Need controller advice for whole house system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 82 Old 05-06-2006, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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OK: I’m building a new full house system in a house I’m moving into. The house will have a central AV stack in a closet for the entire house. (6 Zones). I’ve got the martrix switcher and all the applicable hardware except for a central controller. I’m looking for a controller that can do the following:
  • Receive signals from all IR spots in the house.
  • Ideally work with a nice touchpad wireless remote somehow, though prontos will do if needed.
  • Have RS232 outputs to control some of the components in the stack. IE Sony receiver, escient, CRM84, etc.
  • Have IR blasters for everything else.
  • Do macros for each zone. For example: receive volume up from office zone and know that to turn up that volume only.
  • Wish list: have ability to receive one ir command and output some other command. For example, receive volume up from tivo remote and know to change that to volume up for Rotel processor.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Be programmable adjustable by ME. I do not want to have to call someone to do this. I’ve been a software engineer for 15 years and can program just about anything. I just want access to the software.

I had a Crestron system in a previous house that did all of this except give me access to the code. I’ve been looking on the net for 3 days now and nothing is jumping out at me. Suggestions?

BTW: I like the pronto software and it’s capabilities; something similar to this in a larger scale is what I’m after. I’ve got a decent budget for the hardware and software, so don’t hold back because of cost.

Thanks

Tim
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post #2 of 82 Old 05-06-2006, 02:51 PM
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Check out CQC at www.charmedquark.com. I don't use it in a multi-zone setup but there are plenty of others that use CQC for what you are looking to do.

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post #3 of 82 Old 05-06-2006, 03:41 PM
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Ditto. I use CQC to do all that. It's a software engine that runs on your PC and controls devices via either RS232, IR, or ethernet. The nice thing about that is that it's hardware agnostic, so you can get what you want, set it up yourself. It's network distributable, so you can render UI on any PC or on a wifi cellphone PDA with no issues. Plus, it's got storng front-end designing capabilities you can design your own UI to meet your needs. I also have a few downloadable ones if you don't want to muck with that.

Here's my wifi touchpad tablet PC that is now $200 off eBay that I mounted myself in the kitchen. [burying AC cable in the next few days]

My main menu page that I can render on the HTPC or on the webpad: Note that it's got 5 zones of control on the wrapper. I could do 6 if I wanted, I just choose not to so that I can save the real estate.
http://www.myhometheaterpc.com/scree...tudio_Main.jpg

My next level down:
http://www.myhometheaterpc.com/scree...oneControl.jpg

The nice thing is, the same package can be used for HA if/when you get into that. For example:

http://www.myhometheaterpc.com/scree...Irrigation.JPG


http://www.myhometheaterpc.com/scree...use_Motion.JPG


And, if you don't like my look&feel, here's something totally different:

http://www.touchscreengraphics.com/i...ipper-1024.png

And, a 3rd user:

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...d-screen1b.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...ssoundRack.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3.../Mini-rack.jpg

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post #4 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 06:45 AM
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Tim,

Also take a look at Control4 . Question: why don't you want to go with Crestron in this new house ?
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post #5 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 08:17 AM
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AJF,

I think Tim answered that in the first post - no source code and couldn't edit/modify the system himself.

Tim,

I fully agree with IVB and Les. It sounds like it's exactly what you're looking for. And its developer is adding functionality at an amazing pace. Check out the forums on the website and check it out.

Keith
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post #6 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klindy
AJF,

I think Tim answered that in the first post - no source code and couldn't edit/modify the system himself.

Keith
Actually Keith, whoever installed the Crestron system in his first house wouldn't give him the source code, and there's a long thread on this forum that explains why a CI would not want to give that away .

If he is installing a new system himself, there are plenty of guys on Yahoo that seem to be able to get the hardware and software (and have the programming abilities) to do so . I also know of at least one CI on this board who has no problem with giving the software to a client that he feels really has the programming abilities . That's why I asked why he wasn't considering Crestron, especially if he was happy with the system .
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post #7 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm leaning back towards crestron. I've looked at control4 and RTI and they might suffice. But for the total control solution, it seems like crestron is still the going thing.

I would be looking for a CI who would work "with" me on the system. I've got all the hardware already and am running the wiring on wednesday.

