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Pronto Questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnFR, Sep 6, 2001.

  1. JohnFR

    JohnFR Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm debating with myself whether to buy a Pronto. The problem is that as I add components, it is getting more difficult for my wife to easily operate the HT. I have a Sony VL900, but of course the problem is you can't label the buttons you have assigned. My wife uses a Palm so she is used to a touchscreen and going through menus. I think she would like a well-programmed Pronto.
    Some questions:
    1. Should I save some money and get the TSU1000 rather than the TSU2000, as I understand they are virtually identical except for the extra memory and the color.(?)
    2. How necessary is the $80.00 charger kit and cradle? How long will it go on a set of alkalines?
    3. I read on www.remotecentral.com that a number of Prontos made in 2000 shipped with displays that some people have found to be sub-par. Are these only TSU1000s? Is there anyway to identify these units? I don't want to get a unit with a dim display.
    4. Are these things really that hard to program? I read posts like, "Well, it took me about 20 hours to figure out how ProntoEdit works," and "after about 100 hours, I got my Pronto working great."
    It seems like some people really love the Pronto and others hate them and send them back. I have some experience with touchscreen remotes because I had a Sony AV2100 for a while. I liked the Sony fine, but it wasn't versatile enough to justify its cost, IMO, so I returned it for the VL900.
    Honest opinions are appreciated. I've thoroughly read the reviews and user opinions on www.remotecentral.com, but I was hoping to get some input from the hardcore HT folks to help me make a final decision.
    Thanks, JR
     
  2. ChrisB

    ChrisB Stunt Coordinator

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    John-
    I may not be the most HT qualified person to answer, but I will put my 2 cents in-
    1. I got the TSU2000 and it is not color, the 6000 is color. If you are anything like me, and like the coolness of the touch screen, go for the 2000 over the 1000, it has alot more memory. I have got a macro that when I push one button, it turns the Denon 3802 on to DVD, TV to Aux input, dims my lights, and presto instant movie.
    2. If you check the thread, they have cheaper places for the charger. I like it, but some have had probllems with it.
    3. I got mine last year and it is fine, the contrast does need to be adjusted every once in awhile, some complain about that too.
    4. It did take me awhile to program mine, but the FAQ on remote central is great, if you have questions just ask, the people there are great. I got mine up and running in about 5 hours, then a little hear and there as I wanted to do more with it.
    Over all I love mine, I am making a bitmap of my new house and am going to put it on my pronto for the lighting controls in it. My soon to be wife loves it too, she pushes one button and it takes care of the rest. There are alot of people who hate it like you mentioned, but then again some people are never happy. I am not the most computer literate person in the world, and on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being hardest for ease of use, I would give it a 7-8, but once I got it programed I forgot all about how hard it was. There is a guy on here that programes them, I am not sure what he charges though. Hope some of this helps
     
  3. Jake T

    Jake T Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Tom. They are somewhat difficult to program, but once you get used to it you will probably find yourself tinkerig with the layout often, trying to make thing just a little bit easier.
    Go with the 2000. The extra memory will come in handy if you ever decide to add alot of BMP's.
    I've had mine for 6 months. I'm still playing with it and trying to improve it.
    If I had a G-Note I'd get the color one (6000) in a heartbeat.
    Good Luck [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Jake T
    --"The Things You Do In Life Echo An Eternity"
    ----Russel Crowe, Gladiator
    [Edited last by Jake T on September 06, 2001 at 07:20 PM]
     
  4. James Nguyen

    James Nguyen Second Unit

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    Honestly, once you get past the learning curve, programming the Pronto isn't all that complicated. The three coworkers of mine who've had Prontos along with myself, we averaged about a hour or two before we picked up the basics of it all.
    Once you have that initial stumbling block cleared, then it's just however long you want to fiddle with this and that...and it's amazing how long you can spend doing this!!! [​IMG]
    Take heart in that the TSU2000 is very easy to use right out of the box. It won't be highly customized, but the TSU2000 comes w/ a relatively thorough database of IR codes for various devices and makers. You select the make and equipment type and it cycles through till it gets a response. Takes about 15 minutes to set up the default IR codes. Not as satisfying as custom design screens, but at least it makes the Pronto serviceable until you get the time to sit down and customize it.
     
