Reliable remote Control System needed for 8 room HDMI maxtrix switched audio/video distribution system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 11-07-2012, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in need of a reliable remote control solution for a 8 room audio/video distribution system. My system will consist of a 8x8 HDMI Matrix Switcher (likely the Gefen GTB-HDFST-848-BLK) and multiple sources.

System will likely be set up as follows:
Matrix Input 1 < Blu-Ray
Matrix Input 2 < Satellite Receiver/DVR #1
Matrix Input 3 < Satellite Receiver #2
Matrix Input 4 < Popcorn Hour Set Top Box
Matrix Input 5 < Computer
Matrix Input 6 < (Open)
Matrix Input 7 < (Open)
Matrix Input 8 < (Open)

Matrix Output 1 > 7.1 AVR (Audio Video Receiver) > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 2 > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 3 > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 4 > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 5 > 1080p Display
Matrix Output 6 > 1080p Display
Matrix Output 7 > 1080p Display
Matrix Output 8 > 1080p Display

I need a way to reliably control each component in each independent zone.

Assume I have an infrared path between each zone and the components.

The control system should be activity based so when the user presses "Watch Satellite 1" it turns on the TV in their room, switches the matrix switcher to input 2, and allows them to control the satellite receiver from the same remote.

At my current house I use a Harmony infrared remote but because it's infrared you have to hold the remote in place until all IR commands are sent. If you don't you run the risk of only half of the commands being received. This is unacceptable in my proposed set up. The new system needs to be next to bulletproof as non-tech savvy users will be using it on a daily basis.

My initial thought was a Harmony RF (radio frequency) system. I brought this up to a local AV home distribution company and they pretty much laughed at the idea and told me the average life span of a Harmony remote is 14 months (although I bought mine used 3 years ago and it is still running great). Said company recommended and quoted a Savant Systems HST-4001 solution to the tune of $14,300. Given this includes iOS integration to use Apple iDevices as remotes, all programming, installation, and guarantee it works but it still seems very high.

I am hoping to have the control part of this system done for less than $5k, am I being unrealistic? Or does a reliable remote control system for 8 rooms demand a nearly $15k price tag?

This thread is in direct relation to my existing thread: HDMI Matrix Switch 8x8 needed for system with mixed audio capabiltieis (7.1 and stereo) . I started a new thread since this relates to a separate topic (remote control).

Thanks in advance,
Bryan
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

I am hoping to have the control part of this system done for less than $5k, am I being unrealistic? Or does a reliable remote control system for 8 rooms demand a nearly $15k price tag?
This depends on your tolerance for programming and maintaining something yourself. You could use iRule to be able to control it from any iDevice or Android device with a custom touchscreen. You'd probably only need 1 iTach IP2IR to control all those sources so the iTach plus the iRule license would have an absolute minimum of about $200... If you need more IR paths for the TVs or want to control some stuff via serial then it would go higher, but still stay below $1000 most likely. The downside of course is that you then have to program the iRule and layout the panels and whatnot.
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

At my current house I use a Harmony infrared remote but because it's infrared you have to hold the remote in place until all IR commands are sent. If you don't you run the risk of only half of the commands being received. This is unacceptable in my proposed set up. The new system needs to be next to bulletproof as non-tech savvy users will be using it on a daily basis.

I think you're overstating this as an issue. Switching to an input will be one short IR command, if you place the IR receivers near the TV, it will work fine. People know to point the remote at the TV... If it misses something, user can just press the button again (most devices have discrete codes now). Worst case, the Harmony has a "help" button that walks through the steps - Harmony will treat the HDMI matrix as an "A/V switch" - no different than an AVR.
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I am hoping to have the control part of this system done for less than $5k, am I being unrealistic? Or does a reliable remote control system for 8 rooms demand a nearly $15k price tag?

