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New Construction - Security, Cameras, Audio & Video - Recommendations?


msu

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Hello,

I'm new to the Control 4 forums and the concept.

I am in the process of building my home (in Michigan) and have contacted several dealers in the area.

Initially I got the Security System and Camera Systems quoted by Security Companies.

I then found out about home automation and would like to go that route.

The issue is that I have contacted three different levels of dealers trying to get a more detailed understanding of things but have got three different responses as to what equipment would be required.

So I thought maybe I could ask here and get a majority opinion and then tell them what I want quoted as I've wasted nearly 3 weeks of time trying to get proposals with no consistency and my house is just sitting idle now.

The house Living Area is 4,409 square feet.

I plan to turn a workshop area (476 square feet) into a Theater Room in a few years (so, plan for expansion).

I would like whole home audio and video integration from a central access point. As well as security system integration.

I would like any user location to be able to scroll through the audio or video library saved digitally to a hard drive and play their own individual content. I would also like the TV to be distributed as well (satellite through Dish Network). I have Blu-ray players and the televisions already bought (Sony & LG TV's, Sony, Samsung and Pansonic Blu-Rays to choose from). Lastly, I am a computer geek so I have a server that I could integrate from my understanding but depending on what dealer you speak with this is or is not possible.

I am also considering to automate lighting as well.

Zones For Audio:

12 zones to start with - possibly 4 more in the future

Zones for Video (max 1080p):

6 to start with - possibly 6 more in the future

Cameras:

10 Cameras mounted outdoors for viewing around the property (current quotes are based on analog 75 - 90 foot IR range).

Digital recording to hard drive (current quotes are for 1 TB DVR's).

Security System:

36 windows with three contacts per window (double hung - 1 @ top, 1 @ bottom & 1 @ 2 inches for venting)

- Note: Each contact does not have to be on it's own zone but I would like each Window on it's own zone

6 Doors

Smoke Detectors hard wired

3 motion sensors

6 glass breaks (maybe more still debating)

3 keypad locations

Potential Lighting:

16 different locations to start - 5+ in the future.

The house is a long ranch so depending on where the server rack is located 50% of the cable runs would be 75 - 100 feet.

What I am hoping to get from the forum:

What model components do I need to setup the Control 4 system to meet all my current needs and the potential future needs?

What is best - HDMI switching or Component (another area of contention because of copyrights, etc..)?

What is the best Security System to fully integrate to Control 4 (Some say Concord others DSC - current quotes are for Honeywell which I understand is not a good option)?

What is the best Camera system that will meet my night time IR needs and have at least 75 feet of viewing?

What components would be needed to integrate the lighting?

-----------------------------------

Some examples of responses I have got from dealers in my area:

One guy that says I must have an HC-1000 plus HC-300's and another that says only HC-200's are needed.

One company says PC based media center is fine, another says portable hard drives and another says none - use DVD carousel and an Ipod dock.

One says HDMI all the way - other says heck no to HDMI as component is allot better and cheaper to integrate.

One says any security system will integrate another says only those with an internet port (preferably GE Concord).

-----------------------------------

If you need any clarification on any of these items please let me know.

This is our dream home and I want to make sure it's done right.

With that said, I'm not looking for the most expensive thing possible to show off (B&W speakers for example - and yes I do know about quality, I bought Premium Audio for a large automotive company for years) :)

I'm interested in integration and functionality (Dune Players would work fine for example).

Simple answers are fine with me - for example, each video location will need an HC-200 and xxxx. :)

Thanks for all your help and sorry for the long post!!

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Some examples of what I am getting:

One guy that says I must have an HC-1000 plus HC-300's

Highly recommended

One company says PC based media center is fine, another says portable hard drives and another says none - use DVD carousel and an Ipod dock.

Skip those, get a NAS and a Dune player if you want to play back "stored" movies.

One says HDMI all the way - other says heck no to HDMI as component is allot better and cheaper to integrate.

