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post #31 of 97 Old 01-08-2019, 11:00 AM
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You continue the same argument we've had in various threads. I've given many examples outside of the audio ones given here where the big 3 miss the mark. If Google home fits your bill that's great. Its sold in mass market stores for a reason, it has broad appeal to the masses. That does not mean it can do everything a CI system can do. Beats Headphones work for the masses too but I wouldn't be caught with one. I demo'd them 2 times and I think they are rubbish. And its not a $$ thing - a pair of Etymotic is probably equal to or maybe cheaper than most Beats and pound for pound is a way better headphone. Yet Beats is mass produced and everyone loves their Beats. Enjoy what works for you. When I got into this hobby back in 2014 Google/Amazon/Apple did not hold a candle to Savant/C4/RTI, etc. Has the line blurred a bit, sure. But the advancements I've made in my house and what it can achieve to help my lifestyle is still exceeding what the big box solutions offer these days. The biggest issue for me with Google/Amazon/Alexa and the like is that its a cloud based system. I prefer a local controller. And that is where my issues start with the big box solutions.
Beating up on Beats is easy - they are overpriced for what they deliver. But having an open competitive market for devices is important for delivering options to people at different price points. This is my big issue with Control4, Crestron etc... They don't make their products available at retail, but you have to go through an integrator which adds a lot of cost to the system. Sure, they can tailor it and program it to do all sorts of things that cheaper CE equipment can't do today. But at a much higher cost that limits the market size for the product.

And adding individual components like a new wireless speaker should be easy. It's not that the dealer takes 30 secs to do it, its that I have to call the dealer and give them whatever info required to add it is. it should be automatic, as it is with Chromcast, or Sonos, etc... I don't want to spend my time dealing with a person to do something that software should enable me to do easily and without hassle. That's on top of whatever they charge me for it. And if that dealer goes out of business, then adding things gets even more complicated.

What would be great is if the C4 or Crestron guys stored all the configs in the cloud, and would allow me to swap or replace a CI trivially and have the new CI have access to every piece of config that the old one did. or even bid out a change or new capability securely without ever having to talk to someone. That would allow a competitive market and prevent the customer from being screwed over when someone quits. How many times have we seen someone come on one of these forums saying they bought a house with a Crestron, etc.. system that needs modification and no one can change anything on it without starting from scratch?

What Google and Amazon and even Apple are trying to do is make that same capability be available to a much larger number of people at a much lower price, using software to do the programming of the system instead of an integrator. Today, a C4 or Crestron system can do way more than a Google etc... system can, though at a much higher price. But that gap is a lot smaller than it was a year ago. And that gap will continue to shrink because the capability growth in the software driven ecosystem is much greater than in C4 etc... In 3-4 years, I think you'll capabilities in these systems way better than what integrator systems can do. You see it already in areas of voice control.

I said in a prior post the evolution is away from intermediaries. They used to be volume controls and keypads and touchscreens, but now are in apps like the C4 app you use. But it's hard for small companies to keep up with the level of integration needed. For example, Apple music streaming isn't support as far as I can tell in the C4 music app. Sonos support for multiple audio streaming sources is much more comprehensive than C4's, and you can get speakers from Sonos that all use that app and don't need to be hardwired into a system or require a CI to add, and have a nice integrated package, just like Chromecast equipped speakers. So if you really wanted to interact with a 3rd party app for all your music content, I think Sonos is a much better implementation than any integrator based system can provide.

But the big problem for CI's is a declining share of the total addressable market. There is an analog here in what happens with Steinway. HBS did a nice study on how Steinway went from market leader to bankruptcy. They were the leader in pianos, but as Kawai and Yamaha entered the market, they took share from Steinway, initially from cost conscious customers who weren't good piano players, but incrementally improved their product to take more and more share away from the bottom. Eventually Steinway was left with only the highest end users, and had to keep raising prices which exacerbated the market shift. The moral is it's very very hard to survive as a highend only manufacturer in a space where volume drives so much momentum. And C4 Crestron etc... have the added burden of having to keep the CI's in business with their cost structure as well.

Sure, Google, amazon etc... are not capable of doing everything a C4, Crestron etc... system can (today), but they are taking more and more of the addressable market away from CI the ecosystem, leaving them with only higher end customers to support them. As those capabilities get better and better, the needs of more and more customers will be met my the much cheaper mainstream solutions, and that's only exacerbated by Google and Apple's control of the mobile device ecosystem, which in turn is driving more and more content into these platforms. Just look at AT&T's announcement that they are not going to launch any more satellites, and their future is all OTT based. even their new set top box for DirecTV now is Android TV based.

You can see the future I think of C4 in Sonos. initially, Sonos worked intently with CI's to get Sonos equipment deployed. But in order to survive, Sonos doubled down on a retail strategy, even going after selling directly to the end customers of CI installed systems to sell them speakers etc... making those guys really unhappy.

I'm not saying that today CI based systems aren't the answer for some consumers. But they are the right answer for many fewer consumers than they were 5 or 10 years ago. And that trend is only getting stronger. Just look at CES this week and the amount of integration happening with Google assistant and Cast, Airplay2 (from apple) and Alexa.

I also don't like cloud dependency, but I can understand why it's needed for things like voice recognition - you are not going to be able to match Google's datacenters in terms of their ability to understand speech with servers in your house. And if your content is all coming in and being streamed over the Internet, it is not that big an issue to have the control being done remotely as well. I prefer to buy my music in CD's and rip it and have it all local with playback with Plex and other apps, but my kids and even my wife ignore that and stream everything.

But you should go get a Chromecast Audio device and try it out. You might like it....

Mike
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post #32 of 97 Old 01-08-2019, 01:16 PM
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Beating up on Beats is easy - they are overpriced for what they deliver. But having an open competitive market for devices is important for delivering options to people at different price points. This is my big issue with Control4, Crestron etc... They don't make their products available at retail, but you have to go through an integrator which adds a lot of cost to the system. Sure, they can tailor it and program it to do all sorts of things that cheaper CE equipment can't do today. But at a much higher cost that limits the market size for the product.

And adding individual components like a new wireless speaker should be easy. It's not that the dealer takes 30 secs to do it, its that I have to call the dealer and give them whatever info required to add it is. it should be automatic, as it is with Chromcast, or Sonos, etc... I don't want to spend my time dealing with a person to do something that software should enable me to do easily and without hassle. That's on top of whatever they charge me for it. And if that dealer goes out of business, then adding things gets even more complicated.

What would be great is if the C4 or Crestron guys stored all the configs in the cloud, and would allow me to swap or replace a CI trivially and have the new CI have access to every piece of config that the old one did. or even bid out a change or new capability securely without ever having to talk to someone. That would allow a competitive market and prevent the customer from being screwed over when someone quits. How many times have we seen someone come on one of these forums saying they bought a house with a Crestron, etc.. system that needs modification and no one can change anything on it without starting from scratch?

What Google and Amazon and even Apple are trying to do is make that same capability be available to a much larger number of people at a much lower price, using software to do the programming of the system instead of an integrator. Today, a C4 or Crestron system can do way more than a Google etc... system can, though at a much higher price. But that gap is a lot smaller than it was a year ago. And that gap will continue to shrink because the capability growth in the software driven ecosystem is much greater than in C4 etc... In 3-4 years, I think you'll capabilities in these systems way better than what integrator systems can do. You see it already in areas of voice control.

I said in a prior post the evolution is away from intermediaries. They used to be volume controls and keypads and touchscreens, but now are in apps like the C4 app you use. But it's hard for small companies to keep up with the level of integration needed. For example, Apple music streaming isn't support as far as I can tell in the C4 music app. Sonos support for multiple audio streaming sources is much more comprehensive than C4's, and you can get speakers from Sonos that all use that app and don't need to be hardwired into a system or require a CI to add, and have a nice integrated package, just like Chromecast equipped speakers. So if you really wanted to interact with a 3rd party app for all your music content, I think Sonos is a much better implementation than any integrator based system can provide.

But the big problem for CI's is a declining share of the total addressable market. There is an analog here in what happens with Steinway. HBS did a nice study on how Steinway went from market leader to bankruptcy. They were the leader in pianos, but as Kawai and Yamaha entered the market, they took share from Steinway, initially from cost conscious customers who weren't good piano players, but incrementally improved their product to take more and more share away from the bottom. Eventually Steinway was left with only the highest end users, and had to keep raising prices which exacerbated the market shift. The moral is it's very very hard to survive as a highend only manufacturer in a space where volume drives so much momentum. And C4 Crestron etc... have the added burden of having to keep the CI's in business with their cost structure as well.

