Last year i started with 64 channels using LOR boards, this was a good starting point as it didn't give me to much to be overwhelmed with for my first year at computer controlled Christmas lights. This year i really have the bug now and started looking at way to bring the cost of my equipment down and at the same time increasing the joy i got from making the display. The answer was DIY, this now gives learning & building electronics a purpose because you are making things that will be very useful to you and save you a lot of money and at the same time it gives you new skills and knowledge and self satisfaction of achievement. For me i have decided to ditch LOR S2 software and go to Lightshow Pro (LSP), the benefits of this are that all your LOR gear will still work with LSP including the network dongle so you can run a LOR network and a DMX network at the same time. This is much cheaper than using a LOR IDMX dongle (US$259.00) instead LSP is US$89.00 and then you can make a DMX dongle for under US$60.00. Once you have a DMX universe there are so many new options in lighting and control that you can take including Phils great Tiger DMX controllers. So if you want to get the best bang for your buck, learn new skills and increase the joy and satisfaction that this hobby gives then DIY is the only way to go.