Designed by custom installers, the Pronto TSU9600 can control everything from high-end, multi-room home theatre systems to home automation applications like custom lighting and climate controls.
Philips claims that while it can handle a wide range of systems, the Pronto TSU9600's interface is designed to keep the unit's operation as simple as possible for users. Unlike most other TV universal remotes, it features a 3.7-inch VGA colour touch screen in a landscape alignment, so you can see icons and images displayed on the screen from a wide viewing angle. You can also navigate by using its rotary wheel or included stylus.
It can be used with two optional extenders. The RFX9400 provides out-of-the-box Wi-Fi and wired network compatibility and four individually addressable IR ports. The rack mountable RFX9600 has four IR ports, four serial connections that can be hard wired to RS232 compatible equipment, plus outputs for power sensing triggers and relays for mechanical functions such as raising/lowering curtains and projector screens. Up to 16 Pronto devices can be incorporated in one system.
The Pronto comes with a number of out-of-the-box solutions preconfigured -- it supports control of Escient FireBall servers, the Imerge SoundServer S300 and other XiVA supported music servers as well as Lutron RadioRA, an Australian-made lighting system. After getting PC software from the Pronto website, it will support any Windows Media Center Edition as well as Vista, so you can access all your digital files from a PC.
The Pronto TSU9600 is really designed for multi-room AV that incorporates at least some type of home automation system and would be overkill for anything less. Although it's supposedly "simple", it nonetheless will take some programming and installation skill to get it up and running. Yes, there is an IR database so installers can make more efficient use of configurations already programmed and an advanced system diagnostic log for easier system debugging, but who wants to mess with that?
If you are installing a home automation system, undoubtedly the Philips Pronto TSU9600 is worth a look, but if you are simply after a universal remote to control just your TV and sound system, there are less sophisticated options.
Note: In Q4 2007, Philips will be releasing the TSU9600's little brother, the TSU9400 (AU$1799). It's vertically aligned like a conventional remote control, but does feature a 3.5-inch QVGA colour touch screen.