Control 4 installer quote - I have questions...and concerns - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,

I have some questions regarding a Control 4 installer quote for my parents new home being built. I am trying to make sure they are getting what they need and want and nothing more.

Here is a portion of the overall quote:

14 Zone Multi-Source Control4 Based Audio System
1 Control4 HC1000v3 Master Home Controller (No Remote Control included) $1,600.50 $1,600.50
1 Control4 HC300 Controller (SR250 Remote Control included) $696.00 $696.00
2 Control4 8 Zone Audio Amplifiers $2,392.00 $4,784.00
4 Control4 7" Color Touch Screen - In Wall Ethernet Version $1,192.00 $4,768.00
1 Control4 Mobile Navigator License (iPhone ) $298.50 $298.50
1 Pakedge Commercial Grade Router (Control4 approved) $900.00 $900.00
1 24 port Commercial Grade Ethernet Data Switch $442.50 $442.50
1 Control4 iPod Docking Station $298.00 $298.00
1 Control4 FM/XM Multi Tuner $594.00 $594.00
1 Remote Music Source Input (for player Piano) $225.00 $225.00
1 FM Antenna $142.50 $142.50
1 Equipment Rack including metal shelves and castors $950.00 $950.00
3 AC Power surge protection $360.00 $1,080.00
1 Equipment Cooling Fan System $255.00 $255.00
1 Multi-room audio system equipment installation, programming and customer training $1,500.00

HDTV Wiring and Cable Terminations
Qty. Description Each Total

1 HDTV Wiring & HD Cable termination (3rd Floor) $222.00 $222.00
7 HDTV Wiring & HD Cable terminations (per TV location) $222.00 $1,554.00


TV & Video Remote Control Systems **
Qty. Description Each Total

5 Control4 HC200 TV Controllers (Remotes Listed separately) $450.00 $2,250.00
1 8 X 8 Video Matrix Switch * $6,750.00 $6,750.00
1 Video equipment installation $300.00

I have not included some parts of the quote just to simplify this a bit.

The main problem I have is that some of the items are generic. For example, the 24 port commercial grade ethernet data switch for $442.50. Or, the 8x8 video matrix switch for $6750. There are other prices I am questioning but these two are glaring examples.

When I questioned the installer on why they need to pay $442 for a 24 port switch as opposed to getting a $200 netgear switch his answer is - "Its not Control 4 approved". When I question a $6750 HDMI Video Matrix switch, the same answer applies, "not Control 4 approved". Doing a Google search on an 8x8 video matrix switch, I can't find a switch that expensive even if I try!

So what, if anything, should I be leary of here because frankly I am a bit leary of someone telling me that we have to pay double or triple the cost of a network switch, or a router, or a video matrix switch because it is Control 4 approved. I understand the concept, don't get me wrong. I understand that work may or may not be guaranteed etc etc but to charge that much extra for the "control 4" stamp seems ludicrouse.

Any guidance from others would be very helpful. I can post other aspects of the quote if it will help paint a clearer picture.

Thanks again!!

Scott
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post #2 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 01:35 PM
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Not a Control4 installer, but my understanding is that C4 installations are very dependent on an extremely solid networking-backbone. Unless someone who deals with the product can confirm the $200 switch is sufficient, stick w/ the MFR suggested product.

Without knowing what HDMI matrix they're bidding, its hard to figure how the pricing works, but if it is a CAT5/Fiber solution, you may be looking at a cost for the main unit plus 7 or 8 'solution boxes' (the part that feeds the actual TV location)...?

Ask for more details about the product...HDMI matrixes are tricky beasts, you don't want to skimp here if you want reliability/good picture quality.
*************************************************
Actually, Control4 doesnt list a supported HDMI Matrix on their website that I can find? Are you sure its HDMI and not the Sony Component Matrix (C4-CVS12ES-B-A)? Which would still require the 7 or 8 break-out boxes for TV locations...
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post #3 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bi_Polar View Post

The main problem I have is that some of the items are generic. For example, the 24 port commercial grade ethernet data switch for $442.50. Or, the 8x8 video matrix switch for $6750. There are other prices I am questioning but these two are glaring examples.

