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post #1 of 98 Old 01-06-2019, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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WHA, Amps, matrix, Streaming, Etc.

Hello All,

I've had an account here for some time but it seems it got lost etc, so new account here but I've been lurking etc for years.

Long story short. ANOTHER new home build. Great. read all the older posts. I get it. so we ran wire and ran wire and ran wire.

10 TV runs, 13 zones of speakers. All TV runs have 4 Cat6 and 2 coax. Speaker runs are setup to deal with volume controllers etc etc. Everything home run to a AV closet. (figuring out I'm going to need a larger rack.)

I am understanding enough of looking at turn key/dealer installed systems etc, that it's probably the way to go, but I hate the fact of not being able to control it yourself. We aren't big movie people, we aren't big music people, BUT we like to watch a movie, or netflix series here and there, and we like to have music playing during the day, either current zones playing the same, or possibly two different sources playing.

So what has piqued my interest is video storm and their DIY residential package. What I can't figure out is the audio support they have. I have also read about the crestron 16x60 amps, with the chromecasts. That's definitely interesting also. So with that being said.

I have a Yamaha rx-a3020 AVR that is currently powering a 5.1 system in the family room and then have 2 other zones hooked up for music playback. I like the Yamaha app on the iphone, where we can select zones and sources etc....it's easy and the wife can understand it.

So I was able to find some smoking deals on crestron amps (smoking enough that if I can't use them I can almost give them away and not lose money)
The issue is how to take the Yamaha AVR with the sources of audio (mostly Apple music, Itunes, synology library, HDFM, etc) and send those signals to the crestron amp for use over 12 zones. I.E. select what source I want for whatever zone, or 1 source for all zones. I've seen the write ups with the chromecasts, BUT due to it being google, apple music is pretty much black balled.

So looking around is there a matrix I'm possibly missing that would take inputs /outputs from the yamaha and split it between 16 zones or such. This is part of the reason I was looking at the video storm solution, though I haven't seen much on their audio distribution etc. Our main video is OTA and such it's just coax to each tv. We have firesticks and also roku for streaming different channels and such. (also a HDhomerun that's not playing well with synology and ubiquiti) Anyways I think you get the idea.

Does anyone know if video storm with the audio support would fill what I want, or is what I want not obtainable without doing a 20k-50k HA system?
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post #2 of 98 Old 01-06-2019, 10:07 PM
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Ah, those Crestron amps are BEASTS! If you have a bunch, I would 2 channels out of phase so they can drive a single speaker - they are rated 200W per channel in that configuration. Check this out: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-re...atmos-amp.html

There a few ways to do what you are looking for, depending on how tech savvy you are.

The simpliest is to use a maxtrix switch. You can get them from a number of places, and older ones for quite cheap. The problem I see with this is control. You will need some way of selecting what you want to do in terms of output. But I guess my question is why do you care? That iks, what is the source that you are feeding through the Yahama that you want to send to the WHA zones?

If it's a ripped library on synology, I am sure you can use Plex or another app to source them to chromecasts. If it's apple streaming, there are software packages that run on Macs and other systerms (e.g. Castbridge) that make the Chromecasts look like airplay zones, and then all the airplay apps just work. Then you don't need the Yamaha app etc.. at all - you send the audio direct from the airplay source.

As for HD audio FM, is it really the case you have FM stations that don't send their programming out over the internet in a iheartradio or some other app that has cast support? It'll be more reliable than HD audio from my experience.

Again, you can go the matrix route, and you can get decent deals on ebay for older audio maxtrix style switches, but I don't actually think that's what you want. The control and volume management etc... gets very complicated that way. Streaming direct via airplay to chromecast conversion might be the right answer for you.

thx
mike
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post #3 of 98 Old 01-07-2019, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Mike,
thanks for the reply, I've read your threads on how you setup the chromecasts etc. Also I think Jleanord on his setup of the crestron amps.

I think I'm fairly tech savy, where my weakness is, is setting up the audio and video systems. I have in my head how I want it to run, and it shouldn't be a big deal to make it work as such. My sticking point, as you said, is the control of the inputs and selections I guess. That's what drew me to the chromecasts, and your mention of the app looks like it might cure the issue being able to cast IOS / Apple music stuff over the network like I can now using the Yamaha AV controller.

If my understanding is correct, using the chromecasts into the crestron amps is essentially a poor mans matrix, and in the case a 16x16 matrix. I have 13 zones, with at least 2-3 more to expand to. The chromecast solution looks to be very budget friendly, especially when we aren't all that into HA etc. The only drawback I can see is what I would call App jumping. I really like the Yamaha AV controller app as it's simply easy. Currently we have two audio zones plugged in and the family room has a 5.1 speaker setup which is used just for music listening at the moment. (need a hdbaset ARC unit to get that straightened out I believe. We are only OTA signals, and really don't have a blueray player, just stream from roku player embedded in TCL tv.) Anyways with that app we select zone, select what the input we want to play and it's done. 3 different sources playing over 3 different zones. Why can't yamaha make a 16 zone unit. HA. Understood that is what the matrix would do, but then again we are back to control of that matrix. with the 13 zones, probably a few thousand to do.