Sure, Google, amazon etc... are not capable of doing everything a C4, Crestron etc... system can (today), but they are taking more and more of the addressable market away from CI the ecosystem, leaving them with only higher end customers to support them. As those capabilities get better and better, the needs of more and more customers will be met my the much cheaper mainstream solutions, and that's only exacerbated by Google and Apple's control of the mobile device ecosystem, which in turn is driving more and more content into these platforms. Just look at AT&T's announcement that they are not going to launch any more satellites, and their future is all OTT based. even their new set top box for DirecTV now is Android TV based.

You can see the future I think of C4 in Sonos. initially, Sonos worked intently with CI's to get Sonos equipment deployed. But in order to survive, Sonos doubled down on a retail strategy, even going after selling directly to the end customers of CI installed systems to sell them speakers etc... making those guys really unhappy.

I'm not saying that today CI based systems aren't the answer for some consumers. But they are the right answer for many fewer consumers than they were 5 or 10 years ago. And that trend is only getting stronger. Just look at CES this week and the amount of integration happening with Google assistant and Cast, Airplay2 (from apple) and Alexa.

I also don't like cloud dependency, but I can understand why it's needed for things like voice recognition - you are not going to be able to match Google's datacenters in terms of their ability to understand speech with servers in your house. And if your content is all coming in and being streamed over the Internet, it is not that big an issue to have the control being done remotely as well. I prefer to buy my music in CD's and rip it and have it all local with playback with Plex and other apps, but my kids and even my wife ignore that and stream everything.

But you should go get a Chromecast Audio device and try it out. You might like it....

Mike
C4 does not want or cannot afford a 24/7 help line. if you add something and something goes amiss, people want support ASAP. When you start dealing with complex set up, security, lighting, HVAC, etc, you need to offer support. C4 is not designed for support services.

There are a lot of things you cannot buy direct from a company - Does that stop you? You do not buy your car from Ford do you? Do you buy your burger directly from McD's or a middle man who is paying to use the McD's logo and other assets? There are MSRP pricing on C4, ask any dealer for the sheet, or go to the c4forums.com and ask. They may not be sold in big box stores but 2 seconds of work can uncover pricing. Its no secret.

you own your code in C4, if your dealer goes bust, find a new dealer. When your dentist retires, do you not get your teeth cleaned anymore?

You make a claim for Sonos - the beauty of C4 or Crestron is YOU CAN USE SONOS ;-) You are limited. Want sonos for music and Kwikset for door locks - go for it! Want Nuvo for music and Lutron for lighting, have at it. If you want to keep costs down and the ~10 streaming services C4 offers are sufficient, you can just get a matrix/amp set up and in ceiling speakers and you have a slick 100% integrated solution. Want to use Heos or Nuvo or Russound or Sonos - you can with drivers. And Sonos as a corporation is a mess - they were always focused on retail - so no idea what you mean. From day 1 they were sold in big box stores.

Why would I bother when I have 9 zones of audio all in sync with video feeds, audio feeds, music, doorbells, audio announcements, etc? If something works, and its in 1 app, and it works with all my other devices, why would I change for the sake of change?
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post #33 of 97 Old 01-08-2019, 01:37 PM
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C4 does not want or cannot afford a 24/7 help line. if you add something and something goes amiss, people want support ASAP. When you start dealing with complex set up, security, lighting, HVAC, etc, you need to offer support. C4 is not designed for support services.

There are a lot of things you cannot buy direct from a company - Does that stop you? You do not buy your car from Ford do you? Do you buy your burger directly from McD's or a middle man who is paying to use the McD's logo and other assets? There are MSRP pricing on C4, ask any dealer for the sheet, or go to the c4forums.com and ask. They may not be sold in big box stores but 2 seconds of work can uncover pricing. Its no secret.

you own your code in C4, if your dealer goes bust, find a new dealer. When your dentist retires, do you not get your teeth cleaned anymore?

You make a claim for Sonos - the beauty of C4 or Crestron is YOU CAN USE SONOS ;-) You are limited. Want sonos for music and Kwikset for door locks - go for it! Want Nuvo for music and Lutron for lighting, have at it. If you want to keep costs down and the ~10 streaming services C4 offers are sufficient, you can just get a matrix/amp set up and in ceiling speakers and you have a slick 100% integrated solution. Want to use Heos or Nuvo or Russound or Sonos - you can with drivers. And Sonos as a corporation is a mess - they were always focused on retail - so no idea what you mean. From day 1 they were sold in big box stores.

Why would I bother when I have 9 zones of audio all in sync with video feeds, audio feeds, music, doorbells, audio announcements, etc? If something works, and its in 1 app, and it works with all my other devices, why would I change for the sake of change?

Fellas I love the discussion we're having. Looking at CES over the last year or two, especially this year, the momentum is certainly on the side of half FAANG: Amazon, Apple and Google. Those three companies are trying to serve a audience that is somewhat different from the one that frequents this forum. The masses would like what we currently enjoy and Amazon, Google and Apple are trying to give them that in their way. Is the Google, Amazon and Apple offerings for home control fully baked? Nope.



But those companies have the money and talent to get there. The question is do they care to get there. I don't think Apple cares about making Homekit better. All Apple wants is more devices that work with Homekit. For Apple it's good enough. Reading the interview with Google's VP for Google Home today and reading about Google Home Connect and seeing what Amazon is trying to do with Amazon Connect I get the sense that those two do care.
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post #34 of 97 Old 01-08-2019, 01:39 PM
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C4 does not want or cannot afford a 24/7 help line. if you add something and something goes amiss, people want support ASAP. When you start dealing with complex set up, security, lighting, HVAC, etc, you need to offer support. C4 is not designed for support services.

There are a lot of things you cannot buy direct from a company - Does that stop you? You do not buy your car from Ford do you? Do you buy your burger directly from McD's or a middle man who is paying to use the McD's logo and other assets? There are MSRP pricing on C4, ask any dealer for the sheet, or go to the c4forums.com and ask. They may not be sold in big box stores but 2 seconds of work can uncover pricing. Its no secret.

you own your code in C4, if your dealer goes bust, find a new dealer. When your dentist retires, do you not get your teeth cleaned anymore?

You make a claim for Sonos - the beauty of C4 or Crestron is YOU CAN USE SONOS ;-) You are limited. Want sonos for music and Kwikset for door locks - go for it! Want Nuvo for music and Lutron for lighting, have at it. If you want to keep costs down and the ~10 streaming services C4 offers are sufficient, you can just get a matrix/amp set up and in ceiling speakers and you have a slick 100% integrated solution. Want to use Heos or Nuvo or Russound or Sonos - you can with drivers. And Sonos as a corporation is a mess - they were always focused on retail - so no idea what you mean. From day 1 they were sold in big box stores.

Why would I bother when I have 9 zones of audio all in sync with video feeds, audio feeds, music, doorbells, audio announcements, etc? If something works, and its in 1 app, and it works with all my other devices, why would I change for the sake of change?

Well, I buy a Tesla from Tesla, not a dealer. But to use your analogy, I buy a Ford from a dealer, but I can get my car oil changed at jiffy lube, or thousands of places other than the dealer. I don't get why adding a new wireless speaker zone should require a CI to do it. That should be something easily accommodated with minor software. People don't want to have to deal with scheduling and people interactions for simple tasks. That's why a lot of people preferred ATM's to bank tellers, and they were cheaper as well. I still go see a teller for some transactions, but for 95% of those transactions, I go to an ATM or a website to accomplish. And I do that whenever I want to, even if it's at night or on a holiday, and with no notice or planning. Why does this have to be so hard?

I wasn't saying that C4 etc... should work direct, but that the data in the system about a customer should be accessible to all dealers equally, so they can all compete for a given customers business. To continue with your auto analogy, I drive an Audi, and I can take it for service to any Audi dealer and they all have access to all the data and history of the car. They have differences in terms of availability of hours and distance from my house and some on price, but they are all pretty interchangeable. And if one goes out of business, I can go to any other dealer and they don't need anything to work on my car from the dealer I bought it from.

And the issue about availability of products isn't about hidden pricing - I totally agree the prices for most of the CI components are easily discoverable. It's that's there is little competition or discounting on where I can get them from. Having products available through multiple distribution channels ensures the consumer can get products at the lowest cost and without delays when someone local doesn't have them in stock. And competition between sellers encourages discounting (or giveaways of other items when MSRP's are rigid from the dealer).

