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Crestron Announces Pricing, Specs for Low-Cost Prodigy System

Prodigy starts at about $825, with a typical whole-house system costing about $5,500 -- a good price for the mass market

Since CE Pro broke the news on Crestron Prodigy, we've had an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the new low-cost control system from the company best known for pricey products.

During a recent tour of Crestron, led by CEO and founder George Feldstein, I got to see all of the little goodies that will comprise a Prodigy home automation system.

First of all, Crestron wants to make it perfectly clear that the company did not launch Prodigy to "go after" Control4 or any other low-cost home automation provider, according to executive VP Randy Klein.

"We developed a line that is consistent with what we've been doing," he says. "Prodigy broadens the market."

Klein acknowledges that some Crestron dealers also offer lower-cost lines. "We would love to have them use us," he says.

Klein believes Crestron can beat out other players in the world of affordable automation because of the company's heritage.

Guess what? You can program Prodigy using Crestron's SIMPL programming software! It sort of misses the point of Prodigy, which is supposed to get the installer in and out of the house, but if you want the customization capabilities of SIMPL, with the affordable hardware of Prodigy, go for it. Still, you cannot use SIMPL to link Prodigy with non-Prodigy Crestron devices. Sorry.
This word Crestron means a lot," he says, rattling off the locales of Crestron offices worldwide, touting the company's enormous RF testing chamber, and boasting of Creston's profitability on $400 million in annual revenues.

"We control our own destiny," Klein adds, noting that Crestron doesn't rely on venture funding.

The goods on Prodigy -- including the prices -- can be found in the Prodigy slide show.

What's in a Prodigy System?

In a nutshell, the system starts with the ZigBee-compatible (802.15.4) PMC2 controller and PLX2 two-way ZigBee remote – sold together for $700 retail.

Out of the box, the PMC2 supports up to six PLX2 remotes. It supports 100 RF devices in total but you'll need to add the P-MNETGW wireless gateway to gain control over switches, dimmers and thermostats. The gateway, meanwhile, lets you add another 30 wireless devices.

Note carefully the restrictions on RF support. For example, the gateway supports 30 RF devices, but only 18 of them can be dimmers/switches. Similar restrictions apply to the PMC2.

One particularly interesting thing about the Prodigy lineup is the PTL4 in-wall touchpanel. The product is Windows SideShow-enabled, providing access to Web-based content such as news feeds, sports scores and email. (And we thought Sideshow was dead.)

Perhaps the coolest thing about Prodigy is the companion demo kit.

It basically comes with one of everything, and if you buy the kit, you get a free Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop fully loaded with Prodigy Composer software.

As previously reported, the software is Wizard base, with "no programming required," according to Crestron. The Prodigy controller is compatible only with the Prodigy line of products, and does not communicate with other Crestron devices.

How Does Prodigy Pricing Compare?

A Prodigy system starts at about $825 for the controller, remote and wireless gateway (optional, but you'll want it). One dealer did a quick-and-dirty price comparison with Prodigy and similar products on the market.

The sample system included four zones of audio, one thermostat, 15 wireless light dimmers/switches and an in-wall touchscreen. The retail pricing for Prodigy was about $5,500 -- nearly the same as the competition.

Crestron will be demonstrating Prodigy for the first time at CEDIA Expo 2009.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Slideshow · Audio · Distributed Audio · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Lighting · Events · CEDIA · Retrofit · Retrofit · Home Automation · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

17 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by ShowMe  on  08/03  at  07:08 AM

Thanks for the info Julie.

Posted by ShowMe  on  08/03  at  07:13 AM

Where you able to find out if the Prodigy line will connect with other standard Crestron equipment?

Also, can the Prodigy stuff be programmed with Simpl?


Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  08/03  at  08:02 AM

Prodigy does not work with other Crestron products. The Cresnet port on the controller is for an external RF gateway. The radio tuner has a terminal block that “connects to Cresnet control network” but not sure what capabilities that gets you.

You can program Prodigy using Crestron’s SIMPL programming software! It sort of misses the point of Prodigy, which is supposed to get the installer in and out of the house, but if you want the customization capabilities of SIMPL, with the affordable hardware of Prodigy, go for it. Still, you cannot use SIMPL to link Prodigy with non-Prodigy Crestron devices. Sorry.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  08/03  at  09:46 AM

Showme, see correction above.

Posted by ShowMe  on  08/03  at  10:26 AM


I just saw all this stuff on Crestron’s website. The pricing is “better” then the non-Prodigy stuff but I see they also lowered the MSRP vs Dealer price (or vs the “normal system” dealer cost) to make it look more appealing to the end users.

Being able to program the Prodigy stuff with Simpl would be very important if you ever wanted to upgrade a system with some of the non-Prodigy stuff IMO.

I wonder if the Prodigy Composer will let you build custom TCP/IP or serial blocks. If so, then one could do some sort of x-sig to a 2-series processor…

Thanks again Julie.

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  08/03  at  11:11 AM

Nice. @ $700 it will probably replace URC and RTI for our entry level systems.

Posted by sanfransoxfan04  on  08/03  at  11:50 AM

The pricing is much better than I thought, too bad It won’t integrate with all the Crestron I already have.
I can see this going into the homes of my parents, in-laws and friends who want a complete home automation solution at a reasonable price. If I can program it with SIMPL and VTProE, that makes my life easier.

Excellent info Julie!

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  08/03  at  12:27 PM

If it could integrate with all of the Crestron stuff, you’d have a lot of angry CE Pros out there!

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  08/03  at  02:55 PM

Only the dumb ones Julie. Those who would rather do 1 large job each month vs 4 small ones.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  08/03  at  02:57 PM

I’m right there with you, 39. It’s just that I get in trouble when I say it!

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  08/03  at  10:20 PM

I do to… that’s why everyone knows me as 39 Cent Stamp smile.

Posted by JoeAV  on  08/04  at  04:35 AM

Call me crazy but I can’t believe Crestron actually designed this unit WITHOUT being able to support additional Crestron product. The unit has a processor right? The unit has a Crestron network port right? The unit even has an Ethernet port right? Just me but no way they can’t open that baby up to do more or expand more if they want/need to.

39Cent you are right. Some dealers have their heads up their a** and only live by big jobs. However the numbers don’t even come close to the volume that can be done in this price point. For the manufacturer that is….

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  08/04  at  04:44 AM

JoeAV, my guess is that it’s a political thing. Traditional Crestron dealers will be ticked if new Prodigy dealers are able to upgrade to full-blown Crestron. I believe that if Crestron dealers asked their reps they would be shown some goodies.

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  08/04  at  07:51 AM

I put my opinion on pause until i get my hands on the product. The prodigy info at the crestron page has a lot of marketing fluff right that i know is not correct so for all we know it will work with existing crestron products. Ethernet jacks, the ability to program in simpl… IMO someone will find a way to make them play together.

Posted by ShowMe  on  08/04  at  09:01 AM

I agree with you 39. If the Prodigy line has any flexibility at all then it should be relatively easy to communicate between a 2 series and a Prodigy unit.

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