When I questioned the installer on why they need to pay $442 for a 24 port switch as opposed to getting a $200 netgear switch his answer is - "Its not Control 4 approved". When I question a $6750 HDMI Video Matrix switch, the same answer applies, "not Control 4 approved". Doing a Google search on an 8x8 video matrix switch, I can't find a switch that expensive even if I try!

"Not Control4 approved" is not a very meaningful answer, however there may be good reasons those products were specified and he should explain them. It is possible that Control4 does in fact have a list of "approved" or "recommended" switches, some vendors do maintain such lists.

The proposal says "8x8 video matrix" but than you say "when I question a $6750 HDMI Video Matrix switch". So I assume it was explained that it is an HDMI matrix. That being the case, yes, it could easily be $6750, in fact if you type "8x8 hdmi matrix" into Google the first hit will present you with a $6495 8 x 8 HDMI matrix switcher. The question I would be asking is what type of HDMI switcher is it? Are the outputs Cat5 or HDMI? Did he give you a brand?
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post #4 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bi_Polar View Post

Hello all,

I have some questions regarding a Control 4 installer quote for my parents new home being built. I am trying to make sure they are getting what they need and want and nothing more.

Here is a portion of the overall quote:

14 Zone Multi-Source Control4 Based Audio System
1 Control4 HC1000v3 Master Home Controller (No Remote Control included) $1,600.50 $1,600.50
1 Control4 HC300 Controller (SR250 Remote Control included) $696.00 $696.00
2 Control4 8 Zone Audio Amplifiers $2,392.00 $4,784.00
4 Control4 7" Color Touch Screen - In Wall Ethernet Version $1,192.00 $4,768.00
1 Control4 Mobile Navigator License (iPhone ) $298.50 $298.50
1 Pakedge Commercial Grade Router (Control4 approved) $900.00 $900.00
1 24 port Commercial Grade Ethernet Data Switch $442.50 $442.50
1 Control4 iPod Docking Station $298.00 $298.00
1 Control4 FM/XM Multi Tuner $594.00 $594.00
1 Remote Music Source Input (for player Piano) $225.00 $225.00
1 FM Antenna $142.50 $142.50
1 Equipment Rack including metal shelves and castors $950.00 $950.00
3 AC Power surge protection $360.00 $1,080.00
1 Equipment Cooling Fan System $255.00 $255.00
1 Multi-room audio system equipment installation, programming and customer training $1,500.00

HDTV Wiring and Cable Terminations
Qty. Description Each Total

1 HDTV Wiring & HD Cable termination (3rd Floor) $222.00 $222.00
7 HDTV Wiring & HD Cable terminations (per TV location) $222.00 $1,554.00


TV & Video Remote Control Systems **
Qty. Description Each Total

5 Control4 HC200 TV Controllers (Remotes Listed separately) $450.00 $2,250.00
1 8 X 8 Video Matrix Switch * $6,750.00 $6,750.00
1 Video equipment installation $300.00

I have not included some parts of the quote just to simplify this a bit.

The main problem I have is that some of the items are generic. For example, the 24 port commercial grade ethernet data switch for $442.50. Or, the 8x8 video matrix switch for $6750. There are other prices I am questioning but these two are glaring examples.

When I questioned the installer on why they need to pay $442 for a 24 port switch as opposed to getting a $200 netgear switch his answer is - "Its not Control 4 approved". When I question a $6750 HDMI Video Matrix switch, the same answer applies, "not Control 4 approved". Doing a Google search on an 8x8 video matrix switch, I can't find a switch that expensive even if I try!

So what, if anything, should I be leary of here because frankly I am a bit leary of someone telling me that we have to pay double or triple the cost of a network switch, or a router, or a video matrix switch because it is Control 4 approved. I understand the concept, don't get me wrong. I understand that work may or may not be guaranteed etc etc but to charge that much extra for the "control 4" stamp seems ludicrouse.

