I am currently under construction with my house. Obviously I want to have the correct wiring in place now for home automation and A/V. I've had a quote for $125k for a nice Crestron system but don't want to spend that type of money. Pluto sounds intriguing to me and with my programming background it would be more fun to tinker with it than pay a professional (yes, that means my system may not always work but that's okay with me).
Anyway, I am seeking advice on the following configuration.
The security system will be the HAI Omni II. It has some features that I like plus it can control lighting systems. I know X10 is cheap but is it worth the expense of a fancier system like Radio RA (supported by HAI and Pluto) or Control4 (not supported by HAI or Pluto)? I like the notion of "centralized lighting" but don't want to wire for that. Plus, if I don't like it then I'm stuck with that type of system and cannot just place a regular light switch on the wall to replace it. The wireless and X10 style systems give me more flexibility. Any recommendations?
The Convergent Living/CorAccess Companion product looks very interesting (embedded Linux with customizable Flash interface). It works with Lutron and HAI as a controller. Would it be a good option for an Orbiter? What about the MX-3000?
I am also very interested in whole house audio with multiple sources (mp3s on a network drive, satellite tv, CD/DVD) and multiple zones. Does Pluto support the zones by having a Director in each zone? If so, then if a zone is the master bathroom, master bedroom, kitchen, laundry room, and garage, do I need 5 Directors? I know there are other products that are controlled by Pluto (Russound, Nuvo, etc.) but can I just have multiple audio cards streaming audio to a Director to a receiver to the speakers?
The same question also applies with video which is a little more complicated. With the Crestron system I was looking at, it was running proprietary cabling all over the place in addition to component and other A/V cables. This would be much easier with CAT5 and some conversion to the local inputs/outputs at the tv/receiver.
I've been doing lots of research and am a little saturated right now and have started to confuse myself and second guess this whole thing. I don't know if I'm making it too difficult or if there really is a less expensive solution to the Crestron and AMX style solutions.
Any advice/real world experience is greatly appreciated. Thanks!