MainLobby Pricing & License Discussion


In order to keep topics on track I'm creating this thread to discuss anything dealing with MainLobby3's pricing and new license structure.


This reply is in response to DavidL's question in the CQC Pricing Thread where I stated that I feel MainLobby3 is still in beta.

His response was:

BSR, It would be good (and appreciated) if you provided a bit of detail on that statement.
I am aware that you upgraded the MLServer without reading the release notes that say you also have to upgrade the client due to a new feature that was added (post launch) that required both sides to be updated. I do realize that this was a PITA for you. As an update, you are not the only one that didn't read the release notes. So, we will be adding a notice in the installer for that version that the client has to also be updated, when that is required to be a little more obvious.


Wow, if one were to actually try to explain why I think ML3 is still in beta after a reply like that it's like trying to answer someone that asks "Why is that blue sky blue?".

Beta (at least in BSR's definition) is when you first put out code/product that you and a select few others have been testing (in an alpha stage) in the hopes of getting to a production release once the "bugs" have been worked out by a larger test group. This usually requires many versions released once this alpha version gets to this test group.

Look at how many versions of ML3 and server have been put out! How can you possibly say this software is ready for release? The "bugs" have not been worked out!

Yes, I was caught in the middle of this when I complained of updating my MLServer software only to find my ML client broke. Your response was to say the software is "evolving" and really offered very little support on my comments other than to say "sorry your having problems with it".

Now you say others are having the same problems I experienced.

I reverted back to my old (stable) version and will not upgrade, even though I paid for it, until I see the software is finished "evolving" (you say tomaaato, I say tomahto).

The reason; I don't feel like playing "beta boy" (wow our members should have a lot of fun with that expression). The only reason I upgraded was because the software was released.

I tried MusicLobby when it was in "beta" and yes, had problems with that, but hey, I got everything coming to me because I knew it was "beta".

Will Cinemar get there and have a great product that is even better than the older version? Of course they will. So will HomeSeer, eventually...

I also don't care much for the new license scheme, which I also consider still in beta. When your software license "disappears" and you have to reregister, I consider that a problem that should have been worked out in, you guessed it, "beta" mode.

I really like Mario and hope he is taking the correct path here. He has been instrumental with Cinemar's HA take on its line, and I have full confidence in him and his company to eventually produce an excellent "released" product.

So call it what you want, I'm waiting in the wings and in the mean time, placed my MainLobby3 license on the shelf right next to my HomeSeer2 license, waiting for the right time! :blink:

Hope this response is "appreciated"! :D


Well, if MainLobby 2 is working fine for you with Homeseer 1.7, then why change.

But, there has been a very positive reaction to MainLobby 3 with a lot of new features and is no question in my mind a better product. It was in beta for a long time and had tons of testing. If you want access to the beta forum (can't remember if we added you already), just ask and peruse.

when the time is right, backup your current install and install ML3 over the top and things should just work. And continue to work. As always, if you have an issue or need, let us know.

Here is a customer quote from today:

Whoa.....this is tooooooo cool.

I just discovered the unit status light on the far left side of each lighting device in the 0019 scenes......and the way everything just interacts is amazing!

Add a light in the's in the system.....and just works!

The killer for me is the license per interface model. . . I've got two touch screen PCs, and looking to add two more. I still need 4 copies of ML at ~100 each, right?

I think you are reading the license incorrectly.
Here is how the license goes:

MainLobby 3 client requires MainLobby Server 3.
MainLobby Server 3 comes with a standard license supporting up to 5 concurrant connected MainLobby 3 clients.

If you have more than 5 concurrant clients that you want to support (8 touchscreens, 4 desktops plus 5 touchscreens, etc) then you can purchas additional licenses of client connections in groups of 5. So, this works out to $20 per client. This is a lot of clients and much more than a typical house installation, especially a DIY installation.

There typically is only ONE MainLobby 3 server per home / business installation. The software technology supports adding additional for unusual hardware installations where there are multiple equipment locations that are only interconnected via a LAN connection. MLServer also has a "Zero" client license provision that is less expensive than a "5" Client version to economically work in these large scale, multiple server installations.