  5. DanKaps

    DanKaps Extra

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    If you'd like to somewhat "try before you buy", download the latest ProntoEdit software. You can design your layout and even run an emulator on your desktop to see how the screens will work. Then if you decide to get one, you can take it out of the box, put in the batteries, download your config. to your Pronto and your about 90% ready to go. This is what I did. I created my custom layout about a week before I received my Pronto. When it arrived, about 5 minutes later, I was up and going.
    The ProntoEdit software does take an hour or two to get totally comfortable with it, but it's worth it. You can also download hundreds of config's that other people created at remotecentral so you can start by modifying any of those to your liking. You'll find it's tons of fun.
     
  6. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Well as someone that programs these as a side business I'd say they're worth it and then some [​IMG] Don't bother with the changer since the pronto is very easy on batteries. Just buy a bulk lot of AA's and you'll be set for years. The main differences b/t the 1000 and 2000 is that the 2000 offers more memory and a built in database of code. The built in database can be useful but truth be told in all the remotes I've programed I've only used it a few times since i find it easier to grab codes from Remote Central. If I were buying today I'd buy a 2000 just to get the extra memeory...esp since the cost difference isn't that great anymore.
    ------------------
    http://www.attcanada.ca/~itisi
     
  7. Fred K

    Fred K Auditioning

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    My wife was the archetypal "remote-o-phobe" and the Pronto has quieted all her complaints. My eight year old daughter can also navigate without a problem between TV, DVD and LD the way I have mine programmed. It's worked out so well that I've been hunting for another one to use with the upstairs HT. I thought I could probably find a 1000 pretty cheap on eBay by now, but the cost does not seem to be significantly less than the 2000, so I would go for the 2000.
    I've never been sorry that I passed up the charging station. Batteries work just fine and last more than six weeks in our household. Besides, I know from experience that, in our home, I would be the only one to ever return the RC to its' charging base.
     
  8. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    I'll be a voice of dissent here. I bought a Pronto for my Mother (she could never use her setup at home before). I had it for a month before I gave it to her, and programmed the look and feel so that I could give it to her all set up. With the help of remotecentral.com I was able to come up with a very nice layout. I programmed it for my setup first for experimentation, and lived with it for about 3 weeks.
    The remote worked very well, but I just couldn't get used to using a touch screen. Because there were no buttons to feel I had to be looking at the remote in order to use it. For me and my fiance this just didn't feel right. We know our remotes well enough that we usually don't have to look at them, and it felt a little odd to be pressing on a blank surface.
    That said, my Mom loves using the Pronto, because I have everything configured for her, and she always had to look at the remotes to begin with.
    -Max
     
  9. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    I have had mine for about a year now. I love the thing. But, I wish I would have wated for the T2000 to come out. Don't get me wrong, I haven't run out of space yet. It would just be nice to have that extra space, just incase. It can become an addiction programing it. A tweek here, a tweek there. And, poof, you have a new layout. It can be fun. It dosn't really take that long to figure out how to program it.
    ------------------
    Jeff Blair
    AIM blairj2
    Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
    - Abraham Lincoln
    My DVD's
     
  10. James Nguyen

    James Nguyen Second Unit

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    Max,
    yup, the Pronto really could use a few more hard buttons, but ah well.
    Agreed, for some it just doesn't feel "right" to be using a touchscreen remote. The lack of a tactile response and feel is a bit jarring at first.
    If at all possible, I always recommend my buddies to try using mine for a bit at my place before they go out and buy their own. For most of them, it's not that big a deal after a bit of adjustment on how much pressure to apply, etc.
    Prontos are great for many, but the difference is enough that a testdrive really should be made first. Then again, not everyone knows folks who go out and spend hundreds of dollars on "just a remote control". [​IMG]
    I still get quite the odd look from first time visitors to my place....."Why do you have a palm pilot sitting next to your tv?"
     
