Listed below are a number of thoughts regarding your system. Please donâ€™t interpret any of them as trying to talk you out of what YOU want or into more than you asked for. I am going to list some retail pricing examples at the end. This is for example only and should not be interpreted by anyone as a quote.
|Control of 25 light switches
1. There are a number of â€œcommunicatingâ€ light switches that might work in your application, although technically many of them are supposed to be used with communications wiring rated for high voltage (NOT Cat 5). To keep things simple I am going to price Lutron Radio Ra RF switches, but there are probably more cost effective switches that will meet your needs and Iâ€™m sure someone else will jump in and tell you about them.
2. You could use lighting keypads here (from the company providing the light switches) or you could use Crestron touchscreens (as your lighting keypads), which would serve the dual purpose of also controlling all the other components in your home. I will price Crestron touchscreens.
3. There are a few options. Enerzone, owned by April Air is probably the best known and most widely used and that is what I will price.
|Eact TV to receive and control 4 DSS receivers
4. Iâ€™m sure everyone will have an opinion on this one. We DO install video distribution systems when the project calls for it BUT I believe that many people go with video distribution because they think it is the thing to do when it is not (or because someone sold them on the concept). The thing to keep in mind is that audio distribution (which we always do in one form or another) and video distribution tend to be substantially different by nature. For instance, if you load up 400 CDâ€™s in a CD changer, it makes perfect sense to want to listen to all of those CDâ€™s from anywhere in the house. And who wants a stereo system in every room?
Some people do consider it a big bonus to have a VCR located centrally so that they can watch the tape anywhere in the house. On the other hand, I think most people find it a pain in the ass and donâ€™t want to load a VCR tape in the basement (or wherever) so they can watch a VCR tape in the master bedroom. A more practical example for video distribution is the 200 disc DVD changer you requested. Some people do it because they donâ€™t want to have to locate a VCR in the kitchen or bathroom for the kitchen or bathroom TV and that is an argument in favor of video distribution.
Now to DSS. You can now buy a decent DSS receiver for $99. $49 on sale. So thatâ€™s $900 for nine TVâ€™s max. If you instead go with a video switcher and the necessary equipment in order to simplify control of the remote DSS units and you are EASILY over $900. Add to that the fact that you must distribute the signal in composite form over RG-6 (with a video switcher) so you canâ€™t use the S-video out which is best and you canâ€™t distribute ANY HD satellite signals (over a single RG-6). Now add in the fact that all the HD satellite receivers are starting to become available with DVI copyright protection which also canâ€™t be sent through your switcher. This may not be an issue for some people but with HD TVâ€™s at reasonable prices I want my clients to be able to watch HDTV in any room (yes you can distribute HDTV but it is very expensive and that is a discussion for another day). So that's one of the reasons I usually want to have DSS receivers (and other video sources) at the TV.
On the other hand, with video distribution, there is the advantage of being able to connect the DSS receivers to the central stereo system. When we locate DSS receivers locally we usually accomplish that by â€œinterceptingâ€ the speaker level signal and running it through an automatic A/B switch. When the TV is on with any local source, it takes precedence (over the central system) and plays through the speakers, otherwise the speaker receive the sound from the central system. In your case if you locate the DSS receivers with the TV you will have to get a dial tone to the receivers with a wireless phone jack or your other Cat 5 wires.
Iâ€™ve written a lot about this because I think a lot of people make things way to complicated (and add unneeded expense) with video distribution. Also, keep in mind Iâ€™m not saying itâ€™s always one or the other. For instance, you may find it more practical to have DSS receivers with some of the TVâ€™s but want a couple of centrally distributed Tivo unit you can access from anywhere.
Iâ€™ll give you an option with an 8 zone video switcher.
5. Lots of options. Iâ€™m going to go high-end here. I like things that work well without bugs and offer backup features. Audio Request is fantastic. Check out their web site. I'll add a dedicated DVD changer. Other people can give you other options.
6. Iâ€™m not sure if you are asking for a replacement for your Niles Audio or not. Iâ€™m also not sure if you already have Niles keypads all over. The Niles has no RS-232 control and is somewhat limited in its integration capabilities. Iâ€™m going to include a Crestron audio switcher and power amp. If thatâ€™s not what you want/ need, you will need to work out how you will integrate the Niles with Crestron in a way that makes sense.
|Minimum of 2 touchscreens
7. See my notes with pricing.
|Ability to control all through GUI using IR remote
APPROXIMATE Pricing (FULL Retail)
1. (25) Lutron Radio Ra dimmers $4750, (2) RF repeaters $800 and (1) RS-232 interface $700
2. (8) Crestron LC-1000 toucscreens (control A/V WITH feedback (radio station, selected CD etc.), control temp and lights WITH feedback etc.) $6800
Picture below except I'm quoting grayscale, not color. The side buttons are normally custom engraved.http://www.request.com/shots/CT-1000Manage.jpg
3. (2) Enerzone stats $800
4. RS-232 8 zone video switcher $2000
5. Audio Request CD Hard Drive + DVD changer TBD $5000
6. Crestron 8 zone audio switcher, 8 zone power amplifier, use your existing Niles as amps for two more rooms, Crestron AM-FM tuner, Crestron Pro2 control system (the brains running the operation, you need some version of this no matter what) $10,500
7. (1) STX-1700C Two â€“way RF touchcreen (youâ€™ve already got 8 wired ones :D ) (1 RF gateway) $5000
8. Iâ€™m leaving this out (GUI) for now. Instead, Iâ€™m going to quote (9) Universal Remote MX-700 remote controls. $3600. Just create a screen (on the remote itself) for each item you want to control. You wonâ€™t have two-way feedback but you could have several macros with clearly spelled names on the LCD screens. Aim at the rooms IR sensor and adjust temperature, lights, a/v components etc. (performed by the Crestron system based on an IR command from the MX-700).
9. Programming (WILD ASS GUESS) $10,000 NO more.
10. Installation (WILD ASS GUESS) $5000
11. Additional items & materials $3000
Total $58,000 without tax.
This is at FULL retail with more than you asked for and with prices purposely high. I thought it would be more helpful if I gave you a thorough option instead of one that tries to cut every unnecessary penny out. Iâ€™ll leave that up to you and your customer installer :).
Again, I want to emphasize that these are ideas and I am not saying this is exactly how I would do things and in fact Iâ€™m sure I would do things differently if I had more info. But hopefully it will help your decision making process. And I hope I have presented it in a way that makes it at least half understandable, since it can be hard to visualize the end result based simply on a hardware list.
Some of the custom installers out there ONLY want to focus on the ultra high-end exotic projects and it sound like maybe you ran into one or tow of them. But there are plenty of shops (at least in my area) that are more than eager to work with someone that has your budget (which is HARDLY low end!). The bottom line is that I would sure as hell hope there are some good people in your area that would want to undertake this type of project and I canâ€™t imagine why their wouldnâ€™t be!