Any guidance from others would be very helpful. I can post other aspects of the quote if it will help paint a clearer picture.

Thanks again!!

Scott

Mr. Scott:

Anyone spending $26,025.00 on any installation of any high end system as this one I would, and would expect the company doing the install to give a full detail and drawings for the complete installed system. You not only need to know all details of the system but should understand where and options that are open to your parents...
Full details are not understood they are in writing...

All Control4 systems do proform extreamlly well above any other system on the market and usually are trouble free as long as it is properly preprogramed correctly so that anyone operating it knows the ststems limits..

Please ask before anyone signs any contract...They do have a contract don't they?

Have A Great Day!!
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post #5 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigem1 View Post

All Control4 systems do proform extreamlly well above any other system on the market

I wouldn't go that far ..... but they are making a healthy name for themselves but at that price point there is some other options. Control4 could be all you need or not look into your options.

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post #6 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bigem1 View Post

Anyone spending $26,025.00 on any installation of any high end system as this one I would, and would expect the company doing the install to give a full detail and drawings for the complete installed system.

I would too. Once and if such drawings have been paid for. I certainly would not expect it as part of a free proposal.
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All Control4 systems do proform extreamlly well above any other system on the market

Is it safe to assume that you are a Control4 dealer ?
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post #7 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 03:59 PM
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To the original poster: to be honest, that looks like a pretty fair number. I'd actually be a bit higher on the programming side of things. Also, as David said, that's a pretty normal price for an HDMI matrix of that size.

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Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

It is possible that Control4 does in fact have a list of "approved" or "recommended" switches, some vendors do maintain such lists.

There is indeed a list that is out there of C4 recommended routers, switches and access points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigem1 View Post

Mr. Scott:

Anyone spending $26,025.00 on any installation of any high end system as this one I would, and would expect the company doing the install to give a full detail and drawings for the complete installed system.

Again, I'm totally with David on this one. You can't expect a detailed design unless you expect to pay for it. Those kind of things take time.

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 as long as it is properly preprogramed correctly so that anyone operating it knows the ststems limits..

That's easy to say but life has proven that it's not as easily done. I've inherited systems from competitors who should know better... A system is indeed only as good as the installer and programmer (and to a certain degree, the network hardware). This is the case with anything from a Harmony remote all the way through a full-on Crestron system.

Colorado Media Systems
Colorado Springs, CO
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post #8 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 04:10 PM
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No offense, but a $ 26,000 system is not high end by any stretch.

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post #9 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 05:48 PM
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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.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #10 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 07:36 PM
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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.

Ehh. Margins are how you pay for things like insurance, gas, tools/equipment, and whatever profit you take home at the end of the day...the things you don't add a line-item to the bill for. If it makes you feel better, assume the difference between MSRP and dealer-cost is the 'expertise charge'...
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post #11 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 09:04 PM
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I do understand the business end of things. I just don't agree with the approach.

I certainly want them to make a good living. What I don't care for is pushing products that they claim are superior, necessary, etc when that is often a fiction and they are just trying to make a buck on a re-sale.

Sell the hardware at a reasonable price and charge for your time and expertise doing the things that only you can do. Anybody can buy and sell.

Heck I don't care if the customer goes out and buys all his own hardware as cheap as he can. I am going to charge for my time - if his hardware causes problems, so be it, it just takes more time and it costs him more.

My bottom line is the same, the significant profit is there in my time, not the hardware. The customer can go check pricing if we wants and see that his not being stiffed on the hardware. He may not like my rates but that is for him to decide.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #12 of 84 Old 02-10-2010, 09:28 PM
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Please keep this on topic so the thread starter can be helped.
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post #13 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

The price of the switch and router are high.

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

Would you give us a comparison of the switch that you mention versus the ones in his proposal?
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post #14 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

Please keep this on topic so the thread starter can be helped.