  11. Darren K Price

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    I have a Pronto TS1000 which has been a very nice addition to my HT. My wife and I are very proficient with it but when company is over or staying with us, I break out a cheap five in one that does all of the basics. My biggest complaint about the Pronto is that it is very intimidating to novice users who turn on a tv and the picture is there. I keep it simple for guests by removing the Pronto from the room.
     
  12. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    As much as I love my 1000 this new remote from Marantz has me excited
    http://www.remotecentral.com/wn010904.htm
    [Edited last by Andrew Pratt on September 07, 2001 at 11:33 AM]
     
  13. James Nguyen

    James Nguyen Second Unit

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    Andrew,
    WHOA..... [​IMG]
    screw the ProntoPro...I want me one of these!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Any idea on pricing?
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    James I totally agree the prontopro didn't get my mojo going at all given the high price and it really didn't go more then the old pronto's...sure its color but I wanted a functional joystick. Time will tell what these machines will do but it looks very promising
    ------------------
    http://www.attcanada.ca/~itisi
     
  15. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    I'll respond directly to your questions first, although there will likely be repetition compared to the prior posts (I'm quickly rifling through today).
     
  16. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    As a proud Pronto owner I thought I should quickly chime in. Here are some answers to your questions:
    1. TSU1000 vs 2000
    Jay pretty much covered this. If you just have standard components and plan on using a standard graphical interface (nothing too fancy), then the 1000 should be fine.
    The extra memory with the 2000 comes in handy with the following applications:
    - mega CD changers, where you can input your entire CD collection using a variety of programs available and have one-button access to any CD in your collection, thanks to macros. Some even let you dig down to song level. Instant access to any song in your collection is kinda cool.
    - custom graphical interfaces. Some people insist on their Pronto emulating the look and feel of the Starship Enterprise. While its not my cup of tea, it could be cool and it will eat up a lot of memory.
    - extra "niceties". For example, if you have a satellite, you might want instant access to certain channels using small graphics of station logos as your buttons - again, lots of memory used here.
    2. The Pronto runs quite nicely on a set of alkalines. Personally, I see no need for the charger station, but then again I see no need to vote against it either.
    3. Displays. Sadly the display on the Pronto is not the greatest. Contrast is poor. This does not mean the display is unreadable - far from it. It just doesn't have the contrast that us picky people would like to see! [​IMG] There is information on replacing the screen with a high-contrast one - I think that info is on remotecentral.
    4. ProntoEdit. Well, ProntoEdit probably did not go through many useability labs - at least I hope it didn't! It isn't the friendliest program to work with. On the other hand, if you've got a basic understanding of how Windows programs work, you should be ok. You could probably slap up an interface in a few hours. What is time consuming is _perfecting_ your interface. The nice thing about the Pronto is you can have a utilitarian version running on your remote whilst you perfect the ultimate GUI on your computer with ProntoEdit - and when you're finally ready, you can download it to your Pronto. So there is little need for much downtime.
    Anyway, hope this has helped a bit!
    ----
    Jeff
    ------------------
    "They're coming to get you Barbara..."
     