Thanks for the castbridge link. It's funny we just got a handme down Imac and was wondering what to do with it, now it's revealed it's use will be that app. My other downfall is not knowing all the apps and little tweaks that are out there. I have a synology server and those apps is what I used for music server etc, but we even moved away from that as the library seems un user friendly and we need to sort that out. So most music is streaming apple music or amazon music. We haven't ventured into the google world, so got a chromecast yesterday to get it setup and play with the interface to see how it works and handles.

On the video side, like I said we are all OTA. But we have 5 current TV setup, with probably 3-5 more to be put in as the kids get older. Also have a feed of 10 security cams, inside and outside. They are not setup yet but planned in the future. This is where I've been looking at video storm as a possible goto for integrating these pieces, I guess i should call them and see how all of their pieces work together.


Did you also modify the crestron amps to be able to use 12v trigger? Or was that jleanord? I need to go back and see what was involved with that
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post #4 of 98 Old 01-07-2019, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul DiFrank View Post
Hello All,

I've had an account here for some time but it seems it got lost etc, so new account here but I've been lurking etc for years.

Long story short. ANOTHER new home build. Great. read all the older posts. I get it. so we ran wire and ran wire and ran wire.

10 TV runs, 13 zones of speakers. All TV runs have 4 Cat6 and 2 coax. Speaker runs are setup to deal with volume controllers etc etc. Everything home run to a AV closet. (figuring out I'm going to need a larger rack.)

I am understanding enough of looking at turn key/dealer installed systems etc, that it's probably the way to go, but I hate the fact of not being able to control it yourself. We aren't big movie people, we aren't big music people, BUT we like to watch a movie, or netflix series here and there, and we like to have music playing during the day, either current zones playing the same, or possibly two different sources playing.

So what has piqued my interest is video storm and their DIY residential package. What I can't figure out is the audio support they have. I have also read about the crestron 16x60 amps, with the chromecasts. That's definitely interesting also. So with that being said.

I have a Yamaha rx-a3020 AVR that is currently powering a 5.1 system in the family room and then have 2 other zones hooked up for music playback. I like the Yamaha app on the iphone, where we can select zones and sources etc....it's easy and the wife can understand it.

So I was able to find some smoking deals on crestron amps (smoking enough that if I can't use them I can almost give them away and not lose money)
The issue is how to take the Yamaha AVR with the sources of audio (mostly Apple music, Itunes, synology library, HDFM, etc) and send those signals to the crestron amp for use over 12 zones. I.E. select what source I want for whatever zone, or 1 source for all zones. I've seen the write ups with the chromecasts, BUT due to it being google, apple music is pretty much black balled.

So looking around is there a matrix I'm possibly missing that would take inputs /outputs from the yamaha and split it between 16 zones or such. This is part of the reason I was looking at the video storm solution, though I haven't seen much on their audio distribution etc. Our main video is OTA and such it's just coax to each tv. We have firesticks and also roku for streaming different channels and such. (also a HDhomerun that's not playing well with synology and ubiquiti) Anyways I think you get the idea.

Does anyone know if video storm with the audio support would fill what I want, or is what I want not obtainable without doing a 20k-50k HA system?
first reach out to video storm on their website - they usually reply to emails within 1 business day.

They have an audio matrix, CMX series. there is a 16x16 or 38x38. so with 13 zones of speakers you can get the 16x16 model. I use VS with Control4, so I have some C4 multi channel amps, but you could likely use any multi channel amps. Control4 can give you 1-5 streaming audio sources, so I have those into the CMX matrix and it goes out to various channels in the amps. I also have other audio sources like cable boxes, a record player, blu ray player, etc also into the matrix. works easy.

As far as having your own control, control4 does sell software called composer HE. its a 1 time fee of $149 and you get software that can do 100% of the programming a dealer can do. You still need a dealer to create your project, sell you c4 branded gear and add hardware to the project. So its not 100% DIY. but the combo of VS And C4 works great. I know you can control VS via Alexa or other avenues; I just do not have experience in that area
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post #5 of 98 Old 01-07-2019, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I have looked at control 4, but all the dealers around here seem to want a gold mine for their work. I get it, but I do a bunch myself. Heck I contracted the house myself as I didn't want to deal with a builder, and did a bunch of work myself. Ran all the LV wiring and Central Vac, etc etc. So maybe some of the install cost on a dealer supplied system would be down a bit. I want to say 1 dealer who could do an elan or control4 system, was around 35-50k. Explained to him I loved the system but I needed a roof and a driveway before a full HA setup.

Anyways my fear on the control 4 is, i get you can use the HE, but I thought my understanding was if you added or subtracted components or switches it still took a dealer call to do that. Otherwise you could program how things come on and off etc, just can't add new equipment.
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Originally Posted by Paul DiFrank View Post
I have looked at control 4, but all the dealers around here seem to want a gold mine for their work. I get it, but I do a bunch myself. Heck I contracted the house myself as I didn't want to deal with a builder, and did a bunch of work myself. Ran all the LV wiring and Central Vac, etc etc. So maybe some of the install cost on a dealer supplied system would be down a bit. I want to say 1 dealer who could do an elan or control4 system, was around 35-50k. Explained to him I loved the system but I needed a roof and a driveway before a full HA setup.

