Originally Posted by trs80model1
Crestron, Control4, AMX, Savant: From A tech savvy end user with multiple systems and deep experience in the industry.
This post is primarily about my experiences with Control4 and Crestron and to a lesser extent AMX. There are MEANINGFUL differences between Control4 and the higher end vendors that have not been captured in any reviews I've noted.
(For you systems types Control4 is like software as a service and the other vendors are like high end enterprise software solutions.)
I will add more detail over time if requested
I've run home automation systems in my homes since the early 1990's. I've had AMX systems in 3 homes and was pretty involved with the company management from the time they came public until Scott Miller had too many Heinikens and was replaced. Subsequently, and probably as a result of management changes and being taken over by a private equity firm they seem to have dropped off of the commercial/residential controls radar.
I currently have one Crestron system in one home and it has been extremely stable/fast and hard to update and program.
I am in the later stages of a replacement of one of my AMX systems with a Control4 system. I will separate my observations from the massive system failures on my control4 and presume they are resolvable. (It is possible my c4 system will be thrown out.)
I am also in the planning stages for a very large, very high end system and I am pre-wiring to be vendor independent. I'm not particularly fond of any of the providers.
While cost is an issue, the central issue is your integrator and integrators tend to be small businesses that don't scale that well. The business is a hard business with lots of customization, a model that's hard to scale and a lot dependent on the quality of the integrator.
Predesigned UI, limited customization. Simpler to install. Unclear to me now, but it is possible that switching integrators may be much easier, and that is very important to keep in mind. It is reasonably likely your system will outlive your integrator.
Lower Costs (yes devices are a little cheaper, but in the end hardware is only a fraction of total system costs.) Programming is easier.
Because there is less customization, having a Control4 will likely make it MUCH easier for you to add/integrate new features. Who knows what new devices are going to crop up that you'd want to integrate/control? With Control4, it's a simple upgrade/update. With Crestron and the other high end vendors, call out the phalanx of programmers and the checkbook.
Control4 DOES NOT have full communication with Lutron for status of lighting scenes. If you set a Lutron scene, Control 4 will pass the signal, but not reflect the status! (it does show status on individual fixtures. This creates issues for reliability and remote management. Yes, C4 provides status via it's own panelized lighting system, nbut I would not hardwire any vendor's proprietary lighting system.
Newest touch panels from Control4 do not have iPad like scrolling/swiping. This makes list navigation very annoying. The panels are attractive but are unimpressive to use.
Control4 is SLOW in command and response. Not unacceptable, just slow. There is a meaningful lag after issuing a command and getting a response.
Complete control over UI: But much more lanbor intensive to implement and program.
Bi directional control of Lutron and other lighting systems.
Very high performance, instant control/response over subsystems.
The 300 to 500 milisecond delay on control4 may not bother you, but when you've had a higher end system it is distracting.
Once properly deployed, Crestron has been very reliable.
With a high end budget, I would lean towards Crestron, but with budget and integrator concerns in mind I would consider Control4. I am undecided which direction to head on my next project. Reliability is critical and Control4 has been a problem, but I think it can be resolved.
AMX seems to be out of the running. I dislike Savant's Apple centric architecture, becuase I worry about how Apple will develop OSX over time, it may not evolve in a way that helps the home automation business. I do hear that Savant is the only vendor with a decent intercom system.
As you can imagine, I can add a bit more detail, I will happily respond to any questions.
My Advice: Be skeptical of any vendor's proprietary lighting system, go with Lutron. Prewire to be vendor independent. Otherwise you are stuck and it may impact resale value of your home or leave you locked in to a specific dealer.