Home automation frustration!! - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 19 Old 01-20-2011, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
MMMorish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Okay everyone, I know that this topic has beaten to death, so I hope you experienced users can give me pros, cons, and tips to make my decision easier.

I've been researching a home automation system for a while now and due to my needs and budget, I've narrowed it down to Control4 and Prodigy. While I do think that both systems would no doubt serve me well, I'm looking for the perfect fit for my 3500sq/f home.

I've spoken to a few companies and they all have different things to say. The ones that install Prodigy say that the technology on it is better than that of Control4. The ones that install Control4 say the Prodigy has limitations that Control4 doesn't, and the ones that install both have mixed reviews about both. What do I do??

I will first start with a system that will, for now, control my home theatre system and reduce the number of remotes I have from 5 to 1. My HT is comprised of the following;
- Panasonic G25
- Onkyo TX-NR3007
- Paradigm in walls and sub
- Panasonic BD Player
- D-link Boxee Box
- Rogers HD Box

As budget allows, I would like to then expand my system to do dimmers (can't say how many), switches, HVAC, security, 2 channel audio for up to 8 rooms (that is until I complete my basement), and video for up to 8 rooms as well including my HT.

My questions for you pros on this forum are;

1. Which system is easier to program? I had one installer tell me that Control4 takes about half the time to program over Prodigy, thus saving me on costly install rates.

2. Which system has the most capabilities in terms of expandability? I obviously want to future proof.

3. Which system is more aggressively priced with its hardware? I'm thinking more along the lines of audio and video distribution throughout the home.

4. Since most of my music and movies are on digital downloads, which system will read off of my hard drives?

5. Which system will allow for simultaneous use by multiple family members at one time using devices such as iPhones or iPads?

I think I've covered pretty much everything. If there is anything I missed, feel free to chime in and let me know.

Also, if there are any threads which may answer a lot of my questions, please post a link for me.

I am comparing the newest equipment from each company, so that being said it would be the Control4 2.0 or whatever their up too now and Prodigy PMC3+ / PMC3-XP.

I really appreciate this great forum and all the help.

Thanks,
Nick

P.s I'd love to hear from people who have used/installed both as to eliminate any bias towards a single system.
MMMorish is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 Old 01-20-2011, 06:27 PM
Newbie
 
newgen718's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
well with prodigy you get a well taught out homeautomation system.

control4 well be as good as the company thats doing your install.

hardware wise crestron has control4 with sleek design interfaces.

control4 still dont have a color handheld with docking station which is industry standards by now.

the company thats doing your prodigy sytem i would asked them to show me one of there large insalls using prodigy. Since they would have to do the additional 3 day training in order to more with prodigy.

prodigy is still in it's youth so if you wanna grow with them i would say prodigy.
newgen718 is offline  
post #3 of 19 Old 01-20-2011, 08:03 PM
Member
 
cowboy998's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I am in your same boat looking for a system for a similar sized home. We will have 8 zones of audio, 6 lighting zones initially, HVAC control and security system connectivity. In the future we would like to add distributed video and have wired for this.

We are leaning toward Prodigy for a variety of reasons. For one, the feedback I have gotten from some Control4 users is the issue of stability. In fairness these issues could be due to errors by the installer. I'm no expert on the programming end, so I can't speak in an educated manner to this topic.

I am also trying to build a system that will be scaled up over the next couple years and have come to the conclusion that Crestron is 800 lb gorilla in this field. This gives me confidence that they will continue to invest in the number expanding options (hardware and software) for the system. Also the new XP controller gives you access to Crestron's entire line. This to me is an advantage....albeit at a cost. Their full line gear is certainly not cheap.

I will be very interested to hear the replies of folks with much more experience the me.....
cowboy998 is offline  
post #4 of 19 Old 01-20-2011, 08:27 PM
Senior Member
 
chomperoni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 274
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Have you looked at the new élan G system? It is a very solid system and Élan has been around for a long time. I am building a home now and will be installing the system coupled with Lutron system for lighting.
I have looked at all the systems and found the Élan will do everything I need and more. Not that the other systems are not good but ultimately my decision came down to whom I felt more comfortable to do the install. I would not go control 4 as there are a lot of limitations with their system interfacing with outside components. Creston is definitely better but the cost of programming is the killer.
Élan is a happy medium if you don't want to spend 100k plus for a full house system. I also didn't like the fact that you need to call the installer to program any new components you add to the system. (like a tv or remote). This can make the future cost of the system a lot higher than you anticipated. I don't know if this applies to the prodigy system as I was looking at the full Creston system.
chomperoni is offline  
post #5 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
MMMorish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chomperoni View Post

Have you looked at the new élan G system? It is a very solid system and Élan has been around for a long time. I am building a home now and will be installing the system coupled with Lutron system for lighting.
I have looked at all the systems and found the Élan will do everything I need and more. Not that the other systems are not good but ultimately my decision came down to whom I felt more comfortable to do the install. I would not go control 4 as there are a lot of limitations with their system interfacing with outside components. Creston is definitely better but the cost of programming is the killer.
Élan is a happy medium if you don't want to spend 100k plus for a full house system. I also didn't like the fact that you need to call the installer to program any new components you add to the system. (like a tv or remote). This can make the future cost of the system a lot higher than you anticipated. I don't know if this applies to the prodigy system as I was looking at the full Creston system.

