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The PRONTO REMOTE thread. Questions to be posted here....


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78 replies to this topic

#1 of 79 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 10 1999 - 05:43 AM


I just ordered the Pronto remote.
God Help Me!

I have a few questions even before the remote arrives.
Since you guys have twisted my arm in buying this
sucker, I hope that you will stick by my side and help
me with many questions that will follow...

1. I lost my Sony DVD remote. I have been able to
use all the commands with another Universal remote,
but have NOT been able to access the SETUP menu. Will
The PRONTO already have Sony commands in there to access
me to the SETUP menu, or do I need that remote to learn
the commands to the PRONTO? If I need that Sony remote
I am in BIG trouble.

2. Is programming this thing as easy as entering
a manufacturer code, this it picks up all the remote
commands --or-- am I going to have to sit and teach the
remote every single function?

3.Is this remote easy to learn? Is there a big
learning curve or an encyclopedia manual?

4. Finally, I downloaded the DEMO VERSION of
ProntoEdit. I opened it and have no idea
how to use it. Someone said there was an interface
that I could play around with now before I got the
remote.

Thanks for the help -- I am sure there will be
more questions coming.

------------------
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#2 of 79 MichaelPe

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Posted November 10 1999 - 06:46 AM

Congratulations on your purchase, Ron! I'm sure you'll love the Pronto.

1. You can usually find codes to most components in CCF files located at RemoteCentral and ProntoEdit . Most Sony DVD players use the same remote commands, so you can just download one of the CCF files from one of those sites. You may even find discrete codes for your components on these sites. (By the way, a discrete code is a command which does not depend on the state of the device you are controlling. For example, a TV usually has a Power toggle button which turns the TV ON if it is OFF, and vice-versa. A discrete code would just allow you to turn the TV OFF even if it is already turned off. This is useful for input-switching on receivers, or all-off macros...)

2. Unfortunately, if you don't find CCF files for all your devices, you may end up having to "teach" your Pronto all your remote commands. It's a relatively quick process, so don't worry too much about it.

3. The remote is very intuitive, and the instruction manual is very useful. I would recommend that you read the Pronto manual and the ProntoEdit manual before using the pronto. They are short, well-written, and easy to read.

4. The best way to get started with ProntoEdit is to open the default.ccf file included with the software. Once you open it, you can play around with the layout. Then, you can open ProntoEmulator (Tools->Run Emulator) to test your design. The Emulator is a great tool for learning to use the Pronto before you actually receive it.

You can email me if you have any other questions. Enjoy!

#3 of 79 Thom B

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Posted November 10 1999 - 07:33 AM

I'll just second the sentiments above, and add that Pronto Edit is fairly non-intuitive to use at first, and I work in software development! I think it was designed with custom HT installers in mind rather than the average software consumer. It's got that utility tool feel.

That said, once you get a feel for it, it's an amazingly powerful tool. The best approach is to ask yourself, what do I want the remote to do? Then, start at the beginning and move on from there.

I live with four other people who aren't big tech geeks like me and so I'd receive at least a call a week.."how do I turn on blah?" My primary goal was that anyone could walk off the street and operate my system in a manner that is easy, intuitive, and safe for my gear.

My first screen was a "What do you want to do?" and I just continued on from there. When I couldn't figure out how to do something on my own, I asked at Remote Central. Great bunch of folks up there!! Now I have a complete system of help menues, etc that can get anyone up and running in no time.

Just last weekend it passed the ultimate test. My Mom was over and wanted to watch a movie, so I handed her the remote and let her go to town. She was happily enjoying herself in no time, with absolutely no coaching from me or anyone else.

I guess the point of this unexpectedly long winded post is-

1. Figure out what you want it to do.
2. Draw up some kind of flow chart.
3. Start with the first screen you want people to see.
4. Learn as you go.
5. Ask lots of questions. If there's something you want this baby to do, chances are it can do it. It's just a matter of figuring out how.


#4 of 79 Seymour Uranowitz

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Posted November 10 1999 - 08:58 AM

Quote:
Figure out what you want it to do.

This is by far the most important step in the process. The Pronto can do just about anything you want it to, but first you have to know what that is. A good way to start, even before it arrives, is to begin monitoring the way you use your HT. What do you usually do first after powering up? What components and functions do you play with the most? What key-press sequences do you perform most frequently? There are probably patterns to your HT usage that you're not even aware of yet. As Thom said, a flow chart might be useful once the patterns emerge.

It took me about a month before I figured out the ergonomics of how I used my system. As I progressed through 20 or 30 early screen and button designs, I eventually homed in on the one that conformed most closely to the way I interact with my HT. It's a very gradual process, so be patient.

Also, the CCFs that others have created are incredibly useful, so download as many as you can for the equipment you have. One CCF I downloaded had about 100 DSS channels programmed into bitmapped buttons of all the channel logos. So now when I change stations, I just press a single logo button, instead of entering 3 numbers. That one CCF saved probably 4-6 hours of programming time, helped me figure out screen designs, and saves me two key presses every time I change channels.

