Elan Vs. Control4?! - AVS Forum

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Home Automation

Schmitt Sabry's Avatar Schmitt Sabry
03:32 PM Liked: 10
post #1 of 5
04-25-2010 | Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010
Hi all,

I am really new to this so easy on me please.

I just want a little help comparing control4 to Elan systems taking into consideration the following points:
Ease of use

Generally the pros and cons for each of them.
Detailed as much as you can please.

thank you very much in advance.
Mattbrotzge's Avatar Mattbrotzge
12:27 PM Liked: 13
post #2 of 5
04-28-2010 | Posts: 23
Joined: May 2007
I have sold both & feel C4 is a better solution:

Elan has been very very slow to respond to the needs of the consumer in the touch screen/home automation market. Many co's have passed them by & I guess the reason for this is that they did not want to alienate their legacy product. Elan purchased Home Logic a few yrs ago in hopes to regain its share of the market. Unfortunately they have done very little to integrate the technologies of Home Logic into the Elan line.

Then more recently Linear purchased Elan, Niles, & Xantech with the same vision.
In my opinion Elan does not have a clearly defined, integrated, and networked based product offering for whole house automation, lighting, security and HVAC control customers.

In my opinion these are the negatives of an Elan system:
(it has been a yr since I sold there product so I am not sure how much has changed but from what I have heard I believe evrything listed below is still true)

-#1 by far. The touch screen overlay & programming templates. You can only use the templates they provide. You can't move around buttons or customize the touch screens. As a programmer I need to make the most of the real estate on the screen & tailor it to meet my client's needs. As far as the overlay goes in this age of technology it is unacceptable that I use this method. For ex: when switching to different security cameras I have to hit a certain part of the screen to move to the next camera or back to the home page with no buttons on the page? If I touch a certain portion of the screen say the right corner it moves to the next camera. What?

-Music sources: No Rhapsody, Pandora, or Internet Radio (yes they can be a little problematic sometimes but I love Pandora) And they don't require an antenna like an fm tuner for reception.

-There music hard drive system (ViaDJ) is old & outdated. Even though they added the Sunfire DVD/music server it's much more expensive than Control4's solutions.

-The graphics are old & outdated

-No wireless solutions for lighting, audio, & HVAC.

-Lighting control needs to be a separate system for ex using Lutron. This is because Elan does not provide 2 way feedback for lighting control. I tried using it in the past & was unhappy with the results.

-They wireless touch panels they offer (made by Nokia) were unreliable last time I tried programming one.

Control4 positives:

-Wireless lighting options (prefer Lutron over C4 nicer fit & finish) & wireless speaker pt product.

-Interfaces easily with home automation products providing 2 way feedback. And because many of the program drivers have been written already it minimizes programming time.

-Rhapsody & music/media hard drive system with a great interface at a reasonable price.

-Offers a much nicer remote solution for Home Theater or in a room where you have for ex: a TV, DVD player, & cable box & still want to automate your home.

-They have a iPhone/iTouch/iPad interface

Control 4 negatives:

-Need to offer more online music services like Pandora. There is a co who wrote a module for Sonos that I want to try. It doesn't offer cover art yet but it's in the works. This would allow you to integrate Pandora, internet radio, etc...

-Need more integration with HVAC & security. If this is an important need I would suggest Crestron or AMX.

-It is not as flexible as AMX or Crestron but it meets a price pt that the average consumer can afford.

I used to love Elan & it's hard to watch a co that helped me pay my bills for so many yrs head in the direction they have. I don't understand why they have not put much money into product development or new technologies over the last few yrs.

Good Luck let me know if I can answer any other questions.


djsmallz's Avatar djsmallz
04:34 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 5
04-28-2010 | Posts: 11
Joined: Apr 2009
matt i think you need to take another look at elan.. they obviously learned from all the complaints and critics.. check out the video below

Schmitt Sabry's Avatar Schmitt Sabry
04:45 PM Liked: 10
post #4 of 5
04-28-2010 | Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010
Mr. MAtt,

Thank you, truly appreciated...the info you gave me is really helpful

I understand that C4 is more user friendly than Elan and it's cheaper.
so i can consider it a C4 recommendation right?!

Thanks for your time

Mattbrotzge's Avatar Mattbrotzge
11:33 AM Liked: 13
post #5 of 5
04-29-2010 | Posts: 23
Joined: May 2007
I checked out the video on the new Elan & it's a step in the right direction. I just don't understand why it took so long. 8-9 yrs ago Elan had a major share of the touch panel/whole house music market share. In that time you have had a lot of co's come out with superior products many times at a lower price w/more features for ex: Netstreams, Control4, Crestron Adagio, Niles ZR, Colorado Vnet, & Sonos just to name a few. Some of them have had there bumps in the road just like Elan (the early VIA DJ's). Over that time Elan updated there amps, processors, etc but not a whole lot has changed. The Ole was a nice idea but in my opinion there is not enough real estate on the screen to interact with the system.

With all of these systems it really comes down to what your needs are. Do you just want whole house music or do you want to integrate some sort of home automation into the system? (Camera's, security, lighting, HVAC, distributed video, & pool/irrigation control etc..)

For whole house music most of them do about the same thing. If you just want to distribute music it's more about the dealer than anything else. But if I had to say in my opinion whats the best bang for the buck; Control4, Sonos, Netstreams, & Niles.

If you want to integrate some automation into the system & have more flexibility in the future. For ex: 30 lighting loads, a couple of thermostats, a few camera's. From my experience Control4 & Crestron Adagio. I am not a Crestron dealer anymore so I can't speak from experience but the Prodigy stuff looks pretty nice. There are also a few co's that are in the market that seem to be headed in the right direction. When Control4 1st came out like many other dealers I wanted nothing to do with them. Trying to mass market home automation & get into Best Buy/Magnolia. Home automation has never been sucessful in that market. The co's vision has changed over the yrs & they ended up growing & evolving with there dealers & now I am a dealer & I love there product.

If you want a bulletproof automation solution with a lot of flexibility = Crestron & AMX but you need the right dealer! Like many other dealers I have kept my eye on Savant but still feel they are not at the level of Crestron or AMX.


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