Crestron vs Control4 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-29-2015, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Crestron vs Control4

Am I crazy to switch from Crestron to Control4?

Background, as I mentioned in a prior post, our Pro2 processor has failed. Wont power up and I believe one of the COM ports is out. Also, our touch panels are old LC1000s and really need replaced. My concern is the repair of the processor and updating panels plus programming would likely be more than starting over with Control4. We also have Crestron panelized lighting in the theater and the original installer did not include a keypad to turn on the lights which is annoying. So for 10-12k, I could switch to Control4 panelized lighting, add a keypad, new touch panels, remotes, control the theater, pool and existing audio zones. I would also get iPhone app which I do not have in existing Crestron program. Further, there is the potential to integrate our home RadioRa2 lighting and possibly Vista alarm panel (doable in Crestron but again more programing charges). Add also native Pandora, Sonos and Airplay. A lot for your money!

I do much prefer Crestron as a company and Control4's future seems a little shaky. Open to suggestions and love to hear opinions!
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-29-2015, 06:22 PM
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I would get estimates for both C4 and Crestron, possibly swaying you one way or the other. Same installer for each? Find good installers first. Make sure they'll be around to make changes every few years. And, get the programming code, as part of the deal, so you can walk if they dick around.
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post #3 of 22 Old 10-29-2015, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post
I would get estimates for both C4 and Crestron, possibly swaying you one way or the other. Same installer for each? Find good installers first. Make sure they'll be around to make changes every few years. And, get the programming code, as part of the deal, so you can walk if they dick around.
Thanks. Different dealers. Quite a few have dropped Crestron and the existing dealers seem to contract out the programming with a few local caip or whatever they call them now. I known there are a few bad programmers around which gives me pause. Seems to be less to screw up with C4 though I am sure it happens!
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post #4 of 22 Old 10-30-2015, 08:57 PM
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I'm a Crestron fan, so I'm a bit (ok, very) biased. I work with Savant a lot and hate it, but that's what people want nowadays, I guess (or so my boss says).

Crestron IS expensive and takes time to get right. I do NOT like Control4 or Savant for lighting, panelized or not, because I don't trust them for service in the long-term. I like Lutron or Crestron because you can pretty much be sure they'll be around for a long time. Maybe Vantage, but they're pretty expensive I think and seem to be a bit less popular where I am.

What I do NOT like about some modern AV systems is the need to register them or purchase licenses. As if the initial cost and programming isn't bad enough, you still have hoops to jump through. Savant is the worst with this. At least with Crestron, you buy the box, you own the box. You shouldn't need to 'register' with anyone to turn your TV on.

Also the lifespan of the other brands isn't nearly what the Crestron stuff is. Your Pro2 ran until it physically died, and if you got another Pro2, you could update the program and run it for many many more years. Control4 seems to update they're stuff more frequently. Savant has had 4 processors in the last 3 years.

You may want to sit down and make a very detailed list of what you'd need to go in either direction. I think you're ahead the with Crestron now, but also understand the frustration that comes along with needing to rely on others to get it done right.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-30-2015, 10:24 PM
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Have had Control4 system >3 yrs. Continuous glitches, which I have spent thousands on repeated service calls. Currently controls virtually all lights in home, controls pool, controls fireplaces, garage doors, all thermostats, Secutrity system, security cameras and DVR, all ceiling fans, Multiple TV's, home theater automation, Home sound system, attempted irrigation control but could not get it to work so gave up on that. Original dealer refused to finish installation, when I would not pay him in full despite him not being finished and being many many months past promised completion date. Control4 was USELESS in dealing with Dealer. Even after State Contractors Board ordered dealer to do additional work to finish PROVING the fact that he was not done, he sued me, AND WON, and now in appeals court with legal costs alone approaching 100K. In past system would turn off entire house without ANY input from me. For instance would be watching movie in theater, and for no reason, the entire theater would go off, including projector, DVD player, AVR, etc. Currently a chandelier in foyer will come on at around 4AM while everyone is asleep. Current dealer says that they can find nothing wrong. So after my story, I think you can guess my recommendation to you.

