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My Horrible Experience with Crestron Matrix Switchers

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've spent close to 6 digits, had a "professional AV company" install a 16x16 Crestron matrix switcher in my house, and it's the WORST electronics purchase I've ever made.

Why?
1. The product is unstable. The device frequently freezes
2. Installation and programming took forever (I am NOT exaggerating). It took over 5 months. Imagine someone sitting in your house almost daily. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, even ludicrous, but that's exactly what happened
3. After months of pain, now my AV company is saying that I need to swap out all my Apple Airports (all 10 of them), with Cisco routers. However, Cisco routers are not as user friendly, iMacs, iPhones, iPads, and even printers are hard to connect to the network

The system might be perfectly fine, and this may be a one-off situation. Perhaps my house is too complicated (or even messed up), but as of October 2012, I feel like a guinea pig. If you're considering it, I would urge you to give it some thought.

BTW, I did use an authorized Crestron dealer, and a very reputable installer. I think the device is too new, and everyone is trying to figure this out.
post #2 of 21
Crestron is a very mature company, and it costs a lot to become an authorized dealer. There's a "buy-in", you have to pay for training, etc. Which is why I'm not a Crestron dealer. I've heard horror stories too, but (I can't believe I'm saying this!) it can work. You should not be a guinea pig. They do make good stuff, but this sounds like a people problem.

Have you perhaps tried contacting Crestron directly? And, more importantly, did you sign a contract with the dealer and installer? If they've breached in some way, you may be able to light a fire under them. If they've failed to provide a working system, there might be a way to either get them to make it work to your satisfaction or have them take it out and refund you.

I'm not allowed to suggest an alternative because I'm a dealer/installer of another product, but suffice it to say there are others, and they often have a fine track record, high customer satisfaction. The odd part about your story is that Crestron, as a company, was built on service and engineering. This simply shouldn't be happening.
post #3 of 21
I agree with has7738. I've had my fair share of issues with Crestron products, especially the new DM gear, but it's a solid company that stands behind their stuff. The company is used to work for sent me through all the training and there's a lot you need to know to make sure those systems are designed and programmed properly. What kind of gear did they install? What are the issues you're having? If you're going to reach out to Crestron, I'd suggest finding out if the AV company that did the install has a DMC-E, DMC-D that reviewed and/or designed the system. I'd be happy to help you out however I can.
post #4 of 21
It sounds like the biggest issue you are having is the constant freezes. Have they ruled out defective hardware? I think at this point it would be fair for you to request a replacement unit. I would highly doubt the problem is with the Apple routers but if they are stuck on that point tell them to replace it on their dime. It sounds like you paid enough for this job and you shouldn't be forced to pay extra for networking hardware that shouldn't be required. Did it say anywhere in your contract that you may need to purchase new network equipment to get the system to work?

I've mainly heard good things about the DM switchers from Crestron so it really sounds like it is either an issue of defective hardware or else a problem with the installer.
post #5 of 21
When you say it is freezing, what exactly is freezing? The touch panel? If so, is that connecting using WiFi provided by Apple Airport?
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTsao View Post

BTW, I did use an authorized Crestron dealer, and a very reputable installer.

Who would buy equipment from an authorized dealer, and use someone else to install it? Maybe it's just poorly worded, but this thread smells like negative advertising.
post #7 of 21
to be fair, there are many of these switchers that work as advertised: but it sounds like this is the first time this dealer has installed one

I would give the poster the benefit of the doubt here: it seems legit
post #8 of 21
I am not sure the switch is hanging yet. I can't see any reason the installer would want to change a wireless router to fix a video switcher. I suspect his UI is hanging and to him, and rightly so from his point of view, the whole thing is hanging. If the installer has tested it with Cisco and it works and hangs with his Apple router, I can see why the suggestion would be made. Hopefully he comes back and tells us specifically what is going wrong.
post #9 of 21
I've installed DM switches for a large AV company, and can tell you that until fairly recently they had issues. The ones I install now are much better. There are "approved" WAPs for DM...

As far as taking 5 months? I did a 32x32 in less than a week, using the new crestron 3 series logic (granted I don't know your installation so 5 months could be warranted)
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Who would buy equipment from an authorized dealer, and use someone else to install it? Maybe it's just poorly worded, but this thread smells like negative advertising.

