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-   -   Control4 opinions needed (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/162-home-automation/1792242-control4-opinions-needed.html)

jjmookie 12-05-2014 08:09 AM

Control4 opinions needed
 
I am looking to get into the home automation realm with a house that I am building. We have a few months before we decide what to do.

I've been researching control4 and the 30k it costs for set up and lights seem to be in my range however I have been hearing about a lot of connectivity issues and service call problems which the system needs.

I was looking for User opinions.

Originally I wanted to do home automation which something like "wink" offers, but to include home audio and AV, is control4 needed? where as perhaps the same thing can be controlled with getting a high end remote for each room and not needing the connectivity with my iPhone.

Thanks in advance.

studiocats1 12-06-2014 06:18 AM

Just an FYI. I make a good living tearing out C4 installs (and other lame attempts at control systems) and replacing them with Crestron systems that work. I just finished a job where the client could even watch TV for 3 years after the electrician who wanted to dabble in C4 couldn't get anything working for more than a day. He will lose the lawsuit for sure.

Angus.Young 12-06-2014 08:44 AM

It's all about the install..

You can have great Control 4 installs.. and HORRIBLE crestron installs...

or the other way around..

its not so much about the product as your needs and the install...

There are a ton of great control4 installs out there... Find a good shop and see what they are willing to do for you...

I personally love mine.. no issues.. it just works.. wife can pick up remote and its clear and concise as to what she wants to do.. no questions and 1 remote...

studiocats1 12-06-2014 11:41 AM

The amount of C4 tragedies I have seen since that company signed up every sparky and alarm guy they could find is staggering. Don't get me wrong. I want them to stay in business! They make me a ton of money! :)

Angus.Young 12-06-2014 01:24 PM

The amount of people I see come here with 3 posts and know all there is to know about things is staggering as well...

As is the case of both people and companies if they are really that bad they will just fade to black.

jautor 12-06-2014 03:25 PM

Worry about the installer, not the gear so much... Get references for other clients with similar scope/cost systems - and actually call and talk to them!

SMHarman 12-06-2014 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studiocats1 (Post 29665418)
The amount of C4 tragedies I have seen since that company signed up every sparky and alarm guy they could find is staggering. Don't get me wrong. I want them to stay in business! They make me a ton of money! :)

Perhaps you could chime in on this crestron disaster.
https://www.avsforum.com/showthread.php?t=1790754
Sure she would tear that out for a C4 install.

Brian B 12-06-2014 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SMHarman (Post 29671906)
Perhaps you could chime in on this crestron disaster.
https://www.avsforum.com/showthread.php?t=1790754
Sure she would tear that out for a C4 install.

That link goes nowhere....


I would second the need for a good contractor/installer--just like every person you contract to do anything for your home.


B.

studiocats1 12-07-2014 04:45 AM

My account was reset a few years ago and I haven't posted for a few years because I was too busy ripping out C4 systems. I have been an AV systems engineer/contractor for 25 years and have seen every system that comes along. I am a Crestron dealer and have been a certified programmer since 2000. I was a CAIP for 8 years and I have been involved in over 500 commercial and residential AV projects. Including one of the largest installs on the planet. So if Angus or anyone else wants to challenge me on my expertise have at it. I am here to help and I am just posting my opinion for the OP. If it offends you or the product of your choice get a thicker skin.

studiocats1 12-07-2014 04:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angus.Young (Post 29668146)
The amount of people I see come here with 3 posts and know all there is to know about things is staggering as well...

As is the case of both people and companies if they are really that bad they will just fade to black.


Let's keep the personal attacks to a minimum hey Angus. I am just trying to help the OP. I may even have to help you out someday when your C4 goes bad.

li_diver 12-07-2014 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjmookie (Post 29630034)
I am looking to get into the home automation realm with a house that I am building. We have a few months before we decide what to do.

I've been researching control4 and the 30k it costs for set up and lights seem to be in my range however I have been hearing about a lot of connectivity issues and service call problems which the system needs.

I was looking for User opinions.

Originally I wanted to do home automation which something like "wink" offers, but to include home audio and AV, is control4 needed? where as perhaps the same thing can be controlled with getting a high end remote for each room and not needing the connectivity with my iPhone.

Thanks in advance.

I was faced with the same decision you have about 6 months ago. I ultimately decided to go with Control4, and I have not been disappointed.

I don't know where studiocats is located or whose installs he is dealing with, but I have read similar things about Crestron in other threads. I do agree with the advice to focus on who will be installing your system.

I have not had any serious problems with my Control4 installation. I did have one issue about a month after install that turned out to be a setting in my router. (My dealer had wanted to install a router as part of the setup, but I would not let them because I already had a fairly complex network in my house and did not want to pay for extra equipment.) I was able to resolve this issue on my own.

From what I understand, Crestron programming is significantly more difficult, but, also more flexible. Whether that is an advantage or disadvantage depends on how complex your situation is, and whether you like the C4 UI. According to my local dealer (who do both Crestron and C4) Crestron would be about 30% more expensive to install, mostly because of added programming costs.

