Big plans, but starting small - Advice?


New Member
I am just getting my feet wet with Home Automation, and I've been reading everything I can get my hands on for the past few weeks. It's an existing house, so my ability to run extensive wiring is rather limited.

My nirvana is somewhere close to Lipsit's level of control audio-wise, but I really have little desire to control lighting in my house (that may change)

Initial Requirements:
Security - About 10 windows and 3 doors to secure, and a couple glass break sensors. No motion detectors, I have cats. Must be wireless, with 2 controllers (one upstairs in master BR, one downstairs near entry)
Garage door detection and perhaps up/down automation (when I arm the system at night or something)

Phase II: Add a couple audio zones, with voice control. I want to say "Computer, play Dire Straits on the Deck" and have it pull Dire Straits tracks off my Lossless WMA library and play them through the speakers on the deck. I want the computer to wake me up in the morning, and spend 30 minutes telling me the news and weather. I want to say "Computer, I'm going to bed", and have it check the perimeter for security and close the garage door if it's open.

I don't really have a desire to do anything fancy with video. Don't care to announce "Let's watch a movie" and see the lights dim. My video setup is just not very fancy, and it's only 2 buttons currently. Maybe someday. No need to deliver video to multiple rooms at this time.

I'm intrigued by motion-sensitive lighting, but not sure I want to spend money on it. Not sure it would be effective with my pet situation anyway. But perhaps lights triggered by doors opening could work.

I have a new HVAC system, with a Bryant Evolution controller. Not sure I have a need to integrate that.

I'm leaning heavily towards the ELK M1 for security, and HAL for the voice control, but beyond that I'm pretty lost. I'm not sure what elements would be controlled by the ELK, and what I'd need other devices to manage. The choices with X10, UPD, Infeon, etc, leave my head spinning.

I'd appreciate any advice.

BMonday ,
You can't go wrong with the Elk. It's the hottest system going at the moment. As far as music goes I do what you describe now with HomeSeer/HomeSeer Phone. I pickup the phone hand set and tell the Media Player plugin that I want to hear a particular song and it plays. There are 2 voice controlled music plugins available for HomeSeer. The Windows Media Player and the newer iTunes plugin. All of the VR task that you describe can be accomplished using HomeSeer and a good quality mic system. I choose to use my phones since I have so many of them and the VR works with no training. Combine your voice with the HomeSeer Elk plugin and you can do as you desire. Speak It's bedtime and HomeSeer can lock the doors, turn off the lights, arm the Elk, turn down the heat and then tell you goodnight after reading tomorrows appointments. There's a 30 day trial available here if you want to give it a whirl.
I would put a damper on the VR aspect. Nice fun, but not realistic for daily use unless you put a ton of hardware, CPU, wiring, mike balancers, etc in. VR is just not useable in everyday purposes. Too many technical obstacles like ambient noise, different users voice patterns, mikes not in the area that you will be speaking, etc.
Go with a touchscreen. Much more practical and usable by all.