Component is on the way out already. If you want it to "last" for any length of time ensure the pre-wire is good - start with conduit and Cat5/6 and/or fiber. Use HDMI baluns and a matrix or Just Add Power 2nd gen. Going with component isnt a problem now, its readily available, "easier" since you dont have to worry about edid/sync/hdcp/etc. but I wouldnt rely on it for a long term solution in a new install today, personally. I have it in my own home and am looking at HDMI options myself.

One says any security system will integrate another says only with the internet port and preferably GE Concord.

Not really any system will integrate. Popular panels are the DSC with IT-100, GE Concord 4 and Elk. Each have their strengths and weaknesses. What kind of integration do you need?

Again, JMO.

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Also, lighting is wireless communication - dont need to pull wires for that aspect.

For security cameras, only a few IP cameras will integrate natively with Control4 - Panasonic, Axis, Mobotix, and a couple others now. If you love the analogs you can bring them into the c4 system with an Axis video server or a third party solution of SecuritySpy/a mac/and a driver.

http://extravegetables.com/drivers/securityspy/index.php

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The issue is that I have contacted three different levels of dealers trying to get a more detailed understanding of things but have got three different responses as to what equipment would be required.

This comes up quite a bit along with the other topic(s) "Please Review My Quote", "My Dealer is Recommending the Following" and "What Do You Think"?, etc. I feel that those who are posting these types of posts are headed towards having a system that will have issues down the road and that does not fit their lifestyle and that's the key, LIFESTYLE.

The reason I am posting this is to open up the eyes of potential C4 customers as to what their CI should be doing so potential C4 customers will have faith in their CI and not doubt what is being proposed.

As a disclaimer we, Digital Studio Werks, are NOT a Control4 dealer we are a Crestron dealer. As in my other postings what I mention below applies to all dealers/customers weather you are looking at C4, Crestron, AMX, Savant, etc.

When we take on a new project, and prior to ANY product discussion, we sit down with the client and work to discover their lifestyle. We have a "Client Life Style Discovery Book" that is split up into 10 sections. 100% of the time, when we are done with the "Lifestyle Discovery Process" the client discovers needs they have that they never considered and we know what to design for and what equipment to spec. Now if your CI is looking out for your best interest they would do a "Lifestyle Discovery" prior to quoting you any product or price.

Every time we go into a meeting with a new client (our clients are Architects, Interior Designers and Builders) and we show them the "Client Life Style Discovery Book" we hear comments along the following "This is great no other CI has anything like this", "If our past clients were given this questionnaire by the previous CI's we used they would be getting the most out of their systems", "We do not know how other CI's can quote a project with out knowing the clients lifestyle."

Wether we are doing one room for an Interior Designer or a whole house for an Architect or Builder we ALWAYS do a "Client Life Style Discovery Questionnaire" as this will determine what equipment will be needed and at the same time allows for growth without over designing a system and wasting a clients $$.

You make no mention as to your lifestyle or if the CI spent the time with you to discover your lifestyle and needs. If they did then that lifestyle discovery is in writing and they will know best as to what your needs are. If they didn't then your CI is guessing as to what your needs are.

Without knowing how you live, what your lifestyle is like, etc no one here can give you proper advice other than your CI who should have taken the time out to understand your needs through your lifestyle. The members here can give you advise based on THEIR experience and lifestyle but since no 2 systems are a like or used the same way you are just grabbing at straws as to what you should use or do and it may or may not work for your particular needs/lifestyle.

Below I have pasted a very, very small sample of Section 3 of our questionnaire. This is an example as to what your CI should be asking you during discover.

SECTION REMOVED DUE TO THIEVES STEELING AND PASSING AS THEIR OWN. THANKS TO THE PERSON/PERSONS WHO ALERTED ME.

Hope that helps a bit!

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Thanks for the replies!

I understand the lifestyle thing.

Honestly, we have not really been in this position financially in the past so this is totally new to us.

The plan is simply to have the family over for holidays and be able to put on Christmas music, etc.. in the important areas where we would have guests.

I am an audio junkie so I wanted to have sound in multiple locations as well to listen to music when I want in any of the rooms I would be spending time. Over time I'm sure our children (all under 6 right now) would like the option as well.