Good luck with your decision.

XJBaylor 12-07-2014 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studiocats1 (Post 29680818)
Let's keep the personal attacks to a minimum hey Angus. I am just trying to help the OP. I may even have to help you out someday when your C4 goes bad.

Let's try to keep the hyperbole to a minimum. Anyone with the experience you profess to have should know that Creston has it's warts just like every other control system on the market, though it is the most scalable system out there for sure.

A good installer can make RTI, URC, Elan, C4 or Creston function flawlessly, particularly in a basic $30k install. Anyone who thinks that Crestron is the only way to handle a simple single family install has been drinking the kool-aid for too long and should just take a step back.

We have torn out our fair share of Crestron systems, not because the equipment was bad but because the install was bad or because the customer didn't understand why they needed to pay for hours of programming to replace their Blu-ray player.

I have a HUGE amount of respect for Crestron, but that doesn't make it the right answer to every question.

Dean Roddey 12-07-2014 08:09 PM

This is our strategy. C4 and Crestron people all kill each other in a massive ground war, and we take over. I should start signing up under fake accounts and stirring up more trouble.

studiocats1 12-08-2014 04:11 AM

"Control4 opinions needed"

I gave mine. Sorry if other people beside the OP don't like it.

ezlotogura 12-08-2014 07:17 AM

Not starting a war here. I have C4 and like it. Though my original installer did not do a great job and I needed to bring in someone else to finish it off.


I know someone who hates their Savant system and has bypassed most of it and does not use anything anymore. I know someone who has to have their AMX Programmer come in at least once a month to patch or fix or update something. My neighbor has Crestron and curses at it all the time.


So I guess using that logic we should all steer clear of any system. That seems reasonable.


As others have said, its all about the installer/programmer. Crestron, AMX, Savant, C4, RTI, Elan, etc can get the job done for a regular residential location with TV/Audio distribution, lighting, remote access, HVAC control, etc. I am sure some have a prettier GUI, others may have more hardware to offer or more 3rd party support, etc. Pros and cons sure - but the system is only as good as those who design and program it. Ask for referrals, try to visit an install if possible, see if they have a showroom with some demo's going on, etc. There are good installers for all systems and unfortunately bad ones too - just like any other industry.

Mntneer 12-08-2014 12:26 PM

It all depends on the programming and the network.

Most all of the variety of systems, Control4, Crestron, etc., have good hardware, and when problems arise with their hardware they issue software updates accordingly.

Many problems people typically have revolve around the installer, the network or the programming.

For example, if I were to use the crappy Xfinity modem/router as my Control4 router, things would work fine until network traffic increases substantially. Therefor I use a more tested and proven router and don't have issues with the system during high traffic periods. In a small home with just a single HC-250, a $100 residential router may suffice if you don't place a huge load on your network. But don't try running multiple controllers and devices on a high load network using cheap switches, cheap WAP's and a cheap router.

For $30k it sounds like you were pricing out a pretty decent sized Control4 system. If the budget is an issue, don't be afraid to start small and grow into it.

SMHarman 12-08-2014 03:13 PM

But a $150 PlaNET 24 port router will do the job for most homes admirably. It does not take major $ to get a major network upgrade.

FlyingDiver 12-08-2014 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SMHarman (Post 29726937)
But a $150 PlaNET 24 port router will do the job for most homes admirably. It does not take major $ to get a major network upgrade.

How would you compare that to the Monoprice 24-port Gigabit switch?

SMHarman 12-08-2014 05:42 PM

I don't know. I know planet are recommended by my dealer.

jjmookie 12-10-2014 07:13 AM

Thanks for the responses. As with most things it sounds as though people have their preferences with products. The take home message is to know your installer.

I chose C4 due to the price and zig bee base. Savant was my other option.

I've also heard C4 offers a owner based programming software, composer, allowing owner controlled customization, not requiring a installer to make return visits once new devices are added.

My goal was to be able to find a platform to where I could do home automation via my phone or tablet. Since we are building a house I have the ability to get my cat5/6 wiring up to par to avoid needing a usualy unstable wireless network, hence I found my way to the C4/savant/crestron market.

Home Depot has entered the home automation game with its zigbee/z wave controller called "wink". It seems to be an efficient and economical option but I'm unsure it provides support for A/V.

Does anyone have experience the wink? If I could find a cost effective solution for my goals that would be best but of course it should align with usability for my wife partners and nanny.

Thansk

SweetSpot 12-10-2014 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjmookie (Post 29781025)
I've also heard C4 offers a owner based programming software, composer, allowing owner controlled customization, not requiring a installer to make return visits once new devices are added.

Composer HE--the version available to end-users--does not allow for adding/deleting devices from your Control4 system, only to modify what is already in place. Adding additional devices will require a visit by your dealer, although in particular cases these updates can be made remotely. Just FYI

Sean

SMHarman 12-10-2014 02:08 PM

With the right hardware a technically competent user most all hardware can be done remotely.

