Control4 system review (will this meet my family's needs)??? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-25-2013, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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We're planning on installing a Control4 system in our new home. I'm looking for some reassurance that this is the correct system for my family's needs. The pre-wire has already occurred with cat5 and speaker cable installed at the desired locations (as well as coax just in case). Here is the requirements of the system:

- ease of use, not planning a major home theatre or requiring ultra high end audio or video playback and control
- Central location for all AV equipment (basement mechanical room)
- Distribution of video (up to 5 tv's) from up to 6 video sources (currently 3 comcast boxes, 1 blueray/google tv box)
- Distribution of audio (4 to 8 zones),from internet (pandora/google music) and local radio stations. We have our music uploaded to google music.
- Future control needs - security system control, irrigation, lights/blinds

The home is a 2 story with finished wo basement (~6000 sqft total). A key integration element is accessing google services (play, music, chrome,etc..) All of our phones and tablets are android based. Here are the components quoted for the system:

- Control4 C4-16AMP3-B (8 zone amp)
- Control4 C4-HC800-BL (controller)
- Control4 C4-IOX-E-B (IO extender)
- Control4 C4-SR250B-Z-B (remotes probably get 3 or 4)
- Control4 C4-TSWMC5-EG-BL (touchscreen for main floor, initial use to control music for main floor zones, future use for home security or light/blinds etc., will probably switch to 7" version with camera to meet future needs)
- Control4 C4-WMB-B (wireless music bridge, hopefully this can stream pandora/google music to amp if been told it can via bluetooth, home wifi or dlna)
- Leaf-LHDMI66P (6x6 switch with break out points)
- Luxul XAP-1020 (wireless n access point, i assume this transmits the home wifi and zig bee network)
- Luxul XGS-1024 (24 port ethernet switch)
- Monster Power MP HTS MKII (surge protector)
- Sanus CAPT01 (power supply)
- Sanus CFR (av rack)
- Definitive Technology speakers (7 pairs)

Price installed is roughly $21k. What do you think of the setup? Thanks
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-25-2013, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcgAVinterest View Post

- Central location for all AV equipment (basement mechanical room)
- Distribution of video (up to 5 tv's) from up to 6 video sources (currently 3 comcast boxes, 1 blueray/google tv box)

Having a centralized BD player in the basement isn't exactly user friendly. Remember that for anything with physical media, you have to go to the box to put the disc in. Same will be true for game consoles. If you're centralizing the video mostly for aesthetics, note that a few more cable boxes and "whole house DVR" functions may be a better solution - and is certainly cheaper than a matrix video distribution.
Quote:
- Distribution of audio (4 to 8 zones),from internet (pandora/google music) and local radio stations. We have our music uploaded to google music.

A key integration element is accessing google services (play, music, chrome,etc..) All of our phones and tablets are android based.

You need to make sure that Control4 has the integration with Google Music you're looking for. I doubt it (but don't know). If the wireless music bridge is just going to link your Android devices to the audio system, all those remotes and control panels aren't going to be doing much for you. If you're just streaming music from your phone, IMO, this is a really expensive solution...
Quote:
- Control4 C4-TSWMC5-EG-BL (touchscreen for main floor, initial use to control music for main floor zones

This is the question to ask the integrator - can you browse and select music on Google Music from that touchscreen? Or are you just adjusting volume?
Quote:
- Control4 C4-WMB-B (wireless music bridge, hopefully this can stream pandora/google music to amp if been told it can via bluetooth, home wifi or dlna)

You need to change that "hopefully" to a "does" or "does not" before you plunk down major $$$ for the system...


Jeff

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post #3 of 9 Old 08-25-2013, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Jeff for your time. Your post reflects my apprehension about committing to Control4. Our AV project began with the need for audio control to the wired whole home speaker setup. We then thought it would be "cool" to hide all the AV equipment including cable boxes. This finally lead to thinking about future home automation needs and presto we're about to plunk down $20k on Control4. I've still got time to change.

Given my criteria for audio control (easy access to pandora and google music), what other solutions would people suggest? Maybe if there is a Control4 expert on this forum they could chime in on the ability of the music bridge to meet my needs.

In terms of video control, I really have only one location which absolutely requires hidden equipment (cable box, dvd, etc..) What type of solution would work for this?

I appreciate the help!!
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-25-2013, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcgAVinterest View Post

Thanks Jeff for your time. Your post reflects my apprehension about committing to Control4. Our AV project began with the need for audio control to the wired whole home speaker setup. We then thought it would be "cool" to hide all the AV equipment including cable boxes. This finally lead to thinking about future home automation needs and presto we're about to plunk down $20k on Control4. I've still got time to change.

Hiding the equipment can be done for a few hundred per room (without the matrix solution). Putting gear in a cabinet within "reach" of the display in the room is trivial. An HDBaseT extender will allow you to move any HD source to elsewhere in the house, and cover the IR remote control. It's when you start dealing with shared sources that you'd need to step up to a matrix. Sharing <$99 BD players, AppleTVs and other streaming boxes doesn't make economic sense. If you have a need to keep multiple displays in sync, or need to share an expensive content device, the matrix would come into play. But I wouldn't go that route for sharing cable boxes when the box:display ratio is fairly close to parity.
Quote:
Given my criteria for audio control (easy access to pandora and google music), what other solutions would people suggest? Maybe if there is a Control4 expert on this forum they could chime in on the ability of the music bridge to meet my needs.