Anyways my fear on the control 4 is, i get you can use the HE, but I thought my understanding was if you added or subtracted components or switches it still took a dealer call to do that. Otherwise you could program how things come on and off etc, just can't add new equipment.
http://www.c4forums.com/forum/26-loo...an-integrator/
find yourself a remote dealer. They are usually comfortable working with you even if you buy stuff on ebay, on the c4forums classified section, or new through them. You can do all the wiring. And they can give you a price quote to get your system up and running.

correct, a dealer needs to add hardware. once the system is set up, how many times do you add a new receiver to TV or light switch? honestly, you could go months if not longer before you add hardware. And some dealers if you buy hardware from them give you the quick set up/driver install for free.

Its a relationship I've grown to love. When I have time I can tinker and play, but when I am busy and I just need something to work, I can drop my dealer an email and within 1-2 days the job is done. So I feel I have the best of both worlds.
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post #7 of 98 Old 01-07-2019, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul DiFrank View Post
I have looked at control 4, but all the dealers around here seem to want a gold mine for their work. I get it, but I do a bunch myself. Heck I contracted the house myself as I didn't want to deal with a builder, and did a bunch of work myself. Ran all the LV wiring and Central Vac, etc etc. So maybe some of the install cost on a dealer supplied system would be down a bit. I want to say 1 dealer who could do an elan or control4 system, was around 35-50k. Explained to him I loved the system but I needed a roof and a driveway before a full HA setup.

Anyways my fear on the control 4 is, i get you can use the HE, but I thought my understanding was if you added or subtracted components or switches it still took a dealer call to do that. Otherwise you could program how things come on and off etc, just can't add new equipment.
I think the future is not going in the direction of control4, Crestron etc... Staying with the Google or Amazon (or even Apple) ecosystems for WHA is far more likely to give you a smoother experience that improves with time. Control4, etc... are always going to be aimed at a small group on consumers who are willing to pay a lot and involve professionals and low volume equipment. that you can't buy at retail and in a competitive way.

I think this will also apply to video just as well, but we are held back by proprietary set top boxes right now. As cable and DBS moves to the same Android TV platform that many OTT video players use, that will change. But since you are OTA only, you have a ton of great options like Plex that can do DVR and fully integrate into the OTT world. Amazon even released a OTA DVR now if you prefer that world to the Google Android TV world.

It's very hard to fight volume when it comes to consumer electronics.

Good luck!
Mike
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I think the future is not going in the direction of control4, Crestron etc... Staying with the Google or Amazon (or even Apple) ecosystems for WHA is far more likely to give you a smoother experience that improves with time. Control4, etc... are always going to be aimed at a small group on consumers who are willing to pay a lot and involve professionals and low volume equipment. that you can't buy at retail and in a competitive way.

I think this will also apply to video just as well, but we are held back by proprietary set top boxes right now. As cable and DBS moves to the same Android TV platform that many OTT video players use, that will change. But since you are OTA only, you have a ton of great options like Plex that can do DVR and fully integrate into the OTT world. Amazon even released a OTA DVR now if you prefer that world to the Google Android TV world.

It's very hard to fight volume when it comes to consumer electronics.

Good luck!
Mike
The c4 hub is the only c4 branded hardware you need for C4. Amazon, Google and Apple all reside in the cloud - which has its many drawbacks. C4 (and several others) run on a local hub. And I am not sure about this "smooth" experience. One brother in law is trying to mesh Lorax cameras with his Simplisafe alarm system and some interior lighting and door controls and maybe HVAC. With control4 it would be a snap. Using the big 3 he is at a loss. Another brother in law is asking me for help with a doorbell camera setup where he can get a live video feed on a portable tablet or an assistant with a screen due to not always having his cell phone on him in the house. Mixing that with some of his other platforms like a door lock and lights have been fruitless.

I've said this so many times on this forum - the big 3 could SQUASH C4 or Crestron or Savant. If they even had a remote interest in the space they would simply buy up one of these firms. The "inroads" made by the big 3 have been about data collection (which is their cash cash) and voice control - very minimal in the way of automation. Homekit has been around for 5 years and its a set of door locks, thermostat, door sensor and expensive LED bulbs. Oh and cameras and a sprinkler system. That is not home automation and its probably less than 50 unique appliances/offerings.

too many people confuse automation with control. Why do I like video control - because when certain things trigger I can see my exterior cameras on my TV screen without pressing a button. How does Roku handle that when your alarm goes off? You get your TVs turned into personal command stations?

If you want to control a handful of devices, there is nothing wrong with Amazon, Google and Apple. If you want to automate 10,000's of devices, the big 3 aren't for you. You need to look elsewhere, even if not C4.
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I'll look into the c4 thing again.


