Home AMXForums Archive Threads Residential Forum

CineTouch Anyone?

glr-ftiglr-fti Junior MemberPosts: 286
Short version of a long story...I've been approached by a client to use Cinetouch software for their main home and another vacation home. Has anyone used the Cinetouch software and care to share? It appears to be along the lines of AMXhome but with a lot more power, flexibility, and customization capabilities but you are locked into a platform with no access to source code, dependent on someone else to update for new devices, etc.......and of course you're the one dealing with the irate client when it does not work. If I have to listen to someone complain I'd rather it be because I goofed something up and for something that I can fix quickly.

Thanks.
«1

Comments

  • davegrovdavegrov Junior Member Posts: 114
    CineTouch

    I'm attending their training and will like try it on my Demo System. Have one client interested in it. I'll post more after I finish. Pleas e PM me for more details
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    Here's what I'm confused about: how does the CineTouch "software" become so "interesting" to an end user? How could one ask for it by name? In all honesty, couldn't any advanced dealer provide what they do?

    I think for the dealer though, it could be attractive because "you don't need a programmer." I know of two people who've encountered CineTouch. One just went right through it (played around with it, didn't have to deal with it) and another actually was an independent programmer (if I'm getting the story right) the dealer wanted changes and it was just a headache.

    I would assume it'd *almost* be like any other closed source (I again am assuming) package of software: you can change certain things - but probably not the stuff you'd really want to.

    It'd probably be less of a headache to just program how the client wants, that way you're in complete control instead of handing the keys over to someone else. I would just want the thousands of logos they have that come with it.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    We evaluated it and got a demo and while I think the programmers who wrote the software are very talented and did a great job, I didn't think it was customizable enough for the money they want, which is the usual complaint with these things. I wasn't a fan of the UI, and to me its all about the UI. Their KScape implementation was rather mundane and didn't have some of the features of even the default KScape UI that KScape provides for free.

    I wouldn't want to have to tell a client that even though they paid $30k for the software they can't change this or add that. When I saw how much it cost I thought that it was pretty much inline with what you would pay an experienced AMX programmer to custom build anyway, so it seemed a solution looking for a problem. The advantage is that instead of a few weeks of custom programming you can do it all in a few days with their system as long as you use their UI and devices they can control, To me the whole point of having an AMX system run your house/business is that it is tailored to your particular needs, rather than trying to tailor the client to the system, which I have found far more difficult to do.
    Paul
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    I wonder if the Cinetouch has to keep it's AMX creds up to date each year too?
  • glr-ftiglr-fti Junior Member Posts: 286
    Interesting that there is now other interest in CineTouch. Since I gave the short story to start this thread let me add a few more details and also update with current knowledge.

    I did take a brief look at AMX Home and that is all it took for me to know that it won't work for me.

    I have a client with an old Landmark system that I have been trying to upgrade for a number of years. Each time another card or component fails the issue comes up. I've been able to keep him going so far but I think he is ready to convert. His son is an architect in San Francisco and has been introduced to CineTouch. He thinks that his father should get it. My initial reaction was 'hell no' why would I want to support someone else's work? But at this point I just want to keep everyone happy.

    I attended CineTouch training in August. It has some good things and some bad things, like everything else we deal with. The software was developed for the use of an AMX dealer called Golden Pacific Systems to improve the efficiency of their operation. From that standpoint they have certainly succeeded. My initial reaction when I first saw CineTouch on a MVP 8400 was that it was a cluttered mess with no visual appeal whatsoever. I picked and picked at things and was always shown another way to do what I was trying to do. The clutter comes from adding user modifiable features. The more you add the more cluttered the screen appears to be.

    Since this was developed for an A/V firm its focus is on A/V. I come from a computer background not an A/V firm so our design strategies are different immediately. One of the things that still bothers me is that on the main screen there is an icon for TV and another for Music. Neither one can be moved or changed if you do not need or want one or the another. Certainly other functions can be added, and added by the end user at any time, but the TV and Music are always there and always in the same place.

    Most of the customization is done through some software they call CineTouch Configurator. You specify rooms, users, source, system devices, default profiles, lighting loads, security zones, UI, routing, etc. during this process. You then use the software to export and download a bunch of csv files that are copied into the Netlinx root directory. They have several different code bases dependent on number of zones and controlled devices. The more you have the longer it takes to boot. The whole process seems a bit clumsy to me but once everything is copied over to Netlinx it is pretty solid and that is a plus.

    You are limited to the devices that they support unless you want to write a custom driver. As an example my client has an HAI security system and they don't support it. I don't want to write another interface for something that I already have working. They also do not currently have support for the R4 but are again working on it with the new R4 firmware looking more promising. My client wants either Sonos or Squeezebox or something for internet music and there is no support for either one at this time.