My apologies. I was thinking that some understanding of why the prices might be higher then what he could find for similar devices might be helpful.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #15 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

Would you give us a comparison of the switch that you mention versus the ones in his proposal?

Well I would if I could but "24 port Commercial Grade Ethernet Data Switch" is an incomplete description. Is it gigabit? Is it managed?

I mentioned the HP switch because, in my experience, a managed switch is not often needed in a home environment so I was just guessing that the proposed device was unmanaged. I could be wrong.

If someone knows that actual device proposed I would be glad to do the comparison.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #16 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

Well I would if I could but "24 port Commercial Grade Ethernet Data Switch" is an incomplete description. Is it gigabit? Is it managed?

Are people even selling non-gigabit switches anymore?

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It's worth mentioning here that several of the products that are listed require a PoE switch. Granted, a 24-port PoE switch may be a little more than what is needed... but it's likely at that price that it is a PoE switch.

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post #18 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Bi_Polar View Post

I have some questions regarding a Control 4 installer quote for my parents new home being built. I am trying to make sure they are getting what they need and want and nothing more.


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.

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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.
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post #19 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

Well I would if I could but "24 port Commercial Grade Ethernet Data Switch" is an incomplete description. Is it gigabit? Is it managed?

I mentioned the HP switch because, in my experience, a managed switch is not often needed in a home environment so I was just guessing that the proposed device was unmanaged. I could be wrong.

Precisely, hence the point of my question to you. You are telling him that what he is being quoted is high, even why they are supposedly higher, yet we don't even know what he is being quoted. IMO we don't have enough information to work on.
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post #20 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

Precisely, hence the point of my question to you. You are telling him that what he is being quoted is high, even why they are supposedly higher, yet we don't even know what he is being quoted. IMO we don't have enough information to work on.

You are entirely correct.

I was speaking strictly from educated guesses based on years of experience only, not actual facts about the specific proposal.

I could be totally wrong.

I would hope however the OP will be given more specific information from the vendor with which to make an informed decision. He too is having to make judgment calls with incomplete information.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #21 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

"Not Control4 approved" is not a very meaningful answer, however there may be good reasons those products were specified and he should explain them. It is possible that Control4 does in fact have a list of "approved" or "recommended" switches, some vendors do maintain such lists.

The proposal says "8x8 video matrix" but than you say "when I question a $6750 HDMI Video Matrix switch". So I assume it was explained that it is an HDMI matrix. That being the case, yes, it could easily be $6750, in fact if you type "8x8 hdmi matrix" into Google the first hit will present you with a $6495 8 x 8 HDMI matrix switcher. The question I would be asking is what type of HDMI switcher is it? Are the outputs Cat5 or HDMI? Did he give you a brand?

The switch brand is an "Avocation". Google search brings up little to no info.
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post #22 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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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.

I completely agree. The overall quote is much closer to 100k when you add in the other components I have not mentioned:

CCTV system
Security system
Structured wiring/Telephone/Data etc
TV/Video remote control systems etc
LCD display intercom system
Audio system including speakers amps etc
Central Vac
Lighting
Further automation packages such as garage automation, water detection
HVAC


The list goes on.

I guess here is my point in all of this - Why would/does Control 4 only stamp their approval on items that appear to be 2-4 times the going rate of a good competitive product? I mean, they are not selling the Avocation switch, Avocation is. They aren't selling the router, nor are they selling the network switches. A "partner" company is. They don't make the money off of that. Why not work with good components that can lower the install cost, they would attract more business I would think.

From the installer standpoint - I get it. I get that if you don't use the "Control 4 approved" hardware they are going to put any and all issues back on you. I get that. I get that the installer needs to make some money, I understand that as well.
What I don't get is why there is one choice for a video matrix switch - and of course it is the most expensive you can find. I dont get why they dont stamp more than one router, or network switch. Seems silly to me.


Another question if anyone can answer this:

What sources from Control 4 would be plugged into this video matrix switch that would make the installer say "it has to be Control4 approved"? The CCTV cameras? Obviously the graphical interface to control the system from a TV would be a source but what else? There must be programming involved here from the backend standpoint....