Still looking though!

Thanks for all the good responses....
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post #8 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 08:57 AM
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In your opinion, what control does Crestron offer that CQC wouldn't?

Just curious; wondering if there's something more I could be doing had I gone the Crestron route.

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post #9 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 09:37 AM
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Well since others are beating the dead horse, I'm going to agree that Crestron (or AMX) should not be taken off the options list for these reasons;
(1) - you can get Crestron controllers cheap on ebay.
(2) - the code for Crestron is 10 times easier to use than C# or even VB (I program in both)
(3) - your talking a relatively simple Crestron application and not millions of dollars in dev time.
(4) - The dedicated controller is 1000 times more stable than a PC.
(5) - A dedicated controller could run for days on a UPS.
(6) - Request your initial developer to do as much work as possible in SimplPlus. This is a VB/C type code that is easy to change in the future if you wanted to get your feet wet.

We develope in both PC world and A/V world and I really think your best solution is a dedicated controller. As to the source code question I have stated several times recently that ALL Crestron Developers should include source with there deliverable and you should expect it.

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post #10 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 09:55 AM
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A PC that you don't muck with is just as stable as the best controller out there.

The only reason PC's go down is because users feel empowered to mess with them. My HTPC ran contiguously for 16 months without being turned off/rebooted even once, because I didn't touch it outside the precanned programs I had written. I turned off the auto-updates, so it was as locked down as you could get.

Once I get all my elk stuff up&running, I'll have no need to touch the server again. And, one HTPC client has currently been up for 12 months, another for 3 months, only turned off b/c I wanted to move some equipment out of it and into the server.

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post #11 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
MOST IMPORTANT: Be programmable adjustable by ME. I do not want to have to call someone to do this. I’ve been a software engineer for 15 years and can program just about anything. I just want access to the software.
With Crestron and AMX you are always going to be relying on someone else. Either to get the equipment or the software. I may be wrong, but I don't remember Control 4 being all that programmable. I lost interest in it pretty quick after it came out.

Will the RTI stuff offer the serial connections and the ability to write drivers to control other equipment? I'm fairly certain that they can do some pretty good macros but I don't know about the other stuff.

With CQC you can definitely handle it yourself. If you need a driver, it has it's own language to handle them, it's capable of powerful macros, has the ability to receive and map IR signals and blast them, and to communicate with RS 232. It's capable of using touch panels as well. The graphics are pretty much limited only by your imagination.

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post #12 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrew
With Crestron and AMX you are always going to be relying on someone else. Either to get the equipment or the software.
Well, unless you live in a cabin in the woods and grow your own food and are self -sufficient I suspect most of us are dependent on someone else to buy things from ;). I'm not sure why people are intent on talking him out of what he's expressed interest in. I'm sure he can find someone that will work with him.
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post #13 of 82 Old 05-07-2006, 08:29 PM
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I'm not sure why people are intent on talking him out of what he's expressed interest in.
Who's talking him out of it? We're just making sure he's going in from a fully informed perspective. I only wish someone had done the same for me before I pissed away all this time and $$.

Once he chooses from that educated basis, presuming he's happy with his choice, I'm happy regardless of which path that is.

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post #14 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 07:43 AM
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(4) - The dedicated controller is 1000 times more stable than a PC.
lmao!! Give me a break with the PCs are unstable BS. I would say its the people and the configuration of the PC that make it unstable.

I install warehouse management systems for a living, real big, industrial type systems. We have cut costs by moving from Unix to PCs and been very successful. PCs once were unstable but not in the last 5 years. We run Oracle enterprise databases on PCs for months, and months and months without failure, we run apache webservers on PCs for months and months without failure.

People who have problems with PCs do not buy good internal components and do not configure the machine properly if those people think PCs are not stable.

Heck a simple house controller is just that simple and a PC is 1000% stable for something that simple.