  17. Will Cunningham

    Will Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

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    I used my Pronto for over a year before I decided that I needed more hard buttons. I really enjoyed the time I spent with my Pronto and still think that it is one of the best options out there for ease of use. You have so much freedom over the UI that you can make it so that anyone can use the remote.
    I think that RTI's T2 Theater Touch is a nice combination of touch screen and hard buttons. It is a little expensive though, and I found myself longing for even more hard buttons. That is a personal preferance though.
    I have to agree with Andrew, the new version coming out from Marantz looks awesome! The addition of a hard button direction pad is just the thing to make a fantastic remote even closer to perfect. I think I would wait for a little more information about this remote before I went out and bought one of the older Pronto's.
    Hope that helps,
    Will
     
  18. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Jeff, Andrew, and myself have been discussing the new Marantz remote. It looks like the big advantages over the Pronto (or ProntoPro if talking color) are 1) more editable screen area, and 2) more hard buttons. I made the following observation to Jeff and Andrew re: the latter and am interested in others' opinions:
    quote: Insofar as the hardkeys are concerned, and relative to the extra usable screen area - that rocker's most obvious application is cursor commands, so even *more* of the screen is actually available. This opens up some intriguing possibilities for CCFs.
    There is a practical limitation to the extra hard keys, though. Only two of them have soft commands (under the L/R corners of the screen) - I prefer the Pro's four. The dedicated HOME hard button is superfluous - I prefer just onscreen as it's used infrequently (and certainly doesn't require blind access). And it seems that MENU, OK/ENTER, and EXIT are fixed for those commands as well (or at least not easily labelled to suggest otherwise as would be a softkey, which is one of the reasons why I love touchscreen
    designs). So by my estimation the real addition here is the 4-way rocker compared to the conventional Pronto or Pro. A rocker control and four (4) softkeys under the screen would have been preferable IMO. Move the rocker down a little, ditch the MENU, HOME, OK/ENTER, and EXIT keys entirely, and make the four softkeys bigger. THAT would be cool.
    I also like a little more breathing room on the top of the screen for the Home, Device, and Macro (Activities for me) graphics. I really like what the ProntoPro did with regards to this. The Marantz is a little tight up there.[/quote]
    ------------------
    --Jay
    "No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."
    My Home Theatre Pictures...
    "You're no messiah. You're, you're a movie of the week. You're a ... t-shirt, at best."
    [Edited last by Jay Mitchosky on September 08, 2001 at 09:53 AM]
     
  19. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    I've had one of the original Prontos for quite some time and I love it.
    Rather than repeating some of the other excellent advice already offers here, let me offer a couple of thoughts of mine.
    When I originally got my Pronto I was under the impression that it would be used to replace all my remote controls (I have about 15 of these at last count since I have a lot of components.) True, you can set up the Pronto to be an "everything" machine, but in real life I find that it serves me better as a "master" control center, supplemented with a couple of the remotes that I like to use because of their tactile feel, jog controls, etc.
    So my current scenario is to have my Pronto programmed with macros that control most viewing scenarios (such as "Dish 6000," "Dish 501," "Sony DVD 9000ES," "Panasonic DVD RP91," "LD Player," etc.) and, once everything is up and running, to use the actual remotes for any adjustments. I found this particularly necessary for the RP91 because of the large number of control options. And, as a backup, I have just about every remote also present in electronic form on the PRONTO in case I want some quick control via a remote that is not presently on the table. This is the scenario that works best for me, although this is something you have to adapt to your own preferences (one of the great things about the Pronto series of remotes.)
    One question of my own, while I have the attention of the Gurus here. For the life of me I can't get a bitmap image that I wanted to appear on the Home Page of my original Pronto to appear in "USE" mode. It shows up if I go into "Edit" mode, but it disappears if I return to "USE" mode. I think I've got all the settings right, but I never was able to get this picture to appear as I want it to. Any hints from the pros? (This is nothing earthshaking and I can live without it, but it has been bugging me as a little bit - no pun intended - of unfinished business.)
    Thanks.
    ------------------
    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
    My HT (latest update 02/05/01)
     
  20. Rick Evarts

    Rick Evarts Auditioning

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    RAF: your symptoms fit the case where there's no "action" assigned to the button. Have you used the standard trick of assigning a 0.1 sec delay?
    ------------------
     

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