Why does restricting product distribution do anything for the consumer?

Are you an integrator by any chance?

Thanks,
Mike
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post #35 of 97 Old 01-08-2019, 02:00 PM
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Why does restricting product distribution do anything for the consumer?

Thanks,
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Mike I think you brought up a good point in your previous post when you mention the dealer and CI company cost structure. You sort of answered the question. The structure of the CI business almost requires the restriction of the distribution of products to the consumer. The typical CI company needs that margin on equipment. If you listen to some of these podcasts that these CI installers/programmers have or you read CePro or Residential Systems, the margin is the life-blood of a lot of these companies. This is why there was such consternation over Sonos selling direct to consumers and why a number of CI installers like it when the product(s) are restricted.


This is why you've seen a strong movement from companies like C4 and Savant to have their own in-house products in a variety of categories. If you can get your dealers to sell those products to customers it works out really well for the dealer and the CI company. That is why there is a lot of pressure on the installers from some of the CI companies. If those installers that don't have a good sell through on the in-house products from the CI company, they could be in jeopardy of being dropped as a dealer.



Sure all of these CI systems work with a number of different products that aren't from the in-house line of the CI companies, but there's no incentive for the CI installer to offer consumers any other option, unless the CI company doesn't carry the product. I just don't see how that sort of relationship is good for the consumer.

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Mike I think you brought up a good point in your previous post when you mention the dealer and CI company cost structure. You sort of answered the question. The structure of the CI business almost requires the restriction of the distribution of products to the consumer. The typical CI company needs that margin on equipment. If you listen to some of these podcasts that these CI installers/programmers have or you read CePro or Residential Systems, the margin is the life-blood of a lot of these companies. This is why there was such consternation over Sonos selling direct to consumers and why a number of CI installers like it when the product(s) are restricted.


This is why you've seen a strong movement from companies like C4 and Savant to have their own in-house products in a variety of categories. If you can get your dealers to sell those products to customers it works out really well for the dealer and the CI company. That is why there is a lot of pressure on the installers from some of the CI companies. If those installers that don't have a good sell through on the in-house products from the CI company, they could be in jeopardy of being dropped as a dealer.



Sure all of these CI systems work with a number of different products that aren't from the in-house line of the CI companies, but there's no incentive for the CI installer to offer consumers any other option, unless the CI company doesn't carry the product. I just don't see how that sort of relationship is good for the consumer.
Well, I'm an engineer so maybe I am totally missing something. If the products were available at their true price, why doesn't the CI simply charge more for labor etc...? They don't provide any value add in purchasing or inventory control compared to an amazon etc... making the distribution more efficient saves cost in the system, and they can get their needed margins by providing the true price to the consumer.

This also would encourage automation of simple tasks where it makes no sense for the CI or the consumer to involve the CI. It yields a more efficient system.

The model now where distribution is controlled to only dealers is obsolete. Look at the death of retail giants like Sears who is going into liquidation. Being able to order parts from amazon or walmart etc.. and having them delivered and then installed by the CI allows a more competitive and more efficient system.

I see these companies building "faux" brands like Luxul etc,... that deliver crappier products compared with companies like Ubiquiti etc..., so that consumers can't tell what the real prices are for the gear, but that is not going to work. What volume does Luxul have compared with Ubiquiti? Squat. And volume is everything in this business.

Sonos did what they did because they realized they were going to get destroyed by Google and the Chromecast ecosystem if they didn't. They still might, but at least they don't have the dead weight of the CI margins around their neck. Others are going to realize the same thing, or those companies will suffer more and more until they fade away.

I get why people want to have exclusivity and lack of competition - it's easier and more profitable. But online distribution has changed all that. Business that try and fight this model are doomed. It's not as efficient and delivers a worse value for consumers. they have all come to expect more.

Again, why is this good for consumers? If C4 and Crestron etc... insist on holding on to this model as they try and compete with the likes of Google and Amazon and all the CE companies aligned with them, they are doomed, and so are the integrators that they sell though. It's not just a the old set of competitors they are dealing with.

If this is really their strategy, I would really advise anyone considering a C4 or Crestron system to think twice about what they are getting in to.

As Tom Wheeler (former FCC chairman) said to the cable operators at a conference, "The Internet is going to disrupt your business. It does that to everyone."

thanks,
mike
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post #37 of 97 Old 01-08-2019, 03:24 PM
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Fellas I love the discussion we're having. Looking at CES over the last year or two, especially this year, the momentum is certainly on the side of half FAANG: Amazon, Apple and Google. Those three companies are trying to serve a audience that is somewhat different from the one that frequents this forum. The masses would like what we currently enjoy and Amazon, Google and Apple are trying to give them that in their way. Is the Google, Amazon and Apple offerings for home control fully baked? Nope.



But those companies have the money and talent to get there. The question is do they care to get there. I don't think Apple cares about making Homekit better. All Apple wants is more devices that work with Homekit. For Apple it's good enough. Reading the interview with Google's VP for Google Home today and reading about Google Home Connect and seeing what Amazon is trying to do with Amazon Connect I get the sense that those two do care.
Apple/Google/Amazon could cough up the change to buy crestron or c4. There is a reason they are not buying them or really headed into this space. It really takes a lot of support to run someone’s house. Sure sonos can offer “support” on their product, but what if their product tied into lighting. Where do they draw the line on support? That is why CI has a dealer model, so the manufacture does not have to supply the support. It’s called a business model. If you do not like the model, its a free country, go look elsewhere for a solution.

In fact, I LIKE A dealer. I like when i am busy with work and I want to do something I can just drop a text or email to someone and within 1-2 days its done. No tinkering, no headaches, no pissed wife that something is not working.
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Apple/Google/Amazon could cough up the change to buy crestron or c4. There is a reason they are not buying them or really headed into this space. It really takes a lot of support to run someone’s house. Sure sonos can offer “support” on their product, but what if their product tied into lighting. Where do they draw the line on support? That is why CI has a dealer model, so the manufacture does not have to supply the support. It’s called a business model. If you do not like the model, its a free country, go look elsewhere for a solution.

In fact, I LIKE A dealer. I like when i am busy with work and I want to do something I can just drop a text or email to someone and within 1-2 days its done. No tinkering, no headaches, no pissed wife that something is not working.
Google etc... would never buy a company like C4 etc... As you point out, it's not their business model, and 80% of their products (switchers, touchscreens, keypads, etc...), Google and Amazon would not want. It's much easier to replace them.

But to say that Google and Amazon are not serious about this market because they aren't buying a Crestron etc... is silly. Just look at the amount of integration of products with these (and Apple as well) companies products at CES. These guys must be spending a billion dollars a year each on hardware and software in this space. Silicon Valley engineers are expensive. Trust me, I know.

And I'm not even saying that dealing with a dealer is a bad thing. Just that I don't see why consumers should HAVE TO deal with a dealer. If a dealer is offering a lot of value, to consumers, they'll still get used. Just like in the auto business for service - people have a choice. But to say I have to use a dealer to do something as simple as add a new wireless speaker, well, that's not how consumers view modern technology.

And it totally is a free country - they have a right to pursue whatever business model they want. Just like Sears did.

So you aren't an integrator? Do you work for a company in that space?

Thanks,
mike
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Well, I buy a Tesla from Tesla, not a dealer. But to use your analogy, I buy a Ford from a dealer, but I can get my car oil changed at jiffy lube, or thousands of places other than the dealer. I don't get why adding a new wireless speaker zone should require a CI to do it. That should be something easily accommodated with minor software. People don't want to have to deal with scheduling and people interactions for simple tasks. That's why a lot of people preferred ATM's to bank tellers, and they were cheaper as well. I still go see a teller for some transactions, but for 95% of those transactions, I go to an ATM or a website to accomplish. And I do that whenever I want to, even if it's at night or on a holiday, and with no notice or planning. Why does this have to be so hard?

I wasn't saying that C4 etc... should work direct, but that the data in the system about a customer should be accessible to all dealers equally, so they can all compete for a given customers business. To continue with your auto analogy, I drive an Audi, and I can take it for service to any Audi dealer and they all have access to all the data and history of the car. They have differences in terms of availability of hours and distance from my house and some on price, but they are all pretty interchangeable. And if one goes out of business, I can go to any other dealer and they don't need anything to work on my car from the dealer I bought it from.