They will not have any PC interface to be replicated throughout the house. No movie/dvd server. No bluray server or changer. Possibly or possibly not cable boxes - those may be located in each room along with the TV.
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post #23 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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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?

Not exactly. As you may or may not have noticed, we're dealing with "commercial grade switch" or "commercial grade router" as a description for an item. Vague terms to be sure. Take an entire quote for well over 100k that includes 7 7" LCD in-wall touchscreens and a couple of 10" touchpad's to boot and you might raise your eyebrows as a consumer as well and say to yourself "who needs this many remote controls for God sake?".
I am a guy who likes to be informed, lets put it that way. Nothing wrong with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

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 can understand your point of view and that would be frustrating to say the least. However, I will say this - I took the questionable portion of his quote and put it online. I'm also not naming names. Getting alternative quotes is fine but if the guy is on the up and up and others here corroborate that, I would give him my stamp of approval. I've been in computers and networking for a number of years and at quick glance the prices for the switches and router were very high - not $100 above others, several hundred. The HC1000 controller was listed as $3500+ until I asked why I am finding it online for $1700. He said it was a new version. Fine, then put it in the quote! My parents would never know to ask this. Furthermore, many people would not know to ask, especially if they have no clue how it all works. While I am all for capitalism and guys like you staying in business and making a good living, I'm not for inadvertently paying more because I choose not to ask some questions and be informed.
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post #24 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 07:30 PM
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Control4, as most current control systems are very network dependent. Therefore they recommend high grade network devices. If there are network issues then there are automation problems. From my understanding Control4, as others, have had issues that they believe are networking issues.

In today's day and age many home systems do require managed gigabit networks. We are putting a lot of data on that network, and it needs to work "right now"!!

I am a big fan of the Pakedge product, their support is among the best I have dealt with. That does add to the cost since nobody seems to work for free.
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post #25 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bi_Polar View Post

The switch brand is an "Avocation". Google search brings up little to no info.

Do you know the model?

I found Avocation Systems which makes such devices but I didn't see an HDMI type.

I did see that C4 was listed as a "partner" and that C4 drivers were available for the "Peak" series but they are component video switches, not HDMI.

Of course the web site may be out of date, who knows.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #26 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 08:35 PM
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Bipolar,

Please take this in the spirit it is intended, which is to help you with your dilemma. First off, as an integrator I have no problems with your questions here, nor do I see a big issue with what you have posted since you did not post any companies or names. That being said, as an integrator I am often humored that consumers sometimes see the forest for the trees, when it comes to analyzing proposals, and I will elaborate on that as I proceed.
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Originally Posted by Bi_Polar View Post

Why would/does Control 4 only stamp their approval on items that appear to be 2-4 times the going rate of a good competitive product?

This is an unfounded conclusion. Even though I do not work with C4 I can assure you they do not only give their stamp of approval to items that cost 2-4 times the going rate of a competitive product.
Quote:
I mean, they are not selling the Avocation switch, Avocation is. They aren't selling the router, nor are they selling the network switches. A "partner" company is. They don't make the money off of that. Why not work with good components that can lower the install cost, they would attract more business I would think.

From the installer standpoint - I get it. I get that if you don't use the "Control 4 approved" hardware they are going to put any and all issues back on you. I get that. I get that the installer needs to make some money, I understand that as well. What I don't get is why there is one choice for a video matrix switch - and of course it is the most expensive you can find.

1. I am willing to wager there is not one choice for a video matrix switch. Let me explain how these "recommended products" usually work. "Recommended products" is a very grey term and can mean just about anything. Let's use Crestron as an example. They have countless companies listed as "partners" on their website. All that means is that the partner has an official relationship with Crestron and have cooperated with them in making their products available for control. So in that instance "partner" might be one level of "recommended". However it's a "level" with very little meaning. i.e. it does not assure a high level of control or even a good product. It just means the company has cooperated at making their products available and have cooperated with having a control module written for it. On the other hand a company that is not listed at all might work excellently, but might not be a partner if they are in direct competition with Crestron and don't want to be a partner.

