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Control Systems are dead.
This thread has 98 replies. Displaying posts 31 through 45.
Post 31 made on Monday February 10, 2020 at 12:56
Ernie Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
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On February 9, 2020 at 13:01, Trunk-Slammer -Supreme said...
Really?

I've never programmed a URC remote that didn't have labeling on the hard buttons that did anything other than they should.

I'm looking at an image of the MX-880, a model number I chose at random.

I see that you are right and I spoke too quickly. Let me correct what I said:

This remote does not have all the buttons that would allow it to emulate the DirecTV remote, though it has many of them.

The MX-880 does not have the following buttons, so it is not comparable to the remote:

8 second rewind and skip ahead 30 seconds:
Those two functions could be implemented using the - and the + buttons directly above the number keypad, but we were speaking of exactly labeled buttons.
the + above the number keypad could be programmed to this, but it's not labeled for that function

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OP | Post 32 made on Monday February 10, 2020 at 15:56
Fins
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On February 10, 2020 at 10:45, Mac Burks (39) said...
The reason i asked that question...

Maybe the issue isn't that she prefers the single apps vs control systems. Maybe she just prefers the smartphone/tablet control. If thats the case i bet she would prefer a single UI page where she could control the AppleTV and adjust the volume at the same time.

My nieces and nephews have so many gadgets to watch tv and listen to music "smartly". Then they come over to my house and see my boring URC remote where they can press one button to turn everything on and they are amazed. Their table full of OEM remotes is a device full of apps. Nothing has changed. Our industry is still cleaning up wall and coffee table acne.

Her words were she doesn’t like the Elan app. She likes the individual apps better. She’s using appleTV for most tv watching (she does have a dish receiver which requires using Elan for control), Phillips hue lights, and an apple home pod for music (I installed a Sonos connect with an audio sensor and programmed the system so when music starts, the Elan system will automatically switch to Sonos in her room and set the Elan volume so she can use Sonos volume, but she prefers the home pod). And I will admit, the OEM apps for each of those are better than the integrated UI for each system. But I don’t like multiple apps
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

OP | Post 33 made on Monday February 10, 2020 at 15:58
Fins
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On February 10, 2020 at 12:56, Ernie Gilman said...
I'm looking at an image of the MX-880, a model number I chose at random.

I see that you are right and I spoke too quickly. Let me correct what I said:

This remote does not have all the buttons that would allow it to emulate the DirecTV remote, though it has many of them.

The MX-880 does not have the following buttons, so it is not comparable to the remote:

8 second rewind and skip ahead 30 seconds:
Those two functions could be implemented using the - and the + buttons directly above the number keypad, but we were speaking of exactly labeled buttons.
the + above the number keypad could be programmed to this, but it's not labeled for that function

Active
List
Back
Red, Green, Yellow, Blue

The 880 does have skip buttons. It does not have active, back, or the color buttons. But neither do the new directv remotes.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

Post 34 made on Monday February 10, 2020 at 18:45
buzz
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On February 10, 2020 at 15:56, Fins said...
Her words were she doesn’t like the Elan app. She likes the individual apps
better.

A typical App's uncluttered look seems "simple". But, the user must drill down, down, down, and down in order to accomplish anything. To some extent I find that phone/pad users tend to welcome excuses to stroke their phone/pad. In this context the drill down is a plus. I hate drill down.

Another aspect of Apps and universal remotes is that they are generally slower than native remotes because of their own operational and communication needs. The universal remote usually has a slow processor and there is a delay while it struggles through the program. If the universal remote is using a processor, rather than direct IR, the remote must communicate (dedicated RF, WiFi, Z-Wave, Zigbe) with it's processor, then the processor must execute command(s) that may imply additional communication links with controlled devices. The App will usually use WiFi to communicate with the device. In some cases the transaction might take a trip through the Cloud. A direct IR or Bluetooth communication is much faster. (probably because inside the device direct native commands have a higher priority than network or RS-232 commands)

On a universal remote one can issue a bunch of commands for the "Watch TV" macro button. In terms of elapsed time, this will probably be faster than using individual remotes or Apps, but it seems slower while one waits for the commands to spew.