8 Harmony remotes can do the job. Your setup isn't very complicated, so the programming isn't a big deal. The only thing I see that will complicate things is that if you're not using a matrix with integrated IR routing, you'll need to ensure that your set-top boxes have addressable IR codes. Otherwise, you're going to get into a much more complicated setup. Personally, I would use a matrix with IR Routing so that all of that is handled easily.

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post #4 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 09:10 AM
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I think you're overstating this as an issue. Switching to an input will be one short IR command, if you place the IR receivers near the TV, it will work fine. People know to point the remote at the TV... If it misses something, user can just press the button again (most devices have discrete codes now). Worst case, the Harmony has a "help" button that walks through the steps - Harmony will treat the HDMI matrix as an "A/V switch" - no different than an AVR.
His emphasis seemed to imply extremely non-technical so I give him the benefit of the doubt, but in general I tend to agree with Jeff... I don't use Harmony (JP1 remotes instead), but like he says people can understand with very minimal teaching that they point the remote at the TV and press the button. Even better, I like to use long key press where they have to hold the button...for some reason people are better at pointing at the TV for the necessary time (not very long) if they're told need to press and hold the key.

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The only thing I see that will complicate things is that if you're not using a matrix with integrated IR routing, you'll need to ensure that your set-top boxes have addressable IR codes. Otherwise, you're going to get into a much more complicated setup. Personally, I would use a matrix with IR Routing so that all of that is handled easily.
If it's just the two satellite boxes, he might be able to get around it without too much more complexity, but IR routing in the matrix would make it all trivial. I think in his first thread he mentioned potentially a third or more sat boxes, and so it would start to get funky without proper IR routing.

Bryan, what satellite provider is it?
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post #5 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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This depends on your tolerance for programming and maintaining something yourself. You could use iRule to be able to control it from any iDevice or Android device with a custom touchscreen. You'd probably only need 1 iTach IP2IR to control all those sources so the iTach plus the iRule license would have an absolute minimum of about $200... If you need more IR paths for the TVs or want to control some stuff via serial then it would go higher, but still stay below $1000 most likely. The downside of course is that you then have to program the iRule and layout the panels and whatnot.

Very interesting product, I've never heard of it. It says on their website that the Pro version is limited to 5 unique iRule remote layouts which makes me wonder how I will set this up for 8 rooms. Each room sends different commands to the Matrix switcher so "Watch TV" in Room 1 is different than "Watch TV" in room 2 (each sends a different command to the matrix switcher to enable the correct output). This scenario would lead me to believe I need at least 8 unique remote layouts.

It seems the only way the iRule would be functional is if each user went separately into the HDMI Matrix and switched the input manually (as opposed to switching being a macro command). This is a level of complexity that the non-tech savvy users may become frustrated with immediately.

Please let me know if I am overlooking something.

Thank you for the reply.

Bryan
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Satellite provider will be DirecTV.

Regarding IR, My current Harmony 880 remote takes roughly 5-7 seconds to turn on my TV, switch my AVR to the right input, and switch the matrix switcher to the correct input/output. I don't even have patience for it, I press the "Watch TV" button and set it on my coffee table while it finishes sending its commands. Unless I can drop that waiting time to below 2 seconds, I don't see IR as a viable option.

IP definitely seems like the best route to go because I worry even RF will have a hard time in the most remote areas of the house. Wifi will be everywhere.

The iRule product looks great and the price is right but I need more than 5 remote layouts so I can customize the experience for each room.

I would like for a main menu to come up and list each room. Then when you click on a room, let's say "Office" it brings up an activity based menu such as "Watch Sat 1" , "Watch Sat 2", "Watch Blu-Ray", etc. After pressing an activity would bring up a remote screen to control that device.
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

Very interesting product, I've never heard of it. It says on their website that the Pro version is limited to 5 unique iRule remote layouts which makes me wonder how I will set this up for 8 rooms. Each room sends different commands to the Matrix switcher so "Watch TV" in Room 1 is different than "Watch TV" in room 2 (each sends a different command to the matrix switcher to enable the correct output). This scenario would lead me to believe I need at least 8 unique remote layouts.