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post #15 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 08:31 AM
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[quote=IVB]Who's talking him out of it? We're just making sure he's going in from a fully informed perspective. I only wish someone had done the same for me before I pissed away all this time and $$. QUOTE]

IVB, I thought you liked the CQC - Elk combo. You seem to be doing some amazing work with it. What would you have used had you been "fully informed."
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post #16 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JStehman
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB
Who's talking him out of it? We're just making sure he's going in from a fully informed perspective. I only wish someone had done the same for me before I pissed away all this time and $$.
IVB, I thought you liked the CQC - Elk combo. You seem to be doing some amazing work with it. What would you have used had you been "fully informed."
I do like it - i just wish I went straight to the CQC/Elk combo, and didn't muck around with other software packages. I messed around with Meedio, tried Cinemar every 4 months for 2 years, Girder, and i'm currently supressing the other mistakes.

I feel like had I just bought CQC straightaway in late '04 when I first started down this path, i would have saved myself mucho time and energy.

I did get lucky on the Elk side - i found cocoontech.com, and even though it's a little spammy from the Cinemar owners, the rest of the folks did steer me right from the get-go.

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post #17 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 11:52 AM
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Destiny Networks can do everything you need for a pretty reasonable price. See if you can find a dealer.
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post #18 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow... Some great ideas here. I've been doing hard research on this for the last week or so, and am still leaning towards the crestron. There are quite a few up and coming products, I just don't feel that any of them are quite there yet. I think in a year or 18 months from now, this could be a very different space. I like cqc, but it's just to "pc ish". Nothing wrong with that at all. But, you should see my office and servers. I just want something a little more polished sitting on the coffee table. After working with software and pcs all day, I guess I just want something that's not pc's for when I relax.

I've managed to find a very nice used crestron system to purchase. My next question would be "How do I go about finding a good programmer?" who will work with me and not take 3 months to get this done.

Thanks for all the great suggestions. It's amazing at the passion everyone has for their choices. It reminds me quite a bit of the pc vs mac camps.
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post #19 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
I'm not sure why people are intent on talking him out of what he's expressed interest in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimMeade
I had a Crestron system in a previous house that did all of this except give me access to the code. I’ve been looking on the net for 3 days now and nothing is jumping out at me. Suggestions?

BTW: I like the pronto software and it’s capabilities; something similar to this in a larger scale is what I’m after.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimMeade
I'm leaning back towards crestron. I've looked at control4 and RTI and they might suffice. But for the total control solution, it seems like crestron is still the going thing.

I would be looking for a CI who would work "with" me on the system. I've got all the hardware already and am running the wiring on wednesday.

Still looking though!
It doesn't look like he'd made his mind up to me. I reinforced the suggestion of others and detailed how it would specifically meet his requirements. I also brought up questions that I thought were pertinent regarding his interest in RTI. The moment someone mentions an interest in Crestron, should that become the only option for discussion? The AMX guys might not like that to well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Well, unless you live in a cabin in the woods and grow your own food and are self -sufficient I suspect most of us are dependent on someone else to buy things from
I knew my comment was broad when I wrote it, and if I had considered your sharp eye, I would have tightened it up. Please allow me to do so now.

Tim, it is possible to use Crestrons equipment as a DIY'r, but the company does not support that approach. There are people who will work with you, but if you need a new piece of equipment, are you willing to bet that the dealer will have time for you on your schedule? In my case, I found that uncertainty unacceptable. It's your money, make the choice that is right for you. I just want you to know that you have one.

We all tend to recommend what we know best. The integrators recommend AMX/Crestron because they have been using them for years & they are proven systems. Several of us have found CQC to be the answer. We choose it for several reasons. Costs are of course chief among them, but the non proprietary nature of it is a big one too. We don't have to marry any one or any company to use it. Typically there will be no proprietary hardware in one of our systems. Using a PC based software solution has advantages as well. If Premis or Pluto Home or even Crestron PC comes along and demonstrates superiority, we don't have to change a bunch of hardware to support the control system, just dump the software and reload.

I am not trying to start another war with the integrators here, you have to rely on solid products, and you are going to recommend what you know and trust, but I do believe that if more of you were to evaluate CQC with an open mind, you would find it to be a cost effective solution for a number of projects. Despite its marketing budget, CQC is a capable control system today and it is rapidly building capability in media management. I don't expect anybody to take my word for nothin, a 30 day trial download is free (the whole program is only $315 for a site license) and the developer is very responsive.