    I would agree with the comment on the KScape interface. But in the context of CineTouch everything is consistent as far as the look across devices. That can be good and bad depending on the user. I am not overwhelmed by the visual appeal of any of their themes.

    I have not had the time to finish a demo system but I keep plugging away at it as I have time. It is not as simple as one would want. Perhaps simple is the wrong word but there is an awful lot of duplication of work like lighting loads and keypads along with security zones, etc.

    The cost for this project with the number of features, rooms and UI's, which is mainly what adds to the cost, is approaching $60,000 just for CineTouch. The architect was stunned when I told him this as the project he worked on was in the $20,000 range.

    As the programmer and owner of the company I have to determine where I should best spend my time. Getting new business and popping in a CineTouch system or programming it myself. I am leaning toward making more money.

    As an aside, after Eric's glowing reports on Savant I am going to their training next week to take a look under the hood.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    Gary,

    Thanks for the information. Something I quickly noticed was that you had to go to their training - WHAAT?!? Training on how to load code? Seriously? I can see *some* training (over the phone), but not taking a class. It seems that what you're describing CineTouch (refered to as CT from now on) would not be a good solution for this client (and it seems that you know this), however of course - if the client is dead-stuck on it, that might be your only choice unless you're willing to walk a way from the job; with the current economy that's probably not a good choice.

    Speaking of economics - $60,000? Then it's also a system that you're going to have to learn(*cough*training*cough*), so now there's even more added behind the scenes cost. Not to mention all of the debugging - though if it's this limited, you may not have to do any. If you look at other systems, such as Gary Spaniola's (GSLogic here on the forum), you'll see that there's very little "training" involved (if that!), and it's *much* more flexible than CT's. You said it took a long time to compile & send the code with CT - I can tell you that Spaniola's solution takes about 10-15 seconds to compile and you're done (a very good thing for those who like to tinker a lot!!) While Spaniola doesn't give you access to everything (i.e. the modules that run the system), you are still in control of it, unlike CT (as it sounds.)

    I don't want to sound like a salesman or that I'm "in tight" with Spaniola, but I know what it can and cannot do, and when each time someone says to me "What do you think of (fill in the blank)?", I *have to* bring up his solution for several reasons: 1) it'll probably be *way* cheaper than the (fill in the blank); 2) as a programmer I still have complete control; 3) it's realiable, it doesn't use any 3rd party modules; . . . it just makes sense. (check out his profile for a link to his site & all the details.)

    Back on track though - it seems that with the things you've described - you already know the answer. CT might have a great *concept* / idea, but it is not original. The search for that "Holy Grail" code that does everything for you while you kick back and watch TV likely does not exist (not even Spaniola's.) There will always be a need for us programmers, and we will be here forever! There will always be a need for us to drive the Code Bus at some level, and quite honestly - only being allowed to drive down a one-way road, and can only make left hand turns doesn't tickle me. From everything I've heard (and what you've said), I'd probably say - don't use CT. Show them Spaniola's and see what they think - the graphics are much nicer too!!

    Good luck and let us all know how it goes!
  • davegrovdavegrov Junior Member Posts: 114
    Cinetouch-revisited

    I am on the way home from Cinetouch Training. Having been trained to write code in Studio and not having a heavy programming background Cinetouch makes it easier to install and deploy systems much faster with much better results. Does it do 100% of what you can do in Netlinx Studio? No, but it does do what you need it to do when you need the system to do something. For example when a device requires feedback like a Media Server or HVAC Cinetouch does a great job. In fact as good as you can do it with Netlinx Studio. When it can create feedback within its own system without waiting for a response it does that. For example volume levels. It sends discrete volume levels to devices. It then tells the UI the level it just set. If someone changes it at the source the next time you change it at the UI you are back where you wanted it. It also allows for the end user to change personal preferences without calling you back in for more programming.

    One featue that it does have is the ability to change the UI theme on the fly. You can do that with Netlinx Studio and TP4, but how many hours are you going to spend designing TP files and writing the code to do all of that on the fly. Will the customer write you a blank check for that much programming time? They do have severeal themes and I'm fairly confident when you price a Custom UI the client will find one they like in the program. A plus of this is the abiltiy to change themes based on the time of year or occaisson. At their demo house they had a Halloween Theme. When ski season comes you can change the theme to a Ski/Snow Theme. That has wife appeal. In the end the user wants to control devices not use his touch panel as a piece of artwork. If the customer is so hung up on a particular touch panel theme you can modify (within limits) the touch panel.

    Kscape programming is difficult in any system and Cinetouch is attacking the issue head on. They are working with both KScape and AMX to get it right.