I think he is saying that his installer is both:

1) an authorized Crestron Dealer
2) A reputable installer

I didn't read it to mean that his installer bought the equipment from an authorized dealer but I might have been mistaken.
post #11 of 21
I just deleted my response because Amirm has covered everything that came to mind.

Whats freezing? Touch panels?

Probably because of the consumer networking gear. We had a heck of a time finding a solid solution even with commercial grade gear. We finally found Ruckus and haven't looked back.
post #12 of 21
My apologies to the OP.
post #13 of 21
I'm a Crestron employee (not in tech support) and would definitely recommend calling our support team directly about this. Our support people are second to none in the home and building automation world (Yes I'm biased of course). This page has all the numbers and emails you need to get started: http://www.crestron.com/contact/phone_and_email_support/

As far as the maturity of the product goes, the 16x16 DM has been on the market for quite awhile and is a pretty mature piece of hardware. I don't want to postulate as to what's causing your issues since I'm not nearly qualified enough to do so, but our support people will get to the bottom of whether it's a hardware, software or other issue.
post #14 of 21
I have worked with many of the new digital switchers on the market today and most if not all work well when CONFIGURED correctly. The number one issue that all of these switchers have is negotiating EDID and HDCP. 99% all video hang-ups, being blamed on the digital switcher, are caused by one ot these two items.

Here are the most common items that I find that will cause a hangup.
- Inputs and outputs of the switcher set to AUTO EDID vs. the actual resolution of each device.
- HDMI splitters; these can compete for EDID managment or may block EDID or HDCP handshakes altogether.
- Apple Computers; these devices use a propriatary alogrithim for syncing video and are typically blocked by all switchers

Good Luck!!!
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BagelConsultant View Post

I'm a Crestron employee (not in tech support) and would definitely recommend calling our support team directly about this. Our support people are second to none in the home and building automation world (Yes I'm biased of course). This page has all the numbers and emails you need to get started: http://www.crestron.com/contact/phone_and_email_support/
Crestron does have wonderful support and you don't even have to be a dealer to call them!
post #16 of 21
HTSao,

I'd love to chat with you about your issues. I have a lot of experience with these switchers as we've installed many of them since inception. I have a pretty good understanding of what goes wrong with them and have enough experience at this point to generally know when it's a Crestron DM problem & when it's something else... whether that be a control interface, network, etc.

I will say, I'm fairly surprised the integrator didn't try to shove a more professional-grade network down your throat from the beginning (unless you were very resistant from the beginning to letting them own your network).

That said, I'm not sure you need to spend 25k+ on a CISCO system either... but then again I have not got enough info at this point to make any recommendation.

Bottom line, the Crestron switchers are actually amazing products, the only thing that really comes close in performance are the Savant switchers. I have had my share of pain with these things in the past, some hardware related, some not. It can be anything from hardware, to network to programming of your Crestron system.


At any rate, I'm not on AVS forum much and because I don't care to be inundated with e-mails from forum thread responses, I don't subscribe to the threads.

I would welcome a phone call or private message from you to discuss your nightmare further and come up with some solutions or things to consider.

My # is 804-217-8970 ext101. If you leave a message at my office it'll send me a text message and I'll return your call when I'm available.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

I just deleted my response because Amirm has covered everything that came to mind.
Whats freezing? Touch panels?
Probably because of the consumer networking gear. We had a heck of a time finding a solid solution even with commercial grade gear. We finally found Ruckus and haven't looked back.
I want to add some additional info here as the above comment could easily be misinterpreted. Our company uses Ruckus wireless access point for our wireless networks because among many other things, they allow seamless roaming between access points with all manner of wireless tablets, phones etc. In other words you can carry a tablet from one end of a very large house and it'll seamlessly jump from wireless access point to wireless access point. Using some other brands of wireless access points we found devices more likely to have issues if someone wanted to carry a tablet around the house with them as they controlled things. This was especially an issue with some of the first tablets on the market that did not play well with roaming and had limited range. We've never had any issues with such devices working properly, it was strictly a range and roaming issue if people wanted to carry them around, which frankly isn't done that often, but we still want our Clients to be able to do it.