You only have 1 layout...that can control all 8 rooms...the first panel of your iRule would be like "pick which room you are in" and have 8 buttons. So you could carry one iPad from room to room and control everything....or control anything anywhere from your iPad in your office.
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Satellite provider will be DirecTV.

DirecTV has discrete IR codes so that would not be a problem. Also, DirecTV boxes have IP control...so the right system could use that to make it even easier...though there are some limitations. iRule can do that to control it via IP instead of via IR.
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

Regarding IR, My current Harmony 880 remote takes roughly 5-7 seconds to turn on my TV, switch my AVR to the right input, and switch the matrix switcher to the correct input/output. I don't even have patience for it, I press the "Watch TV" button and set it on my coffee table while it finishes sending its commands. Unless I can drop that waiting time to below 2 seconds, I don't see IR as a viable option.
Harmony is so slow with macros. =p One of their biggest weaknesses IMO.

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IP definitely seems like the best route to go because I worry even RF will have a hard time in the most remote areas of the house. Wifi will be everywhere.

The iRule product looks great and the price is right but I need more than 5 remote layouts so I can customize the experience for each room.

I would like for a main menu to come up and list each room. Then when you click on a room, let's say "Office" it brings up an activity based menu such as "Watch Sat 1" , "Watch Sat 2", "Watch Blu-Ray", etc. After pressing an activity would bring up a remote screen to control that device.
Yes, you could do that with iRule. The limit of 5 is unique total setups (that each contain many panels). So you could have 1 super master setup with tons of extra buttons for you to configure all sorts of advanced stuff, and a second simple setup that only does the minimal things other people need....and still have 3 setups leftover!
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 09:51 AM
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DirecTV has their own distribution system. Have you considered that? And, distributing bluray is kind of silly - just put a $100 BDP in each zone. Not sure how much Popcorn Hour costs. Distributing PC - Windows Media Extender? Apple solution?

You may be able to bring the cost down with a smaller matrix, at a minimum.

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post #9 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Vyrolan, - That is great news about the iRule. I will certainly be exploring that option. It sounds like it can do everything I want and it's very affordable.

Neurorad- Unfortunately I have TVs in areas with no space for any components and the mirrored computer input is very important on all TVs so slideshows and presentations can be run in sync. I appreciate your input though.

- Bryan
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

Regarding IR, My current Harmony 880 remote takes roughly 5-7 seconds to turn on my TV, switch my AVR to the right input, and switch the matrix switcher to the correct input/output. I don't even have patience for it, I press the "Watch TV" button and set it on my coffee table while it finishes sending its commands. Unless I can drop that waiting time to below 2 seconds, I don't see IR as a viable option.

Sounds like you need a different remote, then. No reason it should take that long. Note that IR is going to be part of your solution, assuming you're using consumer television models, which have no other form of remote control. While it's possible to add enough 3rd party stuff to make something like iRule work for controlling a TV (volume, power on/off), it's going to be a PITA.

Speaking of PITA - I can't recommend using any touchscreen app (iRule, Roomie, etc.) for everyday television / DVR usage. The lack of hard buttons makes normal actions a total pain. I use iRule for my theater - but would never think of using it, or any other app, for normal "TV watching" setups.