    My suggestion to anyone interested in Cinetouch is to call them, and talk to them about the product. Go out for training with an open mind and see the system work. In the end it will give your customers everything they want in a control system and more.in much less time.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    davegrov wrote: »
    When it can create feedback within its own system without waiting for a response it does that. For example volume levels. It sends discrete volume levels to devices. It then tells the UI the level it just set. If someone changes it at the source the next time you change it at the UI you are back where you wanted it. It also allows for the end user to change personal preferences without calling you back in for more programming.
    This is just called good-brained programming. All this should happen in the first place.
    davegrov wrote: »
    One featue that it does have is the ability to change the UI theme on the fly. You can do that with Netlinx Studio and TP4, but how many hours are you going to spend designing TP files and writing the code to do all of that on the fly. Will the customer write you a blank check for that much programming time? They do have severeal themes and I'm fairly confident when you price a Custom UI the client will find one they like in the program. A plus of this is the abiltiy to change themes based on the time of year or occaisson. At their demo house they had a Halloween Theme. When ski season comes you can change the theme to a Ski/Snow Theme. That has wife appeal. In the end the user wants to control devices not use his touch panel as a piece of artwork. If the customer is so hung up on a particular touch panel theme you can modify (within limits) the touch panel.
    If you keep the buttons all the same size, and all in the same location - this is not difficult to achieve at all. To be slick - I can add a date evaluation and change it every week . . . not difficult.
    davegrov wrote: »
    Kscape programming is difficult in any system and Cinetouch is attacking the issue head on. They are working with both KScape and AMX to get it right.
    Are you saying AMX is actively helping them, meaning they've given them a blessing on their product? Or is this what they just said?
    davegrov wrote: »
    In the end it will give your customers everything they want in a control system and more.in much less time.
    But for how much? I think that's the kicker. Solutions and packages like these are *waaaaaay* overpriced.
  • davegrovdavegrov Junior Member Posts: 114
    If you keep the buttons all the same size, and all in the same location - this is not difficult to achieve at all. To be slick - I can add a date evaluation and change it every week . . . not difficult.

    Yes-but here the operative word is "If". But will the customer pay for it?

    Are you saying AMX is actively helping them, meaning they've given them a blessing on their product? Or is this what they just said?

    I did NOT mean to imply that at all. I am sure that they go through Tech Support just like the rest of us and if they have an issue they escalate it just like any other dealer. If they have greater access to AMX they did not divulge that to me.


    But for how much? I think that's the kicker. Solutions and packages like these are *waaaaaay* overpriced.[/QUOTE]

    I've priced a few programming jobs I've done on Cinetouch and the pricing is very competitive with what I would have charged for the project. The simple fact is that you are doing work in hours instead of days. Do you still need a programmer? Yes! if you always spec the same devices all of the time and you have blocks of code that never change the it might not be right for you.

    I am a very small Custom Install Company and my time is valuable just like anyone elses. If I can get a project done in hours versus days/weeks I can then spend that "extra time" looking for new work or enjoying the fruits of my labor.

    Cinetouch may not be right for 100% of the AMX dealers, but I think any dealer wanting to make his business more efficient and profitable should at least talk to them and go for the training.
  • CT-DallasCT-Dallas Junior Member Posts: 157
    David,

    On GUI alone, I am sorry - I can't do it. We sell custom solutions and as you know - they are not cheap. If the quality of the graphics matched the quality of the code, this could be a great solution. I hope that in the future, they spend some time and effort on the GUI.

    Most dealers in our business are small business owners. To that end, they may or may not be able to have a great programmer on staff. In cases where they don't have a programmer, and they still want to offer AMX solutions, this alternative gives them cost-certainty for the programming element of a project. Count the number of devices, enter it into their spreadsheet - and get the project cost. You know as a dealer that for $x dollars and a few hours of configuration, you will walk away with a working system.

    To date, I have spoken with several CT dealers, and they rave about it. In my opinion, the level of customization I prefer to offer clients is not possible within their solution. To that end, you could be right that the CT solution may work in several special cases, but not any that I deal in.

    When you say that the solution is competitive with a traditional AMX programming solution, I think you mean to say that it may be close, but the CT solution will be more expensive in the end. More expensive is sometimes ok - especially when you can deliver the project in just a few hours.

    However, for probably a fraction of the cost, I would rather buy a license from Gary at GSLogic to use his developed solution and install it in less time and get the same rock solid results and far more customizable IMO.
  • glr-ftiglr-fti Junior Member Posts: 286
    It was not my intent to come across as negative about CT and if I did then I did not communicate clearly. I think it is one more tool that is available and may or may not work for each individual situation. I was trying to provide an objective opinion of the good and bad and thought that I had done so. CT does have intelligent, capable, and fun employees who are trying to get it right. I have made all of these comments to the CT folks as well and they are receptive to suggestions for improvements.

