who will build the system around your family's needs rather than some ideology. You are the ones who have to live with this stuff so it should be designed specifically for you in mind not the installer. RTI like Crestron is great in this area of flexibility, you are not stuck with any assembly line model, and all conceivable options are fair game.
Sound and Theater