2. When Crestron first started bringing out wi-fi panels they started to bring out a list of access points that had been tested and verified to work with them. So that might be another type of "recommended product" and in this example is a more meaningful level of "recommended".

I can only guess but I am going to guess that if the video switch is "approved" at all, that's it’s only approved in the sense that they are a certified C4 partner. I can assure you that C4 will work fine with other video switchers. And companies like C4 are not in the habit of only recommending one company, they want as many partners as possible.

Finally, again, this is not a terribly expensive HDMI switch and it's not even close to the most expensive. Video switches come in a variety of configurations. Composite, component, HDMI etc. The HDMI switch is expensive only if you are comparing it to composite or component switchers which are completely different types of switchers.

Quote:
I dont get why they dont stamp more than one router, or network switch. Seems silly to me.

Again, I very much doubt these are the only approved routers or switches. However this is an area where I am going to guess their ratings are more akin to #2 above and are more meaningful.

Now here is where I was mentioning that consumers analyzing a proposal sometimes see the forest for the trees. There is probably no more important aspect of this system with regard to reliability than the network equipment. You have a 100K quote and you are focusing on a $445 Ethernet switch . Which is only expensive when compared to cheap consumer switches. One can spend $4500 (or more) on an Ethernet switch. All I am saying is this is the last thing I'd be quibbling about.

That said, while some of my integrator friends sometimes get upset with me for saying this, as a consumer I always want to know what I am purchasing and think it perfectly reasonable that you do ask what switch and router are being recommended, and why. I think it's very reasonable to make sure you are in fact paying for a high quality router and switch here. And for what it is worth the router price jumps out at me more than the Ethernet switch does, and I would therefore ask what that consists of. Again, without a model it is impossible to comment on and there are a few different Pakedge pieces that could be.
Quote:
Another question if anyone can answer this:

What sources from Control 4 would be plugged into this video matrix switch that would make the installer say "it has to be Control4 approved"? The CCTV cameras? Obviously the graphical interface to control the system from a TV would be a source but what else? There must be programming involved here from the backend standpoint....

They will not have any PC interface to be replicated throughout the house. No movie/dvd server. No bluray server or changer. Possibly or possibly not cable boxes - those may be located in each room along with the TV.

Now you are asking the right questions ! It is not needed if the only thing you need to distribute throughout the home is CCTV and the on-screen display. An HDMI matrix switcher is for distributing HD sources such as satellite TV, cable boxes and Blu Ray players throughout the house. So it seems clear they are proposing this so they can distribute HD throughout the home from a central area. You see, if anything, to do that properly (with HDMI) the price actually seems LOW here. But consumers are usually less likely to worry about that even though it can be equally important (i.e. is enough being speced to make this all work and work well).

As an integrator when I look at this I am looking at why certain components are being chosen and how they will ultimately be designing this system. i.e. is it going to work?! An equipment list only tells a very small part of that story but we do have enough clues to ask some very important questions.

1. Why is an HDMI switcher being recommended? Why am I focusing on this? Because HDMI does represent the future but it is currently very hard to do reliably. Therefore it's critical to know if they are recommended a tested proven solution here. If they tell you it's because HDMI represents the future of video distribution that's a good answer but then that leads to the next questions.
2. Why is an unknown company that appears to be very new being used?
3. Have they used this HDMI switcher before?
4. How does the HDMI switcher distribute HDMI? Via Cat 5 cable or HDMI? Why? Because HDMI is not appropriate for long runs unless it is distributed via Cat 5e/6 or fiber. So if it does not use Cat6, how does this product achieve reliable distribution of HDMI?

I am sure I could come up with more questions but as someone who does not work with C4 those are the questions that jump out at me. These are questions that would help to understand how they are planning on doing this, if they have done it before, and if it's going to be a reliable solution.