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post #6 of 22 Old 10-31-2015, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSVO View Post
I'm a Crestron fan, so I'm a bit (ok, very) biased. I work with Savant a lot and hate it, but that's what people want nowadays, I guess (or so my boss says).

Crestron IS expensive and takes time to get right. I do NOT like Control4 or Savant for lighting, panelized or not, because I don't trust them for service in the long-term. I like Lutron or Crestron because you can pretty much be sure they'll be around for a long time. Maybe Vantage, but they're pretty expensive I think and seem to be a bit less popular where I am.

What I do NOT like about some modern AV systems is the need to register them or purchase licenses. As if the initial cost and programming isn't bad enough, you still have hoops to jump through. Savant is the worst with this. At least with Crestron, you buy the box, you own the box. You shouldn't need to 'register' with anyone to turn your TV on.

Also the lifespan of the other brands isn't nearly what the Crestron stuff is. Your Pro2 ran until it physically died, and if you got another Pro2, you could update the program and run it for many many more years. Control4 seems to update they're stuff more frequently. Savant has had 4 processors in the last 3 years.

You may want to sit down and make a very detailed list of what you'd need to go in either direction. I think you're ahead the with Crestron now, but also understand the frustration that comes along with needing to rely on others to get it done right.
Thanks, appreciate the tips. You are absolutely right it is frustrating relying on others. I am very much a diy type of guy mostly because I have learned that provides the greatest chance of success.
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post #7 of 22 Old 10-31-2015, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangele View Post
Have had Control4 system >3 yrs. Continuous glitches, which I have spent thousands on repeated service calls. Currently controls virtually all lights in home, controls pool, controls fireplaces, garage doors, all thermostats, Secutrity system, security cameras and DVR, all ceiling fans, Multiple TV's, home theater automation, Home sound system, attempted irrigation control but could not get it to work so gave up on that. Original dealer refused to finish installation, when I would not pay him in full despite him not being finished and being many many months past promised completion date. Control4 was USELESS in dealing with Dealer. Even after State Contractors Board ordered dealer to do additional work to finish PROVING the fact that he was not done, he sued me, AND WON, and now in appeals court with legal costs alone approaching 100K. In past system would turn off entire house without ANY input from me. For instance would be watching movie in theater, and for no reason, the entire theater would go off, including projector, DVD player, AVR, etc. Currently a chandelier in foyer will come on at around 4AM while everyone is asleep. Current dealer says that they can find nothing wrong. So after my story, I think you can guess my recommendation to you.
Yikes! Sounds like a bad install. What I dont know is if the C4 programming is customizable enough to cause those problems or would that be hardware related. I have heard many stories similar to yours with Crestron though that is almost always poor programming.
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post #8 of 22 Old 10-31-2015, 03:03 PM
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Yeah Crestron can do weird stuff, but it's usually because it's doing EXACTLY what you told it to do. Which yes, means poor programming.

Like I said, I'm a Crestron fan (install/service at work, only programmed my own stuff), however I have to work with savant. Control4 is getting very popular around here, so I wanted to see if I could get the software and learn it just to stay ahead of the curve. I'm in the industry and I was able to get the software but I was not able to activate it because I needed an additional dealer registration code (which would have come from a dealer that I do not work for). If it wasn't for those sorts of hassles I would tell you to just go control4 and try to sweet talk somebody into getting you the software.

As for Crestron...you could probably get the software yourself, but using it is a whole other can of worms. But you may want to try that. Nowadays you can watch tutorials on YouTube and start to figure it out. But a big system usually gets very complicated very quickly. If you have the time it may be worth a shot especially since (I thought) you said you had the source code.
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-31-2015, 04:00 PM
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We have 2 control4 systems (one for almost 10y) and both work flawlessly.

Controllers get changed/updated every 3-5y. In C4 history there has been one system update that really required people to change controllers - so that's not too bad.