    Dave, give us an update after you have your demo system completed. I just don't see it happening in a "couple of hours" unless it is a really small system. I don't know how your training session was set up but sure we put together a system in a couple of hours and loaded into a Netlinx box but it was certainly not a complete system but rather a skeletal system to give us an idea of the process and there was not testing of anything.

    I'm going to try and spend some time this week and get my house completed with CT. Of course I have an HAI security system so that won't work, and I have an R4 and that won't work, and I have.... you get the idea.

    As I stated I am being pushed by a client to use CT and this client also has now added internet radio (rhapsody, pandora, etc.) to his list of must have and CT does not currently support any so I am not sure where this project is going other than I am wasting time and money in the pursuit of yet another Holy Grail. I think I'll give Dan Brown or Tom Hanks a call. :-)
  • davegrovdavegrov Junior Member Posts: 114
    Cinetouch

    Chris,

    One of my early concerns with Cinetouch was the UI. I certainly agree that there are nicer UI's out there from GUIFX and others. My personal favorite is actually the AMX Home. (Don't hold it against me please)
    GSLogics also look real nice. I think it comes down to form over function and the personal preference of the end user(customer).

    The people at Cinetouch are willing to listen. If they did not listen to what their dealer base wants then they can not survive in this industry. The idea is to give your customer what they want at a price they are willing to pay. AMX Home, GSLogic and Netlinx Studio are all ways to get to the same place.




    David Groves
    ACE Professional
  • davegrovdavegrov Junior Member Posts: 114
    Cinetouch

    Gary,

    I still have a day or two of hardware and network work to do before I start my demo system. I'll also spend a few hours having to write a custom driver for my Denon BluRay. My guess is about 6-8 hours of prep work before using the configurator and getting my system up.

    While I was there I know they are working hard on the Squeezbox driver because of customer demand.

    Once I take the plunge I'll keep the thread updated.

    Dave
  • glr-ftiglr-fti Junior Member Posts: 286
    Since this was developed for an A/V firm its focus is on A/V. I come from a computer background not an A/V firm so our design strategies are different immediately. One of the things that still bothers me is that on the main screen there is an icon for TV and another for Music. Neither one can be moved or changed if you do not need or want one or the another. Certainly other functions can be added, and added by the end user at any time, but the TV and Music are always there and always in the same place
    I forgot that there is a way to remove TV and MUSIC so ignore this comment.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,563
    CineTouch Replies....

    Hi all,
    John Nagy, Director of Product Management and Support for CineTouch here.
    Sorry to join the party late, Dave clued me to the discussion here during his training this weekend at our San Jose office.

    I have to say it?s discouraging to read the assumptions and guesses passed around as though it?s helping. Why all the negativity and suspicion I?m seeing here? We?re easy to find and to talk to. No reason to guess? certainly no reason to presume the worst and repeat it as though it?s helping the community.

    Addressing a few of the misunderstanding and insinuations-
    ? We?ve been doing CineTouch for 8 years.
    ? We ARE Ace certified. We were in the very first NetLinx class ever.
    ? We are NOT in the VIP program, instead AMX lists us as a value-added provider - http://www.amx.com/ui/valueAdd.asp
    ? We work very closely with many manufacturers, including AMX and Kaleidescape.
    ? Our KSCAPE interface for both the MOVIES and MUSIC provide 110% of the functions of the native KSCAPE interface. We actually provide functions that KSCAPE doesn?t, including on-the-fly playlist creation and recall from on-panel touch-to-program lists. We?ve worked side-by-side directly with KSCAPE developers on their own firmware and modules while integrating their products with CineTouch, improving both our products.
    ? We are the most flexible and feature-rich control system PRODUCT available for AMX. CineTouch adapts not only to each job, but to each user at each job.
    ? We were named 2009 BEST WHOLE HOME CONTROL PRODUCT by CEPRO.
    ? Complete R4 support is now offered since the new firmware makes it reliable at last.
    ? Squeezebox full 2-way on panel control and cover art is nearly ready for release (at no extra charges)
    ? There are 20 current built-in themes for touch panels, each selectable by panel or by user, and dealers can add their own, you aren?t limited to ours.
    There?s a TON of information on our web site ? no need for conjecture.

    We have been on a first-name basis with AMX executives and staff for years. Many have been guests in our homes. We?ve been exhibiting as guests in the AMX booth at three CEDIA and four EHX shows, and at several open houses. We work directly with AMX support, development, and sales every day. We?ve evaluated prototype hardware for AMX. We?ve also been guest exhibitors in MERIDIAN, ADA, and MEDIA D?COR booths at other shows.