On another front, to hook up the Chromecast to the crestron amp, need rca. So is there a HDMI ---> RCA converter?
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post #10 of 98 Old 01-07-2019, 09:51 AM
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how do you manage 10 chromecasts for 10 zones efficiently? and without a matrix the ability to join them? could be possible, I am not 100% up to date. Though personally I am not a fan of "casting" as a formal solution. In a pinch when I want to see a youtube video on TV ok, but I am also not tethered to my phone in my house, so having wall buttons/touch screens or voice prompts to do audio makes more sense to me. But each user can vary.

the Video Storm CMX also has access to the old Logitech SqueezeServer. So you can steam content using the CMX. And the CMX will with audio/video lip sync issues as well using the VS Video delivery platform (netplay)

the CMX may be a good solution for you.
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From what I can tell, using the google home app. If your using one of the embedded streaming apps to play the music. You choose the song, then you choose which chromecasts to cast it to. Each one is labeled for each room, you touch on it and it plays. I only have one now....but the casting app that Mike turned me onto.....I touch apple music....cast it to the chromecast and it plays. About to go pickup another to see how it does with two of them.

Figured out there is a difference as first gen is chromecast audio, current version of chromcast is a hdmi out plug. the audio is just a din plug. So the audio one should be easy to get a din to rca, going hdmi to rca I think would get pricey.
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post #12 of 98 Old 01-07-2019, 11:17 AM
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From what I can tell, using the google home app. If your using one of the embedded streaming apps to play the music. You choose the song, then you choose which chromecasts to cast it to. Each one is labeled for each room, you touch on it and it plays. I only have one now....but the casting app that Mike turned me onto.....I touch apple music....cast it to the chromecast and it plays. About to go pickup another to see how it does with two of them.

Figured out there is a difference as first gen is chromecast audio, current version of chromcast is a hdmi out plug. the audio is just a din plug. So the audio one should be easy to get a din to rca, going hdmi to rca I think would get pricey.
but what about streaming the audio for video content? you have a big set up
https://www.video-storm.com/proddeta...prod=cmx1616a2
if you add the optional NAB100: https://www.video-storm.com/proddetail.asp?prod=nab100
you get 8 streams, pandora/tunein/google music/spotify, slacker, and other audio sources. integrate your audio library via itunes. cover art, etc.

the big piece is tying your video and audio system into 1 platform.
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I agree with what your saying and that’s why I have been looking at video storm for the past year just haven’t gotten deep into it. I need to call them. The reason I’m not real worried about the video side is we really don’t do movies. I setup a 5.1 system in family room just so it’s there. Used DT rcs or is it rsw ceiling speakers and just playing music it sounds good.

The other rooms. Just the tv speakers work fine and they are all tcl TVs so they have Roku embedded in them. So no real need to stream from centralized source
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I agree with what your saying and that’s why I have been looking at video storm for the past year just haven’t gotten deep into it. I need to call them. The reason I’m not real worried about the video side is we really don’t do movies. I setup a 5.1 system in family room just so it’s there. Used DT rcs or is it rsw ceiling speakers and just playing music it sounds good.

The other rooms. Just the tv speakers work fine and they are all tcl TVs so they have Roku embedded in them. So no real need to stream from centralized source

When I have sports themed parties (super bowl, big games, etc) its helpful to pipe the audio feeds into the dining room and kitchen and bathrooms. No TV's in those locations but I have speakers. so the exact feed in sync that is on the TV(s) can also be in other rooms. I also do not have a TV outside, but same concept, I put the live feed on the speakers outside so those who go outside to get a beer (I am in NJ so usually during super bowl no cooler is needed, just leave beer outside) or go outside for a smoke can listen to the game.

I have 5 TV's in my house, 4 we use the TV audio and 1 I have with a 3.1 set up. But I still used centralized Audio of TV sources.

I also use centralized audio (not with TV) for doorbell chimes and other announcements too. Not sure how you could get those feeds into a Chromecast environment.
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I'll look into the c4 thing again.


On another front, to hook up the Chromecast to the crestron amp, need rca. So is there a HDMI ---> RCA converter?
What you want are the chromecast audio devices - they have high quality DACs and output stereo that feeds directly in to the amp.

Thx
mike
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how do you manage 10 chromecasts for 10 zones efficiently? and without a matrix the ability to join them? could be possible, I am not 100% up to date. Though personally I am not a fan of "casting" as a formal solution. In a pinch when I want to see a youtube video on TV ok, but I am also not tethered to my phone in my house, so having wall buttons/touch screens or voice prompts to do audio makes more sense to me. But each user can vary.

the Video Storm CMX also has access to the old Logitech SqueezeServer. So you can steam content using the CMX. And the CMX will with audio/video lip sync issues as well using the VS Video delivery platform (netplay)

the CMX may be a good solution for you.

Google made it possible make groups of any combination of chromecasts act as single for synchronized playback. It's actually really easy, and no separate app for control or switching. You don't need a new screen because everyone already has a screen with them.

if that doesn't work for you, voice control with google home devices also uses that same infrastructure for playback and no phone needed.