Jeff

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post #11 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Speaking of PITA - I can't recommend using any touchscreen app (iRule, Roomie, etc.) for everyday television / DVR usage. The lack of hard buttons makes normal actions a total pain. I use iRule for my theater - but would never think of using it, or any other app, for normal "TV watching" setups.
To each his own...I also just use my plain ole JP1 remotes for everyday use...then the iRule is a supplement that can do all the same stuff but also has controls for the lights/shades/etc.
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post #12 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

Regarding IR, My current Harmony 880 remote takes roughly 5-7 seconds to turn on my TV, switch my AVR to the right input, and switch the matrix switcher to the correct input/output. I don't even have patience for it, I press the "Watch TV" button and set it on my coffee table while it finishes sending its commands. Unless I can drop that waiting time to below 2 seconds, I don't see IR as a viable option.
As an aside, check out this sticky thread for some settings that may speed up your Harmony.
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post #13 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds like you need a different remote, then. No reason it should take that long. Note that IR is going to be part of your solution, assuming you're using consumer television models, which have no other form of remote control. While it's possible to add enough 3rd party stuff to make something like iRule work for controlling a TV (volume, power on/off), it's going to be a PITA.
Speaking of PITA - I can't recommend using any touchscreen app (iRule, Roomie, etc.) for everyday television / DVR usage. The lack of hard buttons makes normal actions a total pain. I use iRule for my theater - but would never think of using it, or any other app, for normal "TV watching" setups.
Jeff

What is PITA? I tried to Google it but all I could come up with is flat bread. I would guess it's serial control of components?

Great point about the TV and required IR. I overlooked that. With that in mind if I go the iRule route I would likely keep a standard TV remote in each location to turn the TV on and off and adjust volume.
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post #14 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 02:47 PM
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What is PITA? I tried to Google it but all I could come up with is flat bread. I would guess it's serial control of components?
Pain In The Arse =)
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Great point about the TV and required IR. I overlooked that. With that in mind if I go the iRule route I would likely keep a standard TV remote in each location to turn the TV on and off and adjust volume.
True...my matrix has two-way IR so I forget about that small gotcha.
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post #15 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 04:07 PM
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With that in mind if I go the iRule route I would likely keep a standard TV remote in each location to turn the TV on and off and adjust volume.

That would be a PITA with extra cheese and a side of pickles. biggrin.gif

I really do think you're overthinking this. Most operations in a matrix environment are a grand total of 1 IR command (switch matrix input) and then land on a device page. It doesn't get much shorter than that. Even in a Harmony "activity" that would turn the TV power on, that's only two commands. And there's plenty of other remote control brands, too.

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post #16 of 25 Old 11-09-2012, 02:08 AM
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I was going to go with Cinemar.

Because I could view the movie databse on the remote, then stream the move to the monitor.
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post #17 of 25 Old 11-09-2012, 03:00 PM
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Satellite provider will be DirecTV.
Regarding IR, My current Harmony 880 remote takes roughly 5-7 seconds to turn on my TV, switch my AVR to the right input, and switch the matrix switcher to the correct input/output. I don't even have patience for it, I press the "Watch TV" button and set it on my coffee table while it finishes sending its commands. Unless I can drop that waiting time to below 2 seconds, I don't see IR as a viable option.
IP definitely seems like the best route to go because I worry even RF will have a hard time in the most remote areas of the house. Wifi will be everywhere.
The iRule product looks great and the price is right but I need more than 5 remote layouts so I can customize the experience for each room.
I would like for a main menu to come up and list each room. Then when you click on a room, let's say "Office" it brings up an activity based menu such as "Watch Sat 1" , "Watch Sat 2", "Watch Blu-Ray", etc. After pressing an activity would bring up a remote screen to control that device.

I would opt for an HDBaseT matrix like the Atlona with built in IR control. Also, I tend to go more professional grade for the remotes (RTI or URC). I have a Control4 system that gives me a lot of control of the programming and I don't have to rely on my dealer for much, but it would give you serial control over your matrix switch. A system dedicated to your AV needs could be had for under $5k easily. The top of the line processor is $1k and $50 for the optional rack ears. You can use their remotes, or an ipad/iphone/android/touchscreen/harmony remote/etc. Of course once you have a C4 system you start to do things like integrating lights/hvac/security just because it's so easy.

