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post #1 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to get some feedback from the members of this forum.

So I have decided that I will be going with the Control4 System for my new house and have some questions about the light switches. Any comments would be greatly appreciated and I thank everyone in advance.

- Is there a disadvantage of using the 3 or 6 button switch on the Control4 Lighting instead of individual ones?

- What functions can the light switches be programmed to? The dealer I am purchasing the Control4 from said on the 6 button switch he can program it to where you push it once to turn ON and push twice to turn OFF. Is there a way to program these to where push it once and it turns on and again to turn off? Instead of pushing it twice to turn off. Also, if it can be held down to use as a dimmer?

- If I have a wall with 4 switches and I go with the 6 button switch from control4, what commands should I put on the other two that are not used? Suggestions would be appreciated.

-What is typical cost on programming these light switches? I got quoted $120 for the switch and $130 to program each one. Is that a good price?

I'm asking this because currently I want him to program 60 switches and figured I could save some money by going with the 3 or 6 button switches. Plus I kind of like the way these look instead of having a gang of switches on the wall.
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post #2 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3AL View Post

- Is there a disadvantage of using the 3 or 6 button switch on the Control4 Lighting instead of individual ones?

I can't think of any.

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Originally Posted by M3AL View Post

- What functions can the light switches be programmed to? The dealer I am purchasing the Control4 from said on the 6 button switch he can program it to where you push it once to turn ON and push twice to turn OFF. Is there a way to program these to where push it once and it turns on and again to turn off? Instead of pushing it twice to turn off. Also, if it can be held down to use as a dimmer?

They can basically be programmed to do anything you want (within the bounds of your lighting/shades/AV system that is controlled by C4). There's no reason the buttons can't be a toggle on/off with one press. I'm not sure why you're dealer would think it needs a double press to turn off. The button can be used as a dimmer only when being used to control 1 circuit of lighting. If the button is turning on multiple circuits, i.e. a scene, then it is only on/off.

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Originally Posted by M3AL View Post

- If I have a wall with 4 switches and I go with the 6 button switch from control4, what commands should I put on the other two that are not used? Suggestions would be appreciated.

I would consider more scene based programming personally. For example, I might make the top left button in each room turn the entire room's lights on to a preset level. Then I may use some of the other buttons to control and dim some individual circuits I know I'll want to adjust regularly. I would also probably have a "home" and "away" button by my entry doors. Perhaps a "goodnight" button by my bed. You might want some "path" type buttons - leading from one location to another. Maybe a "TV" scene - low light level in the family room for example. This type of programming is really subjective and personal choice - these are just some suggestions.

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Originally Posted by M3AL View Post

-What is typical cost on programming these light switches? I got quoted $120 for the switch and $130 to program each one. Is that a good price?

Hard to say, pricing for programming will probably vary depending on your locale and what the market will bear. The retail price of the dimmers is $129. In my opinion, $130 per device is a fair price.

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I'm asking this because currently I want him to program 60 switches and figured I could save some money by going with the 3 or 6 button switches. Plus I kind of like the way these look instead of having a gang of switches on the wall.

Having smaller keypads is definitely more appealing than large banks of switches imo.
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post #3 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 02:02 PM
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Sorry if I am being daft but do you mean $120 for the switch and $130 for programming e.g. $120+$130/switch or $130 includes switch + programming.

Also, M3AL, have you decided on an integrator? Will you be open to a phone conversation? I am deciding on all those things and it will be good to hear your thoughts as a fellow Houstonian.
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post #4 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 02:30 PM
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I'm here in Houston and have wanted to get an automation system for some time. I went to ConnectOne and they showed me an HAI system I just felt like was dated. I tried the QWEBL system they're demoing at Gallery Furniture ... I even went by the QWEBL offices and got a demo. Liked it, but I'm not sure I want to have to turn on a computer or TV to access the interface all the time.

So now I'm learning towards Connect4, and I've been thinking about Aveon as the integrator, but I'm just not sure, and I'd like to feel more sure if I'm going to spend the money.
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post #5 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ABCGasMan View Post


So now I'm learning towards Connect4, and I've been thinking about Aveon as the integrator, but I'm just not sure, and I'd like to feel more sure if I'm going to spend the money.