You should try it...

thx
mike
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post #17 of 98 Old 01-07-2019, 01:33 PM
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Google made it possible make groups of any combination of chromecasts act as single for synchronized playback. It's actually really easy, and no separate app for control or switching. You don't need a new screen because everyone already has a screen with them.

if that doesn't work for you, voice control with google home devices also uses that same infrastructure for playback and no phone needed.

You should try it...

thx
mike
I probably couldn't try it because my family is an iOS family. like 75% iOS and 25% Android. I need a platform that is mostly agnostic and just works regardless of device platform. Also as mentioned I need something that can support the audio from a video feed to be sync'd around the house. And I use audio announcements for doorbells and other announcements. Likely would not cut it for me in a clean setup. I also like to keep everything in 1 app, not have to go to chromecast for audio then somewhere else to pull the music stream, etc. Within c4 I can just pick a room/source and it plays, no hopping back and forth

To each his/her own.
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I probably couldn't try it because my family is an iOS family. like 75% iOS and 25% Android. I need a platform that is mostly agnostic and just works regardless of device platform. Also as mentioned I need something that can support the audio from a video feed to be sync'd around the house. And I use audio announcements for doorbells and other announcements. Likely would not cut it for me in a clean setup. I also like to keep everything in 1 app, not have to go to chromecast for audio then somewhere else to pull the music stream, etc. Within c4 I can just pick a room/source and it plays, no hopping back and forth

To each his/her own.

I'm not knocking what you've stated. I'm just saying that Chromecast is kind of platform agnostic. I have an Iphone X, 2018 Ipad and an Samsung tablet. Most apps having the casting feature built in, so it doesn't matter if you're team Android or Apple. It works with any platform and it's built into the Chrome browser if you need to cast from a browser tab.



Again, not to dispute what you're saying but I want people to have the full picture. I have the Nest Hello doorbell. I get announcements through whichever Google Home I designated and I limit the hours for which the announcements play. If someone rings the doorbell, certain lights in the house come on, the tvs in the masterbed and living rooms turn to the input that the Chromecast video is connected to and the video from the doorbell is available depending on which mode my automation system is in. It's a clean setup that isn't complex. My 79 year old mom actually knows how to cast or use her voice. She's done it before.

As far as streaming audio to Chromecasts, in reality you will go to one app if you go to an app. It's the music app from which you want to play a playlist or what have you. But no one should be going into any app if you use Chromecast. If the person with Chromecast is doing it right, 98% of the time you're not going into any app to cast. I use voice to get a playlist going or scenes from my automation system that will kickoff music when I wake up or end music when I start a movie or leave to go to work. When I want to watch Netflix I tell the Google Home in a particular room to stream season 2 of Stranger Things or Birdbox or whatever show or movie and it knows to stream to the Chromecast TV I've specified in the Google Home app. If I want to play my discover weekly playlist from Spotify I ask the Google Home to play discover weekly and it play on either the default 'All' zone or the zone I specify. I say all of to say that there's no hopping between multiple apps. You're in one app or no apps. You can even use your voice to adjust the volume or stop or pause the stream.

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I'm not knocking what you've stated. I'm just saying that Chromecast is kind of platform agnostic. I have an Iphone X, 2018 Ipad and an Samsung tablet. Most apps having the casting feature built in, so it doesn't matter if you're team Android or Apple. It works with any platform and it's built into the Chrome browser if you need to cast from a browser tab.



Again, not to dispute what you're saying but I want people to have the full picture. I have the Nest Hello doorbell. I get announcements through whichever Google Home I designated and I limit the hours for which the announcements play. If someone rings the doorbell, certain lights in the house come on, the tvs in the masterbed and living rooms turn to the input that the Chromecast video is connected to and the video from the doorbell is available depending on which mode my automation system is in. It's a clean setup that isn't complex. My 79 year old mom actually knows how to cast or use her voice. She's done it before.

As far as streaming audio to Chromecasts, in reality you will go to one app if you go to an app. It's the music app from which you want to play a playlist or what have you. But no one should be going into any app if you use Chromecast. If the person with Chromecast is doing it right, 98% of the time you're not going into any app to cast. I use voice to get a playlist going or scenes from my automation system that will kickoff music when I wake up or end music when I start a movie or leave to go to work. When I want to watch Netflix I tell the Google Home in a particular room to stream season 2 of Stranger Things or Birdbox or whatever show or movie and it knows to stream to the Chromecast TV I've specified in the Google Home app. If I want to play my discover weekly playlist from Spotify I ask the Google Home to play discover weekly and it play on either the default 'All' zone or the zone I specify. I say all of to say that there's no hopping between multiple apps. You're in one app or no apps. You can even use your voice to adjust the volume or stop or pause the stream.
ahard is exactly right. That's the beauty of the Cast approach - the source of the audio stream should be where the control is. You should be able to control playback from the msuic app itself, and have the phone's volume controls be the zone volume control (which you are in the app), and cast allows you to select which group of speakers you want to output to, even if there are multiple zones. No intermediaries.

