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Crestron anyone?

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by lesterm, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. lesterm

    lesterm Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    608
    Durham, NC
    Hey all,

    I am having a Crestron technician coming to my apartment tomorrow to give me an estimate on integrating the components in my bedroom and connecting them via a color touchpad. Does anyone have any experience with Crestron? If so, what are you comments on the overall system? Thanks.

    P.S. Happy new year! :)
     
  2. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    when it's all programmed and working, it's GREAT STUFF. getting it all programmed and working is either (i) a totally insane amount of work or (ii) ridiculously expensive (see point i).

    the amx stuff is no better on this front either.

    and the hardware is so insanely priced it isn't even funny. their margins must be outtasite!

    integrating all the hardware is really quite trivial (relatively speaking). each device gets an RS232 cable (if it takes RS232 control) or an IR sender cable. these tie back into a control unit. then you tell the control unit via software what's on each port ("Panasonic TX819 VCR on IR port 4"; "Pioneer 503CMX Plasma Display on RS232 port 1"; and so on). the default crestron library knows about most devices. if it doesn't, the installer will key in the details - it's not rocket science.

    the hard part is the programming of the control devices (ie: hardware talking to hardware is easy; humans talking to the hardware is hard).

    from an evaluation standpoint, whether he's futzed with WidgetX from CompanyY before is largely moot. what matters is that the dude knows how to program this stuff.

    ask to see samples of his screen layouts and designs. different shops have different setups - all over the map. most suck.

    i've had my system for a couple years now. i love the functionality overall; i love the hardware (except for the stupid pricing); but my programming is lame. most of it works, but not all of it. some of the keys are mis-mapped. etc. i'm due for an overhaul soon.

    a friend of mine has a mondo system in his house. probably a 6,000sf house with crestron-distributed audio in every room; control panels all over the house; etc. etc. he's got it linked to his alarm and his garage doors, and gets news feeds via the internet over it, sports scores, etc.

    but he spends a fortune having the software maintained. and it's very fragile software once you get things really complicated - whole parts of the code nobody dares touch!

    so see some samples. get references for the biggest most complex customers (preferably one or two who ARE geeks) and they'll give you the skinny on the guy's capabilities.

    good luck!

    doody.

    PS: if all the components are "in the bedroom" why do you need/want a crestron system? get a pronto for a few hundred bucks and program it yourself. it'll save you thousands of dollars and who knows how many headaches!
     
  3. lesterm

    lesterm Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    608
    Durham, NC
    Thanks for the detailed response :) I figured Crestron was pretty expensive. The reason I want Crestron in my bedroom is that I am considering integrating everything in the house and am using the bedroom as sort of a "test room." If I like how the system functions I'll upgrade from there. I'm also kind of a geek and want something a lot cooler than a Pronto ;) I figured the initial install would be in the $6-8k range. Another reason I want the Crestron system is that I am probably going to install some computer servers in the house to store all my music/etc, and want to distribute that to all the stereos and what have you.
     
  4. TonyM

    TonyM Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 1, 2003
    20
    Pomfret Center, CT
    Full Name:
    Tony Mongillo
    I have had a Crestron for about 3 years. My experience pretty much maps to the comments made by Doody.

    Once programmed properly, it has worked very well. The flexibilty in the icon displays and flexibility is great.

    It is very expensive for what it is and the added expense of reprogramming is outragious. Make sure you plan out how you use your equipment to reduce the amount of call backs to reprogram. After the initial installation I found a number of subtle changes I wanted to make. And then, I bought a new piece of equipment and started again.

    I'm in Northeastern CT with no support near me and I ended up paying travel charges as well as programming charges.

    I talked to the Crestron and got them to give me access to their software (downloaded it). They have a 3 day course on programming their software that their support and installation folks take. After reading through their documentation (incomprehensable to me) and playing with the software for a while, I decided it was too risky and painful to try to reprogram it myself.

    Since I update equipment regularly, I decided to give something else a try. I bought a Philips Proton 6000 and am learning to program it now. Their software and manuals are understable, but not for a novice. It is much easier to understand, just not quite as flexible.

    Bottom line, if you have ready access to someone who can reprogram at a reasonable cost, the Crestron is a nice unit with the flexibility to do just about anything.

    Good Luck,

    Tony
     

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