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Hardware System - ELK or HAI?
When I was choosing between them, I was told that the main advantage Elk had was MUCH better DIY support. I was told that HAI was pro-installer/maintainer only. I don't know if that is actually true, but at the time, I did not have input from any DIY HAI CQC users to tell me otherwise. Also, I was told that Elk upgrades are easier as you download the upgrade vs buying a new chip.

At least when I bought, Elk was a lot less expensive (mine came thru Automated Outlet).
I think both of those things with HAI have changed recently. They certainly have become more DIY friendly and even have support personnel posting on Cocoontech from time to time (and they have a HAI forum on Cocoontech now too). They also released a board that can be upgraded by flashing the chip instead of sending it in. Of course you need to make sure you buy a newer board that has this feature. Unfortunately, if you have an older board, you must still buy a new chip to get board upgrades.
Brian - a long time user that rarely messes with the system now
Other systems used:
SageTV w/ cablecard tuner & multiple extenders for viewing
BlueIris and IP cameras for CCTV
Incredible PBX for home phone

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