As has been pointed out by others the Crestron digital media system is a wired system and doesn't even have anything to do with wireless. If a wireless change is being recommended that obviously has something to do with the wifi network and whatever devices are on it.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTsao View Post

I've spent close to 6 digits, had a "professional AV company" install a 16x16 Crestron matrix switcher in my house, and it's the WORST electronics purchase I've ever made.
Why?
1. The product is unstable. The device frequently freezes
2. Installation and programming took forever (I am NOT exaggerating). It took over 5 months. Imagine someone sitting in your house almost daily. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, even ludicrous, but that's exactly what happened
3. After months of pain, now my AV company is saying that I need to swap out all my Apple Airports (all 10 of them), with Cisco routers. However, Cisco routers are not as user friendly, iMacs, iPhones, iPads, and even printers are hard to connect to the network
The system might be perfectly fine, and this may be a one-off situation. Perhaps my house is too complicated (or even messed up), but as of October 2012, I feel like a guinea pig. If you're considering it, I would urge you to give it some thought.
BTW, I did use an authorized Crestron dealer, and a very reputable installer. I think the device is too new, and everyone is trying to figure this out.
A couple of comments. First off one of the things that screams out here that I'm surprised no one has commented on is that you have 10 Apple Airports. Right off the bat that is bad. In a situation where you need that many access points you should be using a commercial system with a wireless controller. Otherwise you're going to have all sorts of issues with channels overlapping and no ability to adjust and optimize the network.

Secondly if someone has been sitting programming in your home for 5 months on a 16x16 DM switcher the issue isn't Crestron. I don't mean this to be insulting but every time I read one of these rants to me it's the equivalent of building a home and posting "I just built an expensive new home and it leaks, don't ever buy lumber again!" - my point being it's not the lumber that's at fault it's the builder. Crestron is the best of the best but it's still like "lumber", it's only as good as the builder/company installing it. That is not to say it never has issues, but if you've got a malfunctioning DM system and the problem is with the switcher I can guarantee you Crestron will step up to the plate. I've had them next day air equipment to projects in other countries at their expense when we have a defective component.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

A couple of comments. First off one of the things that screams out here that I'm surprised no one has commented on is that you have 10 Apple Airports. Right off the bat that is bad. In a situation where you need that many access points you should be using a commercial system with a wireless controller. Otherwise you're going to have all sorts of issues with channels overlapping and no ability to adjust and optimize the network.
I'm going to agree here. We like to use Cisco AP's and WLC's (even with as few as 4-5 AP's. I'd like to get one for my house with just 2-3 AP's, but that's not really necessary). If Cisco is out of the budget, a lot of people use Packedge for residential applications. I believe they have a similar product (WLC and lightweight AP's), but I can't really comment to it's quality. The one job I did recently using it seemed to work ok - there was a roaming issue with the iPad, but they have issues roaming with anything.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

Secondly if someone has been sitting programming in your home for 5 months on a 16x16 DM switcher the issue isn't Crestron. I don't mean this to be insulting but every time I read one of these rants to me it's the equivalent of building a home and posting "I just built an expensive new home and it leaks, don't ever buy lumber again!" - my point being it's not the lumber that's at fault it's the builder. Crestron is the best of the best but it's still like "lumber", it's only as good as the builder/company installing it.
If it's a very complex job, 5 months might be reasonable (I'm talking like 7 figures typically), but it sounds like a lot to me. Not to mention the fact that it was all on site. I can do a system with our typical hardware with about a week or two onsite. Maybe a week or two off site to get ready also. In a residential setting, I could get A LOT done in 5 months...
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

That is not to say it never has issues, but if you've got a malfunctioning DM system and the problem is with the switcher I can guarantee you Crestron will step up to the plate. I've had them next day air equipment to projects in other countries at their expense when we have a defective component.
Also agree - I've had Crestron overnight very large packages on their dime on multiple occasions when they have hardware failures for critical systems. If you have a strange intermittent issue, it may take a bit of troubleshooting/isolating, but they'll replace what ever needs to be replaced.
post #20 of 21
I hope your system is functioning now - I beleive the problem lies in the crestron company - they do not train people adequately and sells products to dealers without a permanent qualified programer.
post #21 of 21
5 Months to be on location programming is not normal by any stretch. Including 7 figure jobs...

I have installed many DM systems personally and overall they work very well. And Crestron's support is 2nd to none. It sounds like it is time to get them involved and possibly another integrations company.
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