The great majority of installations requires ONE MainLobby 3 Client license, ONE MainLobby Server 3 license (of up to 5 clients).
This is $159.99 for a limited time combo deal. So, if you have 4 clients, that prorates to $40 per client, not $100.

Markd, most important (to me), I assume you read the pricing on the Cinemar website....with the above explanation, is there something in the wording on the website that we should change for clarity?
That is a much more interesting deal.

At some point I go the impression that you needed a separate license for each client- a while ago (maybe 4-5 months?) when I made my pass around the various options. I was leaning towards CQC after that pass, but not with the new pricing model. I will need to revisit ML after I finish my eval of Housebot. My recollection was the various modules also made it a little pricey, but like I said, I will give it another look.

So ML 3 Client can be installed on as many systems as I want, no restrictions, but I can only have 5 live at any time, assuming I buy ML 3 Server 5? Or is this only with the package deal?

IE, if I didn't do the package, and just bought ML 3, and ML 3 Server, I could run 5 concurrent ML 3s?

(Trying to understand before I answer that last question ;-)

"So ML 3 Client can be installed on as many systems as I want, no restrictions, but I can only have 5 live at any time, assuming I buy ML 3 Server 5?:

YES. You can install ML3 Client on 11 PCs (in the same house), but MLServer 3 (when licensed for 5) will only let the First 5 connect and talk to hardware and other connected clients. so, with ML3, you could have a development PC to build scenes, and shutdown the fifth production PC and connect the development PC for testing. so, essentially you have 6 Clients, but only 5 connected at any one time.

Or is this only with the package deal?

No, the package deal is just the most common way people buy Mainlobby suite. You could also purchase a PocketPC application like DVDLobby PocketPC and one MLServer 3 license (needed for DVDPPC) and never purchase the Mainlobby 3 Client license, if you only want to use a PocketPC. That is why the MLServer 3 is available seperate from the Client.

IE, if I didn't do the package, and just bought ML 3, and ML 3 Server, I could run 5 concurrent ML 3s?

It is less expensive to buy the combo.

If you have 4 client PCs (a PC that you will be using to display the user interface), and never owned Mainlobby before, you should buy the $159.99 combo deal before it expires and goes to $174.99.

Advanced setups:
doesn't sound like it applies to you, but the question might come up:
Q: I have One PC that has 4 UTMA or RDP touchscreens, how does the license apply to that?
A: Each workstation (individual command and control point) should run a seperate user interface instance. This is so location can be used in the logic of commands. Each seperate client (workstation) is considered one connection. So, the one PC can support up to 5 UTMA touchscreens with one 5 client MLServer license. The reason I bring this up is because it's not a "PC" license, it's a "Cient" license. and one PC can host more than one "Client" at one time. This saves big time on hardware, electricity and maintenance costs, but it increases the number of Client licenses needed.

going one step further, MainLobby also provisions Xand Y shift in the video output. so, if you have One PC with a dual head VGA graphics card, and create a Mainlobby scene that has a "Left side" that supports one VGA output to a touchscreen monitor, and the "Right side" that supports the remining VGA output to a different touchscreen monitor, this uses ONE MainLobby client connection. This is useful in a game room for example that might have one touchscreen on one side of the room, and a second on the other side. they can look independent, but actually are one instance of Mainlobby running on both.
A good example of this is the Touchtronix Rad I/O mini touchscreens. This hardware takes one VGA output and splits it up to 8 mini touchscreens. ONE Mainlobby scene is displayed on all 8 at once, but each can appear to be unique. All 8 are using ONE MainLobby client connection and license.

As you can probably tell, there is a tremendous flexibility on how the MainLobby setup can be used.
Ok, I get it now.

maybe if you added to the description of ML something to the effect of "11 client licenses" ??

Thanks for the explanation

So all this hubbub about pricing made me curious as to how much my system would cost if I used ML (and HS? not sure) to do my stuff. I haven't looked at ML since August, and the prices have changed.

Don't nobody get the wrong idea or read anything into this, it was just a scientific curiousity as to what the landscape looks like as compared to the path i've chosen.

DavidL - is this correct?