Im not a big fan of the Connect4 interface.



Kidding aside.. ask the integrator to walk you thru one of his completed projects. This will give you a better understanding of what Control4 and your integrator is capable of.

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post #6 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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@ddave12000

Thanks for your input and advice. I thought it could be programmed to where I can just hit it once to turn on and again to turn off. Also, thanks for your suggestions on the Scenes I think that's a great idea.
Are you a dealer? I have some AV questions as well maybe I can get some advice. Let me know if you are up for it.

@tiger1234

I haven't decided on an Home Automation company yet, because I've only been to one place and haven't got a bid yet from them. I just really like the way Control4 looks and operates and I feel that this has the best solution for me. I am going to meet with two other companies next week so I can compare bids from one another. I would be more then happy to talk over the phone with you so we can get each others feedback. I will PM you with my cell phone number later today.
Also, the price for the switch is actually $129 and the programming is $130 on top so that makes it $259 per switch programmed. This is list price and I am hoping that I can atleast get a discount on the package since I am buying a lot. That's another reason I am looking at the 6 button switch because it will cost the same price of $129 for the switch but I get 6 switches out of it. The price for the programming stays the same at $130 per button (6 button switch plus programming = $909. 6 switches with programming = $1560). Figured I could save some money that way.
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post #7 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABCGasMan View Post

I'm here in Houston and have wanted to get an automation system for some time. I went to ConnectOne and they showed me an HAI system I just felt like was dated. I tried the QWEBL system they're demoing at Gallery Furniture ... I even went by the QWEBL offices and got a demo. Liked it, but I'm not sure I want to have to turn on a computer or TV to access the interface all the time.

So now I'm learning towards Connect4, and I've been thinking about Aveon as the integrator, but I'm just not sure, and I'd like to feel more sure if I'm going to spend the money.

I was originally leaning towards HAI, but then I explored the CONTROL4 system and really liked the flexibility of it. It like the fact that it's expandable without running additional wires. HAI is great, but very old fashion and they are supposed to come out with a better GUI in July, but who knows what it will look like.
As far as Aveon, I've heard of them and have only heard great things about them. That is one of the places I will be going to get a bid from on my project. I went to the Billiard Factory in 1960 area and spoke to David, he is very nice and knowledgable. I would like to go thru him but it also depends on how much his price is and what he is going to offer. Also, I highly agree with 39Cents that you should have them give you a tour of some houses they have done. Let me know if you visit Aveon (appointment only) and what they have to say.
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post #8 of 30 Old 01-02-2010, 11:49 PM
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The 6 buttons are nice.. but if you are JUST using lighting they won't be so handy.. but they work great for volume control and what not...

I'm not sure of the going install rates.. but 130 for programming seems steep.. is he installing them also? or will someone else take care of that? I think i could get a second quote from a different dealer...
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post #9 of 30 Old 01-03-2010, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3AL View Post

I was originally leaning towards HAI, but then I explored the CONTROL4 system and really liked the flexibility of it. It like the fact that it's expandable without running additional wires. HAI is great, but very old fashion and they are supposed to come out with a better GUI in July, but who knows what it will look like.
As far as Aveon, I've heard of them and have only heard great things about them. That is one of the places I will be going to get a bid from on my project. I went to the Billiard Factory in 1960 area and spoke to David, he is very nice and knowledgable. I would like to go thru him but it also depends on how much his price is and what he is going to offer. Also, I highly agree with 39Cents that you should have them give you a tour of some houses they have done. Let me know if you visit Aveon (appointment only) and what they have to say.

HAI has software (home automation studio) available now that allows you to customize your GUI. I think it only works with specific models of their touchpanels though but its s step in the right direction .

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post #10 of 30 Old 01-03-2010, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by M3AL View Post

Also, the price for the switch is actually $129 and the programming is $130 on top so that makes it $259 per switch programmed. This is list price and I am hoping that I can atleast get a discount on the package since I am buying a lot. That's another reason I am looking at the 6 button switch because it will cost the same price of $129 for the switch but I get 6 switches out of it. The price for the programming stays the same at $130 per button (6 button switch plus programming = $909. 6 switches with programming = $1560). Figured I could save some money that way.

