I have 9 zones to which I want to push audio. My plan is to have 6 audio sources (to start) including two-Sonos units, an AppleTV, and 3 cable boxes. The idea is that with Sonos, I can have 2 different Pandora stations going in a combination of different rooms, but it sounds like maybe the C4 can do that in lieu of the Sonos devices?
Yes, the C4 can do that on its own. Note that the most independent zones you can get out of one C4 unit is 8. You'd have to get two C4 amps to have have 9 or more independent stereo zones. Take a look at this: http://www.htd.com/Products/mid-level-whole-house-audio
. You could do the MC-66 and throw in another 12 channel amp, thus giving you 24 channels (or 12 stereo zones of independent control). And remember you can only have as many zones as sources. So you'll still need a couple Sonos units, but you'll save money versus going the Control4 route.
I am not sure I necessarily need to go with a matrix for video distribution, but please advise. Currently, I believe I can handle two of the video zones (Great Room and Patio) with the Sony 2800, which is already C4 equipped.
Again, stay clear of C4 unless you want the added costs. By avoiding C4 and going the DIY route, I took my $17k C4 quote and got it down to under $5k. Look at the Denon 2113CI or any other good 7.1 AVR. AVRs don't typically handle any sort of video switching. Look for a cheap 4x2 matrix at monoprice. You can route the audio through the AVR and let the matrix handle the video portion.
the next type of hdmi cable that comes out
There's won't be a next type if some of the larger tech companies have any say in it. Google HDBaseT. LG, Samsung and others have teamed up to create HDBaseT, which allows HD signals to be sent over a single Cat5e/6 cable, which is more ubiquitous and cheaper than that damn HDMI stuff. Samsung is even putting the HDBaseT tech in some of their TVs so that you can plug the Cat into the back without ever needing a balun.
I will have 3 different HVAC zones that I would like to control remotely.
Check out Insteon (http://www.insteon.net/HVAC.html
). You can integrate it with iRule (more on this soon).
This is a possibility, but not likely to be incorporated right away. I have not been able to see how well this can be incorporated via C4 to know if it is worth paying for (equipment and programming).
Insteon and iRule. http://www.insteon.net/sprinklers.html
I am thinking about having one of the entrances on an automated door lock, in addition to the garage doors, so control over the security panel will be ideal. The idea of having a single button on the iphone to initiate garage door, lighting, security (off) and even Audio/Video is nice if it is just a matter of a macro programmed.
Insteon and iRule. http://www.insteon.net/security.html
It's all of this that is leading me to C4. IF there is another way to handle what I have here and have flexibility for other additions, PLEASE let me know. I love Sonos, and if they had other equipment that could handle my other "needs", I would buy it in a heartbeat. I am a bit disappointed in the monopoly the dealers have with respect to the programming of C4. If I can teach myself VB code, I am sure I can handle their platform. What I need to understand is exactly how the C4 is controlled centrally. I cannot tell if that is done with the Sony2800, the C4 Amp, or if I have to have a C4 Controller regardless. I am guessing it is the latter.
For your setup, you would need a dedicated C4 controller (HC800). Doesn't matter if you can teach yourself how to program it, they won't let you have the software to do the programming.
Look into iRule (iruleathome.com). iRule uses your home network to communicate with your devices. From a user designed interface on your iDevice, you can control your TVs, AVR, blu-ray player, security system, lights and more. The easiest way is via control over IP, a Cat line plugged directly into the device. When that’s not an option, you can use Global Cache devices to convert an IP signal into an IR or Serial signal.
Again, it’s user designed using an online design system. It allows you to design the interface and drag and drop the commands for each button onto your interface. And it’s relatively inexpensive. The license is $50 for 3 control devices or $100 for 5 (device as in iPhone, iPad, Android tablet, etc). The Global Cache units are $100-$150. And one Global Cache unit can control multiple devices. It’s definitely a more economical solution than Control4 and lets you change and expand your system at your whim.