With hardware buttons one can operate the remote by touch. With a touch panel one must constantly change eye focus between the control screen and the TV screen or a device front panel. Compared to a device's App, a screen based universal remote usually has inferior user feedback.

With all of these drawbacks, coupled with the inept universal remote programming that I've seen, it is no wonder that the customer wants to ditch the control system.
Post 35 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 10:59
FunHouse Texas
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10 years ago a control system would do its job fairly consistently and reliably with IR and RS232. it worked! now that control systems integrate with many other APP based devices, when the owners of those app based devices make a firmware change - they are indifferent to how it connects with our control systems. so the customer has to call the integrator and pay to have this issue fixed. until the next time. With the app, the firmware rarely affects anything else. no disruption, no service call, no fee. my customer stated that he felt like he had the last integrator on a retainer just to he could listen to music. another customers said his original C4 dealer had gone out of business and to bring in a new C4 dealer to fix his system was going to be $1800. he told me he wanted to rip everything out and put in sonos or Heos.

the larger risk is that many integrators use control systems as a differentiator among others the rely on it for the majority of their revenue. when the target base of customers starts to shrink, the same 100 integrators fight for a diminishing population of clients. Alexa and google has already replaced literally millions of dollars worth of future control system opportunities.
I AM responsible for typographical errors!
I have all the money I will ever need - unless i buy something..
Post 36 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 12:36
Hasbeen
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On February 11, 2020 at 10:59, FunHouse Texas said...
10 years ago a control system would do its job fairly consistently and reliably with IR and RS232. it worked! now that control systems integrate with many other APP based devices, when the owners of those app based devices make a firmware change - they are indifferent to how it connects with our control systems. so the customer has to call the integrator and pay to have this issue fixed. until the next time. With the app, the firmware rarely affects anything else. no disruption, no service call, no fee. my customer stated that he felt like he had the last integrator on a retainer just to he could listen to music. another customers said his original C4 dealer had gone out of business and to bring in a new C4 dealer to fix his system was going to be $1800. he told me he wanted to rip everything out and put in sonos or Heos.

the larger risk is that many integrators use control systems as a differentiator among others the rely on it for the majority of their revenue. when the target base of customers starts to shrink, the same 100 integrators fight for a diminishing population of clients. Alexa and google has already replaced literally millions of dollars worth of future control system opportunities.

I think he may have nailed it.
Post 37 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 14:24
Mac Burks (39)
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New cheaper technology grows the market. It does not shrink it.

Alexa and Google will sell more speakers, lights, shades, racks etc.

Just like the iPod sold more speakers and amps. Just like Sonos sells more speakers and amps.

Homeowners have a "toy budget". Just because they dont buy a control system it doesn't mean their budget vanishes.

Seriously guys we have this discussion here at remote central at least once a year for the last 13 years (i joined 2007). Fins daughter is not a customer. She is a user. Fins is the customer. Do you guys think that Fins wants to use his phone to control apple tv and a remote to adjust volume on the TV or receiver? If Fins wanted to do that he wouldn't have an Elan system in his house.

Control System Customers are the same today as they were yesterday. They want it simple and clean. Apps are not simple and clean even if it seems that way because the coffee table full of remotes is now a series of apps.

Non Control System Customers will now have access to some features that the Control System Customers have because technology has advanced and things got cheap. These are new people in the market. Some of these people will want shades lights and speakers and racks.
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Post 38 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 14:30
FunHouse Texas
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control customers may be the same but they are being conditioned to accept that apps are the primary control for many susbystems. and now that pricing and options are more available to the buyer - these large systems will be a harder sell - some of us will succeed, many wont.
I AM responsible for typographical errors!
I have all the money I will ever need - unless i buy something..
Post 39 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 16:18
Rob Grabon
Founding Member
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1,324
Yes they want neat and easy.

But the parents use and the kids needs are not the same. Different generations. Kids are all about their phone. Parents the phone is a weight, I'm glad to get home, put the phone in the other room and forget about it.

Control systems are for families, they need to address all users, not just the buyers. Otherwise the buyers say "nothing for the kids rooms" they only use their phones or well pick them up a TV from Costco all they do is game on it anyways. And the kids think music is suppose to sound like that with their $10 earphones and talking speakers.
Technology is cheap, Time is expensive.
Post 40 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 19:45
3PedalMINI
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Im going to throw my 2 cents in here. I used to have my head in the sand thinking control systems will forever be needed. And although they will be needed at the top end of the market the middle to middletop is eroding.