And the issue about availability of products isn't about hidden pricing - I totally agree the prices for most of the CI components are easily discoverable. It's that's there is little competition or discounting on where I can get them from. Having products available through multiple distribution channels ensures the consumer can get products at the lowest cost and without delays when someone local doesn't have them in stock. And competition between sellers encourages discounting (or giveaways of other items when MSRP's are rigid from the dealer).

Why does restricting product distribution do anything for the consumer?

Are you an integrator by any chance?

Thanks,
Mike
Tesla is the only one selling direct - and look how that model is going? At least the company is struggling, suppposedly there is demand but lots of people are fed up with wait times and going elsewhere.

And I did not talk about car upkeep. I mentioned going to a dentist. If your dentist goes out of business do you not find a new dentist? What happens when insurance changes and you need to find a new dentist or chiropractor or regular doctor - do you just stop going? You have medical records to share. The c4 project is sitting locally on a controller on the user’s controller. Any dealer if given permission can log in and look and help. So like your Audi example, you can shop for a dealer. It’s a free country, you own your code.

As I mentioned in another post - the reason why its restrictive is support. When 10,000’s of products need to work together things happen. And when your house is crippled you want support ASAP. When sonos does not work you can wait 24-48 hours for support, but when you cannot control an alarm or lights or HVAC you need support ASAP. C4 is not looking to scale a 24/7 help desk.

Who is restricting product distribution? Get a quote from 2-3 dealers to find the price of what you want to buy.

I am not an integrator in the CI space or residential work. I work in IT selling technology consulting services and managing projects for Fortune 100 clients nationally. So I am technical by nature, but I also respect people’s times, sales and the sales channel.

You can turn to Google - if their handful of products gets your job done that is great. More power to you. Someone asks for advice - you give your advice based on a Google platform. I gave my advice on a c4 platform because the original poster MENTIONED LOOKING AT C4 PRIOR. My goal on this forum, a heavy DIY base, is to dispel any non truth’s about C4 and the platform, period. Seems like people on here have a bad or not true opinion of the platform.

And not sure all the people at Amazon or the others see their companies tackling the CI space. Did you see C4’s latest hire? The guy who made Windows Media Server and then the head of the entire Alexa project. He turned to a CI solution to install C4, liked it, and wound up going to work for C4. Google Charlie Kindel.

I am not sure why you feel the need to hijack a thread. The OP asked about audio and video. I do not think you mentioned how the google solution is going to handle the audio portion of video feeds for his distribution or how it tackles any potential lip sync if any room has multi channels? Help the OP - no need to help yourself making yourself feel better about your decision vs others’ decisions.

There are 2 types of people on this forum - those who are happy with their product/services or those seeking advice. the OP wants advice - give advice based on your experiences. Stop worrying about others and their decisions who are happy with their solutions. Let’s try to keep it civil and be helpful to posters and not hijack their threads for your own fun and games.
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post #40 of 97 Old 01-08-2019, 03:41 PM
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Google etc... would never buy a company like C4 etc... As you point out, it's not their business model, and 80% of their products (switchers, touchscreens, keypads, etc...), Google and Amazon would not want. It's much easier to replace them.

But to say that Google and Amazon are not serious about this market because they aren't buying a Crestron etc... is silly. Just look at the amount of integration of products with these (and Apple as well) companies products at CES. These guys must be spending a billion dollars a year each on hardware and software in this space. Silicon Valley engineers are expensive. Trust me, I know.

And I'm not even saying that dealing with a dealer is a bad thing. Just that I don't see why consumers should HAVE TO deal with a dealer. If a dealer is offering a lot of value, to consumers, they'll still get used. Just like in the auto business for service - people have a choice. But to say I have to use a dealer to do something as simple as add a new wireless speaker, well, that's not how consumers view modern technology.

And it totally is a free country - they have a right to pursue whatever business model they want. Just like Sears did.

So you aren't an integrator? Do you work for a company in that space?

Thanks,
mike
You dont have to work with a dealer, get a non dealer system. Google, Amazon, HomeKit. Go get smart things or Vera. Go get CQC. Google and Amazon are in the business of data. They create and sell those devices to collect data. Do not fool yourself. I am a late 30’s guy, always an early tech user/adopter. That said how often am I adding a new wireless speaker or remote or TV or light switch? uh, 2-3x a year? With C4 and the IFTTT Driver and Composer HE there is even less reasons to call a dealer if you are ok with cloud connections. Plus C4 has online programming with When/Then. They are moving towards being more and more customer friendly without using dealers, but people like yourself just keep their blinders on. Look at where they were 2 years ago, 5 years ago and today and you’ll see how they are moving.

People have said for years that someone is going to replace the CI space. They seem to grow with the housing economy, when the economy is good CI is good, when the economy turns south so too does that market - as many others. But that does not mean they are being replaced. It’s just a cyclical business.
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post #41 of 97 Old 01-09-2019, 07:00 AM
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Beating up on Beats is easy - they are overpriced for what they deliver. But having an open competitive market for devices is important for delivering options to people at different price points. This is my big issue with Control4, Crestron etc... They don't make their products available at retail, but you have to go through an integrator which adds a lot of cost to the system. Sure, they can tailor it and program it to do all sorts of things that cheaper CE equipment can't do today. But at a much higher cost that limits the market size for the product.

And adding individual components like a new wireless speaker should be easy. It's not that the dealer takes 30 secs to do it, its that I have to call the dealer and give them whatever info required to add it is. it should be automatic, as it is with Chromcast, or Sonos, etc... I don't want to spend my time dealing with a person to do something that software should enable me to do easily and without hassle. That's on top of whatever they charge me for it. And if that dealer goes out of business, then adding things gets even more complicated.

Mike
C4 and Crestron go that route because they want, expect, reliability in their systems, but yes, people can piece meal together DIY products to accomplish similar tasks, can choose to run multiple apps/programs to control things, and for the most part be happy with it.

Back at CEDIA I saw data that indicated 1/4 of all DIY products bought are returned to the retailers by users who couldn't figure out how to install or use them. Another large percentage spend over an hour on technical help with the manufactures of those products. Most users are not AVS Forum members. For example, two weeks ago we got a call from a guy who had bought a nice new Nest Thermostat. He couldn't figure out how to install it and decided to call us, and we ended up sending someone out to take care of it for him. All of those products sound great on paper, and great in marketing, but for many people... they're a nightmare.
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A couple of items showed up earlier than expected the other day. Was able to talk my wife into helping to grunt these two 100# beast amps into the server rack. Got power ran to them and hooked up a couple of the Chromecasts. Setup was essentially painless, and had music playing over them quickly. Set up the cast bridge that was mentioned earlier. That works slick in the background, might have a little glitch somewhere, where it might drop a cast or two, but I was messing with the network so need to see how this background app works over the long term. Right now it's easy to cast from iphone/ipad to any of the chromecasts. have not attempted to create groups to play something from IOS to multiple of the chromecasts yet. Easy fix to this might be to switch over to spotify, but letting my son do that research as he's the one that does most of the streaming.

I had bought a chromecast at BB to originally try it out, and they had a deal where you could get a google home mini for half off, so brought that home. Now this is where it's going to get slick I believe. My 6 yr old daughter already had been exposed to google assistant and when she saw me bring it in the house, she stated it was for her room. HA. Anyways, with no real prompting she knows how to use google home mini, to call mom, grammy, brother, etc. She can ask for specific songs blah blah blah. Net net, no instruction etc for a 6 yr old to be able to start casting songs to other rooms etc.

With the google home, it looks as though you can wake up, and say google, how is my morning. You can setup the scene for it to look at your calender, tell you the days appointments, what the weather is, traffic levels, and segue into the current news. Without looking further into it, if setup with the right devices, you can create the morning scene for it to turn on or off specific lights, maybe turn on the coffee maker, and start playing music through whatever zone you pick it to go through. All of this with a simple voice command. At same time at end of day you can say bed time, and it will set the scenes you want etc. I'm not into the HA side of things so not sure how the switches and outlets and all the other crap integrate with this platform, but as the arguments above have been going on. It is definitely a solution that middle class, and I imagine even more so the millennials, have started to flock to. It's cloud based, and be carried with them from rental to house to next house etc. it lives on their devices and the cloud. Cost of entry is low, and cost to maintain is low.