The automation market is going to grow and become more affordable. The big two may be the teams to beat, but they are by no means the only game in town.

Mike

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post #20 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 12:31 PM
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I wrote the post above this morning, and got called away and didn't hit send.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TimMeade
I've managed to find a very nice used crestron system to purchase. My next question would be "How do I go about finding a good programmer?" who will work with me and not take 3 months to get this done.
That's the rub.

Your listed specifications were not all that demanding, Andre Wolfs suggestion is one of many others that would meet them.

Crestron is indeed a capable system, Good luck with your project,
Mike

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post #21 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 12:36 PM
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mbrew,

Your comments are fair and thanks for clarifying. I do want to point out that I think CQC is a very legitimate product and have oftened recommeded as an option to people on these boards. I also don't really consider myself a "promoter" of Crestron, perhaps more a "defender" ;) when people choose to rag on it simply because it's expensive. Otherwise I just try to answer questions as posed. I have NO problem with the posts in this thread and think it's great he's being informed of all the options.
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post #22 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrew
Several of us have found CQC to be the answer. We choose it for several reasons. Costs are of course chief among them, but the non proprietary nature of it is a big one too. We don't have to marry any one or any company to use it. Typically there will be no proprietary hardware in one of our systems. Using a PC based software solution has advantages as well. If Premis or Pluto Home or even Crestron PC comes along and demonstrates superiority, we don't have to change a bunch of hardware to support the control system, just dump the software and reload.

I am not trying to start another war with the integrators here, you have to rely on solid products, and you are going to recommend what you know and trust, but I do believe that if more of you were to evaluate CQC with an open mind, you would find it to be a cost effective solution for a number of projects.
I know you didn't single out me there but just to clarify, I have evaluated Dean's product which is why I recommend it as a great option for some people.
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post #23 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
I just want something a little more polished sitting on the coffee table. After working with software and pcs all day, I guess I just want something that's not pc's for when I relax.
Im not sure I follow the controller sitting on a coffee table idea but I 100% agree with the look and feel needing to be more polished with that though, there are many, many PC devices out there that already have a polished look. Only a touch screen should be on your table correct? Well, both the cheap DIY solution and the expensive CI solution will give you that. Of course I tend to like to go even further and use very cool looking handheld Ipaq devices for my house solution. Cant wait to get it working.

In the end, I dont care about product A vs Product B in terms of who they are but I do care about the performance vs cost factor and if you can accomplish your goals with Product B for a fraction of the cost then I think it should be done. If you get a great cost, great solution that is all that matters.

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post #24 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 01:33 PM
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Most folks would either have just a touch screen out front, or a wireless tablet. The upcoming UMPC tablets are very much anticipated right now, since they could be just what companies like ours have been looking for. They have a good form factor and size, have hard buttons, run a standard XP kernel so you aren't limited to .Net type software, they are separate nodes on the network so they don't require larger and larger backends to support them, and they are finger driveable. So if they actually work well in terms of their basic function, i.e. they maintain a reliable network connection and aren't flakey, I think that they will be an excellent choice. And the fact that they will be available from multiple, competing vendors will be very nice as well, for availability and cost competition over time.

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post #25 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 02:16 PM
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QQQ,

Thanks for the comments. I have noticed that you are typically very fair in your postings. You are the specific reason that I added "the more of you" comment above. I know BigPapa has said that he keeps an eye on CQC's development, but you are the only one that I know of that has evaluated it, and I have seen you say good things about it. Of course I don't read every thread and others may have evaluated it as well. In my opinion it is a more capable program than some of the products installed by the pro's. I'd just like it to get a fair shot at the market.


Quote:
I just want something a little more polished sitting on the coffee table.
It seems to me that you really want the Crestron system, and if that's the case and you can manage it, that's what you should have. For the record though, my HTPC's are in the living room and my wife doesn't like it. They are on the way to the rack. The only thing that will be in the living room will be a remote or touch panels.



This is the first thread I've seen that has had this much participation by the CQC crowd. It's good to see that the community is growing. Dean has worked very hard to provide a marketable product and obviously he is building a dedicated following. We also got a glimpse of some of the more advanced graphics capability. There are some pretty talented guys over there, and to my knowledge, none of them are professionals. I think that the graphic BigPapa showed in the "Can Control 4 cut it" thread would look great in CQC!