The beauty of this piece of equipment is that its design is primarily in your hands. You can make it reflect your own preferences, rather than relying on some designer's idea of the way the "average" user would operate it. So have fun, and keep us updated on your progress!

Seymour


#5 of 79 Lin Park

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Posted November 10 1999 - 09:30 AM

Congratulations Ron!!! I should be getting this baby for Christmas (hope my SO is reading this) and have already downloaded the software and began setting up my devices. I think you will be very happy with it.

If it's not too much of a secret, where did you order it and how much did you pay???

I'm looking at Control Your Home for about $329 which gets you the remote and the docking station. That's more than I paid for my DVD player and it doesn't come with 5 free DVD's. Posted Image

Have fun,
Lin

#6 of 79 Will Cunningham

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Posted November 10 1999 - 09:36 AM

Congratulations, I am sure you will not regret buying a Pronto. I have to admit that I get a little sadistic pleasure when I hear that another poor unfortunate soul is about to be sucked into the wonderful world of the mighty Pronto!

I agree with the others, ProntoEdit is a great tool that can take a little getting used too. You will probably want to get started with it by loading a configuration and playing around with it in the emulator for a while. After you load a ccf, goto the tools->run emulator option (or click the toolbar icon of a running pronto).

I have a few tips on my mini-pronto page that may help out, they are in the "Pronto Tutorial" section. I posted some of Dale Crawford's design suggestions in that section. http://www.madraving...tartpronto.html Most of the good stuff is in the faq at www.remotecentral.com in the tips section.

The thing to remember about the pronto is that even though it is not super quick to setup, it is worth it in the end when you have a configuration that even your friends can operate. Posted Image

Good Luck!

Will

Will Cunningham - www.MadRavings.com

#7 of 79 Mike L-field

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Posted November 10 1999 - 10:47 AM

Ron you are going to have some fun{:-)) and probably a little frustration at first. As others have recommended - check out remotecentral.com and take your time. You can make this baby elegant in operation, or utilitarian basic depending on your time and interest. Once you get familiar with the Pronto Edit, Emulator and certain jargon e.g. "aliases" etc. it is really wide open what you can do with it.

A benefit - you can make it as wife or 'lay-person" friendly as you care to. One minor problem I had: As I developed my configuration (ccf) files and kept changing, adjusting, moving stuff around etc. it became a little frustrating to my wife and son 'cause I didn't always tell them about changes {:-)). I wanted a fairly grand and elegant device operation, so it would be "slick" and so that anyone could use it effectively. Believe us, that can be done with time, care and creativity.

My wife opined that she didn't care if anyone else could use it easily, and pointed out that when we had company we still wound up "in the pilot's seat". She let me know that she wanted me to just program it so that she and my son could get used to one simple configuration and she didn't care how "slick" looking I made the screens.

So I backed off on my "designing" and have a fairly basic set-up. Very Very wife friendly.

Little does she know that I continue to play with the edit and emulator programs and some day (when I get it all together) there will be a "slick" and grandiose ccf that will also be friendly once she pick's it up.

Have a ball! It has been one of the best HT purchases I've made and I haven't even come close to using all its abilities.

------------------


#8 of 79 BRENDAN MULDER

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Posted November 10 1999 - 12:53 PM

Do I need a computer to program the Pronto? I have webtv now, but will be buying a computer eventually.

#9 of 79 Thom B

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Posted November 10 1999 - 01:00 PM

Brendan,
You'll definitely need one to take full advantage of the customizability. Especially with regards to macros and screen jumps. That said, you should be able to box up all of your old remotes after learning the commands into the Pronto "out of the box." The preset devices and accompanying screens are pretty thorough.

Thom

#10 of 79 Brian Perry

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Posted November 10 1999 - 01:23 PM

I'm considering the Pronto as well. A couple of quick questions...

1. Someone commented that it had a "cheap" feel to it. Is that an overstatement?
2. How soon will the color version be out?
3. Does it come in just the teal color?

Thanks.

#11 of 79 Greg Warner

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Posted November 10 1999 - 01:49 PM

Ron,

You will not be dissapointed. I am 100% sure you will love as well as get the hang of this thing with in a week. Makes a superb flashlight as well when you need to find anything in your HT during show time. Enjoy...

Greg

#12 of 79 Mike Breslin

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Posted November 10 1999 - 01:56 PM

Brian,

The Pronto definatly does not have a cheap feeling. It only comes in teal. If you prefer, the Marantz version is gold.

Mike

#13 of 79 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 10 1999 - 03:23 PM



Lin, to answer your question...

If you want a great deal on a
Pronto with docking station for $335.99
here is where I ordered mine:

Stereo Trading Outlet

I don't know how long this price is good for.