I haven't looked into Elan because most of the AV shops I've visited only carry Crestron or Control4 or both. I know that a full blown Crestron system will no doubt be very expensive to program, but would the scaled down Prodigy system be just as complicated, thus bringing the programing rates to the level of Crestron??

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboy998 View Post

I am in your same boat looking for a system for a similar sized home. We will have 8 zones of audio, 6 lighting zones initially, HVAC control and security system connectivity. In the future we would like to add distributed video and have wired for this.

We are leaning toward Prodigy for a variety of reasons. For one, the feedback I have gotten from some Control4 users is the issue of stability. In fairness these issues could be due to errors by the installer. I'm no expert on the programming end, so I can't speak in an educated manner to this topic.

I am also trying to build a system that will be scaled up over the next couple years and have come to the conclusion that Crestron is 800 lb gorilla in this field. This gives me confidence that they will continue to invest in the number expanding options (hardware and software) for the system. Also the new XP controller gives you access to Crestron's entire line. This to me is an advantage....albeit at a cost. Their full line gear is certainly not cheap.

I will be very interested to hear the replies of folks with much more experience the me.....

You make a great point when you say that you want the option to expand and like yourself, I'm interested in the XP processor that will open up the possibilites of a larger and more "bells and whistles" system with Crestrons full SKU of goodies.
I too am very interested to hear from some of the more seasoned pros in the field and get their take on the best solution for my needs.
MMMorish is offline  
post #6 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 07:15 AM
Senior Member
 
Pvr4Craig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Near Toronto, Canada
Posts: 309
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMMorish View Post

...I will first start with a system that will, for now, control my home theatre system and reduce the number of remotes I have from 5 to 1. My HT is comprised of the following;
- Panasonic G25
- Onkyo TX-NR3007
- Paradigm in walls and sub
- Panasonic BD Player
- D-link Boxee Box
- Rogers HD Box

As budget allows, I would like to then expand my system ...

Hmmm. So this is an existing house where you are going to have to cut into drywall to pull new wiring?

For your home theatre, you don't have to use an automation system--something like a Logitech Harmony remote will replace your 5 existing remotes and provide simple 'activities' that turn on/off the required devices and set the proper inputs with one button.

Then, you can talk to home automation companies at your leisure about what you want to automate and whether to go piecemeal or 'big bath'.

Craig
Pvr4Craig is offline  
post #7 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
MMMorish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pvr4Craig View Post

Hmmm. So this is an existing house where you are going to have to cut into drywall to pull new wiring?

For your home theatre, you don't have to use an automation system--something like a Logitech Harmony remote will replace your 5 existing remotes and provide simple 'activities' that turn on/off the required devices and set the proper inputs with one button.

Then, you can talk to home automation companies at your leisure about what you want to automate and whether to go piecemeal or 'big bath'.

Craig

The home is existing, thought the basement is not finished so I can run anything I need to from there. If I need to then cut holes into drywall to pull wiring to the second floor, I'm prepared to do that as well.

As for the Logitech Harmony remote, I've looked into one and at $300, I'd rather save my money and spend it on an automation system that can do way more as a stand alone remote than the Harmony can, plus can be expanded to automate my home fully later on.
MMMorish is offline  
post #8 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 08:02 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Neurorad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Give a monkey a brain...
Posts: 5,060
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 77
There is a new control platform coming from URC that looks interesting, called Total Control. URC is moving from single to multiroom - integrating audio, security, HVAC, IP cameras, and lighting.

I think it will compete with Prodigy and C4.

Looks like a combination of hand-held remotes and in-wall controls.

You might have to wait until Summer for it, and I really don't know much about it, but I've really liked their single room devices.

But, make sure you find a good installer, for whichever system you choose.

Total Control press release.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

Give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe. -Fishbone
Neurorad is online now  
post #9 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 08:06 AM
Advanced Member
 
Chicagorep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Round Lake, IL
Posts: 969
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
If you can wait a couple of months for your install, URC is coming out with Total Home COntrol. It's going to be very slick and affordable with all the bells and whistles.
Chicagorep is offline  
post #10 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 08:27 AM
Member
 
weddellkw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagorep View Post

If you can wait a couple of months for your install, URC is coming out with Total Home COntrol. It's going to be very slick and affordable with all the bells and whistles.

The touchscreens they were showing at CEDIA had a noticeable lag in drawing pages while navigating...not unusable, but certainly not up to the standards people have after using the iPhone/iPad for the last 4-5 years. Have they been able to resolve that?
weddellkw is offline  
post #11 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 08:29 AM
Member
 
ddave12000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 181
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by newgen718 View Post

well with prodigy you get a well taught out homeautomation system.

So, C4 is a poorly thought out system? Won't this be dependent on the integrator chosen? The answer, of course, is yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newgen718 View Post

control4 well be as good as the company thats doing your install.

Insert Prodigy instead of C4 and the statement is true (for both products, of course).