    The numbers being ?quoted? here for ?cost? of our software are misleading. To protect our dealers, we don?t quote dealer costs in public places, but our suggested MSRP provides 40% and higher margins for a dealer. The figures called ?cost? in some messages above are the fully marked up customer prices. We start under $2,000 MSRP (COST just over $1,000) for a small system, and for a larger example, a house with 32 rooms of independent AV (installation of the month, January 2008 Electronic House 9-page article) with 17 TV?s, 4 theaters, 22 touch panels, and all the toys, was around $60,000 MSRP (after dealer MARKUP, not his COST). The dealer had previously taken bids and custom programmers wanted to CHARGE HIM over $100,000 for the job, and take a minimum of 6 weeks, during which they needed full access to or live in the house. With CineTouch, the job was up and running tests within 36 hours of getting the final wiring information. The dealer made a LOT of money that day, and customer was and remains thrilled ? and had another CineTouch installed at his other home. We?ll be happy to provide references.

    The best aspect of CineTouch costs are the change costs? NOTHING. The dealer can swap out an AVR or TV, add sources, move and change and add functions, change from DISH to DIRECTV or up to 10 simultaneous channel vendors, update channel maps, in minutes, with no reprogramming. Call back a custom programmer and tell him you want him to do that for free and see what you get. Adding features after the sale, like HVAC, lighting, timed events, Internet images, pool control, more rooms, etc. are also a few clicks to perform, and cost no more to add later than they would in the initial install. Again, massive savings for upgrades in dollars and time.

    Gary has already retracted his complaint that there?s no way to remove the TV and MUSIC buttons. That?s not the case, the alternate off page that is completely configurable (by touch-and hold on a running system touch panel). Like hundreds of built in features, this mode is selected per panel at any time.

    Button clutter is mentioned a lot for many systems, and there?s usually a tightrope to walk between simplicity and power-user?s desires. That?s why CineTouch allows each USER to decide (and to change their mind anytime) how much they want on the panel. The ?grandma? setup might have just the buttons she absolutely needs to get one-touch access to her favorite channels ? which she can res-set herself anytime from the panels. Mom may want extra option buttons SHE chose and placed, for lights, kid?s room monitor, cameras, weather. Because she picks what she wants and puts it where she wants it, it?s not clutter to her, she OWNS it. Dad wants full control of every device, no functions left out, making pages packed with the buttons he holds dear. CineTouch makes that all possible, immediately, with no reprogramming.

    There were presumptions here about ?compiling?. You don?t compile CineTouch. The same core code is loaded in every job. The same touch panel project is loaded in every panel. Data in a relational database is what determines the behavior, features, appearance, complexity, etc. of each job. Up to 50 rooms, 50 UI devices, 50 source, 80 system devices, 16 user profiles (each with over 1,000 dimensions of personal data points that learn traits and preferences as they use it). Presently about 500 product lines of hardware are supported, more every week. You enter data in the configuration tool (a browser). The boot time for the code is related to how many buffers are set up for touch panels. It can be several minutes for small systems and many minutes for large systems. But the system does not need to be rebooted to make changes. Many changes are done using the panels in a running system. Others may require changing a data file, FTP?ing it to the NetLinx, and issuing a RESET command that takes about a minute to complete.

    Why would it take 3 days to train a dealer to deploy CineTouch? Because of the huge flexibility and extended feature opportunities for dealers to create ?custom? behaviors without programming.

    Like what? Say you want one button to swap the sources from flanking small screens with the main screen in a sports-bar setup. Create that in 30 seconds. Say the customer wants to limit the kids to music only in their bedrooms except for between 8 and 10 PM weekdays, and all weekend, when they can watch TV too. That was rough-it took 3 minutes to set up the rules. Adding a ?driver? for a previously unsupported device is typically a one hour affair, mostly finding the protocols, then entering the commands you want in a simple EXCEL spreadsheet for automatic use. Two-way support (where you want device feedback on the panels, like cover art or alarm systems and such) does need our assistance. We are adding devices every week, many contributed by our dealers.

    I might add that our SQUEEZEBOX support (in test now and available shortly) will be included at no additional charge, without limits on how many in any system, and features full menus and cover art on the panel. The only other AMX implementation I know of is priced at $899 (MSRP) ? plus your programming effort and costs for the rest of the job.

    Finally, Chris, who works for AMX, says,
    >?However, for probably a fraction of the cost, I would rather buy a license from Gary at GSLogic to use his developed solution and install it in less time and get the same rock solid results and far more customizable IMO.?

    Wrong. Gary?s interesting product costs the dealer $15,000 from what he told us. Flat rate. About 2/3rds of the CineTouch sales at dealer cost come under this DEALER price. And as configurable as the GSLOGIC solution is, it appears to me that we do all of what he does (or at least what they show on their web site) and much much more.