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post #26 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrew
In my opinion it is a more capable program than some of the products installed by the pro's. I'd just like it to get a fair shot at the market.
I agree with that and have said so myself. I think it is the only "real" software based solution on the market. That's based on my snooty requirements :D. Premise was decent but as far as I'm concerned it just keeps getting passed from one big company to another who then drop it when they discover they can't just market a software automation product and instantly make millions on it. Motorola has promised an upgrade but for practical purposes it's a dead product right now.

I prefer Crestron for myself, but if budget did not allow CQC is the product I would go with.
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post #27 of 82 Old 05-08-2006, 07:09 PM
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Myself being a former Crestron owner I would like to make a few comments, as for the controller part and Crestron and it being 1000 times more reliable than a PC..thats pretty laughable and sounds like a typical integrator comment to a clueless newbie.

Back in 95 maybe you could have used that line but were are now in 2006..huge difference in PC stability...another thing worth mentioning is touchscreens and cost, CQC and Mainlobby can use the Viewsonic touchscreens that Crestron sell..for how much :-) The exact same touchscreen and please don't try to say its any better because of the Crestron logo.

As for customer support to the end user from Crestron, don't even bother I can assure you the first thing they will try to do convince you that you need to fly down to NJ and take their weekend courses or the next option is pay an integrator everytime you want even the simple things done...I spent over 15k and after about 6 months of them not offering the simple communication in resolving problems I returned the system and got 100% refund from my dealer.

Back in those days I had money to burn and their wasn't many options besides Crestron and AMX..times have changed and while I could afford a Crestron today why would I when I can build the same thing for 1/10th the cost and maintain it myself instead of paying Jimbo $120 an hour to add new channel logos etc...its almost laughable the computer skills of some "Crestron certified" installers, I can comment on this because I have met many both in my current city and as well as Vancouver Canada...just because you got a fancy smancy new laptop and took a few weekend courses doesnt mean anything in the *real* world and surely doesn't qualify you as a programmer in the least.

Don't get me wrong some integrators do have a clue and all around provide good support and have technical skills but I'd have to say most "Crestron Certified" integrators who claim to be programmers are nothing more than a guy with a new laptop that he can barely take care of that never mind trusting him to do the programming to control your house and security...I'm sure I'll hear the whining for that comment but its the truth..some of you guys may be the real thing but even you can't deny the total lack of skills from some integrators..its almost laughable anybody would even consider hiring some of them.

One nice thing Crestron does is provide templates and stuff to make it easy for the Jimbos to make a sale however if your looking for anything custom besides that look at paying over $100 and hour while Jimbo figures out how to power on his laptop and makes a few long distance calls to Crestron which he kindly tacks onto your bill, Directv adds 20 channels and you want those icons added to your Crestron system..look to be paying a huge fee by the hour and hope to hell you really haven't got a Jimbo taking care of it.

I can say Crestron has a huge arsenal of drivers for products, it has some good starter templates for graphics and as well it has some nice touchscreens but lets be realistic...if you got the cash to burn and money is no object then go with the Crestron but do not ever think they will be supportive to the end-user if you bought the equipment from *any* dealer..they will recommend the dealer program it or you take the courses plain and simple.

On the other hand if you think you can somewhat work a PC and are competent then look at the alternatives and save yourself a bundle and have way more flexibility to do exactly what you want and have things look how you want instead of paying someone else to do it for you, its your money and if its burning a hole in your pocket and you don't mind people laughing behind your back when you pay thousands for upgrades to your control system you could probably easily do yourself.

**I guess I should mention I'm a currently a CQC user and the one template with the Firehouse album above is something I made in the first week of using the program, I also own Mainlobby, Homeseer and the old Meedio product and as mentioned previously I'm a previous Crestron owner...an integrator might call me a disgruntled former owner or worse but I'd say I'm actually one of the smarter ones that took his money elsewhere after realizing Crestron won't provide end-user support.