Playing with other features. The home has a broadcast feature. From your phone, either in your house on your network, OR even out on Cell coverage, you can broadcast whatever you say into your phone back over the google homes. I'll have to see if you can tie in the chromecast audios, I don't believe so because those you need to be on the same network it seems. So as I was driving home from dropping daughter off, I was able to push a button and say. Hey I'm on way back be there in 3 mins are you ready yet. Now the house occupant can't reply back (or haven't looked at it close enough to see if that's possible) but it's a neat feature. With the new house and getting routines down, my wife and I have separate offices, and daughter has her homework area. As it stands now, the house is large enough that we have to yell across it to get others attention, and then you can't hear what the hell was said anyways. With the broadcast feature I see the wireless intercom becoming very useful.


I'll come back later and talk about the sound out of these amps and the speakers. Very impressed.
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post #43 of 97 Old 01-10-2019, 06:05 AM
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A couple of items showed up earlier than expected the other day. Was able to talk my wife into helping to grunt these two 100# beast amps into the server rack. Got power ran to them and hooked up a couple of the Chromecasts. Setup was essentially painless, and had music playing over them quickly. Set up the cast bridge that was mentioned earlier. That works slick in the background, might have a little glitch somewhere, where it might drop a cast or two, but I was messing with the network so need to see how this background app works over the long term. Right now it's easy to cast from iphone/ipad to any of the chromecasts. have not attempted to create groups to play something from IOS to multiple of the chromecasts yet. Easy fix to this might be to switch over to spotify, but letting my son do that research as he's the one that does most of the streaming.

I had bought a chromecast at BB to originally try it out, and they had a deal where you could get a google home mini for half off, so brought that home. Now this is where it's going to get slick I believe. My 6 yr old daughter already had been exposed to google assistant and when she saw me bring it in the house, she stated it was for her room. HA. Anyways, with no real prompting she knows how to use google home mini, to call mom, grammy, brother, etc. She can ask for specific songs blah blah blah. Net net, no instruction etc for a 6 yr old to be able to start casting songs to other rooms etc.

With the google home, it looks as though you can wake up, and say google, how is my morning. You can setup the scene for it to look at your calender, tell you the days appointments, what the weather is, traffic levels, and segue into the current news. Without looking further into it, if setup with the right devices, you can create the morning scene for it to turn on or off specific lights, maybe turn on the coffee maker, and start playing music through whatever zone you pick it to go through. All of this with a simple voice command. At same time at end of day you can say bed time, and it will set the scenes you want etc. I'm not into the HA side of things so not sure how the switches and outlets and all the other crap integrate with this platform, but as the arguments above have been going on. It is definitely a solution that middle class, and I imagine even more so the millennials, have started to flock to. It's cloud based, and be carried with them from rental to house to next house etc. it lives on their devices and the cloud. Cost of entry is low, and cost to maintain is low.

Playing with other features. The home has a broadcast feature. From your phone, either in your house on your network, OR even out on Cell coverage, you can broadcast whatever you say into your phone back over the google homes. I'll have to see if you can tie in the chromecast audios, I don't believe so because those you need to be on the same network it seems. So as I was driving home from dropping daughter off, I was able to push a button and say. Hey I'm on way back be there in 3 mins are you ready yet. Now the house occupant can't reply back (or haven't looked at it close enough to see if that's possible) but it's a neat feature. With the new house and getting routines down, my wife and I have separate offices, and daughter has her homework area. As it stands now, the house is large enough that we have to yell across it to get others attention, and then you can't hear what the hell was said anyways. With the broadcast feature I see the wireless intercom becoming very useful.


I'll come back later and talk about the sound out of these amps and the speakers. Very impressed.
Glad you found a solution that suits your needs in your budget. Great job by the forum to help - keep us posted.
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post #44 of 97 Old 01-10-2019, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul DiFrank View Post
A couple of items showed up earlier than expected the other day. Was able to talk my wife into helping to grunt these two 100# beast amps into the server rack. Got power ran to them and hooked up a couple of the Chromecasts. Setup was essentially painless, and had music playing over them quickly. Set up the cast bridge that was mentioned earlier. That works slick in the background, might have a little glitch somewhere, where it might drop a cast or two, but I was messing with the network so need to see how this background app works over the long term. Right now it's easy to cast from iphone/ipad to any of the chromecasts. have not attempted to create groups to play something from IOS to multiple of the chromecasts yet. Easy fix to this might be to switch over to spotify, but letting my son do that research as he's the one that does most of the streaming.

I had bought a chromecast at BB to originally try it out, and they had a deal where you could get a google home mini for half off, so brought that home. Now this is where it's going to get slick I believe. My 6 yr old daughter already had been exposed to google assistant and when she saw me bring it in the house, she stated it was for her room. HA. Anyways, with no real prompting she knows how to use google home mini, to call mom, grammy, brother, etc. She can ask for specific songs blah blah blah. Net net, no instruction etc for a 6 yr old to be able to start casting songs to other rooms etc.

With the google home, it looks as though you can wake up, and say google, how is my morning. You can setup the scene for it to look at your calender, tell you the days appointments, what the weather is, traffic levels, and segue into the current news. Without looking further into it, if setup with the right devices, you can create the morning scene for it to turn on or off specific lights, maybe turn on the coffee maker, and start playing music through whatever zone you pick it to go through. All of this with a simple voice command. At same time at end of day you can say bed time, and it will set the scenes you want etc. I'm not into the HA side of things so not sure how the switches and outlets and all the other crap integrate with this platform, but as the arguments above have been going on. It is definitely a solution that middle class, and I imagine even more so the millennials, have started to flock to. It's cloud based, and be carried with them from rental to house to next house etc. it lives on their devices and the cloud. Cost of entry is low, and cost to maintain is low.

Playing with other features. The home has a broadcast feature. From your phone, either in your house on your network, OR even out on Cell coverage, you can broadcast whatever you say into your phone back over the google homes. I'll have to see if you can tie in the chromecast audios, I don't believe so because those you need to be on the same network it seems. So as I was driving home from dropping daughter off, I was able to push a button and say. Hey I'm on way back be there in 3 mins are you ready yet. Now the house occupant can't reply back (or haven't looked at it close enough to see if that's possible) but it's a neat feature. With the new house and getting routines down, my wife and I have separate offices, and daughter has her homework area. As it stands now, the house is large enough that we have to yell across it to get others attention, and then you can't hear what the hell was said anyways. With the broadcast feature I see the wireless intercom becoming very useful.


I'll come back later and talk about the sound out of these amps and the speakers. Very impressed.
I'm glad its working well so far! The google voice recognition system works really well for kids - I don't know why, but mine just love it and have figured out how to do way more with it than I have. There have been some recent sales for their Google Home hub (that has a screen and can display info too), and 2 of the minis for $100. A pretty good deal. Once you start, the kids will insist on having them in their rooms.

The minis are good devices, but not very good music quality speakers. But if you have the chromecast audios and the Crestron amps, you don't need that at all. You can tell the home devices to do playback of music or even replies over a different set of Chromecasts, so you can tell the mini to play a song, and it will default to playing it in the zone that that mini is in.

And yes, you can use these as intercoms now too. Google added the capability to reply to broadcast commands. Works pretty well, and makes you want minis in every room.

One of the problems with these units is that Google keeps adding functionality to them so often, it's easy to miss a feature. They must have a lot of engineers working on it. Someone told me that Amazon has 1000 job OPENINGS for alexa engineers, so they are working hard too.

I would hardwire the chromecast audio devices to ethernet, esp if you have a few of them. I don't think you need to do that for the homes though.

And be careful with those Crestron amps. They are HEAVY because of the amazing power circuitry in there - it's easy to hurt yourself. But also make sure that they are on a solid base if you aren't rackmounting them. Them falling could make a hole in your floor. But the sound is awesome. Depends on speakers obviously, but the DAC in the chromecast audio and the crestron amp make for a really high quality sound. Better than these class D amps you get from monoprice etc...

Keep us posted and good luck!

mike
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post #45 of 97 Old 01-10-2019, 02:08 PM
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With the google home, it looks as though you can wake up, and say google, how is my morning. You can setup the scene for it to look at your calender, tell you the days appointments, what the weather is, traffic levels, and segue into the current news. Without looking further into it, if setup with the right devices, you can create the morning scene for it to turn on or off specific lights, maybe turn on the coffee maker, and start playing music through whatever zone you pick it to go through. All of this with a simple voice command. At same time at end of day you can say bed time, and it will set the scenes you want etc.