Quote:
Originally Posted by newgen718 View Post

hardware wise crestron has control4 with sleek design interfaces.

A subjective opinion no doubt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newgen718 View Post

control4 still dont have a color handheld with docking station which is industry standards by now.

C4's entire platform is based around an onscreen control interface rather than a handheld as you describe. However, their remote is logical and easy to use. You get full 2-way menu structures through the LED screen on it if you desire. I do wish they had a charging dock for it though. You can also use iPod, iPad, and iPhone as a controller. I think android and PC apps will also be coming soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newgen718 View Post

the company thats doing your prodigy sytem i would asked them to show me one of there large insalls using prodigy. Since they would have to do the additional 3 day training in order to more with prodigy.

I would consider this to be true for both products. This will give you an idea of how the systems work and perhaps more importantly, what kind of work the integrator does.

prodigy is still in it's youth so if you wanna grow with them i would say prodigy.[/quote]

If this is true, then it's ever more important to make sure you get a well qualified integrator.

I work for a C4 integrator so I am biased towards it. I have no practical experience with Prodigy though I am sure it's a quality product. What's most important if you are ok with either interface is that you get an integrator you like, trust and knows their stuff. For the most part, any of the bigger companies mentioned in this forum - Crestron, AMX, C4, Elan, etc. - are all going to have good products and at the end of the day it comes down who's designing, installing, programming, and maintaining your system.
ddave12000 is offline  
post #12 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
MMMorish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Are there any forum members in the Toronto, Canada, area that can recommend me a good integrater? Feel free to PM me with any suggestions for both Prodigy and Contrl4.
MMMorish is offline  
post #13 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 03:08 PM
Advanced Member
 
39CentStamp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 957
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddave12000 View Post

I do wish they had a charging dock for it though.

I personally don't see this as a negative. The dead rechargable battery issue is a pain to deal with. Clients lose control of the system temporarily and then get hit with sticker shock for the proprietary battery.

Quote:


I work for a C4 integrator so I am biased towards it.

There is help out there for you. First you must choose.. red or blue?


Custom Installation Blog: http://www.wiremunky.com
User Interface Design Blog: http://www.guijaboard.com
39CentStamp is offline  
post #14 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 04:08 PM
AVS Special Member
 
stefuel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Marshfield, MA, USA
Posts: 5,880
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Nothing beats a good blue job

Current owner of the last/best AmPro on the planet. The mighty 4600HD, and it's still running...better than Barco's, especially southern ones.
stefuel is offline  
post #15 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 05:17 PM
Member
 
ddave12000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 181
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

I personally don't see this as a negative. The dead rechargable battery issue is a pain to deal with. Clients lose control of the system temporarily and then get hit with sticker shock for the proprietary battery.

This is true and a good point, however, I would say I've had more complaints about how quick the batteries go dead than I have complaints about cost of proprietary batteries.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

There is help out there for you. First you must choose.. red or blue?


It's too late for me, I already took the AMX pill...it didn't seem relevant to the thread so I didn't mention it but I've been installing AMX for nearly 10 years. So, I guess you could say I'm even more biased towards that...
ddave12000 is offline  
post #16 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 06:26 PM
Member
 
Blowne30M3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 162
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMMorish View Post

I haven't looked into Elan because most of the AV shops I've visited only carry Crestron or Control4 or both. I know that a full blown Crestron system will no doubt be very expensive to program, but would the scaled down Prodigy system be just as complicated, thus bringing the programing rates to the level of Crestron??

Depends on the level of the programmer and how much expandability you want. I've done very cheap Prodigy systems and very expensive ones. You will just have to put together a list of what you want to do and bring it to your CI. I can help you put a product list together if you want so you have a general idea of cost with programming.

Senior Crestron Programmer
XS Design Studios
Blowne30M3 is offline  
post #17 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
MMMorish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

There is help out there for you. First you must choose.. red or blue?


Lol are you saying that going with Crestron is embracing the blissful ignorance of illusion and going with Control4 is the painful truth of reality?? In the case of automation, is taking the blue pill an illusion?
MMMorish is offline  
post #18 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 08:40 PM
Advanced Member
 
Chicagorep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Round Lake, IL
Posts: 969
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by weddellkw View Post

The touchscreens they were showing at CEDIA had a noticeable lag in drawing pages while navigating...not unusable, but certainly not up to the standards people have after using the iPhone/iPad for the last 4-5 years. Have they been able to resolve that?

Well considering there were over a dozen UI being used at the same time, I'd say the fact that the network didn't collapse is pretty good. A little lag is to be expected when a system is pushed to that extreme.
Chicagorep is offline  
post #19 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 08:53 PM
Advanced Member
 
39CentStamp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 957
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMMorish View Post

Lol are you saying that going with Crestron is embracing the blissful ignorance of illusion and going with Control4 is the painful truth of reality?? In the case of automation, is taking the blue pill an illusion?

LOL i knew someone would catch me! I was actually going to quote Morpheus incorrectly to keep you guys from noticing

Custom Installation Blog: http://www.wiremunky.com
User Interface Design Blog: http://www.guijaboard.com
39CentStamp is offline  
Reply Home Automation

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off