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What to Choose!!


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HELP!!!!  We are looking to upgrade our light display to a Light O Rama Display... Can you help me decide between the Residential Series 16 channel package and the Showtime Central Starter Package.  There is a obvious difference in price and I'm trying to figure out which would be better for us. What are the difference in the two packages?   We have always done Mr. Christmas light displays, but are ready to take our lights to the next level...... I'm sure that I"m going to have lots of questions as we move forward but figure if we start soon, I will have plenty of time to get it all ready!!!

Thank you in advance as I want to get this purchased and give to my hubby as a anniversary gift so we can get started on our lights for next year!!!

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The one thing that I will advise you on, whatever you get, DO NOT GET THE FM TRANSMITTER that comes with the Showtime Central Starter Package. All other LOR items are the best. I'm sure you will here more about the transmitter for others that have tried it.

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Sign up for notification of spring and summer sales.  http://www1.lightorama.com/email-signup/

If are able to wait to make a purchase the discount is worth it.          

Will you be using a PC to run the show?   I think this one is great to get started  http://store.lightorama.com/rese16chstpa.html   

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Welcome to the hobby & the forum.

I agree with Bob's recommendations - sign up for the sales & use the residential controllers. I also agree with Earle. I used the whole house transmitter a few years, but was never happy with the clarity. I'm like you, upgraded my game from Mr. Christmas. So in that regards, the whole house transmitter is awesome. But soon you want more...

Take the time now, while you are waiting for your new hardware, to start learning the software. You can download a trial version free to start learning. Buy your license during your hardware purchases.

 

Good luck,

Daniel

 

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As others have said, welcome!  Both series of controllers do the same thing.  The residentials are cheaper and lighter.  I've got about 55-60 controllers and all are the residential models.

And as Earle predicted, here's more transmitter advice.  The Whole Room disaster is, quite likely, the worst transmitter you can possibly buy.  If you'd like a transmitter that's been reliably used and recommended by many, has a signal that will actually reach the street, and sells for half the price of the Whole Room thing, then Google: CZH-05B.  You should be able to buy it delivered for $60 - $70.  Naturally, it comes from China, but buy it from a domestic seller.  Not only will you get it quicker, but you'll also have a much simpler time in the unlikely event you need warranty service.  Do not, under any circumstances, purchase one with a telescoping antenna.  Only get one with a rubber ducky antenna.

Good luck and have fun!

Edited by George Simmons
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Strange how he has had some good advice on a transmitter. Plus when to buy a LOR package. 

But his question :- " Can you help me decide between the Residential Series 16 channel package and the Showtime Central Starter Package.  There is a obvious difference in price and I'm trying to figure out which would be better for us. What are the difference in the two packages".

Has not been answered .

Edited by robongar
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1 hour ago, robongar said:

Strange how he has had some good advice on a transmitter. Plus when to buy a LOR package. 

But his question :- " Can you help me decide between the Residential Series 16 channel package and the Showtime Central Starter Package.  There is a obvious difference in price and I'm trying to figure out which would be better for us. What are the difference in the two packages".

Has not been answered .

If memory serves me right the showtime starter package comes with an mp3 director unit which will control the show and the whole house transmitter which would transmit your songs for listening. That's why the question was asked if you will be using a computer or not to run your show. I have used the mini director before and a computer. Once using a computer I would never go back to the mini director. Its a nice little unit but a computer is much more versatile.

If I were you I would just buy the residential controller and purchase my own fm transmitter such as George mentioned and I would use a laptop or desktop to control the show. If not using pixels and old computer will work just fine.

1 hour ago, robongar said:

Strange how he has had some good advice on a transmitter. Plus when to buy a LOR package. 

But his question :- " Can you help me decide between the Residential Series 16 channel package and the Showtime Central Starter Package.  There is a obvious difference in price and I'm trying to figure out which would be better for us. What are the difference in the two packages".

Has not been answered .

Whoops. I quoted the wrong person.

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I purchased the starter package last year and am happy with it.  I haven't had any problems with the transmitter and actually have pretty good range.  My neighbors drive through the neighborhood looking at other houses and listen to my music.  I've even drove outside the neighborhood to the shopping center a block away and can hear my music.  Maybe it's the surroundings??  I live in a area with hills.  