Actually, using a 3 or 6 button keypad is not a substitute for purchasing a lighting dimmer. You still need at least one $129 dimmer per lighting load. This is because the 3 or 6 button keypads do not actually have the ability to change the level of current that passes through to a light. All they can do is send commands to the C4 controller, which in turn can cause a lighting dimmer to change lighting levels (or send many other types of commands that can turn on/off multiple light switches/dimemrs, control AV equip, thermostats, shades, etc.)

Also, I'm not certain what is included in the programming, but $130 to program a light in C4 sounds quite high to me. The programming cost should be considered in the context of the overall project (i.e. installation and programming of all devices - not just lights.) How many lights are you intended to control? You also need a C4 controller in the project, which can control your A/V equipment. Have you discussed costs and programming for that?

I suggest you have a detailed discussion with your dealer to discuss all this in greater detail to make sure expectations are properly set between you.
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post #11 of 30 Old 01-04-2010, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

Im not a big fan of the Connect4 interface.


Kidding aside.. ask the integrator to walk you thru one of his completed projects. This will give you a better understanding of what Control4 and your integrator is capable of.

I know you're a big fan of your funny pictures and all, but not all Control4 installs look the same, even today.



And soon, they will change quite a bit.

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post #12 of 30 Old 01-06-2010, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually, using a 3 or 6 button keypad is not a substitute for purchasing a lighting dimmer. You still need at least one $129 dimmer per lighting load. This is because the 3 or 6 button keypads do not actually have the ability to change the level of current that passes through to a light. All they can do is send commands to the C4 controller, which in turn can cause a lighting dimmer to change lighting levels (or send many other types of commands that can turn on/off multiple light switches/dimemrs, control AV equip, thermostats, shades, etc.)

Also, I'm not certain what is included in the programming, but $130 to program a light in C4 sounds quite high to me. The programming cost should be considered in the context of the overall project (i.e. installation and programming of all devices - not just lights.) How many lights are you intended to control? You also need a C4 controller in the project, which can control your A/V equipment. Have you discussed costs and programming for that?

I suggest you have a detailed discussion with your dealer to discuss all this in greater detail to make sure expectations are properly set between you.

Well I haven't received a full quote from the first company. He says he won't have it for me till next week. I am getting two other bids from other companies as well so I will be able to compare the packages.
- The total amount of lights being controlled are about 40 and some of them have 3-way switches on them. And total switches (individual) needed are 60 and I just figured when he told me $130 per light switch programming was really high.
-He is going to quote the HC-500 Controller.

The things he said he will include in the bid:
- 60 Light Switches
- 1 HC-500
- 3 7" touchpanels
- 16 Channel Amp Control4
- Speaker install for entire house (about 46 speakers total)
- 4 Denon Receivers (for surround sound rooms)
- Video Matrix Switch (HDMI)
- 4 Control4 remotes
- Pre-wire the house for network, alarm, tv's, phone lines, etc..
- Programming and Install of Control4

I think that's about it. Gotta wait another week before getting a bid though (kinda sucks).
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post #13 of 30 Old 01-10-2010, 04:03 PM
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Your system will perform much better if you use a HC-1000 controller instead of the HC-500.

You will need a HC-1000 as well as a HC-300 to get the same functionality
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post #14 of 30 Old 01-10-2010, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
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I know you're a big fan of your funny pictures and all, but not all Control4 installs look the same, even today.

I don't believe he was making any comment about the Control4 interface at all .
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Quote:
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Actually, using a 3 or 6 button keypad is not a substitute for purchasing a lighting dimmer.

Exactly. They are control keypads and are additive, they in no way replace the need for light switches. Well, I suppose they could in one sense. You could use less 3-way and 4-way circuits and instead use a single dimmer or switch with keypads at the locations where the other side of the 3-way or 4-way circuit would normally be.
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post #16 of 30 Old 01-11-2010, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by M3AL View Post

Well I haven't received a full quote from the first company. He says he won't have it for me till next week. I am getting two other bids from other companies as well so I will be able to compare the packages.
- The total amount of lights being controlled are about 40 and some of them have 3-way switches on them. And total switches (individual) needed are 60 and I just figured when he told me $130 per light switch programming was really high.
-He is going to quote the HC-500 Controller.