I am also a technology junkie so I wanted the ability to go to any tv and select a movie from a server and play it. I was doing this with TV cards back 10 years ago in college and loved it. So, I figured why not add it to my home now if it's available (although it's obviously in a different form factor).

My wife doesn't understand technology and her response to all this is "that's cool". She just says to show her how to use it when the time comes.

Integration of the security system / cameras is just one of those - "why not" things. If we are going to do this and the option is available... why not.

That's about it for lifestyle.

I forgot, I would like to integrate an intercom system as well.

Any recommendations on that?

thecodeman:

Can you help me to understand why HC-1000 and HC-300's are "highly recommended". What is the benefit of that setup versus just a bunch of HC-200's?

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thecodeman:

Can you help me to understand why HC-1000 and HC-300's are "highly recommended". What is the benefit of that setup versus just a bunch of HC-200's?

You can check the forum, but I dont believe I've heard *anyone* say they regret adding an HC1000 to their system, especially with 2.0 or large media databases. The HC1000 is designed specifically to speed up your entire system.

http://c4forums.com/viewtopic.php?id=8594

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I forgot, I would like to integrate an intercom system as well.

Control4's intercom system right now is only on InfinityEdge touchpanels. I'm sure a door station would be a wise addition in the future. You can certainly use a third party intercom system on its own.

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The issue is that I have contacted three different levels of dealers trying to get a more detailed understanding of things but have got three different responses as to what equipment would be required.

This comes up quite a bit along with the other topic(s) "Please Review My Quote"' date=' My Dealer is Recommending the Following. What Do You Think"?, etc. I feel that those who are posting these types of posts are headed towards having a system that will have issues down the road and that does not fit their lifestyle and that's the key, LIFESTYLE.[/quote']

James. That was an incredibly beneficial post on the "lifestyle profile". Very generous to let us look at your ideas.

I want to add that I agree 100% with your post James, and that further to this....one of the strengths of the Control4 product is portability.

Once you have spent all that money designing and paying for programming for your's and your families individual lifestyle....why waste this when you move? Just pick up your Control4 set up and take it with you! (this even applies to dimmers and switches which can be easily "swapped" out...)

I've planned my project so most of it will be able to be picked up and taken when I move. I suggest others do the same.

Of course not every installer thinks of this (or encourages this sort of approach). There would be a big incentive to come on back in and redo all the programming for the next owner.

I guess you can't blame them, but my argument is that there is alot of the individual users personal IP/time/effort, and trial and error, in setting up their HA system. (Including hundreds of annoying posts on this forum :rolleyes:) If most members are like me, my guess is most of us have spent more than 100+ hours of our own valuable time on our project by now...This is never valued by the dealer. And won't be by the next owner. So why leave all this behind?

Of course James's post also spells out just why there is significant potential devaluation of a HA set up from one home owner to the next. Again The "industry" doesn't sell it this way. They say HA value adds. Maybe structured wiring, alarms and security cameras add value....but if the next home owner doesn't value all of your technical "lifestyle" in the same way you do, or needs to spend big again to reprogram or even swap out the entire home auto system (if he/she doesn't like it)...then you've blown all your capital...

So MSU, my advice is, plan your project so that you can take most of your HA "lifestyle" with you...

Control 4 is ideal for this. And being well priced, if you do decide to leave it, or even on sell what you don't want...you haven't "blown" a fortune :)

Wap

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Why "Section 3" was removed.

First off I received quite a few emails, all positive, not only from C4 end users but from C4 dealers asking about our "Lifestyle" book and if we would share it. I want to STRESS that the dealers who did inquire I HIGHLY respect them and this is NOT against them at all. I told the dealers that contacted me that I can not lend it, sell it, license it, etc due to the fact that it does give us a competitive advantage but also we have assembled, edited and modified it over the past 5 years, and continue to edit/update it, and the hours that we have put into it over the last 5 years are well into the thousands. I stated that I would be willing to work with them in creating something similar that would be geared towards their company.

Second, the meat of this post. We received an interesting call today alerting us that the staff were told to starting creating a "Lifestyle" book and "just copy, word for word, what was posted on the C4 form by GoGo and make that the basis of the book." I want to mention that this company was not one of the companies that contacted me over the last few days. In fact I have not heard of them nor am I aware who they are on this board.

