Control 4 installer quote - I have questions...and concerns - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 84 Old 02-19-2010, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djsmallz View Post

that's one of the reason I didn't even bother giving a though on this thread. no offense to the op..
If i was the installer on this job, and I was to come across my client posting my quote on a public forum for a debate without discussing with me more thoroughly, I would just send the client away and rather loose the job, why? because it's more likely to bring PAIN and bad recommendations in yrs to come if the electronic happen to go wrong as some of them just happen to. I am not saying the OP is that type of person but experience shows it's bound to happen. I understand the economy is down and all and I don't mind if a client crosscheck online, but it's sometimes best to sit down with the installer and discuss properly and express your concern, if you feel you aren't satisfied maybe shop around by getting another installer bidding on the job and make the comparison. don't just compare the price on the job but also judge on who is most likely to be the best at supporting the system etc..

My intent to bring a partial listing of this quote to this forum is because I happen to have some networking experience but needed some additional assistance on the AV portion I am not so sure about. My networking experience tells me some of the items in that section are very high. If they are indeed high, then other sections potentially are as well. As I stated before, believing that someone is giving you a fair price on an item is something I am just not going to do. I don't blindly believe people as I have been burned too many times by not checking. I think this installer is on the up and up and we are going to go with him and that is in part due to some of the comments here.

Had he charged double the msrp for an item such as a switch or router or AV controller AND then charged installation and support, I think we would have found someone else. It has been and was beneficial for me to come here both from my parents stand point AND from the installers. He gets the job and thats good for him in this economy - as you say - it is down. Good from their standpoint because they are being treated fairly.
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post #62 of 84 Old 02-19-2010, 08:27 AM
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You're networking experience seems to be strictly related to home type of environments. While this control4 system is for the home, you certainly don't want home "tolerances" for network type of equipment in there. . . While I'm not saying that this stuff is better than the home stuff, let me just say that that price is nowhere near where I would classify as a good business class (aka enterprise) class switch. If you want a good switch that can handle the TCP-IP bandwidth that can be thrown around in a high bandwidth situation then you're going to have to step up to some big Cisco gear like 2960 and 3560 series switches. These things run from a few thousand to 10K depending upon POE needs, etc.

And by high bandwidth - I don't mean the occasional use of streaming video to a few locations for watching movies. You can't use a $600 switch when you have numerous megapixel ip cameras feeding data to security servers. . . So it really depends upon use that you need.

In real life terms, I wouldn't get caught up in the small stuff. The last thing you want to have happen is for your installer to spend a day trying to find out why something is erratic and/or not passing data correctly and it ends up being the netgear/linksys switch. . It happens quite a bit as I've seen them look/operate fine but they are the culprit to a lot of network problems.

And just fyi, $6k for that HDMI switch is a steal if it works to what you want. A comparable Crestron DM switch in an 8x8 configuration is probably 15-20K with the room solution boxes.

You should concentrate on what you want to have happen within the network and make sure that your needs are met within your budge.
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post #63 of 84 Old 02-19-2010, 03:33 PM
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I suggest that the matrix switch be more closely examined not so much for price but rather for architecture. Specifically, the decision to use HDMI over component may be worth a closer look. There are precious few HDMI switches that will work as desired. Problems will include extremely long switch times and signals completely failing to display.

Signal display failure will be a burden that hopefully the installer alone will shoulder. Long switch times are more of a grey area. The installer will assert this is "normal" (which it currently is), but the user may find this entirely unacceptable.

You may ask why install a component switch today with the component sunset approaching. Consider, however, that a component switch today will cost less than $3k, and add to this the fact that any HDMI switch purchased today may likely need to be replaced with a more functional HDMI switch down the line when the technology is more ripe.