The things he said he will include in the bid:
- 60 Light Switches
- 1 HC-500
- 3 7" touchpanels
- 16 Channel Amp Control4
- Speaker install for entire house (about 46 speakers total)
- 4 Denon Receivers (for surround sound rooms)
- Video Matrix Switch (HDMI)
- 4 Control4 remotes
- Pre-wire the house for network, alarm, tv's, phone lines, etc..
- Programming and Install of Control4

I think that's about it. Gotta wait another week before getting a bid though (kinda sucks).

The HC-500 is discontinued. Given the size of the job an HC-1000 would be a better solution, make sure it's a HC-1000v3 as they feature better processing and more memory, hence better performance. You will want an HC300/200 for each room with a TV, and looking at the number of surround sound you plan on doing, you'll need several additional controllers beyond the HC-1000 for IR/serial control. You referenced having several 3 way loads, The C4 dimmers cannot do 3 way by themselves, it is done through a combination of dimmers/switches and 2,3, or 6 button keypads The 2 button keypads are $10 less so make sure the counts are specified in the bid. How many sources are you going to pump into your house audio system? Will you need an audio matrix switch, I don't see one spec'd. How many zones of distributed audio? Control 4 doesn't recommend pairing speakers on its amps. Make sure he runs a CAT5 to your tstats as well. C4 doesn't require the wire, but it's cheap insurance for the future. Make sure that CAT5 or CAT6 is run to all of the rooms getting surround sound systems as the C4 control network is much happier on wired vs. wifi.
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post #17 of 30 Old 01-11-2010, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecodeman View Post

I know you're a big fan of your funny pictures and all, but not all Control4 installs look the same, even today.



And soon, they will change quite a bit.



FYI, My "funny picture and all" was in reference to the guy who spelled Control4 as Connect 4. It had nothing to do with the Control4 interface. But now that you mention it....

Neat, now you can change the background image. Control4 is catching up to 1995.

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post #18 of 30 Old 01-12-2010, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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The HC-500 is discontinued. Given the size of the job an HC-1000 would be a better solution, make sure it's a HC-1000v3 as they feature better processing and more memory, hence better performance. You will want an HC300/200 for each room with a TV, and looking at the number of surround sound you plan on doing, you'll need several additional controllers beyond the HC-1000 for IR/serial control. You referenced having several 3 way loads, The C4 dimmers cannot do 3 way by themselves, it is done through a combination of dimmers/switches and 2,3, or 6 button keypads The 2 button keypads are $10 less so make sure the counts are specified in the bid. How many sources are you going to pump into your house audio system? Will you need an audio matrix switch, I don't see one spec'd. How many zones of distributed audio? Control 4 doesn't recommend pairing speakers on its amps. Make sure he runs a CAT5 to your tstats as well. C4 doesn't require the wire, but it's cheap insurance for the future. Make sure that CAT5 or CAT6 is run to all of the rooms getting surround sound systems as the C4 control network is much happier on wired vs. wifi.

Thanks. I found out the HC500 was going to be discontinued so we are going to use 1-HC1000V3 & 1-HC300. Do I really need one for each room with a TV? That would require 7 of the HC300's. As for sources I will have 7 (4 Direct TV DVR's, 1-DVD Changer, 1-Blu-Ray, 1-PS3). I know I will need a Matrix Switch for the video, but don't really want it because I have heard nothing but negativity towards them. I will have 6-7 zones of distributed Audio. Thanks for the information on the Cat5 runs.
Also, if you know of a good HDMI Matrix Switch I would greatly appreciate it. I am having 7 sources as stated above with about 13-15 TV's and I want to be able to watch any of the 4 DVR's on any of the TV's. Is there a way to go around the Matrix Switch? From what I hear they cost a lot and hardly work properly.
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post #19 of 30 Old 01-12-2010, 05:23 PM
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Neat, now you can change the background image. Control4 is catching up to 1995.