I removed the section because of the statement "just copy, word for word." I don't mind what so ever that people want to create something similar but copying word for word is steeling. I was emailed a PDF of a draft that was written and sure enough it was word for word. I don't mind someone taking what we do or what I have posted and making it their own, that's why I contribute. But please, be creative and create it around your business and your original thoughts. As I stated above, those who have called or emailed me, I do not mind helping at all. But to steel and pass it off as your own is WRONG.

I am not mad I do feel that people get whats coming to them. To those who contacted me I am still willing to work with you in creating something similar to what we have. I don't let one bad Apple spoil the bunch.

I want to also state that I will not name the company and as far as the person goes I don't know who he/she is. They did not give a name. The reason I posted this was to explain why the "Section 3" portion was removed. I will not discuss this further and any questions asked will be ignored and go unanswered so please don't ask. I also ask that if you have a copy of the post please do not re-post section 3.

Thanks.

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Simply amazing. Thanks for sharing when/what you do GoGo, I always find your posts interesting and insightful. Sorry there are bastards around her that would do something like that. I'm glad one person within the organization that the stones to bring it to your attention.

Hopefully them doing the right thing isn't causing them problems with the asshole copying your work. I've got a good guess as to whom it might have been but I'll keep my mouth shut...

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Actually, "steeling" is not illegal (i.e. "to steel oneself", etc.).

You may have somewhat of an argument as to "stealing", but I'm pretty sure you'd have difficulty arguing that someone copying text *freely posted on a public forum* as stealing. Word for word copying into their own manual likely would be copyright infringement, but stealing? Not really.

That said, I don't approve of it, and it certainly *is* lazy, and any dealership worth it's salt is going to make something that fits *their* needs, not copy some other dealership's manual word-for-word.

There's no such thing as copyright infringement for ideas, so I'm guessing someone creating something based on *your ideas* is not actionable. If it were, all progress in nearly every field of study or commerce would grind to a halt.

Thanks for sharing your ideas, and the help you provide here.

RyanE

P.S. I'm sure I really shouldn't post this, but equating copying publically posted text (at worst a copyright infringement, typically a civil matter) with stealing (which is typically a felony, a criminal matter) is a gross exaggeration.

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Wow James. That completely SUCKS. Legality or not...it still sucks.

Please dont leave this forum. You are right up there as one of the most valuable contributors.

If this in fact is true, I'd sure like to know who did this. (I certainly won't be using their help on future matters....that is for sure).... trust means everything in this game...If anybody finds out, they owe it to the users on this forum to post who the culprit is....

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys, just an update. I posted this (below) in the third party hardware forum as well but thought I would let you guys know where things are at. I didn't want to leave you hanging. :)

------------------------------

Hello,

I have spent about 10 - 15 hours over the last few days reading the forums but I have not found a good post that I can understand to do what I need. I apologize if I missed one!

Scenario

I have got quotes from a few dealers in the area and have a wide range of responses as to what works.

Just before I was going to make a decision I found out that what I wanted was not what I was going to get from any of them (frustrating since they are asking $20,000 to $60,000!)

So now I am trying to research things myself so I can spec to them what to include.

These dealers are all behind on technology. Not a single one of them (regular authorized retailer, a platinum and a gold dealer) has heard of the Dune for example and none of them have a single clue how to integrate it - Yes, I'm serious. neutral

The layout:

To start I will have 5 or 6 tv locations that are 1080p capable with both HDMI and Component inputs available.

* Will likely add another 4 - 6 locations in the future for a total of 9 - 12 locations.

* Each location will also have a separate whole house audio system (not sure that matters).

* One location will also have a 5.1 in wall sonace surround sound system (again, not sure that affects the scope).

Desired function:

A central media storage location that all 5 - 6 locations can access independently.

I want each of those locations to be able to pull data from that same storage location

Content will be video most of the time but some audio through the TV with any on screen display would be a plus (audio is not a necessity - have the whole house audio system).