Dean Roddey 12-12-2014 09:42 AM

Woohoo, we can now jump into the fray... One of our integrators is going to be pulling a C4 system out of a theater and putting in a CQC based system, and in their two new ones they will be building soon. It may have happened before but this is the first one I know of for sure.

Where is that dominant male monkey emoticon when you need it?

SMHarman 12-14-2014 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dean Roddey (Post 29855058)
Woohoo, we can now jump into the fray... One of our integrators is going to be pulling a C4 system out of a theater and putting in a CQC based system, and in their two new ones they will be building soon. It may have happened before but this is the first one I know of for sure.

Where is that dominant male monkey emoticon when you need it?

But Dean the point every time is the integrator sucks.

Dean Roddey 12-14-2014 07:17 PM

Well, that says why they might pull out the old one, but more important to me is why they chose what to put in to replace it. I think that a lot of integrators don't give CQC the consideration it deserves, despite the fact that we are running in some very challenging commercial and residential environments. So it's important to us when we are selected for these types of jobs (and don't get replaced with something else), which will hopefully help convince other integrators the product is more than powerful and robust enough for anything they might want to undertake, and also cost effective.

SMHarman 12-14-2014 07:51 PM

All true. Congratulations.

After studiocats rag on C4 at the start of this thread it just felt like a pattern emerging.
Crestron, Control4, Savant or CQC will all suck with a bad integrator.
A good integrator will be able to fix any system.
An integration of a competing system will certainly change the problem even if it makes New ones.

geolchris 12-14-2014 08:27 PM

Control4 is fine if you like their interface. I personally don't, it's a little plain and it's not customizable. I go back and forth between Savant and Crestron as my favorite - but as people above me have said, it comes down to the quality of your programmer - if your programmer is mediocre or worse, you will have a terrible time. You really need an excellent skilled programmer to get the best out of any system. I have seen C4 systems shine, but it does take work. I just prefer the look of the others (which take more work!)

Mntneer 12-15-2014 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by geolchris (Post 29923473)
Control4 is fine if you like their interface. I personally don't, it's a little plain and it's not customizable. I go back and forth between Savant and Crestron as my favorite - but as people above me have said, it comes down to the quality of your programmer - if your programmer is mediocre or worse, you will have a terrible time. You really need an excellent skilled programmer to get the best out of any system. I have seen C4 systems shine, but it does take work. I just prefer the look of the others (which take more work!)

I used to think the same way, and spent years custom programming Pronto Remotes with custom artwork. But over time I've grown to appreciate the simplicity of the C4 interface, one that even my non-technical wife can figure out with very little tutoring. I miss the custom artwork to an extent at times however.

The simplified UI in turn simplifies the programming on a basic system. Instead of programming the UI, you're programming the interactions between components based off of your personal desires.

One thing any system like C4, Creston, CQC, will make you appreciate is the quality of your home network. Before you even think about installing any system like that, make sure your installer is prepared to give you a solid network foundation, built off of reliable hardware.

Dean Roddey 12-15-2014 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mntneer (Post 29934849)
One thing any system like C4, Creston, CQC, will make you appreciate is the quality of your home network. Before you even think about installing any system like that, make sure your installer is prepared to give you a solid network foundation, built off of reliable hardware.

True dat. In any modern system, the network tends to be the foundation on which is rests. Not that you can't still create an automation solution that doesn't depend on the network, but it's getting less and less likely.

Given people's obsession with their tablets and phones, you could create an automation system that didn't use the network, but no one in the house may ever bother to get up and go use it perhaps. I think that's sad personally, because a high resolution, hard connected touch screen on the wall or the table can provide fast and reliable access to lots of control and info quickly.

geolchris 12-15-2014 07:13 PM

I used to think the same way, and spent years custom programming Pronto Remotes with custom artwork. But over time I've grown to appreciate the simplicity of the C4 interface, one that even my non-technical wife can figure out with very little tutoring. I miss the custom artwork to an extent at times however.

The simplified UI in turn simplifies the programming on a basic system. Instead of programming the UI, you're programming the interactions between components based off of your personal desires.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mntneer (Post 29934849)
One thing any system like C4, Creston, CQC, will make you appreciate is the quality of your home network. Before you even think about installing any system like that, make sure your installer is prepared to give you a solid network foundation, built off of reliable hardware.

Definitely - I wholeheartedly agree. I actually am the manager for my company's IT department, and we are constantly defending why the network is so expensive, and can't we just cut corners there? *Everything* these days is doing something on the network. From control, to streaming audio and video, to just general web traffic - it all shares the same network, so it has to be good.

I also enjoy your point about your wife understanding it. That's a battle I fight at home, since she (so far) has always been happier with four remotes than using the all-in-one. Everything I bring home gets eschewed for the remotes eventually!

Chris


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