RF remotes are the way to go if you don't like to point the remote, they tend to be more easily used by the non-tech-savvy, especially visitors, because while they may intuitively point the remote, they may not point it for long enough. This has been my experience even though I have only a few devices being turned on. I haven't run the emitter to my TV yet so it is being turned on/off by IR instead of RF and still requires a pointed remote. I plan to fix that this weekend because RF is just that much more reliable. You're going to be spending a lot of money on an 8x8 hdmi matrix so I understand why you want to be able to control it reliably.

AI Limited
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post #18 of 25 Old 11-13-2012, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I would opt for an HDBaseT matrix like the Atlona with built in IR control. Also, I tend to go more professional grade for the remotes (RTI or URC). I have a Control4 system that gives me a lot of control of the programming and I don't have to rely on my dealer for much, but it would give you serial control over your matrix switch. A system dedicated to your AV needs could be had for under $5k easily. The top of the line processor is $1k and $50 for the optional rack ears. You can use their remotes, or an ipad/iphone/android/touchscreen/harmony remote/etc. Of course once you have a C4 system you start to do things like integrating lights/hvac/security just because it's so easy.
RF remotes are the way to go if you don't like to point the remote, they tend to be more easily used by the non-tech-savvy, especially visitors, because while they may intuitively point the remote, they may not point it for long enough. This has been my experience even though I have only a few devices being turned on. I haven't run the emitter to my TV yet so it is being turned on/off by IR instead of RF and still requires a pointed remote. I plan to fix that this weekend because RF is just that much more reliable. You're going to be spending a lot of money on an 8x8 hdmi matrix so I understand why you want to be able to control it reliably.

Thank you for your input.

WIll the Control4 HC-800 Controller handle 8 rooms? It appears there are only 6 IR ports.

Also, it appears since it supports iPod and iPad it must support IP control but if I was to go the RF route, can I boost the RF signal somehow? The receiver and remotes will be pretty far from one another in certain areas of the house.

- Bryan
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post #19 of 25 Old 11-13-2012, 11:11 AM
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The C4 HC-800 is a home automation controller that could be used to control an HDMI matrix switch. So the 6 IR's aren't a room limitation. It supports IP/IR/Zigbee/Wifi... etc. The idea is: use a good quality HDMI matrix. Control it with a serial connection from your C4 controller (serial is two way communication and is reliable, better than IR control). From there, you can use any number of devices from touch screens, to IR or RF remotes. You would control the C4 system, which has control over your HDMI matrix. So on a "watch TV" command from your iPad for example, the HC-800 would tell the matrix which input and which output to turn on to get the cable box input connected to the TV you are in front of. This is just one scenario of course, using a dedicated control system. It is not a DIY solution because Control4 is dealer only. But my dealer was very easy to work with, and you can do all sorts of programming yourself, if you choose.

If you don't want a control system (Control4 or other) then you need an HDMI matrix that will route IR reliably and support all of the necessary protocols that you may not even be aware of. You will need to circumvent/overcome all of the EDID issues involved with HDMI switching. You will need a matrix that will support dual-band IR if your sources require it.

Sorry for the slow response, I'm not in this thread often.

AI Limited
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post #20 of 25 Old 11-14-2012, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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The Atlona matrix with extenders is only about 15% more than the Geffen and adds a lot of benefits. Great suggestion AI Limited. I'll also be exploring the Control4 system further, it's nice their iOS app is free so any of our guests could load up the controller on their personal phone.

I am still a bit confused on IR. The HC-800 has 6 IR out ports and the Atlona has 9 IR in ports (1 combined and 8 room/zone specific). The room specific or zone specific seems like the best solution in case some of the TVs are the same. If I rely on the combined IR then if I send a "POWER ON" command via IR to a Panasonic TV in room 1, all the Panasonic TVs in the house would also turn on. In order to keep this segregated I am thinking I need at least 9 IR outputs on the Control4 controller, no? What stops all the Panasonic TVs from turning on?
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post #21 of 25 Old 11-15-2012, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