Cast is the only platform agnostic solution out there that I know of where the spotify app, or plex etc... can control the playback seemlessly on both apple, android, and PC or Mac platforms. That's what ahard is saying. And with the castbridge app running on a mac somewhere in the network, even native Apple music can stream to chromecast groups of speakers easily.

Unifying control in one app where you don't need to go back and forth to select what zones or what volume is being streamed should be aim of any WHA system. And with voice control, you don't even need that.

i realize that this is a different model than what normal integrator solutions have provided. It made sense when you had just one CD changer with music on it, or one DVD player that you had to share. You had to have a matrix switch of some sort - no one was going to have a CD player for every zone in the house. Now, with all the music being streamed, either from shared NAS storage or from the Internet, coupled with ultracheap digital devices for each input zone or TV, you don't need switching anymore. In the matrix model, you had to have a separate control app or piece of hard that selected a source (keypad, touchscreen, etc...). That C4 app is just the logical extension of the keypad or touchscreen in the old model. Now in the software driven model, at least with Cast, you don't need control apps anymore (or keypads, etc...), because each endpoint or set of endpoints can be controlled directly from the content source, a mobile device or a voice controlled assistant.

It's a different model, but one kids get right away - they play everything back on their phones or tablets normally. Being able to cast from that to a big screen or a big set of speakers is a natural addition to them. They never used a separate app or keypad or player. It's a mobile dominated ecosystem, and that is the future of all this stuff.

Again, you should try it. Chromecast audios were going for $15... I think you'd like it, or at least see why its appealing to many of us...

thanks,
mike
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What you want are the chromecast audio devices - they have high quality DACs and output stereo that feeds directly in to the amp.

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So I got 4 of them locally on sale for 15.00. Now it looks like I need to get a 3.5mm plug to RCA patch cord. no big deal.....get them cheap enough. Need to find a sale on the ethernet adapters for them also.
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So I got 4 of them locally on sale for 15.00. Now it looks like I need to get a 3.5mm plug to RCA patch cord. no big deal.....get them cheap enough. Need to find a sale on the ethernet adapters for them also.
The google ethernet adapters work better than the generic ones sold on Amazon- the cheap ones can add noise to the audio under certain circumstances.

Good luck and come back and tell us how it went!

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The google ethernet adapters work better than the generic ones sold on Amazon- the cheap ones can add noise to the audio under certain circumstances.

Good luck and come back and tell us how it went!

Thanks
Mike

I'll look for the google adapters, think they are only in the google sstore?

as to the better DAC on the chromecast audio, you still need a 3.5mm male to rca cable to hook it up to the amps. Monoprice has them cheap enough 2.40 so shouldn't be an issue.

Got the amps powered up and had a extra speaker ceiling speaker laying in garage. hooked that up up and a chromecast. Not a bad sound. Have some DT D7 bookshelf speakers I'm going to take out there and see how they sound.

Have to look at my rack, as I might be out of room to mount the amps, besides the rack ears that were attached either got bent in shipping or were bent when shipped. Either way the heavy gauge metal is not easy to bend back.

Also have to wait for an assistant to heave these things into the rack. Damn they are heavy.
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I'm not knocking what you've stated. I'm just saying that Chromecast is kind of platform agnostic. I have an Iphone X, 2018 Ipad and an Samsung tablet. Most apps having the casting feature built in, so it doesn't matter if you're team Android or Apple. It works with any platform and it's built into the Chrome browser if you need to cast from a browser tab.



Again, not to dispute what you're saying but I want people to have the full picture. I have the Nest Hello doorbell. I get announcements through whichever Google Home I designated and I limit the hours for which the announcements play. If someone rings the doorbell, certain lights in the house come on, the tvs in the masterbed and living rooms turn to the input that the Chromecast video is connected to and the video from the doorbell is available depending on which mode my automation system is in. It's a clean setup that isn't complex. My 79 year old mom actually knows how to cast or use her voice. She's done it before.

As far as streaming audio to Chromecasts, in reality you will go to one app if you go to an app. It's the music app from which you want to play a playlist or what have you. But no one should be going into any app if you use Chromecast. If the person with Chromecast is doing it right, 98% of the time you're not going into any app to cast. I use voice to get a playlist going or scenes from my automation system that will kickoff music when I wake up or end music when I start a movie or leave to go to work. When I want to watch Netflix I tell the Google Home in a particular room to stream season 2 of Stranger Things or Birdbox or whatever show or movie and it knows to stream to the Chromecast TV I've specified in the Google Home app. If I want to play my discover weekly playlist from Spotify I ask the Google Home to play discover weekly and it play on either the default 'All' zone or the zone I specify. I say all of to say that there's no hopping between multiple apps. You're in one app or no apps. You can even use your voice to adjust the volume or stop or pause the stream.
if you want to stream pandora that is 1 app, spotify is another, amazon music is a 3rd, what about my 1 TB FLAC collection of live concerts - i need some app/interface to stream those via chromecast - so that's 4 apps right there. I left off SiriusXM so 5 apps are required. With control4, its 1 app to reach all of those services. I have a 4,000 sq ft house, not huge but larger than a normal house. Not sure how many google home's I'd need to have a doorbell sound play but I dont want clunky google home boxes sitting on counter tops. I have quality in ceiling speakers for audio which can also play doorbell sounds. During the holidays it plays holiday music as a doorbell. During football sunday parties the doorbell is theme music from the Network Sports Theme songs for fun. And I also prefer Alexa/Amazon for voice over Google Home, so I do not even have the desire to add a Google Home to my mix.