In terms of doing a line level analysis of the proposal, this is potentially useful, but also potentially dangerous for a long list of reasons. Another approach is to rely on comparable quotes from other installers in conjunction with client references for similar types of projects.
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post #64 of 84 Old 01-14-2013, 04:08 AM
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Hi Scott - my advice would be to stay well away from Control 4. I've had a nightmare experience with the product. Installed it about 3 years ago - never worked properly - dealer support was appalling - 50% of the wireless dimmers have already failed and the wall-mounted touchscreen also died recently. This week I've had it removed and am very happily back to living in a non-automated house. Control 4 is a complex (technically) product that locks you into a dealer network where there is no effective quality control.
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post #65 of 84 Old 01-16-2013, 02:40 PM
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I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with Control4. We've installed hundreds of Control4 systems throughout Colorado and have had very few issues. Control4's equipment has improved dramatically over the last few years, as has the reliability. We're very proud to be Platinum Control4 dealers and we wouldn't be that way if the systems failed a lot.

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post #66 of 84 Old 01-16-2013, 03:07 PM
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I'd assume Scott has figured something out in the three years since his last post in this thread... rolleyes.gif

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post #67 of 84 Old 01-17-2013, 03:20 AM
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Do you google every single item when you wreck your car and are rushed to the hospital and need life saving services. I mean seriously. You know how low margin all this stuff is and the ridiculous amount of knowledge in so many areas that is required to install this stuff. People like u that google every item and expect prices that are in line with volume online resellers are clients I never want to even deal with. Maybe the integrator is knowledgable in whatever brand switch he's selling and thats that. Who cares if the hp is cheaper. Maybe it blows. Maybe range sucks. He is selling you a product that is most likely familiar to him or her and known to work. So frustrating having clients like this. Our services are already undervalued a vast amount considering the knowledge required. Posting quotes online I agree is just wrong. I would drop any client immediately if I found out they did that.
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post #68 of 84 Old 01-17-2013, 03:25 AM
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Also the guy who said control 4 performs well above any other product on the market. Thanks for the laugh. Drawings/documentation/prints should be included in any install by a good integrator but it should always be charged for and worked into the quote. You can put 60 hours into all that documentation easily.
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post #69 of 84 Old 01-17-2013, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg C View Post

No offense, but a $ 26,000 system is not high end by any stretch.
Agreed x100
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post #70 of 84 Old 01-17-2013, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

The price of the switch and router are high.


For example, a SonicWall TZ-100 is a very good router with an extensive feature set and it sells for less then $300.00.


A HP ProCurve 1400-24, also a good product, is a 24 port unmanaged, gigabit switch and sells in $330 range.


But these dealer folk like to make profit on every element.


I for one think they should charge for their expertise.


But it doesn't take expertise to buy a product and re-sell it at a mark-up.


Let's put it this way - I wouldn't buy the system at that price.

Ya right. That's not expensive at all. Any enterprise grade router is instantly 1,000 bucks no questions asked. Especially a managed gigabit switch. My 48 port managed gigabit switch in the showroom is a 2500 dollar unit. Everything relies on the network nowadays. So go ahead. Skimp. Best of luck.
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post #71 of 84 Old 09-18-2013, 03:34 AM
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Folks - with 2 years of hindsight on this thread, what is the best control4 hdmi matrix to get? Are they now reliable or still a PITA?

OP - how was your final experience?
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post #72 of 84 Old 09-18-2013, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerard143 View Post

Ya right. That's not expensive at all. Any enterprise grade router is instantly 1,000 bucks no questions asked. Especially a managed gigabit switch. My 48 port managed gigabit switch in the showroom is a 2500 dollar unit. Everything relies on the network nowadays. So go ahead. Skimp. Best of luck.

Don't need that kind of equipment for home automation.

I've used the items I mentioned over and over again - no issues.

Were talking home automation here - nothing requiring massive amounts of bandwidth.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #73 of 84 Old 09-19-2013, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

Don't need that kind of equipment for home automation.

I've used the items I mentioned over and over again - no issues, at least with the type/size of systems I install

I fixed it for you wink.gif.
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post #74 of 84 Old 09-19-2013, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

I fixed it for you wink.gif.

Can't really argue with that. I was attempting to say something to that effect, sometimes it's hard to be completely clear when you are in a hurry.