The Atlona matrix with extenders is only about 15% more than the Geffen and adds a lot of benefits. Great suggestion AI Limited. I'll also be exploring the Control4 system further, it's nice their iOS app is free so any of our guests could load up the controller on their personal phone.
I am still a bit confused on IR. The HC-800 has 6 IR out ports and the Atlona has 9 IR in ports (1 combined and 8 room/zone specific). The room specific or zone specific seems like the best solution in case some of the TVs are the same. If I rely on the combined IR then if I send a "POWER ON" command via IR to a Panasonic TV in room 1, all the Panasonic TVs in the house would also turn on. In order to keep this segregated I am thinking I need at least 9 IR outputs on the Control4 controller, no? What stops all the Panasonic TVs from turning on?

So if you just used the Atlona and NO Control4, you would simply have an IR receiver at the tv location, and an emitter coming off of the HDMI matrix back at your "head end" to the source (say your cable box for example). If you send an IR power on command to a TV, that would go from the remote to the TV you are in front of, not necessarily to the distribution back to the HDMI switch. If the IR receiver does pick up the signal and sends it to the matrix, none of the "sources" will be Panasonic TV's so the signal would do nothing. This would be one way to set up the Atlona matrix - 1 IR remote per TV, that could control both your local TV (in that room) and your sources located back at your matrix.

The more elegant way IMHO, would be to have a rack with an Atlona matrix, serial connection to a C4 controller (HC-800) for control, with HDMI sources distributed to all of your TV's from the Atlona matrix. Then, in each room you could have an RF remote that talks to the C4 controller, not the Matrix, you alleviate the IR distribution and all of the issues related to it. You could also put in the IR distribution (since at that point it's just an IR receiver at each TV, and an emitter at each source) and use it in the rooms where you don't have more elegant control over the C4 system (like an iPad, C4 touchscreen, or RF remote). There are so many ways to skin the cat. A powerful remote would be useful in the locations where you are not using the C4 remotes. By the way, they do have their own handheld remotes but I am also lumping in iOS devices into this statement. I have an iPAD that controls my thermostats, security, lights, and AV via C4. It's pretty fun, especially the lighting, which can be addictive.

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post #22 of 25 Old 11-16-2012, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AI Limited View Post

The more elegant way IMHO, would be to have a rack with an Atlona matrix, serial connection to a C4 controller (HC-800) for control, with HDMI sources distributed to all of your TV's from the Atlona matrix. Then, in each room you could have an RF remote that talks to the C4 controller, not the Matrix, you alleviate the IR distribution and all of the issues related to it. You could also put in the IR distribution (since at that point it's just an IR receiver at each TV, and an emitter at each source) and use it in the rooms where you don't have more elegant control over the C4 system (like an iPad, C4 touchscreen, or RF remote). There are so many ways to skin the cat. A powerful remote would be useful in the locations where you are not using the C4 remotes. By the way, they do have their own handheld remotes but I am also lumping in iOS devices into this statement. I have an iPAD that controls my thermostats, security, lights, and AV via C4. It's pretty fun, especially the lighting, which can be addictive.

I am still confused as to how I stop all the Panasonic TVs from turn on in your elegant solution. Your elegant solution eliminates IR all together so how do I turn the TV on? For the sake of discussion, let's say I want to watch a Blu-Ray in the living room. I pull up my iPhone, launch the Control4 app, press "Living Room", and press "Watch Blu-Ray". In this scenario, how does it turn on my Panasonic TV without turning on all the other Panasonic TVs?
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post #23 of 25 Old 11-16-2012, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

I am still confused as to how I stop all the Panasonic TVs from turn on in your elegant solution. Your elegant solution eliminates IR all together so how do I turn the TV on? For the sake of discussion, let's say I want to watch a Blu-Ray in the living room. I pull up my iPhone, launch the Control4 app, press "Living Room", and press "Watch Blu-Ray". In this scenario, how does it turn on my Panasonic TV without turning on all the other Panasonic TVs?

