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Design Help Needed: Reliable Control of Remote Equipment

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I'm helping with the design of a boutique lodge (about ten standalone buildings) and the designers want all the AV equipment in a remote closet (about 15 feet from television). So, the guest would only see the television and speakers in the ceiling.

TVs will connect to the closet via HDMI. Speakers via speaker cables.

In the closet, we'll have a satellite receiver, AppleTV and likely an HDMI and stereo audio cable to a desktop for people to connect their personal devices.

We have most of it under control EXCEPT we haven't figured out a *reliable* was to control everything. We need a way to change sources, volume, channels, etc. The Harmony line from Logitech *seems* unreliable if the closet is locked and people can't get to it after a power outage, missed command, etc. Crestron is great, but ridiculously expensive and equally expensive to support. CEC doesn't seem quite mature enough yet. Control4, similar to Crestron in terms of support complexity.

I think I know the answer ("someone really should standardize and solve that problem") but does anyone have an idea for this?

Thanks in advance for your help!
post #2 of 2
URC has reliable RF solutions which Crestron OEM'd for some of their remotes. I would consider them above Harmony in terms of reliability.

Crestron offers a lot of gear via eBay which can give you some great deals if you can find a programmer to handle things at a decent rate.

ie: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Crestron-MC2E-Compact-Control-System-with-Ethernet-Plus-Power-Supply-/171040391430?pt=Home_Automation_Modules&hash=item27d2cd4106

Gives you a control system which can exist on the network and provide a iPhone interface that is nearly 100% reliable, and properly comes back up after a power failure.

This one...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Crestron-MC2W-/251274832112?pt=Home_Automation_Controls_Touchscreens&hash=item3a8125a8f0
with this...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/URC-Universal-remote-control-MX850-AEROS-LCD-/271205869304?pt=US_Remote_Controls&hash=item3f252126f8

and you can have an RF system that works similarly reliably.

Programming and configuration tends to carry a similar price tag if you have to outsource it, but a simple system like what you are describing may take 8 hours to program one system, and about an hour per building for the rest. Call it 2-3 days of work, which would be in line with about any other remote installation at similar rates I would expect, and a LOT less headaches in the long run.

Granted, you may want all new equipment, which is an arm and a leg in Crestron, so I would probably go with URC for that solution.
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