That's made me laugh. Thanks I needed that.
In all reality, that's not far from the truth.
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post #20 of 30 Old 01-12-2010, 05:44 PM
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how did I miss this thread? I used Aveon for my large C4 install in Houston. Interview everyone else and then talk to Robert or Dick and you will be thoroughly impressed. They were terrific to deal with and I still hound them with questions (which they answer within 24 hours!) for my next C4 install in Colorado. Let me know if you have any questions and good luck with your install.

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post #21 of 30 Old 01-13-2010, 05:02 PM
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Thanks. I found out the HC500 was going to be discontinued so we are going to use 1-HC1000V3 & 1-HC300. Do I really need one for each room with a TV? That would require 7 of the HC300's. As for sources I will have 7 (4 Direct TV DVR's, 1-DVD Changer, 1-Blu-Ray, 1-PS3). I know I will need a Matrix Switch for the video, but don't really want it because I have heard nothing but negativity towards them. I will have 6-7 zones of distributed Audio. Thanks for the information on the Cat5 runs.
Also, if you know of a good HDMI Matrix Switch I would greatly appreciate it. I am having 7 sources as stated above with about 13-15 TV's and I want to be able to watch any of the 4 DVR's on any of the TV's. Is there a way to go around the Matrix Switch? From what I hear they cost a lot and hardly work properly.

You don't need an HC-300 at each TV, but you should have some type of interface for each TV. It could be the lesser expensive HC-200s mounted behind each panel, or if you are using touch panels they can function as your interface. I've seen jobs where the integrator shared HC-300 interfaces for multiple TVs and I wouldn't recommend it. Too much opportunity to confuse yourself and the system.

What sorts of bad things have you heard about matrix video switchers? I've used them on literally hundreds of jobs and of course we have a few problems here and there, but nothing that would ever make me want to stop distributing video. There's no better way to distribute multiple sources to multiple TVs. However, I would stay away from HDMI matrix switching for now. That technology is not reliable enough imo. Stick with component video for now, and if you need 1080P blu-ray or gaming systems, locate the device at the TV with an HDMI cable and route the digital audio back to your headend.
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post #22 of 30 Old 01-13-2010, 06:21 PM
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You will certainly want a matrix switch to do what you want to. If you can get by with 6 sources the AudioAuthority AVX with CAT-5 extensions to each TV is pretty cost effective. We've used lots of them with C4 and they are flawless.

Actually, if you just want to select video sources, you do not need any on screen navigator i.e No HC-200/300. The SR-250 remote is all you need. Of course if you want a nice GUI for cameras, cover art, etc. you will want a nav screen on the TV. We've done quite a few fairly large systems where a single HC-200 navigator was shared among many viewing locations. As long as users know it can be whisked away by another user it works fine and folks find it to be quite acceptable.
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post #23 of 30 Old 01-13-2010, 07:29 PM
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Take a look at Zektor www.zektor.com . Their product has been getting a lot of buzz on the C4 forums.
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post #24 of 30 Old 01-14-2010, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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how did I miss this thread? I used Aveon for my large C4 install in Houston. Interview everyone else and then talk to Robert or Dick and you will be thoroughly impressed. They were terrific to deal with and I still hound them with questions (which they answer within 24 hours!) for my next C4 install in Colorado. Let me know if you have any questions and good luck with your install.

tum

I am actually meeting with Dick on Friday morning to get a demo and give him my blueprints. I got a bid from a company in Houston and it caught me off guard. I was thinking that the whole system that I want would be about $40-$50K, but when I got this it was more like $140K. I think I had a minor heart attack. I hope I can find a good company that won't charge me an arm and a leg for labor, like the $140K company did. My equipment total was $20K and the rest was labor and wires. I thought this was a little overboard. I hope Aveon is a lot more reasonable.
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post #25 of 30 Old 01-14-2010, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ddave12000 View Post

You don't need an HC-300 at each TV, but you should have some type of interface for each TV. It could be the lesser expensive HC-200s mounted behind each panel, or if you are using touch panels they can function as your interface. I've seen jobs where the integrator shared HC-300 interfaces for multiple TVs and I wouldn't recommend it. Too much opportunity to confuse yourself and the system.