Oh I see what you're getting at now. In that scenario, your C4 system would need a way of controlling the TV in the living room. Assuming your main controller is located in a different room and you wanted to use IR to control more than 6 tv's (thus exceeding the HC-800's IR capability), you would either buy a second smaller and less expensive controller (HC-250 which has another 4 IR ports), or the IO extender. Not all TV's would turn on if you select the "Living Room" activity because in theory the IR distribution would only send that IR command to the proper port on the IR out.

What I was getting at is RF is better than IR because you don't have to point the remote, and serial control over a device (such as a matrix switch) is more reliable than IR too. So wherever you can opt in to RF and Serial, do so. Keep in mind I don't do this for a living, I just happen to enjoy it as a hobby and I'm an Electrical Engineer. If you decide to go with a dealer only solution, they may have more insight as to the specifics of your situation and can walk your home with you to give a more tailored solution.

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post #24 of 25 Old 11-16-2012, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AI Limited View Post

Oh I see what you're getting at now. In that scenario, your C4 system would need a way of controlling the TV in the living room. Assuming your main controller is located in a different room and you wanted to use IR to control more than 6 tv's (thus exceeding the HC-800's IR capability), you would either buy a second smaller and less expensive controller (HC-250 which has another 4 IR ports), or the IO extender. Not all TV's would turn on if you select the "Living Room" activity because in theory the IR distribution would only send that IR command to the proper port on the IR out.
What I was getting at is RF is better than IR because you don't have to point the remote, and serial control over a device (such as a matrix switch) is more reliable than IR too. So wherever you can opt in to RF and Serial, do so. Keep in mind I don't do this for a living, I just happen to enjoy it as a hobby and I'm an Electrical Engineer. If you decide to go with a dealer only solution, they may have more insight as to the specifics of your situation and can walk your home with you to give a more tailored solution.

So my zone limitation was correct and it makes sense I would need an addition HC-250. Not a problem, it still keeps me way under budget.

I did have a local place walk my house and for the total solution they want just over $34,000. (This is just for running cables, the matrix, and the control system... does not include TVs, source components, or the rack). My next step is to price everything out down to the cable runs and compare. I'm rough estimating I can do it myself for less than half.

This same local place is an authorized Control4 dealer but for whatever reason they said they wouldn't recommend it in my situation. They instead recommend either Universal Remote Control brand or the Savant brand system. I'll have to ask them why because I would like to buy the Control4 equipment from them if I go that route.

I really appreciate your input. The Control4 sounds like it does everything I need to do and for the right price.

Have a great holiday,

Bryan
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post #25 of 25 Old 11-17-2012, 08:36 AM
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Your welcome Bryan. You have a great Thanksgiving too!

Also, your zone limitation is correct if you plan on using an HC-800 to control 8 TV's across IR with it. An HC-800 has the power to control 20 TV's depending on how its utilized.

I only hear great things about Savant and I believe it is Apple based if you are an Apple guy, but it is very expensive. I agree with their URC recommendation. I use two old URC MX-810's that I program myself with an RF base station (which does my IR distribution within the rack - elegant, RF receiver so it's an RF remote, IR to up to 6 devices within a rack, or distribute the IR if you want, see "URC MRF-350").

I paid under $5k for an HC-800, 3 light switches and two 6 button keypads, a box to interface the C4 controller to my alarm, a $500 IP camera, installation, 5 hours of programming, two C4 thermostats, an IR device to control my PS3, and I'm probably forgetting something. I had my own cat5/6 already run as it was a new construction project. The alarm was $1800 installed and connected to the C4 system. I use an IPad that I already had to control it, along with my droid phone and URC remotes.

Keep in mind, once you select a C4 dealer, you are somewhat at their mercy as far as upsell goes. Forget something? Oh that's an extra $$$. I hear the IO extender is $500 and I'm sure an HC-250 is in that price range too. Have fun!

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