I have an elderly client that is losing the use of her hands. She wanted voice control to turn the systems on and to specifically search for shows on netflix/hulu/amazon etc. Now I've done this before with C4/alexa but it was for basic commands, favorite channels etc. There is currently no way to integrate that with roku in the sense of searching for shows via voice.

After doing some research I found that Sony Voice enabled TV's have the ability to work almost entirely on voice. I told her I could try it but we may need to resort back to C4/Alexa. I used a 950G/ES1100. After some basic setup the entire system was working entirely off voice/sony remote. Including changing inputs on the AVR, controlling the sources etc. She could search "Mrs Masel" and it would find it on Amazon. Search Ozark and netflix would come up. Tell it to play pause etc and it worked brilliantly. Tell it to go to Apple TV or Roku and it would switch the AVR. Obviously this doesn't work for the cable box but she used Xfinity for that.

It worked Brilliantly, and at that moment it dawned on me that we are just about at the point where even the single room systems don't even need a control system. I tried to break it for over an hour and just couldn't. It has been installed for over a month now and she LOVES it.

Obviously the cable box doesn't work with voice through Sony but it works with the remote via CEC. She is only using the Comcast remote for the voice aspect.

Samsung works similarly well but their remote is beyond dumb, so that is a non starter.

Even though the current generation doesn't use "apps" we need to be cognizant of the generation that is coming out of college and have good jobs, and will soon be able to afford "us" you need to adapt. If you hinge all of your bets on a control system you will be hosed sooner then you think. Speaking of that, Snap4 showed how out of touch they are by releasing NEEO without any voice capabilities. This was a catastrophically dumb move on their part.
The Bitterness of Poor Quality is Remembered Long after the Sweetness of Price is Forgotten! - Benjamin Franklin
Post 41 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 20:21
sirroundsound
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One should also remember, the equipment that is controlled from it's own app, still needs to be installed for many clients.
I have recently put together some fairly simple systems without a 1 size fits all control system.
Example - Small Condo system
Lutron RA2, using Grafik T dimmers and keypads and glass cover plates. Also Lutron Shades in the suite.
Three TV's, with local 4K cable boxes and Apple TV, or Smart TV features. Control from Harmony Elite remotes.
Yamaha Speaker bars for two of the TV's. Yamaha MusicCast for a couple of rooms and balcony music.
Nest thermostats.
Lutron App, Nest App and Yamaha music app. Could have Harmony app, but he uses the remotes for TV watching and is comfortable with them in his hand.
Simple, it all works and client seems to think it is all very easy to use.
Other than the physical install of items, the Lutron RA2 was the thing that took the longest to set up and "program", and this being a condo meant that there really was not a lot to do. Nest set up is quick and easy, as is the Harmony remotes, which I could just duplicate and rename once I did the first one.
In, out, get paid.
Still a $35k+ project, and not a lot of headaches, and I made money on everything (Ok, Nest was not a lot of money but everything else was decent)
Regardless of how cheap or easy things may appear to our clients, they will always rely on us to recommend what works, and want us to deal with installing it all.
We also have higher end voice command with companies like Josh, and I would guess that we will see more coming. Alexa and Google might be the big ones, but people that want total control via Voice and total security will easily be sold whatever becomes the higher end system of choice. But, like Alexa and Google Home, whomever makes something better, had better make sure it works.
Post 42 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 20:26
Klyde
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On February 9, 2020 at 17:37, mrtristan said...
The other day I decided to spec a Harmony Elite remote for the first time because the customer wanted to control existing Radio Ra2 in a home he bought and didn't want to spend nearly $1000 on a pro level controller. Damn I was pretty impressed how easy and quick it was to program the Harmony, with some ability to customize buttons and readily integrate with IoT devices. I really am tempted to continue on with the product for small systems. Only thing that makes me hesitate is the lack of margin.

Does anyone feel the need to spec video matrix systems anymore?

We had a similar experience with Harmony after using ProControl for a number of years. It's stupid easy to program and put together. As for margin, sell it for whatever you want to sell it for and make money.