If you want to give in 100% to Google (or Amazon or another platform) you can limit yourself to certain devices and it may work for you. But again, its a very narrow slice of automation and what you can achieve.
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if you want to stream pandora that is 1 app, spotify is another, amazon music is a 3rd, what about my 1 TB FLAC collection of live concerts - i need some app/interface to stream those via chromecast - so that's 4 apps right there. I left off SiriusXM so 5 apps are required. With control4, its 1 app to reach all of those services. I have a 4,000 sq ft house, not huge but larger than a normal house. Not sure how many google home's I'd need to have a doorbell sound play but I dont want clunky google home boxes sitting on counter tops. I have quality in ceiling speakers for audio which can also play doorbell sounds. During the holidays it plays holiday music as a doorbell. During football sunday parties the doorbell is theme music from the Network Sports Theme songs for fun. And I also prefer Alexa/Amazon for voice over Google Home, so I do not even have the desire to add a Google Home to my mix.

If you want to give in 100% to Google (or Amazon or another platform) you can limit yourself to certain devices and it may work for you. But again, its a very narrow slice of automation and what you can achieve.

Your argument about 5 apps I think misses the point. Yes there are 5 apps. But I'd also ask how many times is someone going to be flipping back and forth between Spotify, Pandora, Sirius, Amazon Music, and music from a storage device, etc? I'd venture to say not very often. It's a edge case where that happens. I don't think that switching between multiple apps for most people is that big of a deal, especially when you're not doing it every 5 mins. Most listeners will likely keep the music playing from one app for a significant portion of their listening experience. And when they do decide to switch to a playlist from another streaming service, it's just easier for the person using Chromecast to issue a voice command for that action instead of going to the app.



But my larger point, which you may have missed, is that if you're using Chromecast and you're going into an app to get things going you're doing it wrong. Voice control of streaming services via Google Home is very good and it's more convenient than going into the app. Going into an app to start a Netflix or Spotify stream isn't something that most Chromecast users should be doing if they're using it in the most efficient manner.



I hear your point about not wanting Google Homes on your counter tops, but you may have tablets on your walls in various locations, so I'd say that it's a distinction without a difference. Again my point was that for the people that don't mind having a Google Home mini in certain locations around a home, no matter the size of the home, Google and Amazon offer a solution for people to get audio notifications from doorbells. It's not your thing, which is fine. But that same audio notification you're getting, sans Christmas music, which is cool, is also available to people who may not want to or be able to pay a significant amount of money for an integrator based system. It's a nice option for those folks. We should be applauding that.



And my point isn't to say that one side is better than the other. I have Google Home minis, Amazon Alexa, IoS, Android and Windows devices in my home. So I'm not all in 100% with any company's devices. The beauty is that my automation hub works with a wide variety of devices. I have a nearly 2,000 sqft home that is automated and easy to use. The beauty of what Google and Amazon is doing is that they're allowing more people to take part in this space that we enjoy. That's a good thing for all of us.

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post #25 of 98 Old 01-08-2019, 07:03 AM
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I have looked at control 4, but all the dealers around here seem to want a gold mine for their work. I get it, but I do a bunch myself. Heck I contracted the house myself as I didn't want to deal with a builder, and did a bunch of work myself. Ran all the LV wiring and Central Vac, etc etc. So maybe some of the install cost on a dealer supplied system would be down a bit. I want to say 1 dealer who could do an elan or control4 system, was around 35-50k. Explained to him I loved the system but I needed a roof and a driveway before a full HA setup.

Anyways my fear on the control 4 is, i get you can use the HE, but I thought my understanding was if you added or subtracted components or switches it still took a dealer call to do that. Otherwise you could program how things come on and off etc, just can't add new equipment.
What did he quote you? With 13 zones of audio and 10 zones of video, you're looking at pretty hefty system with Control4, so $35k may not be out of line with all that was quoted to you.

Having a dealer remotely add a device is not that tricky, and should not be that expensive. So if you were to add a switch for example, a small charge to add it to the system, and then with the HE version of Composer you can program all you want.
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What did he quote you? With 13 zones of audio and 10 zones of video, you're looking at pretty hefty system with Control4, so $35k may not be out of line with all that was quoted to you.