    Chris, please don?t presume. Find out before you post. Or at least don?t spread damaging assumptions. As an AMX employee posting in the AMX forums, your comments have considerable weight and consequence. Your badmouthing of one of your company?s long standing development partners in ignorance in the forum is irresponsibly damaging our business. I?m glad you thought better of your initial really offensive post and edited down to merely negative and incorrect. Too bad members got the broadcast of your initial blast. You can?t unring that bell, and you should be ashamed of yourself for putting your employer, AMX, in the position of taking sides against developers.

    We?re all in this together, and more good solutions for AMX means more business for AMX in this very challenging Residential marketplace. Every product has a purpose or it goes away. CineTouch isn?t going away.

    We have a very detailed web site with lots of screen shots. We offer references, and we talk to anybody. We can do an online demo anytime. We can give you a link to a 2-hour complete presentation (recorded from a demo we did for a dealer) if you prefer. We can price a sample job for you and discuss your concerns. I can promise you, CineTouch is not what you ?guess?.

    Contact me anytime for questions or to trade thoughts. It?s been the opinions of hundreds of users we?ve been listening to for years that continue to shape our product.

    If CineTouch isn?t for everybody, that?s OK. Nothing is. Some people can?t stand caviar. Others love brussel sprouts.

    John Nagy
    CineTouch
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,563
    Flame retardant

    I spoke at length with Chris at AMX today and gave him a lot of good information that will help him better understand CineTouch and our value proposition. He has apologized to me for his negativity and misconceptions, and we've agreed to make this into an opportunity instead of an argument.

    For the record, Chris mentioned that his frame of reference is 2 million dollar residential systems, and that CineTouch would be expensive for the very large systems. Unfortunately, his post implied that the GSLogic solution would be suitable at a lower cost... when in fact it couldn't do (and CineTouch could) 40 and 50 room jobs with 50 sources of any mix, plus the central intelligence to manage inter-room conflicts and sharing of sources. It's clear that CineTouch isn't for every job. But when Chris offered that it wouldn't fit any of the ones he is thinking of, I doubt the average reader here thought "of the 2 million dollar range specifically" was his condition.

    I am certainly not bashing GSLogic. It looks good. AMX HOME is another choice. I believe that more good choices for AMX dealers only means more business for AMX and AMX dealers. It's great to have a choice.

    I'm from Detroit, raised on cars, and I think in automobile analogies. CineTouch is a Mercedes. A fine and well optioned production vehicle with a sound business strategy. It's not a Ferrari, and it's not a Yugo. We think we are good match for most jobs that merit AMX hardware.Our dealers use it for all sizes of jobs, from one theater to a 50 room mansion. There will continue to be a market for total custom work. But like in the auto industry after the great depression, when the wild days of expensive cars each being essentially hand made custom jobs was over, we think CineTouch brings quality, profitable production based control systems to the formerly all-custom residential market.

    Chris also passed me his thoughts on UI design, and I encouraged him to help us and our dealers contact outstanding graphics designers to add still more options to our 20 built in themes. We teach our dealers how to add their own, but few attempt it as they report that their customers seem to find several of ours that they like a lot.

    John Nagy
    CineTouch
    http://cinetouch.com/cepro
    [email protected]
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    I agree with almost all of what you say. Its good to have options. I do not feel threatened by CT as an AMX programmer, or AMXHome or Visual Architect or any other prefab software package. Most AMX shops likely already have module/UI libraries that require very little actual programming to do a job, or to swap/add equipment, and so the CT solution might have less to offer them, but if a new shop gets some AMX clients and hasn't got a software library, or can't find good programmers to hire, or needs a big job done fast, CT provides a software solution at a reasonable price no doubt about it.

    CT shines when compared to other prefab solutions, but its still a prefab solution albeit a very sophisticated one. I don't think you can really compare a prefab solution to a custom one though, as they are two different beasts with respective pros and cons. I have many projects out there that couldn't have been done in CT, but I can certainly see scenarios where it makes sense. You have to remember that most of the opinions on this forum are skewed to custom since that is what we do. We understand the value of having a unique system tailored specifically to a client and I don't just mean the color/picture of the background or quantity/position/text of buttons and other superficial elements. I just finished a small job for a pub/brewery and all the graphics were done using beer and brewery motifs, with the ability to control an arbitrary number of TV/PVRs at the same time etc and that is where the value is for that client in this case. It was pretty easy to do, and I think if CT was my only option I would have spent more time trying to figure out how to fit what was needed into an existing paradigm rather than just creating what was needed with no restrictions, and that has to be taken into consideration when trying to decide what it is the best approach to take. But I can certainly see why CT is a compelling solution for many people out there.
    Paul
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,563
    Commercial and Custom

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I reached out to one of the other posters here with an offer of more information, and was told flatly that he didn't care that he didn't know anything about what he nevertheless chose to flame here, and then said that my trying to inform him was essentially proof that we're lying about our product.