I have:
- CD control
- Currently 7zones, may expand to 10 based on some architecture modifications.
- DVD control
- XM Control
- Misc Web Browser control [SageTV, CCTV]
- Irrigation
- Aprilaire
- Elk M1
- Weather
- PPC for all of above. (which i've now actually used several times)

I also have:
- 4 PCs controlling something [either hw or sw], 2 of which are used as clients
- 2 touchpanels today, 2 more coming as soon as I get all the CCTVs and whole-house a/v working

- I *may* throw out the Xantech and get 2 russounds as i'm sick of all the amps, in which case:
- HD distro [probably Neothings as I can't get a decent price on autopatch]
- Yamaha RXV1500 for cheap surround in MBR [eBay has it for $375]

If I understand the licensing structure, that means I need:
- 1 MLServer 5-client: $100
- 1 MLServer 5-client pack [2 PCs plus 4 panels = 6]: $100
- 2 MLServer 0-client [for 2 PCs that control something]: $140 ($70x2)
- MainLobby: $100 [only need one, right?]
- DVDLobby: $60
- MusicLobby: $60 for 3 zones
- 2 additional 3zone licenses: $120
- CD Ripping: $30
- XMLobby: $60
- Weather: $60
- WebLobby: $45
- XMPocket: $45
- MusicPocket: $35
- DVDPocket: $35
- Rain8 driver: $55
- elk driver: $100
- Avalon driver : $35
- Russound: $55
- Yamaha: $40

That's $1275. Is that correct?

Also, that doesn't address the Aprilaire HVAC: I think I need HS there, so that's:
- HomeSeer: $190
- ML plugin: $40

If that's true, then that's $1505, is that correct?
DavidL said:
Here is a customer quote from today:

Whoa.....this is tooooooo cool.

I just discovered the unit status light on the far left side of each lighting device in the 0019 scenes......and the way everything just interacts is amazing!

Add a light in the's in the system.....and just works!


Perhaps you would be interested in hearing a covo from my wife after I went back to the older version (the client is on her PC which she uses).

wife: "I thought you changed this (MainLobby) back to the older version"?

me: "I did".

wife: "Then why does everything look the same"?

me: "Well, you don't have the new weather scene anymore".

wife: "That's all"?

me: "Yes"

wife: "How much was this upgrade?

me: "I can't remember" (wish I could pick an emoticon to do the "eyebrow raising" justice)... Oh, BTW, you have the caller ID popup back.

wife: "Oh good!"

Point I'm making is as I stated above. I'm not sure MainLobby is going in the direction for the HA DIY type. My needs were to use it mainly as a front end for HomeSeer.

Yes, the weather features, MusicLobby, and some other minor stuff is nice, but I could take it or leave it.

The one thing I really wanted upgraded was the design environment, but that basically went untouched.

Would it be possible for Cinemar to make a "MainLobby Lite" which is just basically a front end for HomeSeer via using the MLHSPlugin?

I really doubt I will use MainLobby exclusively for my automation purposes (i.e. a HomeSeer replacement), so basically all of this new functionality I'm paying for will go unused.
The pricing is correct under the ML3. Under ML 2 the price would have been about $300 less, different client rules -10 vs 5, package deals for buying all the parts together. As for the 7 vs 10 zones the only thing that may need to be changed is the number of clients licenses. The price seems high but after looking at the options and some of their new pricing it isn't as bad.

As for the paying for functionality I don't need or use. Welcome to the software industry and feature bloat. Look at MS Office, the thing has a built in mapping program and group colaboration. Both of which less that .01% of users even know exist let alone use. Photoshop, same thing. Quicken, how many people actually use the estate planner. The point is most software has fat in it that no one really wants but it somehow gets crammed in anyway. I think what you are seeing in ML3 is them working on building a better foundation with an easier expansion system.

I too would like to see them do just a front end version. Maybe server subset that only could run the Homeseer plugin. The only drawback I see is the doing this adds a layer of confusion for some users. I was and am still seeing this with the XP home, media center and pro versions of Windows. Nothing worse to an end use then finding out you got the wrong version of software 2 months later.

PS: I just asked on their board and tey do still offer discounted ML3 combos via email.
Thanks for the info. I thought DavidL mentioned that only 3 JRMC zones are allowed at the base price?