All locations to be able to watch totally different things from that source or the exact same things if they want - I want it to be that locations choice independently from any other room in the house.

Content will be mixed video formats. Some regular DVD's (full menus), some Blu-Rays (full menus), some avi, mpg, divx, etc...

I will not be streaming any internet radio or doing any netflix through the players so that is of zero value to me (not a necessity).

I would like them to be fully integrated into Control 4 via IP if possible.

I would like to broadcast over Cat-6 cable and just add baluns (1080p is a plus).

Responses I have Received

One C4 media player and a C4 video matrix switch

One dune media player and a C4 video matrix switch

Multiple media players (any brand - I have to buy) and a Extreame Video Server

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Can some of you qualified / more experienced dealers / installers / DIY'ers recommend what I should be telling them to quote?

I'm not sure but I was reading and I'm wondering if the Dune HD Max could function as the NAS and then buy several of the Dune players to access the drive to display their own content?

I placed this in this forum because I am open to any of the third party solutions that are proven to be stable and do what I am asking. If that is a separate NAS and WD Live TV, Dunes, etc.. then I am okay with it.

I know that I will need a HC-1000 in the media room, and HC-200's or 300's at each TV and will be buying them as a part of the system as well.

From a price perspective I am interested in the lowest cost solution that gets me the functions above. I don't see any value in over paying for a prettier box that does the same as a lower cost box for example.

Thank you all in advance for reading this and responding! :)

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You will need one media player for each independent video stream you want to have. How many people live in your home? If you have 3 people and 6 TV's, then obviously 3 media players is enough...you've only got 3 people!

Get a good NAS, and let the Dune(s) stream from that. The ReadyNAS Pro Pioneer GUARANTEES at least 6 simultaneous 1080P streams, so that would be a good unit to look at.

Talk to James (user id diamonddesign). He can sell you the Dune, has a great driver, and is also a Control4 whiz.

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You will need one media player for each independent video stream you want to have. How many people live in your home? If you have 3 people and 6 TV's, then obviously 3 media players is enough...you've only got 3 people!

Get a good NAS, and let the Dune(s) stream from that. The ReadyNAS Pro Pioneer GUARANTEES at least 6 simultaneous 1080P streams, so that would be a good unit to look at.

Talk to James (user id diamonddesign). He can sell you the Dune, has a great driver, and is also a Control4 whiz.

Thanks for the quick reply!

I'm thinking at a minimum 4 units because we do have three but we regularly have guests and could potentially be streaming 4 at a minimum. We do have another on the way though. I could scale back if necessary.

So, the NAS would stream back to a hub and the hub to the dunes or back to a video matrix switch?

I'm trying to understand how it will interact because I want to make sure I understand how many ports I will use on the matrix switch (I don't know why I have to double check everything but apparently I do because I am not getting good information from the local dealers).

As for the dune's - so they do not act as a NAS then?

If not, what is the most cost effective dune that will do what I need it to do (as described above) if I do not need a blu-ray player? (I have about 5 or 6 blue rays laying around the house already).

I'm also confused about what the audio matrix switch will do in this type of setup? Or will it even be involved in the video streaming / audio streaming to the TV?

Thanks! :)

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There are lots of ways to setup the video and audio, you really need a dealer to plan that out with you and explain the pros and cons of the different ways to set that up. In my house, I have distributed audio SEPARATE from video audio, but that's just me.

NAS = Network Attached Storage. It is basically just a storage device that hangs on your network. Then when you a pick movie to watch, Control4 says "Hey media player, play file \\NAS LOCATION\FileName", and switches your matrix switch to the correct source. Does that make sense? In your setup you want a NAS, trust me. The media player just streams the file from the NAS, over your network, decodes it and outputs the picture to your TV.

When you say "hub" I have no idea what you're talking about.

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There are lots of ways to setup the video and audio, you really need a dealer to plan that out with you and explain the pros and cons of the different ways to set that up. In my house, I have distributed audio SEPARATE from video audio, but that's just me.