And similar experience with video matrixes. Unfortunately no point anymore. Just stick an AppleTV4 in behind the TV and you have apps for Netflix, PrimeVideo, Crave and Bell FIBE TV.  That's everything, no TV box needed.  Also makes my life easier when it comes to programming.
Post 43 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 20:43
mrtristan
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1,536
My biggest peeve with control systems is the inability to manage music the way Sonos does. I swear once Crestron, RTI, Control 4, Savant, Yamaha, Denon, Bose..etc..figure out how to handle all music services without having to use another app, things will be great. Right now I'm just considering Sonos for everything that requires music. Nothing beats using one app to turn on rooms, adjust music and search for music. You could build a business based on Sonos, TV and Network systems installation alone and your customers won't complain about things not working all the time.
OP | Post 44 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 22:16
Fins
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On February 11, 2020 at 14:24, Mac Burks (39) said...
New cheaper technology grows the market. It does not shrink it.

Alexa and Google will sell more speakers, lights, shades, racks etc.

Just like the iPod sold more speakers and amps. Just like Sonos sells more speakers and amps.

Homeowners have a "toy budget". Just because they dont buy a control system it doesn't mean their budget vanishes.

Seriously guys we have this discussion here at remote central at least once a year for the last 13 years (i joined 2007). Fins daughter is not a customer. She is a user. Fins is the customer. Do you guys think that Fins wants to use his phone to control apple tv and a remote to adjust volume on the TV or receiver? If Fins wanted to do that he wouldn't have an Elan system in his house.

Control System Customers are the same today as they were yesterday. They want it simple and clean. Apps are not simple and clean even if it seems that way because the coffee table full of remotes is now a series of apps.

Non Control System Customers will now have access to some features that the Control System Customers have because technology has advanced and things got cheap. These are new people in the market. Some of these people will want shades lights and speakers and racks.

My point though about my observation is that one day my daughter and her peers will be customers. Or they will be the target demographic that we want for customers. But if these potential customers have grown up with apps and touch screens, it makes me reluctant to think they will buy our expensive control systems. Especially as Apple, google, and amazon, create more viable DIY/IOT systems.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

OP | Post 45 made on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at 22:21
Fins
Elite Member
Joined:
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On February 11, 2020 at 19:45, 3PedalMINI said...
Im going to throw my 2 cents in here. I used to have my head in the sand thinking control systems will forever be needed. And although they will be needed at the top end of the market the middle to middletop is eroding.

I have an elderly client that is losing the use of her hands. She wanted voice control to turn the systems on and to specifically search for shows on netflix/hulu/amazon etc. Now I've done this before with C4/alexa but it was for basic commands, favorite channels etc. There is currently no way to integrate that with roku in the sense of searching for shows via voice.

After doing some research I found that Sony Voice enabled TV's have the ability to work almost entirely on voice. I told her I could try it but we may need to resort back to C4/Alexa. I used a 950G/ES1100. After some basic setup the entire system was working entirely off voice/sony remote. Including changing inputs on the AVR, controlling the sources etc. She could search "Mrs Masel" and it would find it on Amazon. Search Ozark and netflix would come up. Tell it to play pause etc and it worked brilliantly. Tell it to go to Apple TV or Roku and it would switch the AVR. Obviously this doesn't work for the cable box but she used Xfinity for that.

It worked Brilliantly, and at that moment it dawned on me that we are just about at the point where even the single room systems don't even need a control system. I tried to break it for over an hour and just couldn't. It has been installed for over a month now and she LOVES it.

Obviously the cable box doesn't work with voice through Sony but it works with the remote via CEC. She is only using the Comcast remote for the voice aspect.

Samsung works similarly well but their remote is beyond dumb, so that is a non starter.

Even though the current generation doesn't use "apps" we need to be cognizant of the generation that is coming out of college and have good jobs, and will soon be able to afford "us" you need to adapt. If you hinge all of your bets on a control system you will be hosed sooner then you think. Speaking of that, Snap4 showed how out of touch they are by releasing NEEO without any voice capabilities. This was a catastrophically dumb move on their part.

Well, one thing I think we can all agree on is cable boxes are dying a quick death. Service providers are pushing hard to move away from expensive hardware boxes and switch to app based service.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

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