Usually control4 does what it is programmed to do with one exception: corrupt project and that is what the story above sounds like - or flaky electrical install

As with any system it depends on the installer if it a smooth sailings or not.
Luckily control4 systems can be managed by any dealer so remote programming is not uncommon and I have heared some dealers are setting up whole systems remotely.
So it is easy to get help from someone else and
good dealers usually fix any problem and the forum is a good place to get help if needed.

Another plus is u can do really a lot of programming by your self once the system is up and running as the GUI is easy to use - downside is if u don't know what u are doing u can really f*** up your system - so it is not always a dealers fault :-) !

So there is quite some DIY here. From a technical point medium sized systems could be done DIY but C4's business model prohibits it.

Bottom line here:
If Control4 can do what u need it is a very reliable option with quite some control from the end user which the other 2 competitors don't offer.
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-29-2015, 03:22 PM
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If you are into diy, i would switch to Control 4 and get your dealer to give you access to Composer (not the home edition, the real one) so you can play with it yourself. It's a lot easier to deal with it than Crestron where you will always be slave to your installer. I used to have crestron in my first house (although it was 13 yrs ago) and learned to hate the guy who did the programming for me. When I bought a new house I switched to C4. I have a decently sophisticated system (lutron panelized lighting, HVAC, security cameras, 16 zone audio distribution, 16 touch panels with intecome, 8x8 hdmi matrix, video entry system, garags, various sensors, etc.) all under a C4 controller and now doing pretty much everything by myself. As per reliability, i am not sure there is a huge amount of difference - they all stink but nothing a reboot can't usually fix.
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post #11 of 22 Old 11-29-2015, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post
Am I crazy to switch from Crestron to Control4?

Background, as I mentioned in a prior post, our Pro2 processor has failed. Wont power up and I believe one of the COM ports is out. Also, our touch panels are old LC1000s and really need replaced. My concern is the repair of the processor and updating panels plus programming would likely be more than starting over with Control4. We also have Crestron panelized lighting in the theater and the original installer did not include a keypad to turn on the lights which is annoying. So for 10-12k, I could switch to Control4 panelized lighting, add a keypad, new touch panels, remotes, control the theater, pool and existing audio zones. I would also get iPhone app which I do not have in existing Crestron program. Further, there is the potential to integrate our home RadioRa2 lighting and possibly Vista alarm panel (doable in Crestron but again more programing charges). Add also native Pandora, Sonos and Airplay. A lot for your money!

I do much prefer Crestron as a company and Control4's future seems a little shaky. Open to suggestions and love to hear opinions!

Have you looked at Crestron Pyng? If not, it is some thing to consider to reduce the programming costs. http://www.crestron.com/pyng
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-02-2015, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I am making the switch to C4. Talked to a bunch of dealers. Crestron was gonna be a good 2-3 times the price to get similar functionality, even when you include the C4 expense to redo lighting. Spent a good bit of time over at the C4forum. Found a dealer willing to sell to me for discount and program remotely. Huge savings. Really liked the Crestron system but a lot of things frustrated me when discussing new system like need for a dedicated Autonomic media server which is native in C4. There are a ton of other native C4 drivers like pool and alarm that also save a bundle. Basically, I will be out 6-7k vs 20k for the Crestron redo. If nothing else, it is a good experiment to compare the systems for when we build a house.

netnet, good to know. I definitely will get Composer HE. Need to convince dealer to get me full software!

Joquin, I did look at Pyng. Not really impressed. Its not diy at all and the gui is pretty basic. It doesn't do any AV control thus you really need a full system anyways.
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post #13 of 22 Old 12-05-2015, 06:38 PM
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Any chance you can go with Lutron for lighting?

Your lighting control system will likely outlast your C4 controller. You are tied to C4 at that point, if you have C4 lighting.