Yep. You can set up scenes using the Google Home app under the Routines section. Google has very good documentation on their site and so do other tech focused websites. I have scenes built around the Chromecast Audios and my lights, thermostat and tvs in combination with my home control system. It's pretty neat to be able to have the music start, lights activate, tvs turn on, thermostat set to the correct temp and my blinds open all by saying "Hey Google, Good Morning". When I leave for work, I say "Hey Google, turn on work" and the audio stops streaming on the Chromecasts, the lights turn off, the thermostat turns off and my home mode is switched to the Work mode.


Another feature in the Google Home app allows you set defaults for audio via Chromecast Audio and tv via Chromecast TV pucks for a specific Google Home. So for example, in my Master Bedroom, the Google Home mini in that room has the tv default set to the Master Bedroom Chromecast connected to the master bedroom tv. So when I tell the master bedroom mini to stream Narcos on Netflix it knows to only stream Narcos on the Master bedroom tv; you don't have to specify the room. For audio, I set the default on all of the Google Home minis in my home to the "All" group of Chromecast Audios. So if I tell any Google Home mini to play Amy Grant, it'll stream from my default streaming service to the "All" group of speakers (Chromecast Audios). Again, no need to say the zone unless you want to stream from the service that isn't set as your default service in the Home app.


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Playing with other features. The home has a broadcast feature. From your phone, either in your house on your network, OR even out on Cell coverage, you can broadcast whatever you say into your phone back over the google homes. I'll have to see if you can tie in the chromecast audios, I don't believe so because those you need to be on the same network it seems. So as I was driving home from dropping daughter off, I was able to push a button and say. Hey I'm on way back be there in 3 mins are you ready yet. Now the house occupant can't reply back (or haven't looked at it close enough to see if that's possible) but it's a neat feature. With the new house and getting routines down, my wife and I have separate offices, and daughter has her homework area. As it stands now, the house is large enough that we have to yell across it to get others attention, and then you can't hear what the hell was said anyways. With the broadcast feature I see the wireless intercom becoming very useful.


I'll come back later and talk about the sound out of these amps and the speakers. Very impressed.

It's been updated so that any one can respond to a broadcast via whichever Google Home you choose to respond from.

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It's been updated so that any one can respond to a broadcast via whichever Google Home you choose to respond from.

So is this mini to mini? or mini to the outside world. I.E. what I found today, is on my Iphone while driving I can do a broadcast 10 miles away from my house and it will be heard in the house. Now if someone was to respond, I'm assuming it wouldn't come back to my iphone. Just if we had more than 1 mini it could go mini to mini.

I've seen the tablets. Locally they are one sale at 1 place for 100.00. Is the tablet worth getting....wasn't sure how much better it would be than just having phone handy with the app.
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So is this mini to mini? or mini to the outside world. I.E. what I found today, is on my Iphone while driving I can do a broadcast 10 miles away from my house and it will be heard in the house. Now if someone was to respond, I'm assuming it wouldn't come back to my iphone. Just if we had more than 1 mini it could go mini to mini.

I've seen the tablets. Locally they are one sale at 1 place for 100.00. Is the tablet worth getting....wasn't sure how much better it would be than just having phone handy with the app.
They should be able to respond back to you. I've never replied to a phone but replying from one mini to mini to another works.

I have the Google Home Hub, which you're referring to as the tablet. I love it. All the reviewers I've read love it as well. When I got it the day after Thanksgiving my brother saw my pictures scrolling by on the screen of the Home Hub and he was like "I want one".

If you get one definitely link your Google Photos to it. It's awesome. The Home Hub is also a Google Home device, meaning that it's just like the Mini. It can be used in your Chromecast speaker group; meaning you can cast music to it and it will play the music. I like to ask it for the weather for the following morning. I also ask it to do things like activate modes for my control system, turn on lights, turn the volume up on a Chromecast audio and so forth.

It's worth the money. Your family will enjoy it. And if you don't have Google Photos, sign up for it. Google Photos is pretty good and the IoS app is nice. You get a certain amount of free cloud storage on Google Photos when you sign up. As I mentioned above, once you have your photos in Google Photos you'll be able to link it the Google Home Hub via the Google Home app.

Get it. You won't regret it.

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post #48 of 97 Old 01-11-2019, 01:55 PM
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But you should go get a Chromecast Audio device and try it out. You might like it....

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guess I'll have to act fast: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/11/1...continued-sale
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No worries. What I'd suggest to the OP or anyone else is that they use the Chromecast video puck if they can't find any of the remaining Chromecast Audios. Buy a HDMI audio extractor; there are several of them, but there is a low cost option on Amazon that has 4.5 stars and over 1,750 reviews. With the Chromecast and the HDMI audio extractor the out the door cost is no more than $60. Several of the reviewers have used the device with the Chromecast video and it extracts the audio from the Chromecast as advertised.

Prior to Nov of 2018 you couldn't cast audio to a Chromecast video nor could you include a Chromecast video as a part of a group. In Nov of 2018 I believe, Google updated the Chromecast video pucks so that they can stream audio and be grouped into speaker groups. I've been casting Pandora and Spotify to my Chromecast videos as part of larger audio groups in my system. You can control the Chromecast video like you would a regular Chromecast audio. Voice commands via the Google Home minis work the same with the Chromecast as they do with the Chromecast Audio. The important thing to remember is to connect the Chromecast video to your network by connecting it to your tv first and follow the instructions on the tv before you connect it the the HDMI audio extractor.

Just another alternative if the OP needs it. I believe that he has bought two of the Chromecast videos so he should be fine if he goes that route.

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As Ahard stated, I do have one of the chromecast videos, I bought that originally to try this thing out. It works fine casting audio etc. I simply hooked it up to HDMI in port on the Yamaha and it streams with no problem. In fact it will probably stay in the mix, as the speakers in the family room are setup as a 5.1 system with DT UIW RCS, and hooked to the yamaha. Need to get a Hdbaset with ARC to strip the audio from OTA and other streaming stuff to send it to the 5.1 So with the HDMI on the video cast, it can be hooked right up to the yamaha and play over the speakers without needing a seperate switch etc.

So far I only have 4 of the casts hooked up. With this amp, it rocks. Two outside zones, upper and lower deck, and I think my neighbors 1/2 mile away or more can clearly hear the music. HAHA.

In regards to the broadcast, still playing with it. I can be outside network and broadcast in via Iphone. I haven't heard a reply yet, but yesterday at some point a reply came back in the form of a txt message or alert? have to play some more. Daughter and her friends loved that they could be upstairs and "order" water and snacks while we were downstairs. There's gonna be a quick end to that, but daughter was estatic that she got google in her play room. HA.

Thought a little more of the streaming the ball game on the TV's and having the audio play throughout the house. With me being OTA, I have a HDhomerun for DVR. With the app for iphone or ipad, you can play dvr or even live TV on the devices. I have to look but would imagine you can cast those to wherever, so you could just simply cast it to the group of casts and have the game audio all through the hosue.

the rest of my RCA inputs should be here Wed. and I'll be able to get everything hooked up. Though I may need to buy the ethernet adapters for these. I'm running a ubiquity network with three of the LR Access points, but with 13 casts, I don't want to overload one of them. We'll see how the performance is when we get them all hooked up.

Thanks
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As Ahard stated, I do have one of the chromecast videos, I bought that originally to try this thing out. It works fine casting audio etc. I simply hooked it up to HDMI in port on the Yamaha and it streams with no problem. In fact it will probably stay in the mix, as the speakers in the family room are setup as a 5.1 system with DT UIW RCS, and hooked to the yamaha. Need to get a Hdbaset with ARC to strip the audio from OTA and other streaming stuff to send it to the 5.1 So with the HDMI on the video cast, it can be hooked right up to the yamaha and play over the speakers without needing a seperate switch etc.



So far I only have 4 of the casts hooked up. With this amp, it rocks. Two outside zones, upper and lower deck, and I think my neighbors 1/2 mile away or more can clearly hear the music. HAHA.



In regards to the broadcast, still playing with it. I can be outside network and broadcast in via Iphone. I haven't heard a reply yet, but yesterday at some point a reply came back in the form of a txt message or alert? have to play some more. Daughter and her friends loved that they could be upstairs and "order" water and snacks while we were downstairs. There's gonna be a quick end to that, but daughter was estatic that she got google in her play room. HA.



Thought a little more of the streaming the ball game on the TV's and having the audio play throughout the house. With me being OTA, I have a HDhomerun for DVR. With the app for iphone or ipad, you can play dvr or even live TV on the devices. I have to look but would imagine you can cast those to wherever, so you could just simply cast it to the group of casts and have the game audio all through the hosue.



the rest of my RCA inputs should be here Wed. and I'll be able to get everything hooked up. Though I may need to buy the ethernet adapters for these. I'm running a ubiquity network with three of the LR Access points, but with 13 casts, I don't want to overload one of them. We'll see how the performance is when we get them all hooked up.