NAS = Network Attached Storage. It is basically just a storage device that hangs on your network. Then when you a pick movie to watch, Control4 says "Hey media player, play file \\NAS LOCATION\FileName", and switches your matrix switch to the correct source. Does that make sense? In your setup you want a NAS, trust me. The media player just streams the file from the NAS, over your network, decodes it and outputs the picture to your TV.

When you say "hub" I have no idea what you're talking about.

I meant the router hub - sorry.

I was curious if the video would travel over the cat-6 directly to the media player without going through the video matrix switch?

Logically this makes sense to me because the media player would be decoding the stream so why would it need to go through the matrix switch.

But then again, I am not an expert at how C4 works.

The dealer route is what I have been trying to do. I'm 100% serious though when I say that the three different ones say three totally different ways to do it and they each all say why the other ways are not feasible. (Actually just had this conversation a few minutes ago again with one of them and same response).

Hence why I am here asking the people that actually keep up on the technology. :D

I'm still going to have a dealer install it but I want to make sure what is installed will work as I want instead of just crossing my fingers and hoping it does after my money is long gone.

As for the NetGear ReadyNAS pro - which version would I need? There is a Pro 2, Pro 6, duo, etc...

http://www.cdw.com/shop/search/Data-Storage-Products/Networked-Attached-Storage-NAS/NETGEAR/result.aspx?w=T2&b=NTG&SortBy=TopSellers&searchscope=ALL

There are also quite a few other NAS servers out there by NetGear - is there any reason why the lower cost options would not work? Just curious.

Thanks again!

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The type of NAS you need is largely dependent on the amount of content you have now and wish to have in the future. The math estimates can be found here for content depending on how you rip (how you rip depends on what features or quality is important to you)

http://c4forums.com/viewtopic.php?id=8270&p=3

So after you find a GB number per "file" lets call it, multiply that times the number of "files". This gives you the total amount of space you need. Divide by 1000 to get the number into terabytes (roughly). Drives are commonly 2 TB now, some 3 so divide the TB number by the size of the drives - that tells you how many drives you need. Add at least one for failover in RAID. Hopefully you are under 9 drives (@ 3TB you are at ~24TB of storage) and this will tell you what enclosure you need based on the number of bays.

Or since you're looking at a Dune why not just call James @ Diamond Design since he wrote a driver for it, and sells them (and has looked at NAS solutions ad-nauseum)

http://c4forums.com/viewtopic.php?id=7886

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The type of NAS you need is largely dependent on the amount of content you have now and wish to have in the future. The math estimates can be found here for content depending on how you rip (how you rip depends on what features or quality is important to you)

http://c4forums.com/viewtopic.php?id=8270&p=3

So after you find a GB number per "file" lets call it, multiply that times the number of "files". This gives you the total amount of space you need. Divide by 1000 to get the number into terabytes (roughly). Drives are commonly 2 TB now, some 3 so divide the TB number by the size of the drives - that tells you how many drives you need. Add at least one for failover in RAID. Hopefully you are under 9 drives (@ 3TB you are at ~24TB of storage) and this will tell you what enclosure you need based on the number of bays.

Or since you're looking at a Dune why not just call James @ Diamond Design since he wrote a driver for it, and sells them (and has looked at NAS solutions ad-nauseum)

http://c4forums.com/viewtopic.php?id=7886

I'm perfectly ok with calling James. :)

I likely will but I am trying to understand what NAS will work. I can get a discount through work. :)

From a space perspective - as cheap as 2TB are now I would just get 4 drives (8 TB) and be set for years.

My main concern is if the rack mount NAS will work or not?

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My main concern is if the rack mount NAS will work or not?

Why wouldn't it?

I don't know if the Professional series recommended works with control 4 better (drivers)?

Or are you saying it doesn't matter either way as long as it is a NAS?

I don't want to get one that can't handle around 6 independent streams at once.....

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There are no drivers required for a NAS...it is essentially just a hard drive that hangs on the network. Control4 doesn't know what it is, nor does it matter. It just knows what files reside there...that's it.

Your demand for 6 independent streams is why I said to look at the ReadyNAS Pro Pioneer. The number (Duo, 4, 6, etc...) is how many drives it holds. Remember, you lose at least one drive to redundancy (backup).

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