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Control Systems are dead.
This thread has 98 replies. Displaying posts 76 through 90.
OP | Post 76 made on Thursday February 13, 2020 at 23:19
Fins
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On February 13, 2020 at 22:55, Hasbeen said...
Just to throw some more gas on the fire, I had a conversation with an "in-house" Xfinity technician a couple of weeks ago.† He's been with the company for 15 years.† Here's what he told me.

He was in a meeting a month ago where they were explaining to the employees that Xfinity/Comcast is no longer a "cable company" they're officially a "data provider". They want to provide the data for home, business, and mobile.

He said they weren't crystal clear about all of the details, but when I asked him his opinion on it, he said he thinks that they'll provide and maintain the Xfinity app on new TV's, Roku, etc.† They'll do away with the hardware like cable boxes, and they'll provide the pipe into the home or business. 5G home networks may replace WIFI and they'll cut a ton of staff and save millions on hardware.

Think about those profit margins when they don't need technicians or the majority of the hardware anymore.

Spectrum technicians in our area are already telling customers they should use the spectrum app on Roku instead of getting a cable box. They donít mention that Apple TV and all smart tvs now have the spectrum app too. Kind of funny that even in this move, they only trained their techs to follow instructions and not think
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

Post 77 made on Friday February 14, 2020 at 09:42
highfigh
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On February 13, 2020 at 23:19, Fins said...
Spectrum technicians in our area are already telling customers they should use the spectrum app on Roku instead of getting a cable box. They donít mention that Apple TV and all smart tvs now have the spectrum app too. Kind of funny that even in this move, they only trained their techs to follow instructions and not think

They have been telling people the same here since Spectrum bought Time Warner, so I tried it. That app sucked so badly I had them remove my access to it and got a refund. One of the main reasons my clients hated it is because the app has no numbered buttons, so access to channels is a matter of pressing Guide, Scroll to the channel, press Enter or press Left, scroll to find the channel or use the Favorites. In my case, it would freeze, restart or pixellate and none of the other apps I use do that.

I get that they don't want to use hardware other than modems and routers, but the app isn't ready for prime time.

WRT to the "technicians" thinking, if they could do that, one of my clients would have had their cable boxes installed by the time the tech left, instead of being left on the countertop, one without a remote or power supply.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 78 made on Friday February 14, 2020 at 10:47
FunHouse Texas
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Personal Eero Experience

Number of installs (houses) using Eero - 53
Number of wireless devices in each house - 8 to 36
Avg # of Eero pro devices per install - 3

Number of service calls or complaints in the last 12 months - 1. (router (not eero) Power reset resolved.)
I AM responsible for typographical errors!
I have all the money I will ever need - unless i buy something..
OP | Post 79 made on Friday February 14, 2020 at 13:06
Fins
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On February 14, 2020 at 09:42, highfigh said...
They have been telling people the same here since Spectrum bought Time Warner, so I tried it. That app sucked so badly I had them remove my access to it and got a refund. One of the main reasons my clients hated it is because the app has no numbered buttons, so access to channels is a matter of pressing Guide, Scroll to the channel, press Enter or press Left, scroll to find the channel or use the Favorites. In my case, it would freeze, restart or pixellate and none of the other apps I use do that.

I get that they don't want to use hardware other than modems and routers, but the app isn't ready for prime time.

WRT to the "technicians" thinking, if they could do that, one of my clients would have had their cable boxes installed by the time the tech left, instead of being left on the countertop, one without a remote or power supply.

I had a customer want to use it on guest bed tvs to save $7 a month per room. Besides the lack of numbers, what I noticed is no dvr functions when watching live tv. I donít want to go back to the old days of no dvr.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

Post 80 made on Friday February 14, 2020 at 16:16
tomciara
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Meanwhile, on another forum, a major company that totally controls everything doesn't cover basic intercom functions on an $1800 touchpanel that seems to advertise itself as having intercom functions.

Control systems have scared me off. "If you don't get out of their sandbox" seems to be the way to make them solid and clients happy. Meanwhile, a firmware update and "what happened to my (function) that I made no change to?"

It seems like simpler technology works better and lasts longer. RadioRA, Caseta lighting might go for 20 years, but this fancy control system, big bucks and it has a lifespan of... 8-10 years?

I know there is a lot of good in these products but there is definitely downside if you want to stay friends and keep getting referrals from your clients. For as profitable as they can be, one system that you have a week or two of unbillable hours on is enough to make you leave the industry.

/ramble off
"People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive." - Blaise Pascal
Post 81 made on Friday February 14, 2020 at 19:53
sirroundsound
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This becomes the point where people should be thinking about working projects on a time / materials basis.
For the product that we still can make money on, great. For the rest charge what it sells for and charge for your time to order / pick up etc.