Thanks

I’m a little confused... you’ve got 4 video Chromecasts hooked up to a single Yamaha? Or are you saying just one Chromecast video to the Yamaha and a bunch of Chromecast Audios that you’re hooking up to the whole house multiroom amplifier?

Also you can hardwire Chromecasts to your network with Google’s aftermarket USB/Ethernet adapter ($15).

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Well, I'm an engineer so maybe I am totally missing something. If the products were available at their true price, why doesn't the CI simply charge more for labor etc...? They don't provide any value add in purchasing or inventory control compared to an amazon etc... making the distribution more efficient saves cost in the system, and they can get their needed margins by providing the true price to the consumer.



This also would encourage automation of simple tasks where it makes no sense for the CI or the consumer to involve the CI. It yields a more efficient system.



The model now where distribution is controlled to only dealers is obsolete. Look at the death of retail giants like Sears who is going into liquidation. Being able to order parts from amazon or walmart etc.. and having them delivered and then installed by the CI allows a more competitive and more efficient system.



I see these companies building "faux" brands like Luxul etc,... that deliver crappier products compared with companies like Ubiquiti etc..., so that consumers can't tell what the real prices are for the gear, but that is not going to work. What volume does Luxul have compared with Ubiquiti? Squat. And volume is everything in this business.



Sonos did what they did because they realized they were going to get destroyed by Google and the Chromecast ecosystem if they didn't. They still might, but at least they don't have the dead weight of the CI margins around their neck. Others are going to realize the same thing, or those companies will suffer more and more until they fade away.



I get why people want to have exclusivity and lack of competition - it's easier and more profitable. But online distribution has changed all that. Business that try and fight this model are doomed. It's not as efficient and delivers a worse value for consumers. they have all come to expect more.



Again, why is this good for consumers? If C4 and Crestron etc... insist on holding on to this model as they try and compete with the likes of Google and Amazon and all the CE companies aligned with them, they are doomed, and so are the integrators that they sell though. It's not just a the old set of competitors they are dealing with.



If this is really their strategy, I would really advise anyone considering a C4 or Crestron system to think twice about what they are getting in to.



As Tom Wheeler (former FCC chairman) said to the cable operators at a conference, "The Internet is going to disrupt your business. It does that to everyone."



thanks,

mike


Totally agree. Head in the sand does favors to no one. Just look at what Lutron is doing with the Caseta program - now THATS an old CI company that knows how to adapt in an intelligent manner.

If the other old CI companies don’t start doing something similar, they’re set to lose a huge chunk of their market share to new companies buying into the new model being pushed HARD by Amazon and Google.

One thing to keep in mind is just how tech-saavy the younger generations are. This is the CI company’s next customer. Whether they like it or not, their next customer can figure out and do a LOT on their own with these more DIY and cost friendly products. A lot of computer companies in the 90s lost out big to Apple/Microsoft because they thought no one would be using these ‘too-complex’ devices at home. They failed to realize that the computer revolution would create computer-saavy customers.

Lutron is churning out a higher price point open-distribution product that capitlizes on ClearConnect’s strengths in reliability and speed that will lure these tech-saavy ‘next customers’ away from much more expensive labor-intensive CI products. They’re also getting massive amounts of free marketing by landing ‘top smart home product’ awards from CNET and the like, that coincidentally is directly targetting these ‘next customers’.

I work in the tech industry. Due to the efforts of Amazon and Google, despite a large number of us being able to easily afford CI solutions, guess what’s in our homes? As tech continues to replace more and more traditional jobs, this is only going to be exacerbated.

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Totally agree. Head in the sand does favors to no one. Just look at what Lutron is doing with the Caseta program - now THATS an old CI company that knows how to adapt in an intelligent manner.

If the other old CI companies don’t start doing something similar, they’re set to lose a huge chunk of their market share to new companies buying into the new model being pushed HARD by Amazon and Google.

One thing to keep in mind is just how tech-saavy the younger generations are. This is the CI company’s next customer. Whether they like it or not, their next customer can figure out and do a LOT on their own with these more DIY and cost friendly products. A lot of computer companies in the 90s lost out big to Apple/Microsoft because they thought no one would be using these ‘too-complex’ devices at home. They failed to realize that the computer revolution would create computer-saavy customers.

Lutron is churning out a higher price point open-distribution product that capitlizes on ClearConnect’s strengths in reliability and speed that will lure these tech-saavy ‘next customers’ away from much more expensive labor-intensive CI products. They’re also getting massive amounts of free marketing by landing ‘top smart home product’ awards from CNET and the like, that coincidentally is directly targetting these ‘next customers’.

I work in the tech industry. Due to the efforts of Amazon and Google, despite a large number of us being able to easily afford CI solutions, guess what’s in our homes? As tech continues to replace more and more traditional jobs, this is only going to be exacerbated.
Currently the big CI players have a few advantages - a broader ecosystem and a 1 app experience. You cannot control your home with 1 google app, period. At least not to the level you can with the larger players. And though people like to stand on the soap box and talk about the demise of CI, if you actually look at the steps Control4 is taking, they are going more DIY. but sometimes people cannot see the forest through the trees.

Oh and I have Ubiquiti gear and Control4 - I do not have Luxul or Packedge or whatever other CI brand. Because I found a dealer willing to work with me on my terms. That is why he is in business and does very well, he listens to his customers. that being said, Ubiquiti isnt the be all end all. It is not as "plug and play" as people make it out to be, especially if you have a few AP's and really want to do proper coverage/hand off. And their routers - any moderate type tweak requires SSH and doing unix coding - no thanks here!
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Currently the big CI players have a few advantages - a broader ecosystem and a 1 app experience. You cannot control your home with 1 google app, period. At least not to the level you can with the larger players.
That last sentence is key. I would say, for the majority of people, the Google Home App (not sure about Amazon) on it's own does a pretty good job covering the device types a person wants to control -- if you're starting from scratch and can pick compatible equipment. You've got security systems, cameras, locks, lights, shades, thermostats, audio and video.

But yes, if you're trying to integrate with legacy equipment that doesn't support Google/Amazon it can be a big leap - but in that case, you probably already have a CI system anyway OR the devices you have are basic builder-level stuff and isn't designed for 3rd-party control, period. I don't know too many people with 3rd-party control devices that have neither Google/Amazon support nor an existing CI system - it just doesn't make sense to install these higher-priced devices in such cases. Security systems are probably one of the very few counterexamples since they naturally require 3rd party control to function with alerting agencies.

Note that the more DIY-oriented hub devices are definitely making pretty big strides towards filling in these gaps by providing an integration between Google/Amazon and locally-controlled devices. By acting as an integration go-between, they offer native Google Home App support for these locally-controlled devices, which is pretty damn cool. OpenHab is the example I'm familiar with, but I'm sure the less DIY-intensive ones are working on it as well.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Google/Amazon are also working on local-control support as well. In computing, as a whole, reliability is a huge concern with both of those companies. Obviously cloud-control support is the faster path to wide adoption (let others do the work for you), hence a natural place to start. But, for example, Google has been working hard on ML chipsets designed to be embedded into devices. It wouldn't be hard to offload ML queries (perhaps personalized to how YOU use the device) onto these chips to support local voice control with your Home device when the cloud isn't accessible. (see https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/26/1...earning-devkit)

Finally, most of the DIY-oriented hub devices, mentioned earlier, have their own 1-app control for all the devices previously mentioned. For most of them, the UI isn't as pretty, though.

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And though people like to stand on the soap box and talk about the demise of CI, if you actually look at the steps Control4 is taking, they are going more DIY. but sometimes people cannot see the forest through the trees.
Great to here C4 is working on this. I wasn't naming any names, because I'm not familiar with the steps that other big CI companies are taking.

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That last sentence is key. I would say, for the majority of people, the Google Home App (not sure about Amazon) on it's own does a pretty good job covering the device types a person wants to control -- if you're starting from scratch and can pick compatible equipment. You've got security systems, cameras, locks, lights, shades, thermostats, audio and video.