I hope this helps.
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post #27 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

Do you know the model?

I found Avocation Systems which makes such devices but I didn't see an HDMI type.

I did see that C4 was listed as a "partner" and that C4 drivers were available for the "Peak" series but they are component video switches, not HDMI.

Of course the web site may be out of date, who knows.

Exactly, which is another reason the products jumps out at me as one to question.
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post #28 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bi_Polar View Post


I guess here is my point in all of this - Why would/does Control 4 only stamp their approval on items that appear to be 2-4 times the going rate of a good competitive product? I mean, they are not selling the Avocation switch, Avocation is. They aren't selling the router, nor are they selling the network switches. A "partner" company is. They don't make the money off of that. Why not work with good components that can lower the install cost, they would attract more business I would think.

As for the network gear, i would assume Control4 quoted those products because they have found they are good components. My guess is that they spend/waste a lot of money trying to provide tech support to people who are using inferior products. Thats usually how "recommended" product lists get started. The imagined savings on hardware vanish pretty quick when the labor bill begins to add up while the installers continuously troubleshoot the inferior products. Then, when they finally tame it and get it to work reliably they leave and a month later you add a laptop to the house and the whole house of cards comes crumbling down.

Quote:
From the installer standpoint - I get it. I get that if you don't use the "Control 4 approved" hardware they are going to put any and all issues back on you. I get that. I get that the installer needs to make some money, I understand that as well.
What I don't get is why there is one choice for a video matrix switch - and of course it is the most expensive you can find. I dont get why they dont stamp more than one router, or network switch. Seems silly to me.

It seems silly to you because you dont do this for a living. I think its silly to take 8 x-rays when i only have one broken hand but the doctor seems to think it makes sense. I assume he knows what hes doing and has a reason for taking multiple shots.

I cant comment on the switch. What i can tell you is that 85% of the time HDMI switchers are problematic garbage. An exercise bike can cause the image to drop off of the display. Someone changing sources in another room caused the TV you are watching to flicker. Its unstable and annoying and the only product i would ever recommend to a client for HDMI distribution is Crestron. Its mroe expensive than what you were quoted but its a solid product that will work properly.

Quote:
Another question if anyone can answer this:

What sources from Control 4 would be plugged into this video matrix switch that would make the installer say "it has to be Control4 approved"? The CCTV cameras? Obviously the graphical interface to control the system from a TV would be a source but what else? There must be programming involved here from the backend standpoint....



A switcher takes sources in and outputs them to a TV. How many TV's do they have? This is as important as whats being fed into them.

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post #29 of 84 Old 02-11-2010, 10:02 PM
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a community like this should be a place where you can post questions about a quote you got from an installer....

I am not an installer but I can say that if i ever, I won't be, got a CE to design and install a setup in my house and I didnt understand line items or specific equipment choices this is one of the 1st places I would go....

why........ because where else do you have the ear of many people who know what they are talking about..... to think that a customer is going to buy your product without doing a simple google search is crazy...

now I know a CE is selling service more than the actual product... so the customer needs to know that... otherwise you get the ..... "Why can I buy the same TV online for cheaper than you quoted me" question


anyways.... to the OP

the HDMI matrix switch is $$$$ for good reason... if it works, it is one of the few that doesnt have audio distribution issues and or HDCP issues and therefore is going to be a premium.

My suggestion..... dont look at line items too hard... but rather the overall cost for the whole job. They might add in 10% on each line item to pay for their time or extra parts rather than making an extra line item..... so if the total price is acceptable for what you want done and they treat you well then go with them... otherwise get another quote.
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post #30 of 84 Old 02-12-2010, 04:09 AM
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I'm 99% certain Avocation does not have an HDMI switcher. I'd like to hear from the OP what inputs and outputs this switch has. We may find out they have 14 TVs and audio zones and the switch is a 16x16 also doing stereo and digital audio switching and digital volume control. $6750 sounds like the right ballpark for that.
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