Instead of paying the typical Jimbo an highly overpriced hourly fee I decided to do it on my own and can smile when I think of what I have saved and the flexibility I have to do virtually anything I want with my control system, I have 5 personal freinds who own Crestron systems in this city and have seen over 25 in action both here and in Vancouver and can state without a doubt their systems have no advantage over mine and some of them have even less features at this time and I'm not even finished...I wonder how much it will cost them to have all the features I have when I am finished :-)

As for the *real* professional integrators I respect your work and the fact that you can sell mega-buck control systems to those with money to burn and my comments aren't meant to flame you however I have no problem stating the obvious... in this day and age Crestron is way overpriced for what it offers and their are many solutions that can offer the same and more for much less money.


To see more graphics I have made click the link below this line, more will be added in the coming months and are available for free to all CQC users on their website.


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post #28 of 82 Old 05-09-2006, 12:13 AM
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Myself being a former Crestron owner I would like to make a few comments, as for the controller part and Crestron and it being 1000 times more reliable than a PC.thats pretty laughable and sounds like a typical integrator comment to a clueless newbie.
I agree that statement was an exaggeration and like many of your comments doesn’t contribute to people gaining greater understanding but instead reflects a strong and/or uninformed bias (albeit perhaps understandable based on peoples experience with computers). If he makes 10 more statements like that he may catch up with you.
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Back in 95 maybe you could have used that line but were are now in 2006..huge difference in PC stability
This is where folks on both sides usually want to promote their own bias. I won’t get too far into this issue other than to address a few points. Most of the market players whether Crestron, AMX, Lutron, or Vantage have chosen hardware based platforms because they understand that for their markets they need to guarantee reliability and part of guaranteeing reliability is to control the hardware platform.

That’s impossible to do if you are going to allow people to load software onto machines themselves. And many machines even from major manufactuers such as Dell and HP are not stable out of the box. In my experience it takes a controlled installation on a stable “box” for stability to be achieved (i.e. most out of the box PDs are loaded with bloat ware and are not stable and that’s even assuming the hardware is all stable.

That DOESN’T mean it can’t be done reliably on a PC, just that the potential for instability is greater. The issue is a lot more complex than that and I could spend pages writing about it. I think both approaches are legitimate.
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..another thing worth mentioning is touchscreens and cost, CQC and Mainlobby can use the Viewsonic touchscreens that Crestron sell..for how much :-) The exact same touchscreen and please don't try to say its any better because of the Crestron logo.
1. Crestron can also use the Viewsonic touchscreen. It would do so using Xpanel instead of operating as a native Crestron device
2. No, it’s NOT the exact same touchscreen, that’s why when you use the Crestron panel you don’t have to use Xpanel.
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As for customer support to the end user from Crestron, don't even bother
It is true that Crestron offers support to authorized dealers, not to end users. It is not an end user type of product, it is too complex for most people to program. That is true of many many products on the market and if that bothers someone, they should not buy Crestron. I can’t even count the number of companies that when I call their voice mail system says “if you are an end user and need support, please dial xxx for a listing of dealers in your area”.
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I can assure you the first thing they will try to do convince you that you need to fly down to NJ and take their weekend courses
And that’s a bad thing??? In other words they ARE perfectly willing to support end use as long as the end user is willing to attned training so they aren’t wasting the time of technical support specialists.
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or the next option is pay an integrator everytime you want even the simple things done..
If you want to use Quickbooks to run your small business a lot of people can probably install it themselves. If you want to use Oracle Financial to run your business you can expect to pay someone with the experitise to do it and you can also expect that Orcale won’t help you for free over the phone!
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I spent over 15k and after about 6 months of them not offering the simple communication in resolving problems I returned the system and got 100% refund from my dealer.
Who is them? Crestron? Sounds like there’s more to this story.
[quote]Back in those days I had money to burn[quote]
And of course anyone who purchases Crestron “has money to burn”, right ;). Just like this fellow (lsbenson): http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...52#post7624552
Of course the other option is that he’s just uninformed ;).
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and their wasn't many options besides Crestron and AMX..times have changed and while I could afford a Crestron today why would I when I can build the same thing for 1/10th the cost
This is typical misinformation. I think CQS is a great product and don’t want to get into a another Crestron versus CQS debate. I will simply make a few points:
1. If the average person were to buy CQS they would incure programming costs just as they would with AMX or Crestron.