I would like to see a home automation system that REQUIRES enterprise class equipment to function as intended.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #75 of 84 Old 09-19-2013, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

Can't really argue with that. I was attempting to say something to that effect, sometimes it's hard to be completely clear when you are in a hurry.

I would like to see a home automation system that REQUIRES enterprise class equipment to function as intended.

I think you're mis-framing the issue a little. It's not so much a matter of a home automation system that "REQUIRES" it, it's a matter of a network and/or installation that benefits from it, and in those cases the reliability of responsiveness and reliability of the the home automation can be enhanced by using routers and managed switches. Your earlier statement that nothing in home automation requires massive amounts of bandwidth is also a bit misleading, insofar as that's not why one would use a managed switch, it's the other devices on the network that can require a lot of bandwidth, which is turn can affect the home automation system. Hence one of the reasons it's good to be able to manage it, and have vlans for different parts of the network. If for instance you've got 5 Kaleidescape players and 5 Apple TV on the network, put those on their own vlan, and put the control system on a dedicated vlan. On the larger homes we work on it's also not unusual to need many (let's say 10 to pick a number) access points, in which case a true wifi controller should be used.

Anyhow, I don't mean to nitpick, but I just wanted to point out there are systems where it makes good sense to use professional grade network gear, and it's not necessarily the bandwidth of the home automation equipment that is the issue. I do agree with you that a lot of small to medium size systems will function just fine with a good router and un-managed switch.
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post #76 of 84 Old 09-19-2013, 05:55 PM
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When I said I would LIKE to SEE such a system I meant that literally - it would be most interesting.

Everything you say is true and in some cases a managed switch can help. VLANs have their uses but they cannot overcome a inherent lack of bandwidth as you know.

In some cases it may be better and simpler to have dedicated switches for each group of devices requiring lots of bandwidth. Putting those media players and media storage units on their own network hardware with a single connection to the control network can also be a solution.

Many of the control devices are going to be very low bandwidth so many of those high performance 48 ports (just using a number) are going to be way underutilized (is that a word?) .

Did we discuss WiFi? I don't recall mentioning that. All I remember is the router issue and the switch issue. Haven't yet needed 10 WAPs - would like to have seen that home. Most I've needed was 6 for a 10,000 SQF home. And WiFi controllers can be a big plus.

So I agree that there are clearly times when a high performance managed switch (which doesn't have to cost $2500) is a good choice but to simply sell every customer, regardless of their system, that type of device doesn't seem right - at least to me.

As to enterprise class routers - what's your take on that claim?

Thanks for the feedback.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #77 of 84 Old 09-19-2013, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

As to enterprise class routers - what's your take on that claim?

Thanks for the feedback.

I guess it depends on what you define as an enterprise router, and again, what the overall requirements are for the network. Even pretty high-end routers are not that expensive (less than $1000) in the total scheme of things, compared to managed switches. Certainly for the vast majority of installations a good high quality $300 (give or take) router is adequate.

At the same time, if someone has a preferred router that is more, I don't think it necessarily means they are taking advantage of anyone. A lot of time a company standardizes on a specific product because:
a. they have experienced rock solid reliability with it and know they can guarantee the system will work well with it,
b. they can get great support from the router vendor when they need it,
c. they know it it inside and out etc. and don't want to be choosing a different product for every job because that carries its own set of issues with it.
d. the manufacturer may recommend the router and they know they'll avoid finger pointing at the network as the cause of issues if they experience any that need to be resolved.

I don't work with Packedge, but I know a lot of dealers are thrilled with the support they receive from them, and they also do some things to target residential installations such as putting all the ports on the back of the equipment instead of the front.
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post #78 of 84 Old 09-19-2013, 09:09 PM
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Understood.

I use SonicWall in part because many years of using them have proved their worth. And they have a range of products to cover all needs. One stop shopping as it were. But I tend to avoid products aimed at the CI because to my way of thinking they are skimming the cream.

Thanks again.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #79 of 84 Old 11-11-2013, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post



So your sharing the installers design and specified gear on a public forum only to have us nit pick the parts and pieces. Then you will gather our recommendations and confront the installer?Quote:
Originally Posted by bigem1 View Post

All Control4 systems do proform extreamlly well above any other system on the market and usually are trouble free.

