"Are you saying there is a "standard default" template out of the box with all those options on it. I install Mainlobby purchasing all components and I can just run the "default" screens that comes with the product. Those screens make it easy to "connect" to all my devices? "
Yes, there is a set of standard scenes that navigate out of the box to those capabilities mentioned. I am writing a Quick Start now (prompted from this thread) that tells you how to install simple using out of the box capability (which many never change much from).
"I can have this running in a day or so, out of the box? I just tell it the number of Zones and it works? It knows my Autopatch Matrix config and it can send commands to it? It knows my irrigation system is IP based so I can just input the IP address, same with my thermostats?"
Yes, you can have what I mentioned running out of the box in under a day (really hours). No, Autopatch configuration is not included but there is a plugin for MLAutopatch that makes that pretty easy (10 minutes to start switching zones). The time on adding something like an Autopatch is that no two systems are the same when you start adding devices like that (by their very nature). Irrigation is supported via the WGL Rain8Net (and possibly the new RF version which we haven't tested yet, but are assured it will work fine). So, just plug into a comport, configure the plugin for which comport and program the zones very similarily to how you would program a simple wall mount conventional timer (but a bit easier).
Thermostat support can be via a ELK or HAI security panel, or via a new MLThermostat plugin that supports RCS and Proliphix IP thermos now. HAI and Aprilaire to follow. Once they are supported, yes, it's as easy as configuring the comport or IP address.
"How does it know where my music is? DVDs on a hard drive? Cover art?"
MediaCenter 12 allows you to point to a directory and then it adds the music.
DVDs is right now one by one add a movie (via Internet lookup), but that will change very shortly to a fully automated process. Today, DVDProfiler import is also supported that makes it very easy for a DVDP user to add their complete DVD library with ease.
"Im sorry but that "default" screen probably will be useless other then showing a demo. There are so many things to organize and configure that its impossible to say its "out of the box"."
Many of our users disagree and use the default scenes directly, or as a major template on tweeks for an individual setup.
"Now I like to have "default" templates to work with because it gives me a great starting reference point but when we are buying used equipment from everywhere its hard to ensure anything will work."
Yes, if you are buying used equipment, especially equipment that does not have a custom plugin available the install time goes WAY up. This is one of the costs associated with "saving money"
We suggest Cinemar users to purchase equipment that is already supported to truly save money and TIME.
It seems the CQC users (at least the ones that post on this forum and cocoontech) are way down a custom path (which I think every CQC system has to be since apparantly there aren't any default setups available today?). That effort would make it difficult to understand that it can be so much easier to get things working and usable. Once MainLobby customers are at that level and starting to get use out of their system, then they can take their time to learn how to customize and migrate their system into a completely custom one (if the decide to do that).
Take Windows MCE2005 - that also installs "out of the box" and has many of the features noted above. And does that even easier than MainLobby today. But, the difference is, once you are using MCE2005, the effort to customize is dramaticaly higher than with either MainLobby or CQC. At least to the level that CQC and MainLobby are capable of. And, to customize MCE2005 to that level, you would have to be a full boat software developer which is not needed for either ML or CQC.