2. The ridiculous comments about Crestron costing 10 times more are always based on absurd comparisons. Crestron processors start at $1000. Here’s an example of a processor with built in basic audio and video switching for $1275. http://crestron.com/products/show_pr...ial&model=MP2E Buy a computer for CQS, add in the software (or buy one of Dean’s preconfigured systems and we can argue all day about which is cheaper because it won’t be a perfect apples to apples comparison. Now here is where if you want to make the argument in favor of CQS you start adding in $400 3rd party touchscreens (or whatever) and saying “see how much cheaper it is” because Crestron sells much more expensive touchsreens, conveniently overlooking the fact that Crestron can also work with third party touchscreens as well as tablet PC’s etc. The fact that most people CHOOSE not to use such devices with a Crestron system does not negate the fact that they can be used, but it’s DOES negate your entire argument. I understand that Dean is intent on saying that CQS is cheaper and based on using 3rd party touchscreens it certainly is. In the end, I think if both companies wanted to they could be like the computer software companies and both point to endless studies showing how one system is actually “more cost effective”. I respect both systems and wish we could stay away from that nonsense.

I will note that I have done these comparisons myself out of more than curiosity because I follow CQS closely and have wanted to see what it would cost to outfit a system for the requirements of the types of projects I work on. As an example, if I were to use CQS I'd have to use Extron or Autopatch switchers to do some of what I usually do with Crestron switchers. And I'd also have to use very expensive touchscreens from 3rd parties if I want to *try* and replicate what I can with a Crestron touchscreen.

3. Having said that, I believe that CQS is a GREAT system which does provide an enticing and real option compared to Crestron and AMX and because end users can get support it is a great option for the advanced DIY. I do not mean to suggest the system is only for DIY types and think it can indeed offer a viable alternative for some people to AMX and Crestron. There are a lot of challenges it has if it’s going to compete against those companies and in general I believe Dean is headed in the right direction.
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and maintain it myself instead of paying Jimbo $120 an hour…
That’s funny, by reading your post I was thinking “this guy sounds like a Jimbo”. How about I just keep calling you Jimbo and then at the end of my post I’ll do like you did and tell say “hey for the *real* customers please don’t be offended.
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to add new channel logos etc...
I just paid someone $100 an hour for design work for improvements to my business logo. That damn Jimbo how dare he charge me for his time!
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its almost laughable the computer skills of some "Crestron certified" installers
Well of course, we’re Jimbo’s!
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I can comment on this because I have met many both in my current city and as well as Vancouver Canada...just because you got a fancy smancy new laptop and took a few weekend courses doesnt mean anything in the *real* world and surely doesn't qualify you as a programmer in the least.
And here I thought my fancy smancy new laptop made me a real programmer. BTW, I believe it’s spelled fancy schmancy. Didn’t they teach you anything at that school you went to?
[quote]Don't get me wrong some integrators do have a clue…[quote]
I wonder if after Mike Tyson behaved “poorly” and bit Hollyfield’s ear off he then said “don’t get me wrong Evander, I’ve got nothing against you.
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…but I'd have to say most "Crestron Certified" integrators who claim to be programmers are nothing more than a guy with a new laptop that he can barely take care of that never mind trusting him to do the programming to control your house and security...I'm sure I'll hear the whining for that comment but its the truth..some of you guys may be the real thing but even you can't deny the total lack of skills from some integrators..its almost laughable anybody would even consider hiring some of them.
I’ll give a serious comment to that. Sadly their aren’t enough highly qualified integrators out there. I have a feeling you’d have issues even if you’d worked with one of the best.
[quote]One nice thing Crestron does is provide templates and stuff to make it easy for the Jimbos to make a sale however if your looking for anything custom besides that look at paying over $100 and hour while Jimbo figures out how to power on his laptop and makes a few long distance calls to Crestron which he kindly tacks onto your bill, Directv adds 20 channels and you want those icons added to your Crestron system..look to be paying a huge fee by the hour and hope to hell you really haven't got a Jimbo taking care of it.[quote]
So with CQS I can have custom things done for free? Does Dean have an army of free Jimbo’s working for him? BTW, there are a number of sources for free Creston logos. Thought you might want to know ;).
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...if you got the cash to burn…
This concept is replete in post after post all over this forum from Jimbo’s such as yourself that think anyone that has different priorities than you has “money to burn”. It’s usually because one of the common traits of a Jimbo is that they resent those that have made more money than them, especially because they think they are smarter than everyone else. Jimbo’s tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. Jimbo’s incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize their own incompetence.
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On the other hand if you think you can somewhat work a PC and are competent then look at the alternatives…
The fact is that CQS is also far too complicated for most people and most people would also have to rack up fees having it programmed.
[quote]and save yourself a bundle and have way more flexibility to do exactly what you want and have things look how you want instead of paying someone else to do it for you, its your money and if its burning a hole in your pocket and you don't mind people laughing behind your back[quote]
Now I’m beginning to understand your anger. Did the girls laugh at you behind your back in school Jimbo? Did the rich guy that “burns money” get all the girls while Jimbo got laughed at?
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I'm a previous Crestron owner...an integrator might call me a disgruntled former owner or worse
I’d have never guessed.
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As for the *real* professional integrators I respect your work
Why thank you Jimbo! And here’s the part where I get to tell you with the same sincerity that I respect you.
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and the fact that you can sell mega-buck control systems to those with money to burn and my comments aren't meant to flame
Well of course they weren’t. They were meant to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
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post #29 of 82 Old 05-09-2006, 12:28 AM
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lmao!! Give me a break with the PCs are unstable BS. I would say its the people and the configuration of the PC that make it unstable.
I'd have to agree with that. We humans muck em up with too much stuff.