I am sure many people here have been stuck on a project doing things that may or may not have been a part of the project, but the client is dangling the final payment above your head.

This stops when the client understands that every time he see's you in his house the meter is running and he is paying.

Not sure of any builders out there that sell their custom build for a fixed price and that is what it costs in the end. Why should we?
For years we have been pushed to sell a package, client expects a quote with everything included, so they can cut you a cheque for a deposit, a progress payment and a final payment. And it all has to add up to what you quoted. Plus it all has to work to their satisfaction before that last payment hits your hands.

Anyone work on a decent sized home that didn't have some sort of hiccup that cost you many extra hours that never got billed? What about the fact that we all seem to have been beta testers for many manufactures and all the hours you spend "figuring crap out" because some piece of equipment doesn't perform the way we were told it should. Pretty hard to get the client to pay for that, when you recommended everything.
Now the client can say they want this or that and you can recommend things to add to the system, and get paid for all the time it really takes.
Heck you can spend an hour just getting a client logged onto their services on a smart TV or Apple TV. Even better, you get paid while you wait for them to figure out what their passwords were.
Don't forget, as things get cheaper from a control side of the system, that just leaves more money on the table to sell better speakers and amplifiers. They rarely have issues or cause multiple trips to site to figure out.
With the resurgence of Turntables, start asking which room will be the audio room? Put together a nice higher end audio system for $10,000 or more.
It takes next to no time to set up $10k worth of audio compared to a $10k control system and all it's programming.
Post 82 made on Saturday February 15, 2020 at 02:17
dunnersfella
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Re: your last point.
I believe the skill of selling high end audio is somewhat lost in the C.I. industry. Too many people have moved onto only selling Sonos or in-ceiling speakers and claiming it to be the best people can get.
You're spot on, installing a few McIntosh amps, a source and a pair of speakers will probably take an hour (unless you're setting up a turntable), and net you a bucket load of profit.
This industry is not getting cheaper and cheaper, we're simply convincing ourselves that we have to push the cheapest option to customers.
#makesonosgreatagain
Post 83 made on Saturday February 15, 2020 at 09:28
Mac Burks (39)
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On February 13, 2020 at 22:55, Hasbeen said...
Just to throw some more gas on the fire, I had a conversation with an "in-house" Xfinity technician a couple of weeks ago.† He's been with the company for 15 years.† Here's what he told me.

He was in a meeting a month ago where they were explaining to the employees that Xfinity/Comcast is no longer a "cable company" they're officially a "data provider". They want to provide the data for home, business, and mobile.

He said they weren't crystal clear about all of the details, but when I asked him his opinion on it, he said he thinks that they'll provide and maintain the Xfinity app on new TV's, Roku, etc.† They'll do away with the hardware like cable boxes, and they'll provide the pipe into the home or business. 5G home networks may replace WIFI and they'll cut a ton of staff and save millions on hardware.

Think about those profit margins when they don't need technicians or the majority of the hardware anymore.

It will be 2 decades before they ditch the "cable box" because people will hold on to their TVs until they die. I have a 15 year old 42" Samsung plasma in my basement thats still kicking. At some point in 20 years most TVs will have an app for xfinity on them and they can get rid of their black box.

In the meantime they are transitioning people from the "cable box" to their little "roku knockoff" called Flex. In my area if you have an internet package you can get a free (for now) flex box that lets you access all your streaming apps via their voice remote. [Link: xfinity.com] So yes technically they are moving away from the traditional cable box...but...they are moving you to the new streaming cable box.
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Post 84 made on Saturday February 15, 2020 at 09:49
Rob Grabon
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On February 15, 2020 at 09:28, Mac Burks (39) said...
It will be 2 decades before they ditch the "cable box" because people will hold on to their TVs until they die. I have a 15 year old 42" Samsung plasma in my basement thats still kicking. At some point in 20 years most TVs will have an app for xfinity on them and they can get rid of their black box.

In the meantime they are transitioning people from the "cable box" to their little "roku knockoff" called Flex. In my area if you have an internet package you can get a free (for now) flex box that lets you access all your streaming apps via their voice remote. [Link: xfinity.com] So yes technically they are moving away from the traditional cable box...but...they are moving you to the new streaming cable box.

They have less than 3 years to evolve.

Set top cable companies are loosing ground quickly against streaming services. They have to evolve, for exactly the same discussions through out this thread. Their tightrope is price, how do we justify $100 for cable box setups a month vs $50 for a streaming app?

And they loose out on vacation homes too. Already a pivoting point for many of our clients. Data to two houses, one streaming service for both, $250 a month vs $400.