3rd party lighting allows some flexibility when it's time to upgrade, possibly saving some money.
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post #14 of 22 Old 12-05-2015, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Good question. I kind of wish I would have gone with Lutron for that very reason. I had a couple dealers suggest doing a "bank of switches" which I personally think is an inelegant way to wire 8 zones when there already was panelized lighting. Grafik eye may have worked. Lutron panelized lighting is seems way more complicated at least from my survey than C4 and Crestron. The C4 and Crestron work basically the same which makes it easy for me to pull out the enclosure and mount a few terminal blocks and a dimmer module. If we don't like C4 you are correct, we are stuck.
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post #15 of 22 Old 12-05-2015, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post
Any chance you can go with Lutron for lighting?

Your lighting control system will likely outlast your C4 controller. You are tied to C4 at that point, if you have C4 lighting.

3rd party lighting allows some flexibility when it's time to upgrade, possibly saving some money.
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post
Good question. I kind of wish I would have gone with Lutron for that very reason. I had a couple dealers suggest doing a "bank of switches" which I personally think is an inelegant way to wire 8 zones when there already was panelized lighting. Grafik eye may have worked. Lutron panelized lighting is seems way more complicated at least from my survey than C4 and Crestron. The C4 and Crestron work basically the same which makes it easy for me to pull out the enclosure and mount a few terminal blocks and a dimmer module. If we don't like C4 you are correct, we are stuck.
I've thought about this also but an HC250 screwed to a wall somewhere running lighting control is not ever going to over complicate this home.

Even if I sell and the New owner wants all smart home gone stripping my programming of everything outside lighting and leading a controller to do just that should lead to a long lived solution.
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post #16 of 22 Old 12-05-2015, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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That is a good point. As I mentioned, one of the problems we had with the Crestron lighting is there were no keypads. I made sure to add a keypad so one could control the lighting even if the rest of the automation is scrapped by someone down the line.
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post #17 of 22 Old 12-05-2015, 08:42 PM
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My kitchen lighting would be very annoying to control without control.
Ceiling pendants and spots. Two panel dimmer channels.
Under cabinet warm and cool White Leds (2 DMX channels)
In glass cabinets same.
Ceiling light channel rgb led. 6 channels due to length.
Put that all on a bank of light switches.
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post #18 of 22 Old 12-05-2015, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I have seen it! We stayed at vacation home in Destin. 4 stories and 16k sq ft. RR2 system and each floor had a closet with a bank of at least 50 light switches. The rooms only had keypads. Not how I would have done it.
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-29-2015, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Just to update, I went with Control4. System fully installed and running. Love it and I personally prefer it to the Crestron systems I looked into. The Composer HE is great for tweaking without having to deal with a dealer for everything. I went the semi DIY route. Purchased "online" and self installed. Remote basic initial setup and then I fine tuned it. Much better integration with peripheral devices like Ra2, garage, pool, alarm, etc. Much better music services and control without need for dedicated media server.
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-16-2016, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post
Just to update, I went with Control4. System fully installed and running. Love it and I personally prefer it to the Crestron systems I looked into. The Composer HE is great for tweaking without having to deal with a dealer for everything. I went the semi DIY route. Purchased "online" and self installed. Remote basic initial setup and then I fine tuned it. Much better integration with peripheral devices like Ra2, garage, pool, alarm, etc. Much better music services and control without need for dedicated media server.
You still had to talk to some C4 dealer to activate it and setup all the drivers and the basic system - right? I am guessing you couldn't do it all DIY...
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post #21 of 22 Old 02-16-2016, 12:24 PM
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You still had to talk to some C4 dealer to activate it and setup all the drivers and the basic system - right? I am guessing you couldn't do it all DIY...
Always. But you can find a remote dealer to program your system if you can connect up the network connections etc.

You'll likely spend some time with them on the phone or Skype running round tapping and iding light switches etc.

Only a dealer on your territory can sell you hardware. Or eBay etc.
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post #22 of 22 Old 10-11-2016, 12:56 PM
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Both systems have pros and cons. How large is your system? Control4 especially the new EA series are incredibly powerful. However, I would not recommend using on very large systems.
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