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The moment someone mentions an interest in Crestron, should that become the only option for discussion? The AMX guys might not like that to well.
Hey, it's all Ford and Chevy to me. I think the programmer and designer have more impact on the system than the hardware or software tools. Oh, and the Zenstaller of course ;)

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I also don't really consider myself a "promoter" of Crestron, perhaps more a "defender" when people choose to rag on it simply because it's expensive.
Amen to that. Sometimes I think I'm back on political chats and reading about another 'Big' evil conglomerate; Big Oil, Big Business, Big this and that... Big Automation screwing the little guy who just wants to turn up his AC from his computer.
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post #30 of 82 Old 05-09-2006, 12:52 AM
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Ripper,

Programmers are cheaper than lawyers, most accountants, even some psychiatrists.

I think your issue is with Jimbo, not Crestron. It's a language based control system, so it's not likely to be available to the DIY crowd. Hell, even CQC is a bit much for most folks. Your absurd 1/10th the cost comparison doesn't take into account that CQC, installed by a CI, would be more expensive. How much time did you spend programming your system if it took you a week to get a skin dialed in? I bet Jimbo could've done it in 3 days.

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...I have no problem stating the obvious... in this day and age Crestron is way overpriced for what it offers and their are many solutions that can offer the same and more for much less money.
Besides the absurdity of that statement, I guess you have a bunch of time to burn to save money not paying Jimbo.

I'd venture to say that on a typical $500K job, about 10% of that job is automation/control systems and programming. Now if I was to value engineer it down, stick to tried and true equipment and touchscreen pages to make it short and sweet, maybe I could cut it down a little further.

Now, let's install a CQC... add a PC, a few tablets, parts to connect all the stuff together, programming and skin making because it would be improper to steal IVB's and install them in a job... charge for time, make a little profit...

The gap becomes very small if at all. The major fundamental difference is the AMX and Crestron make their own hardware, and since they aren't mass produced and mass market competed there will be a higher cost associated with that. But, not that much.

So again, the absurd '1/10th, 1/5th, or 1/whateverth the cost of a Crestron system for the same performance' is again debunked. Ask IVB how much time he's spent programming his system... now if Jimbo was charging for all that, then we'd be accusing IVB of having money to burn.

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...go with the Crestron but do not ever think they will be supportive to the end-user if you bought the equipment from *any* dealer
Dude, Jimbo is supposed to be supporting you, not Crestron. It doesn't take that long to add a few logos to a panel.
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