I went with zwave because of the variety of manufacturers. The GE Wink and Lowe's Iris systems are both zwave at heart and most of the devices use standard zwave device profiles so they work on any zwave controller.
I went with a vera3 because it is turnkey, supports a wide variety of devices and inputs including many security systems, has software for insteon modems, is user hackable, and can be controlled locally or remotely without being dependent on an active internet connection. (I.e. Wink)
The trick to controlling costs is to use it where needed and not because it is cool. I.e. my thermostat (iris zwave $100) and the switch on my pipe heater ($35) are zwave. I have internet weather and a couple of sensors that fine tune the house temperature throughout the day. Now my 2nd floor bedrooms don't swelter, the lower floor tv room isn't freezing and even when the temps dropped to 5F(-15C) my water lines were flowing and I didn't have to worry about it.
I won a Hue starter set and while light control is interesting (i use it as an alarm clock) the fact switches render the bulbs inert makes controllable bulbs a novelty. Controllable switches are the important part. Except remote controlled lights aren't very useful beyond novelty. The exception are exterior house lights. Having those on a randomizable timer or turned on by Autotasker geofencing when your phone drives up, and/or triggered by your security system in alarm mode are all good usrs of "smart" lights.
Oh, and if you know anyone with hearing problems. Having the lights flicker/dim or color cycle when you have a phone call or doorbell ring is very helpful. But for typical people its just novelty.