    We don't push CineTouch for commercial. Clearly the needs of commercial installation vary widely. What's the point in personalization for users for their favorite sources, behaviors, channels, in a restaurant? None or little. Our experience and value is in residential. We've had some of our dealers re-trim CineTouch for boardrooms with good results, but it's not a focus for us.

    If you have time and interest, I'd very much like to hear about the custom functional requirements you've met that prefab solutions probably can't meet. We are always trying to widen our feature set. Contact me if you'd like to help with your thoughts.

    Just a little more background brought up by the comment on "prefab"... as it applies (or doesn't) to CineTouch. We're unlike any other architecture. The code is a services engine, and each job is defined in a relational database that runs in the NetLinx. Every connection, every behavior, every feature is governed by data and executed by the services engine. This means that every act is evaluated on an object level. For instance, our PLAY button has one channel code. When a panel reports this code, the services engine determines where it was pressed, what source is in use for the room that the panel is pointed to at the moment, who pressed it and what their permissions and preferences are, and then looks up how to tell the right device the right thing. Since that's all in the database, changing out one device for another is just changing the pointer in the data. The new device will just work, even if it is via a different protocol or connection type altogether.

    John Nagy
    CineTouch
  • GSLogicGSLogic Original Member Posts: 562
    Interesting thread – here is my biased opinion. :)

    I do not claim GSL Home is the end all to programming, there never will be such a program and this is why AMX is king.
    It is a turn-key solution for dealers wanting to make money with a reliable, logically designed, expandable solution, fully loaded for 10k!
    Compare GSL Home to any other system and you will see what many other dealers already know.

    - VERY easy to implement
    - Handles small to large projects at an affordable price!
    - 36 zones of audio (w/36 Metreau keypads)
    - 16 zones of video (using display spks OR ceiling audio spks OR as many theater room receivers as you like)
    - 36 TPs (all TPs can control any location and ALL sections)
    - 36 R4s (all R4s can control any location and ALL sections – implemented since the release of the R4)
    - Lighting, Shades, Security, Climate, Sprinkler, Pool/Spa, Phone System and more (here-after sections)

    Some dealers I work with that don't have programmers on staff have installed GSL Home in projects in a matter of hours… with NO training (just over-the-phone support). :)
    If you start a project that has 8 audio zones, 6 video zones and 2 thermostats, and your customer wants to add 8 more rooms (won the lottery), you can easily add everything they want at no additional cost to you, or in the future, if your client wants to update their projectors, displays, receivers and devices, it is VERY EASY for you to update.

    All modules (ADA, AMX, Antex, AprilAire, Kaleidescape, Request, VideoStorm, etc.) have been created in-house, there are no outside modules used at all. The reason for this is that most modules have been, and are still, designed with the conference room mentality in mind. They don’t take into consideration multiple panels and data flow. When programming for large homes, this is the key and it is something I have made as the center point of GSL Home. The complete system compiles in less than 15 seconds and reboots in minutes. I’ve always programmed to conserve system resources and for quick feedback response time.

    All touchpanels and R4s use the same TP4 files, which can control all locations and all devices in the system. By just holding a location button, you can set up default locations for each TP/R4. To get your system quotes lower, try only selling a few touchpanels and an R4 with a system. Once your customers see the need, just add touchpanels and R4s (up to 36 total) to the system at no additional cost to you. You only purchase the sections (such as Lighting, Climate, A/V, etc.) that you need for each job. All other sections can be added later if needed.

    GSL Home has been a passion of mine for over 6 years now. Think of 6 years of updating and debugging in a real-world environment. Many features are exclusive to GSL Home such as Blackjack, Poker and the Capital game (which helped my son get an A in Geography). The XM modules that load all the XM stations from the air then sort them into categories and store them to disk. Another selling point is that the end user has the ability to control event timers for just about everything in the system like Audio, Video, Lighting, Shades, Thermostats, Sprinklers, etc. This gives your client NOT ONLY the ability to control, but to automate their home system.


    When Bob Fealy (president and chief operating officer of The Duchossois Group) was interested in a home automation system for his home, AMX called GSLogic.
    Compare and you will $ee the difference!
    Please visit http://www.gslogic.net for more details or call me at 586-677-7500.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,563
    Thanks!