Really. You have installed every other system on the market?Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg C View Post

No offense, but a $ 26,000 system is not high end by any stretch.

Agreed.Quote:
Originally Posted by weddellkw View Post

Margins are how you pay for things like insurance, gas, tools/equipment, and whatever profit you take home at the end of the day...

/\\ Exactly.

I should probably stay away from posts like this but I can't help myself. This reminds me of the customer who picks apart my quote for a small media room install. Display and surround zone. The client Googles the display and finds it on line for $100 cheaper. Then informs me of his findings.

If you consider the installer to be charging to much get another quote but to post his proposal online is unacceptable IMO.

 I don't think this is fair.  I am in currently accepting quotes from several different companies/sources and one quote received was way above the budget discussed and to be honest I believe I am getting ripped off.  My own personal dollars are paying for the build, not a huge chain or corporation and I will pick apart a quote to see where/if I can save money and ask questions to get an honest opinion from the masses.  Surely that is what forums were designed for, to discuss?

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post #80 of 84 Old 11-12-2013, 07:05 AM
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Lewi26,

Where are you located?
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post #81 of 84 Old 11-12-2013, 09:02 PM
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post #82 of 84 Old 11-15-2013, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

Folks - with 2 years of hindsight on this thread, what is the best control4 hdmi matrix to get? Are they now reliable or still a PITA?

OP - how was your final experience?

You have more/better options. Zektor and Just Add Power for example.

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post #83 of 84 Old 11-15-2013, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewi26 View Post

 I don't think this is fair.  I am in currently accepting quotes from several different companies/sources and one quote received was way above the budget discussed and to be honest I believe I am getting ripped off.  My own personal dollars are paying for the build, not a huge chain or corporation and I will pick apart a quote to see where/if I can save money and ask questions to get an honest opinion from the masses.  Surely that is what forums were designed for, to discuss?

Some of it is fair. The TV for $100 less example is a bad one but it's not the only piece of the puzzle. How did the client come up with the model number? The installation firm gave it to him. "What does it matter?" It matters because every TV on the market won't work. It's not fair that the installation firm consulted for free but thats really his problem. He should have charged for system design. The company i work for does not sell TV's. We spec TV's and the client pays for them directly. This is because there isn't enough margin/profit on a TV to justify the risk involved. We charge for the labor involved in designing and spec'ing the TV though.

In your case it's quite possible that the expensive proposal may be more than the discussed budget because the scope/your wish list exceeds the budget discussed. It could also mean that the company who provided that quote is trying to take advantage of you. It could also mean that the less expensive quote isn't apples to apples. It could mean that the less expensive company hasn't factored in all of the expenses of providing this system for you. It could mean that the less expensive company is more efficient. While all of this is possible none of it is cause for feeling ripped off. Custom installation projects don't have sticker prices on them. There are hundreds of choices that can add or subtract thousands of dollars to the total.

Point being that the quote total isnt the most important thing when choosing a company. Ask to see examples of the documentation for the project (wiring plans, rack elevations, connection schematics). Ask to see examples of the user interface. Ask to tour installed currently completed systems. While you are there be sure to test drive the user interface and check the rack wiring. Are the racks planned out and executed properly? Were you able to use the user interface without help?

Having a properly planned, installed, programmed, supported system is much more important than what it costs. Before you waste your time negotiating price you should first determine that you actually want to work with the company. Once you pick 1 or 2 companies ask them to explain why the network hardware is expensive or why they think 1 room needs larger speakers than another. If you want to roam around the house with iPads as control devices you can't get away with entry level wi-fi systems. If this is something you don't care about then obviously this is an area where you can have them adjust the product & price.

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post #84 of 84 Old 02-20-2014, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg C View Post

No offense, but a $ 26,000 system is not high end by any stretch.

This may sound like a lot but it's not IMHO since my Atlona 16x16 HDMI Matrix cost me $16K by itself.
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