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I have the Whole House FM transmitter 2.0 and other than a problem with white noise from my LEDS it works ok for me, But I extended the antena with speaker wire. It now has a clear line of site between my display and the street which is only about 75' from the house. No trouble with it since then. As for the residential controllers, thats what I run and would recommend them to any newbie. Not trying to down talk the Showtime starter, but if you don't want to run your show from a show director, then the residential is a good start. IF you plan on going into RGB's any time soon, AND want to run a show director, then go with the Falcon Pi, Its more compatible with any non-LOR RGB controllers. IF you plan on running your show from a computer, than no director is necessary, so the Residential again is the way to go, just buy the transmitter separately. By the way, for the last 2 years I've flawlessly run my show with a g3 Mini director (all A/C channels)  but I added RGB's this year.  

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For radio, in 2014, I used a Whole Room Transmitter successfully. It even got drenched twice due to a waterproofing failure. Right after the first drenching, I ordered a CZE-05b, but did not use it in 2014. For 2015, I used the CZE-05b. The range was better and the audio quality was better on the CZE-05b. I have a good antenna on the CZE, and ended up using an attenuator to keep the range where I wanted it.

I have always used a computer to control my show.

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The best way to determine which one you want is this, price not being a factor, but how you are going to run your show. 

Now the next question is, do you have a spare computer you can use for running shows?  It must be dedicated specifically for use for the show when running, no internet active connections, no automatic updates of any kind, no active screen savers, no hibernating, no powering down of accessories, etc. it must not allow anything to interfere with the operation of the show or the computer could shut the show down right during the show, causing someone to have to restart it.  

 

Also do you have the capability if using a computer to run cat5 cables from the computer to the controller{s}?  

If not, the Showtime Unit is the one to go with, it has an MP3 director built in, uses an SD card you program with your show, plug it in and the show runs without the use of a computer.     Using an MP3 Director unit is much easier if you don't have the means to get the cat5 cable{s} to the controllers from inside to the outside where the controller{s} may be located.

 

I used an MP3 Director for years, but now use a computer, as many others here have stated, it is more versatile and you have a lot more flexability with your show, but that also comes at a price, you need the Advanced or Pro License to use a lot of the options not available in lower license levels.  Pro is best if you ever move into RGB lighting, but for standard LED strands or incandescent lights, the Advanced license will suffice, if you want all the "bells and whistles" up to a point, the Pro is definitely the best license to have.

Since I don't have RGB lights in my display, the Advanced license suits my use just fine for now.  But I do plan of going to the Pro version in the future.

 

And as others have said, stay away from the Whole House Transmitter and go with what some of the others have recommended, the one George says is going to be my next transmitter, the CZH-05B, it's inexpensive and from what reviews I've read, is an excellent transmitter.  I currently use a Mobile Black Box Eclipse-4000 for my FM Transmitter, but this one has been out of production for a few years now, you might find a used or refurbished one, but not new.   I'd want to go with a brand new unit if I were starting out, again the CZH-05B is my next one to purchase and like others, get the rubber ducky antenna, the telescoping antenna may give you more range{distance}, but it is usually far past the FCC rules and regulations for home based FM transmitters.

And as others, download the demo version of the software and start sequencing with it, get a feel to how it works and how it does things, you'll be very glad you did.   You can play around with it until you finally get your hardware and a license when you can plug in lights and really see how it all works.

Welcome to the hobby and have fun with it.

 

Edited by Orville
Darn dyslexia, wrote CZH-50B instead of CZH-05B! Corrected.
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The Showtime Starter package was great for me.  It is a starter package that you don't have to worry about all the 'little' things to get started.  It comes with the license, the cat 5 cabling, transmitter and I think mine even came with 6 pre-programmed songs. When looking at the costs, the starter package is a much better deal.

I have been using the FM transmitter for 3 years now and can get range up to 1/3 mile away.  I live in a suburb, but we don't have a ton of radio activity locally. I believe the bigger the city, the harder it is on the transmitter to work properly. So I would base it on individual experience and location.

The director is a great option as I my show is on a continuous loop for the season set on a timer.  Never touch the show after the first night.

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