    Welcome to the thread, great to get more light and less heat going on here.
  • hermaryshermarys Junior Member Posts: 3
    My experience

    My company has been a Cinetouch dealer for over 3 years now. We went from zero AMX hardware sales to becoming one of AMX's top residential dealers, all because of Cinetouch. We're no fly by night outfit we've been in business for 46+ years.

    Our biggest Cinetouch/AMX system is 42 Zones, Kaleidescape, GE Alarm, 2 Jandy pools, a Lutron lighting system, 5 surround sound zones and over 25 touch panels. This system has been running stable for 2 years now. I've upgraded their system a couple of different times with minimal configuration. After the hardware was installed, this system was up and running in a couple days not months!

    The guy that says his client is asking him about Cinetouch is my clients architect. We put Cinetouch in my clients home, he loved it so much, he's now putting it in his home in Jackson Hole, WY. Now his Architect is recommending it to everyone he knows.

    I find it very interesting that an AMX employee would knock software that helps sell their hardware. I don't know who Chris is but someone at AMX should have a long talk with him. AMX employee's should have zero public opinion on product that helps sell their hardware. We all know AMX home certainly isn't the answer for everyone.

    For those of you that think the Cinetouch GUI is horrible, no one is stopping you from making your own touch panel projects in TP Design to work with Cinetouch! The guys at Cinetouch will help you. Go for it! However I have not had one client tell me "I would never want my panel to look like a 5th grader made it." like Chris FROM AMX said. Just today I put the halloween theme on a clients panel in their kids room and her kids face lit up with excitement. When it comes to GUI you can't please everyone every time. If your client doesn't like it tell them that you can make a custom interface for them for an added cost, but I have yet to have a client tell me this.

    Cinetouch is no "prefab" solution. This is a relational database that you configure. This approach is unlike any so called "prefab" solution out there and is highly customizable and in order to understand the power that this system provides you do need training. The power to design your system is in your hands not some programming outfit.

    If anyone has an questions about Cinetouch I would be more than happy to answer any questions about their product.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,563
    Some of Hermary's work...

    I love this theater that HERMARY's did in the job Paul described above. It's a 17" panel.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    hermarys wrote:
    I find it very interesting that an AMX employee would knock software that helps sell their hardware.
    Stick, meet dead horse.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    jjames wrote: »
    Stick, meet dead horse.
    That made me laugh! Thanks! :D
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    hermarys wrote: »
    I find it very interesting that an AMX employee would knock software that helps sell their hardware. I don't know who Chris is but someone at AMX should have a long talk with him. AMX employee's should have zero public opinion on product that helps sell their hardware. We all know AMX home certainly isn't the answer for everyone.

    I think Chris is entitled to his opinion and is also entitled to voice it as he sees fit. Stifling honest opinion is not going to help anyone. If you disagree with his opinion you are free to voice yours as well, as you have.
    Paul
  • hermaryshermarys Junior Member Posts: 3
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    I think Chris is entitled to his opinion and is also entitled to voice it as he sees fit. Stifling honest opinion is not going to help anyone. If you disagree with his opinion you are free to voice yours as well, as you have.
    Paul

    I don't disagree with you, he has every right to voice is opinion. But from a business perspective any employee that expresses an opinion to my clients that might very well have a negative impact on my bottom line should be fired. He has no right to knock a product that helps the company he works for make money. There is definitely a conflict of interest here. He obviously knows he was in the wrong because he edited his own post. My guess is that AMX will not take this lightly and we won't be hearing from Chris in this thread again.

    Now on with the trolling :)
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    hermarys wrote: »
    But from a business perspective any employee that expresses an opinion to my clients that might very well have a negative impact on my bottom line should be fired.

    Oh, I didn't think Chris was speaking directly to your clients, and thought he had just made a post of his opinion here on the forum, where no clients have access. My mistake if I misunderstood.
    Paul
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,563
    Packaged Software Solutions

    You will find more information on CineTouch and other software solutions that offer faster/easier production of residential AMX systems.... here...
    http://www.amxforums.com/showthread.php?t=6235&highlight=packaged+solutions
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    Hey, when did we start broadcasting commercials? How much does the thread add space go for anyway?

    I have a 2006 Ford Econoline w/ 56k miles I want to sell. Charcoal grey w/ AMX stickers, ladder racks, etc. Free shipping anywhere/world.
  • SamkAMXSamkAMX Junior Member Posts: 29
    i recently programmed a mid size system and the guy told me he got quotes from both cinetouch and an amx home programmer and both were more expensive than me.

    i dont get why anyone would use a more expensive, less customizable system if a programmer is available.

    i can see why they are around as the industry is booming and not enough programmers to keep up so if you dont have access to programmer i guess it's an alternative solution but if you have a choice seems like a slam dunk to me.
Sign In or Register to comment.