Actually Joe thats probably the best post in this entire thread, maybe even Dedicated Theaters section.
The DIYers like you, myself, Ruben, Makeit57, Swithey, Bud and the rest want to get our hands as dirty as possible, some of us would build our own projectors if we had the right contacts.
I think this automation stuff might be the most important aspect of a theater ( I will show you why if I ever quit getting frustrated over automation) and I really dont want Crestron to pop a fuse on Friday afternoon and find out monday that they will be out next Thursday to spend 30 seconds reprograming a button. I know everyone says Crestron and AMX is infalible but I say if thats true then I Vote Crestron should run for President. I WANT to know everything about my system down to the breaker panel (inside the breaker panel to be exact)
The route you chose seems perfect for me + the added benifit of someone to walk me through the initial part that should take 15 minutes to figure out, I just hope this isnt another Meedio, that stuff was an expensive nightmare that just plain P!SSED me off.
The Cinemar 30 day trial is perfect, hopefully I can figure it out, the worst thing possible would be to call you all the time bugging you or PMing you every day becoming a nusance so I may just wait another year to see what Microsoft comes up with.
I know originally folks like Alan Gouger told me touch panels were annoying during movies and you cant memorize the buttons ( great points) so I got the MX 950 and have it working pretty good ( it wont turn on a Mercury HD which sort of makes it another useless item) but its used everywhere else.
I really want to finish everything some year but want automation working first but seriously 30K+? Then again 8K for a D-Box ( and thats a bargain)? and 15K for a PJ? etc, etc. About the only thing I have that seems reasonable was my SmX screen and that was VERY affordable.
It seems your route is affordable and if its working for you, thats better than all the other automation horror stories I have checked into and probably a route I can try without wasting a ton of money like I did last winter with Meedio and girder and all that hair pulling stuff.
Again, great post because automation of 60 zones of lighting and 50 or 60 other things is what made dislike theater building the most