Having a dealer remotely add a device is not that tricky, and should not be that expensive. So if you were to add a switch for example, a small charge to add it to the system, and then with the HE version of Composer you can program all you want.
if I buy a C4 switch from my dealer he doesnt even charge me to add it to the project. Its 30 seconds of work.
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Your argument about 5 apps I think misses the point. Yes there are 5 apps. But I'd also ask how many times is someone going to be flipping back and forth between Spotify, Pandora, Sirius, Amazon Music, and music from a storage device, etc? I'd venture to say not very often. It's a edge case where that happens. I don't think that switching between multiple apps for most people is that big of a deal, especially when you're not doing it every 5 mins. Most listeners will likely keep the music playing from one app for a significant portion of their listening experience. And when they do decide to switch to a playlist from another streaming service, it's just easier for the person using Chromecast to issue a voice command for that action instead of going to the app.



But my larger point, which you may have missed, is that if you're using Chromecast and you're going into an app to get things going you're doing it wrong. Voice control of streaming services via Google Home is very good and it's more convenient than going into the app. Going into an app to start a Netflix or Spotify stream isn't something that most Chromecast users should be doing if they're using it in the most efficient manner.



I hear your point about not wanting Google Homes on your counter tops, but you may have tablets on your walls in various locations, so I'd say that it's a distinction without a difference. Again my point was that for the people that don't mind having a Google Home mini in certain locations around a home, no matter the size of the home, Google and Amazon offer a solution for people to get audio notifications from doorbells. It's not your thing, which is fine. But that same audio notification you're getting, sans Christmas music, which is cool, is also available to people who may not want to or be able to pay a significant amount of money for an integrator based system. It's a nice option for those folks. We should be applauding that.



And my point isn't to say that one side is better than the other. I have Google Home minis, Amazon Alexa, IoS, Android and Windows devices in my home. So I'm not all in 100% with any company's devices. The beauty is that my automation hub works with a wide variety of devices. I have a nearly 2,000 sqft home that is automated and easy to use. The beauty of what Google and Amazon is doing is that they're allowing more people to take part in this space that we enjoy. That's a good thing for all of us.
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 $$ thing - a pair of Etymotic is probably equal to or maybe cheaper than most Beats and pound for pound is a way better headphone. Yet Beats is mass produced and everyone loves their Beats. Enjoy what works for you. When I got into this hobby back in 2014 Google/Amazon/Apple did not hold a candle to Savant/C4/RTI, etc. Has the line blurred a bit, sure. But the advancements I've made in my house and what it can achieve to help my lifestyle is still exceeding what the big box solutions offer these days. The biggest issue for me with Google/Amazon/Alexa and the like is that its a cloud based system. I prefer a local controller. And that is where my issues start with the big box solutions.
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You continue the same argument we've had in various threads. I've given many examples outside of the audio ones given here where the big 3 miss the mark. If Google home fits your bill that's great. Its sold in mass market stores for a reason, it has broad appeal to the masses. That does not mean it can do everything a CI system can do. Beats Headphones work for the masses too but I wouldn't be caught with one. I demo'd them 2 times and I think they are rubbish. And its not a $$ 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.

I think you've seen me say that Google nor Amazon can do everything a CI system or even SmarthThings or Vera or any of the other hubs can do. I'd never make the case for that. What I've said is that Google, Amazon and Homekit provide something for the people that don't want a CI system or a hub. That doesn't mean that Google, Amazon and Homekit is as good as what a CI system or a hub can do. But they're building something that work for the masses. The underlying intelligent layer of Homekit isn't very good, but it's a system that the masses find appealing. Again that doesn't mean that it's great.


And Beats is garbage. We agree. I had them and they broke after a year. So now I'm in the market for new headphones. If you have any suggestions I'm opening to hearing it in DMs. I'll look into the Etymotics.



As I said before, I like C4 and it and the other CI systems provide immense value. And I feel the same way about the hub systems like SmartThings. Your point about the cloud usage with Google and Amazon is right. I'm just glad that my hub stores all of the scenes locally on the hub. When my internet was out for a week in Nov my scenes worked; that was great.

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if I buy a C4 switch from my dealer he doesnt even charge me to add it to the project. Its 30 seconds of work.
I don't charge my clients for a simple device add like that either, especially if it's just a quick add.
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Depending on what you want to do, at the end, and how much control and effort you want to put into things, there is a TON of used Crestron gear on eBay that works very well and is pennies on the dollar compared to new.

The CNX-BIPAD8 is a 16 source, 8-room pre-amp and switcher. Two of them can be had for under $100 per unit. So, 16x16 audio routing with audio control. Standard RCA inputs, hook up whatever sources you want. Buy one or two Chromecast Audio devices to run it.

A 2-series processor with network control is well under $100 and you can run remotes, keypads, iOS and Android programs for it. Yeah, it takes some work to set it all up. It will also involve some discussion with a Crestron integrator to make it happen, but reach out, there are some that can help you get it going.

I think for the money, and the long term support of these products, going to something that is designed around control within a industry standard is certainly a good thing. Their video switching is also on eBay for not a lot of cash (comparatively) for certain 1080p products. Their newest 4K stuff strikes a higher price point if you ever want to go that direction.

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