------------------
Posted Image
Ronald Epstein
Home Theater Forum Administrator
All forum questions & to get on our private forum mailing list (new members)... Email: repstein@i-2000.com NEW EMAIL ADDRESS - PLEASE UPDATE!
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Email Packy packy@qni.com


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#14 of 79 Jay Mitchosky

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Posted November 11 1999 - 02:36 AM

Quote:
The Pronto definatly does not have a cheap feeling.

I was the one who commented on the Pronto feeling cheap and I stand by that. Without batteries it feels like a skimpy plastic shell. The backlit hard keys feel insubstantial (the touchscreen, however, feels rock solid). The teal color further cheapens the presentation - this is subjective, but I feel a black case would have greatly improved the appearance. I also have the H/K and it simply looks and feels of higher quality - if you have not played with one before try and you'll see what I mean. Don't get me wrong - the Pronto is still a great unit with incredible programming power. I was just expecting more beef.

A note re: the gold Marantz version. I have heard that it is simply a painted teal shell that eventually wears off.

--Jay
"The computer had attained consciousness, only to reject it, claiming it was too unstable an operating system."

#15 of 79 Steve McWilliams

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Posted November 11 1999 - 02:49 AM

I just bought a Pronto last week from J and R.
It's not teal; it's dark gray.

#16 of 79 Phil Schirripa

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Posted November 11 1999 - 03:50 AM

Love my Pronto. Most used toy by far. Worth every penny. The docking station is a must, IMHO.

As far as the buttons, I find the two bottom buttons to have even a cheaper feel than the backlit ones.

Come on everyone, let's hear some of the stories regarding how nervous everyone gets when they see their Pronto in flight towards the floor ;-)

Has anyone seen the newer Pronto adds (Nov. Audio Video Interiors) where they display screens that have folder tabs. Anyone implementing this yet? It seems cool.

#17 of 79 Thom B

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Posted November 11 1999 - 04:09 AM

Phil,
There's a number of ccf's at http://www.remotecentral.com which implement a tab layout. I use one for my DSS channel groups. Very nice trick.


#18 of 79 Will Cunningham

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Posted November 11 1999 - 05:00 AM

I have dropped my Pronto a few times. The pronto is not indestructable, but it has been pretty sturdy for me. I have a thin industrial style carpet over the concrete floor of my HT room and have recently dropped my pronto on that a few times. I have done it at least 3 times in the past 2 months. The battery case sometimes comes flying off, but other than that I have not really had any problems. I have had to hit the reset button or remove and re-insert the batteries, but that is about all that happened.

I have had some other tough spills too, there was one time about 8 months ago when I sent it flying towards my coffee table with some force (over a distance of aprox 4 feet). There were other times when I fumbled it and ended up with it landing on some hard surface. To be honest I am surprized that it survived the beating I have given it over the past year or so.

There have been some people who have damaged the touch screen, so it can be damaged. I think it dependa on how it lands as to how much a fall would hurt it. I am just grateful that I have been lucky so far. Posted Image
Will Cunningham - www.MadRavings.com

#19 of 79 Anthony Cler

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Posted November 11 1999 - 07:14 AM

Jay,

Of the two, which do you prefer, the Pronto or the Take Control? And why?

Anthony

#20 of 79 Jay Mitchosky

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Posted November 11 1999 - 10:10 AM

Quote:
Of the two, which do you prefer, the Pronto or the Take Control? And why?

Tough to say. If the H/K had the programming power of the Pronto than probably the H/K. I'm hoping this kind of flexibility shows up in the new software release (H/K is getting killed because of this).

What I like about the H/K:
  • Ergonomics. The way it feels in your hand. The roller wheel. The button configuration.
  • Build quality. I feel it is superior to the Pronto. It looks and feels more substantial.
  • Software. A very elegant user interface.
  • Setup. Incredibly easy to get up and running on the H/K with the setup wizard. Add a device. Tell it what brand it is. Follow the instructions until it finds the proper code set. Loading codes from miscellaneous CCFs on the web for Pronto is a cumbersome shortcut.
What I prefer about the Pronto:
  • Screen. It is much more sensitive/responsive than the H/K. It offers slightly better visibility, but not as much as I expected.
  • IR. It is much more powerful than the H/K, which essentially requires line of sight.
  • Programability. This is where the rubber meets the road, and Pronto has no equal in this respect. However, it is frustrating to setup with the cumbersome ProntoEdit software. The interface aside, the Pronto places very few restrictions on how you can make it operate.
The long and short of it - for me it's not cut and dry whether or not replacing my H/K with the Pronto is worth it. If I was starting from scratch I would buy the Pronto (although technophobes not willing to put in the time will miss out on the biggest attraction of this product). I'm not sure if I'll keep it. I might hold out for a next generation product (color screen?).

--Jay
"The computer had attained consciousness, only to reject it, claiming it was too unstable an operating system."