But yes, if you're trying to integrate with legacy equipment that doesn't support Google/Amazon it can be a big leap - but in that case, you probably already have a CI system anyway OR the devices you have are basic builder-level stuff and isn't designed for 3rd-party control, period. I don't know too many people with 3rd-party control devices that have neither Google/Amazon support nor an existing CI system - it just doesn't make sense to install these higher-priced devices. Security systems are probably one of the very few counterexamples since they naturally require 3rd party control to function with alerting agencies.

Note that the more DIY-oriented hub devices are definitely making pretty big strides towards filling in these gaps by providing an integration between Google/Amazon and locally-controlled devices. By acting as an integration go-between, they offer native Google Home App support for these locally-controlled devices, which is pretty damn cool. OpenHab is the example I'm familiar with, but I'm sure the less DIY-intensive ones are working on it as well.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Google/Amazon are also working on local-control support as well. In computing, as a whole, reliability is a huge concern with both of those companies. Obviously cloud-control support is the faster path to wide adoption (let others do the work for you), hence a natural place to start. But, for example, Google has been working hard on ML chipsets designed to be embedded into their Home devices. It wouldn't be hard to offload ML queries (perhaps personalized to how YOU use the device) onto these chips to support local voice control with your Home device when the cloud isn't accessible. (see https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/26/1...earning-devkit)



Great to here C4 is working on this. I wasn't naming any names, because I'm not familiar with the steps that other big CI companies are taking.
how many people are buying all of their components at once from the ground up? Most people buy over time, so they have legacy equipment and new equipment. So yes if someone is outfitting an entire house from scratch and they want basic lights/hvac/music and are ok with the handful of options offered by a platform, go for it. But if you are building a 3,000+ sq ft house and you want panelized lighting or a comprehensive tied together Audio/Video system, it is just not going to cut it.

I am not sure why there is always back and forth on this same topic. Google wants as much info in the cloud as possible, not necessarily stored on your local controller. Google and Amazon push web services, it makes them money. So does access to your data, that makes them money. Please feel free to correct me but most hardware made by Amazon/Google are all based on/depend on cloud technologies. Custom CI hubs like C4 or Crestron or Savant are all based on local hubs and work with or without internet, no waiting/lag time, no bandwidth/connection issues, etc. I've been testing some cloud stuff and there is clearly a delay - lately its been Unifi AP's connection into IFTTT. I was hoping to use that for geofencing purposes but the delay is too slow. When I have a sensor local on C4, its instant.

Google/Amazon voice control (not automation, but control) enhance C4, Crestron, etc because they work in that platform. That is what is nice about CI platforms, these are enhancements to their platform, not their platform in full.

There are different platforms for different people for different budgets. The OP wanted help with streaming audio - what does that have to do with nano chips or whatever google is building? he is using chromecasts, so if people have stuff to add, please help him. If you want to start a post about DIY vs CI, start a new thread so we can have the same circular conversation. Can compare it to cars, vacations, homes or any other non essential purchase. a $1000/night room at a resort is not the same as a $100/night room at a Motel 6 4 blocks from the beach. You may still be on the same island, but the experience isnt the same. If you are ok packing up the family and walking 4 blocks to the beach, you just found your sweet spot, a cheaper room and accessing the public portion of the beach not the private beach which the $1,000 guests have access to from their rooms. nothing wrong with that if that is what you seek. But until you spend a night in the $1000 room it is tough to judge if it is worth it TO YOU. some people would rather the $100 room, others would rather the $1,000 room.
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how many people are buying all of their components at once from the ground up? Most people buy over time, so they have legacy equipment and new equipment.
Then they already have a CI system or a DIY system that they've invested in, so it's kind of a moot point?

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Google/Amazon voice control (not automation, but control) enhance C4, Crestron, etc because they work in that platform. That is what is nice about CI platforms, these are enhancements to their platform, not their platform in full.
Same with a plethora of DIY hub options.

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There are different platforms for different people for different budgets.
Agreed. The 'next customer' is different from today's or last decade's customer - they are a lot more price sensitive and a lot more technically savvy. A lot of these companies are disrupting the CI space with DIY lower-cost solutions. You used to not be able to get 'XYZ' features for a lower non-CI price in an easy DIY interface. Now you can. So not only are the people changing, but the conversation is changing too. That's opportunity-cost right there, and a loss of market share unless you can adapt. Yes, there will always be CI companies for the top-dollar do-it-for-me crowd, but the CI companies that fail to innovate into the DIY space are losing marketshare (and likely some revenue as well) to the companies that are making it easy and cheap for the 'next customer'. If they don't want that customer, great, but they should prepare for the ramifications of doing so, instead of being left behind like the computer companies of the 80s/90s. Remember Xerox?
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Then they already have a CI system or a DIY system that they've invested in, so it's kind of a moot point?



Same with a plethora of DIY hub options.



Agreed. The 'next customer' is different from today's or last decade's customer - they are a lot more price sensitive and a lot more technically savvy. A lot of these companies are disrupting the CI space with DIY lower-cost solutions. You used to not be able to get 'XYZ' features for a lower non-CI price in an easy DIY interface. Now you can. So not only are the people changing, but the conversation is changing too. That's opportunity-cost right there, and a loss of market share unless you can adapt. Yes, there will always be CI companies for the top-dollar do-it-for-me crowd, but the CI companies that fail to innovate into the DIY space are losing marketshare (and likely some revenue as well) to the companies that are making it easy and cheap for the 'next customer'.
The CI space has always competed against the DIY space. Its nothing new. 20 years ago you could hook up your own TV or pay someone to do it. 10 years ago you could hire someone to program a remote or do it yourself. CI is like most luxury items - it affords a better experience (when done properly), it is customized, it can do more and its not recession proof so yes the CI space gets hurt when the house market falls, etc. Does not mean CI is going away.

and I believe DIY hubs are better than native Google Home type set ups but still not as robust as CI platforms given the extra features on the CI platforms over the hubs.

Remember Xerox? I do not have time to list all the DIY/start up/IoT companies that have went belly up or are just a complete disaster. Iris? Wink? How many kickstarter type campaigns get money and never see the light of day? HomeKit is 5 years in and is a joke of an offering. There are plenty of DIY failures, there are plenty of Large Fortune 100 companies that are failures. Your point? If you can compare a large Blue Chip Fortune 100 company (Xerox) to a niche product market business like C4 have it - but its two totally different business models and segments.
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The CI space has always competed against the DIY space. Its nothing new. 20 years ago you could hook up your own TV or pay someone to do it. 10 years ago you could hire someone to program a remote or do it yourself. CI is like most luxury items - it affords a better experience (when done properly), it is customized, it can do more and its not recession proof so yes the CI space gets hurt when the house market falls, etc. Does not mean CI is going away.
I'm sorry if you don't see the landscape changing. I'll leave you with these rhetorical questions... Are these more DIY-oriented companies growing or shrinking? Is the market for DIY-oriented products growing or shrinking? Are customers getting more saavy and more-interested in DIY or less?

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and I believe DIY hubs are better than native Google Home type set ups but still not as robust as CI platforms given the extra features on the CI platforms over the hubs.
And Google/Amazon/Hubs have extra features over the CI platforms. Until we talk specifics, we can't really start talking about the differences. Not going to go down that road though as that's a longer and probably never-ending conversation.

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I'm sorry if you don't see the landscape changing. I'll leave you with these rhetorical questions... Are these more DIY-oriented companies growing or shrinking? Is the market for DIY-oriented products growing or shrinking? Are customers getting more saavy and more-interested in DIY or less?



And Google/Amazon/Hubs have extra features over the CI platforms. Until we talk specifics, we can't really start talking about the differences. Not going to go down that road though as that's a longer and probably never-ending conversation.
any data about the growing DIY space is inflated. yes its growing, but if your 70 year old grandma gets an Alexa because she wants to talk to her grandkids or something by stats she has a "connected" home. She is not controlling dozens of lights, security cameras, audio/video, pool control, garage doors, etc. oh and btw - based on the very few pure play CI companies that are publicly traded, they are all growing too. so go figure.

Maybe I have my head in the sand but if Google/Amazon/Hubs all work WITHIN and UNDER a CI umbrella, how can they possibly have MORE FEATURES? I can take Vera and put it in C4, so I have whatever Vera can do plus whatever C4 can do - how is Vera more?
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if Google/Amazon/Hubs all work WITHIN and UNDER a CI umbrella, how can they possibly have MORE FEATURES? I can take Vera and put it in C4, so I have whatever Vera can do plus whatever C4 can do - how is Vera more?
Because not all of their features are externally controllable. Just like not all of the features of the CI products are externally controllable.
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