If you want an easy to use system with good integration - you probably need to throw out Google Music as your primary library source, at least for now. A local library stored on a compatible music server / PC / NAS / whatever, coupled with Internet streaming services will be a much more compatible target for any of the available systems. New cloud / Internet-based music solutions are simply too new and immature to expect a good integration with the "stable" tried-and-true systems.

But no reason you can't use Google Music for other purposes - you just need to give these systems a "common" library target they can handle.

Jeff

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post #5 of 9 Old 08-25-2013, 08:58 PM
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The matrix can be a great solution. Not for all but it just depends. It can cut down on repetitive sources like cable boxes, blu ray, media players like ATV, etc. Its nice to potentially cut out 3 or 4 cable boxes. $15 per month x 4 x 12 adds up. Just a thought.

If you decide against a matrix and do local sourcing and hiding in each of the rooms it will be more than a couple of hundred dollars. You'll need to buy or rent all of the sources, an IR kit or universal remote for control, electrical outlet in closet, additional installation for these products, shelving, a balun kit multiplied by the number of sources you do, or combined with a splitter, or multiple runs of long HDMI.

If you take all of this away you can partially fund a matrix. Yes maybe you can't access locally a BD player, but if it's only a bedroom or den, you'll wont watch that many, plus BD is disappearing with streaming units becoming the standard. Not much of an issue IMO.

If you really like google play, and I'm not a google user, you should be able to deliver it thru a chromecast. If the CC is on the matrix it will broadcast everywhere.

The wireless music bridge is a nice piece from C4 but it's not an integrated solution. It's just like AirPlay. Sonos with the EV driver is better. if you are looking for a integrated system you need to compromise a bit. Control4 can deliver but you should make some changes upward.

Also If you are not doing HC-250s on secondary TVs you won't get on screen GUI. Not sure if it matters to you.

IMO it looks that the integrator put a very modern system together for you that will be easy to use and do well into the future.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-25-2013, 08:58 PM
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The matrix can be a great solution. Not for all but it just depends. It can cut down on repetitive sources like cable boxes, blu ray, media players like ATV, etc. Its nice to potentially cut out 3 or 4 cable boxes. $15 per month x 4 x 12 adds up. Just a thought.

If you decide against a matrix and do local sourcing and hiding in each of the rooms it will be more than a couple of hundred dollars. You'll need to buy or rent all of the sources, an IR kit or universal remote for control, electrical outlet in closet, additional installation for these products, shelving, a balun kit multiplied by the number of sources you do, or combined with a splitter, or multiple runs of long HDMI.

If you take all of this away you can partially fund a matrix. Yes maybe you can't access locally a BD player, but if it's only a bedroom or den, you'll wont watch that many, plus BD is disappearing with streaming units becoming the standard. Not much of an issue IMO.

If you really like google play, and I'm not a google user, you should be able to deliver it thru a chromecast. If the CC is on the matrix it will broadcast everywhere.

The wireless music bridge is a nice piece from C4 but it's not an integrated solution. It's just like AirPlay. Sonos with the EV driver is better. if you are looking for a integrated system you need to compromise a bit. Control4 can deliver but you should make some changes upward.

Also If you are not doing HC-250s on secondary TVs you won't get on screen GUI. Not sure if it matters to you.

IMO it looks that the integrator put a very modern system together for you that will be easy to use and do well into the future.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-27-2013, 05:57 PM
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I'm actually looking at a very similar system and have had several conversation with my integrator (I'm doing the install in phases and phase 1 begins this Friday!!).

Rather than using the C4 wireless music bridge, he strongly recommended I use Sonos - the interface is much nicer and I think he said it was cheaper (but I'm not sure). In any case, Sonos is best of bread and integrates into the C4 system.

Regarding the HC-250's at each TV - he said that Control4 is looking to come out with a new product (likely by early 2014) that will be a slave device - it will provide IR and a TV display, but won't have any processing power. This is exactly what one would need for secondary displays and it should be much cheaper than buying a full 250 or 800 processor - so if you can stick it out it might save you a bunch of money (especially if you have multiple TV's to connect to).

I'm personally not planning on doing any video distribution (seems costly and a little over the top for my needs) so I can't speak to any of the matrix products you've mentioned; but my thought would be if you don't need to synchronize video output, do you really need to centralize it?

As for the interfaces - unless you really need the intercom/video features of the C4 touch panel, I would recommend just buying a couple ipad minis - they're cheaper and much more functional. Imagine wall mounting (removable) or docking an ipad mini near the TV - you can control your house with it but then surf your Comcast box with it, play a game, check the news, etc instead of just having a glorified remote. I know this is the path I will be going as I extend my system to multiple rooms.

I'm by no means an expert here, but hopefully my research so far has helped a little bit. Please let us know what you end up going with, I know it would definitely benefit me to hear how it goes!

Scott
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-19-2013, 09:48 PM
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+1 on the iPads... I use an iPad 1 and wish I had more of them! The mini might be useful too.

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post #9 of 9 Old 09-20-2013, 10:49 PM
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Not a lot of guys, or gals, aren't having too much luck with Luxul as well. Look at Ubiquity or Ruckus.
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