If it was you building a house today, would you put coax to every TV? or similar to having a Disc Player, only the prime set, and network apps for the rest? (not for your clients, but your own home)
Technology is cheap, Time is expensive.
Post 85 made on Saturday February 15, 2020 at 10:28
sirroundsound
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I have coax. No cable box (no coax run to the house).
OTA antenna gives me all my local channels for free, it's reliable, and offers a great quality signal.
I would still run coax to TV's in new clients homes and offer a basic antenna set up if they told me they were interested in being "cord cutters". You can subscribe to all sorts of Apps today and get pretty much all the content you could want, including network TV. BUT, when the internet is down I have provided a back up that will allow them to at least watch local news, and network programming. I have a Channel Master DVR+ connected which gives me a TV guide and the ability to record. Might not be needed further down the road, as I find internet issues happen far less than cable box issues.
OP | Post 86 made on Saturday February 15, 2020 at 12:06
Fins
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On February 15, 2020 at 09:28, Mac Burks (39) said...
It will be 2 decades before they ditch the "cable box" because people will hold on to their TVs until they die. I have a 15 year old 42" Samsung plasma in my basement thats still kicking. At some point in 20 years most TVs will have an app for xfinity on them and they can get rid of their black box.

In the meantime they are transitioning people from the "cable box" to their little "roku knockoff" called Flex. In my area if you have an internet package you can get a free (for now) flex box that lets you access all your streaming apps via their voice remote. [Link: xfinity.com] So yes technically they are moving away from the traditional cable box...but...they are moving you to the new streaming cable box.

It will be a whole lot less than 2 decades. Spectrum is telling customers now to buy a Roku or AppleTV and use the spectrum app. People donít have to buy new tvs. Roku is going to be the new cable box.

DirecTV has said they are done launching satellites. Granted, that could change, but given that information, I would think this means they are trying to be done with satellite receivers in less than 10 years. The cost of maintaining the infrastructure is huge.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

OP | Post 87 made on Saturday February 15, 2020 at 12:11
Fins
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On February 15, 2020 at 09:49, Rob Grabon said...
They have less than 3 years to evolve.

Set top cable companies are loosing ground quickly against streaming services. They have to evolve, for exactly the same discussions through out this thread. Their tightrope is price, how do we justify $100 for cable box setups a month vs $50 for a streaming app?

And they loose out on vacation homes too. Already a pivoting point for many of our clients. Data to two houses, one streaming service for both, $250 a month vs $400.

If it was you building a house today, would you put coax to every TV? or similar to having a Disc Player, only the prime set, and network apps for the rest? (not for your clients, but your own home)

I would absolutely still put coax at every tv. Wire is relatively cheap. Technology is unpredictable. In 6 months someone may show the world a coax based network switch that is faster than cat, but cheaper and easier to use than fiber. Iíd also put fiber at every location because of the AV over IP tech thatís gaining ground in the pro side. It will eventually make its way to resi.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

Post 88 made on Sunday February 16, 2020 at 12:40
Short Stop
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On February 12, 2020 at 10:20, Fins said...
IMO, technology and the customer is going to change the role we serve.

It wasn't long ago everything was hardwired and now everyone needs to be a network professional to survive these days. Most of us have adapted to this already.
Post 89 made on Thursday February 20, 2020 at 21:37
dcci
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Reading this with pleasure.  I left the industry a few years back after coming to the same general conclusion many have here.  However, I still believe a national opportunity exists, but the idea must be based upon "less is more" - not "how can I sell more gear to this customer."

I owned a successful integration company here in San Francisco for over 16 years.  If you'd like the story and my take on the future:

https://www.casaintegration.com/

And here is an article I wrote a ways back, echoing many sentiments here.

[Link: linkedin.com]
Post 90 made on Friday February 21, 2020 at 13:53
Mac Burks (39)
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On February 15, 2020 at 12:06, Fins said...
It will be a whole lot less than 2 decades. Spectrum is telling customers now to buy a Roku or AppleTV and use the spectrum app. People donít have to buy new tvs. Roku is going to be the new cable box.

My point is that the "cable box" is still going to be a "box". Instead of motorola on the label it will be Roku or Apple TV. Comcast has a streaming box called Flex because they want to do away with roku and appletv. At some point...my guess is 20 years...they will have no box and suggest no box because all TVs will have their app built in.

I remember the story about the $20 million dollar system where they were going to "get rid of all the boxes". Like how? How are you getting rid of them? Oh you mean you are going to have Control4 boxes instead of Crestron boxes.

DirecTV has said they are done launching satellites. Granted, that could change, but given that information, I would think this means they are trying to be done with satellite receivers in less than 10 years. The cost of maintaining the infrastructure is huge.

DirecTV is dead. I see hundreds of their satellites rusting on the side of apartment buildings in Chicago. Everyone has moved to Comcast. AT&T is a wired product so they aren't spending any more money on satellite.
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