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.
Originally Posted by Bi_Polar
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.
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.
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.
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.