What sorts of bad things have you heard about matrix video switchers? I've used them on literally hundreds of jobs and of course we have a few problems here and there, but nothing that would ever make me want to stop distributing video. There's no better way to distribute multiple sources to multiple TVs. However, I would stay away from HDMI matrix switching for now. That technology is not reliable enough imo. Stick with component video for now, and if you need 1080P blu-ray or gaming systems, locate the device at the TV with an HDMI cable and route the digital audio back to your headend.

Well the reason I only think I need one HC300 is because it's only my wife and I living at the house. We don't have any kids so I figured going with just one would work for the time being. I have a question though, let's say I am watching TV upstairs and my wife is downstairs and she hits the red 4 on the remote, will it disrupt what I am watching upstairs or only what she is doing downstairs? This will be using one HC1000 and one HC300.

I haven't heard bad things about using component video matrix switching, I've actually heard great things about this. It's HDMI Matrix switching that I have heard is not reliable. It constantly goes out and you have to go upstairs unplug every HDMI cable reset it then plug the HDMI cables back in. Also, someone mentioned HDMI over IP, is that good? It seems fairly new so I don't know if I can trust it.
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post #26 of 30 Old 01-14-2010, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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You will certainly want a matrix switch to do what you want to. If you can get by with 6 sources the AudioAuthority AVX with CAT-5 extensions to each TV is pretty cost effective. We've used lots of them with C4 and they are flawless.

Actually, if you just want to select video sources, you do not need any on screen navigator i.e No HC-200/300. The SR-250 remote is all you need. Of course if you want a nice GUI for cameras, cover art, etc. you will want a nav screen on the TV. We've done quite a few fairly large systems where a single HC-200 navigator was shared among many viewing locations. As long as users know it can be whisked away by another user it works fine and folks find it to be quite acceptable.

Thanks, I'm trying to do HDMI Matrix Switch though. But this one might not be a bad option till they can make the HDMI Matrix more reliable. If the installers are running Cat6 cables to each TV, and they put component cables on there, it can be changed to HDMI later right?
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post #27 of 30 Old 01-14-2010, 09:41 AM
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Thanks, I'm trying to do HDMI Matrix Switch though. But this one might not be a bad option till they can make the HDMI Matrix more reliable. If the installers are running Cat6 cables to each TV, and they put component cables on there, it can be changed to HDMI later right?

Have then run 2 Cat6 cables.
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post #28 of 30 Old 01-14-2010, 03:25 PM
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Well the reason I only think I need one HC300 is because it's only my wife and I living at the house. We don't have any kids so I figured going with just one would work for the time being. I have a question though, let's say I am watching TV upstairs and my wife is downstairs and she hits the red 4 on the remote, will it disrupt what I am watching upstairs or only what she is doing downstairs? This will be using one HC1000 and one HC300.

No, I think it would only interrupt you if you were using the C4 interface at that time, navigating around, or listening to music, adjusting lights, etc.

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I haven't heard bad things about using component video matrix switching, I've actually heard great things about this. It's HDMI Matrix switching that I have heard is not reliable. It constantly goes out and you have to go upstairs unplug every HDMI cable reset it then plug the HDMI cables back in. Also, someone mentioned HDMI over IP, is that good? It seems fairly new so I don't know if I can trust it.

I would do component now, but make sure an infrastructure is in place to allow a future change over. If it were my house, I'd run a minimum of 4 cat cables: 1 - video, 2 - audio (if needed), 3 - control/network, 4 - spare.
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post #29 of 30 Old 01-14-2010, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys I really appreciate your input on everything. Hopefully I can afford this stuff, but if I get another bid of $120,000 I might have to use Connect4 instead of Control4.
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post #30 of 30 Old 01-15-2010, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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So I met with Dick at Aveon. Very nice guy and am looking forward to working with him. Very knowledgable about Control4 and everything AV. If the bid is right and even if he is a little higher then some of the other companies I have talked to I would probably go with Aveon. Very professional IMHO.
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