Originally Posted by archbid
I am likely in the minority, and I have posted this response before, however, I believe you should take a look at the Sonos offering.
I don't know if you're in the minority... Certainly not in the opinion that Sonos can be an excellent solution. (note also that the new NuVo P100/200/3100 system should compare very well to a similarly-price Sonos setup, but those products are very new and we don't have any history or first-hand usability reviews yet)
Nuvo, Russound and others are simply not in a position to invest in the keypad/controller technology the way Apple, Samsung, and others can, and they have already been exceeded in terms of flexibility, ease of use, and integration by smart phone apps.
No, but they can leverage the same ecosystem that created those components. A wall-mounted touchscreen built on an Android platform is the likely future. The good news is that those would connect easily with cat5e, Ethernet and PoE... And that solution could (done correctly) exceed the usability of a general purpose mobile-app solution.
Whatever keypad you install will likely be outmoded very quickly, which to my mind makes it a poor investment. Even ipad/phones are outmoded in a few year, but you don't screw them into your wall!
Agreed they *can* look outdated if not chosen carefully. One of the reasons I picked NuVo over Russound was due to the look of the keypad / displays. But let's separate function from form, too - they will still work for a long, long time. My keypads will outlast the functionality of an in-wall iPad dock. Those all just broke. And who knows what will happen trying to integrate one next year... Which is the flipside - the iPad is a general purpose device, and will evolve at its own pace, regardless of the needs of the wall-mount keypad concept(s).
When I wired the house, I did speaker wire runs from each room to a wiring closet, including loops by the doors for volume control/keypads. I also ran cat5 to the keypad areas. These remain safely behind drywall.
And this is why you're not wrong - you've wired correctly, made the product choice that fits your needs, but have the future ability / flexibility to change/upgrade as new products emerge... On the flip side, that's the other reason I didn't even think about installing the current NuVo color touchscreen. Besides price, it's also "slightly larger" than a double-gang faceplate, Undoing that for some future product would be a royal pain of patching and filling.
I virtually never use my 5,000 song library. Most days I put on either a radio station or Pandora "station", which immediately fills the house with music. My kids can use it, and the sound is great. I hooked the output of my AVR to a sonos bridge and I can also share the audio from sports throughout the house.
Same here, in terms of sources for the whole house system - TV audio piped into the system (use that for the morning news every day), Internet Radio, Pandora, and the digital library a distant 4th place...
I recognize that there are some integration opportunities available in the integrated systems that may be lacking in the Sonos, but I have yet to think "I wish I had a keypad in this room". Maybe twice in two years I have wanted to turn the sound off and didn't have my phone.
I don't carry my phone around the house, certainly not in the bathroom... But there's a keypad there. I'll continue to stress that "both" mobile device and keypad control have their place. My issue with mobile-app based solutions (OTHER than the Sonos or the new NuVo wireless), is the lack of integration between the system and the 'source'. Switching apps to turn on a zone, change volume, then back to the music app is a pain and can't be considered "easy to use".
On the plus side, I cannot imagine actually running sound with a keypad that has six-eight fixed buttons. A keyboard is nice to create a new station, find a song, or set a station.
Agreed, but the best-in-class keypad controller solutions are not fixed buttons - metadata display plus software-based menus. Simple keypads like the HTD that offer source selection and volume are useful (and inexpensive). The area between the two (where those 6-8 fixed-function buttons w/o a display live) should be considered no-man's-land...
I'm not a fan of most of these solutions, as they either offer no power/charging solution (so it's not staying on the wall for long), or are going to put a big hole in the wall that will very, very likely need to be changed in 2-3 years (as the iPad gets swapped out for the next gen, and therefore the mount becomes obsolete, and must be replaced).
We're not that far apart, really...