Philips Pronto TSU9400 Universal Remote Control Reviewed

Philips Pronto TSU9400 Universal Remote Control Reviewed

The new TSU9400 from Philips is a big, high-end remote control with a 3.5-inch LCD, IR (but RF-capable) and even has RS-232 and Wi-Fi. It's sold by custom retailers, so they'll program it for you. We give it a full test here on HomeTheaterReview.com.

pronto_tsu9400.jpgOne of the higher-end models in Philips' popular Pronto line of universal remotes, the TSU9400 sits just below the top-of-the-line TSU9600 and offers much of that tablet-style remote's features in a vertically aligned, handheld design. The TSU9400 ($899.99) combines hard buttons with a three-and-a-half-inch color touch-screen that has 240 x 320 resolution. It has 64 MB of flash memory; within the confines of that memory, you can configure it to control numerous A/V devices and multiple systems around the home. The remote uses line-of-sight IR technology, but it is also RF-capable. Add the RFX9400 RF wireless extender (sold separately) to control equipment located in a cabinet or separate room. The TSU9400 is also compatible with Philips' RFX9600 serial extender for more advanced control of equipment, connected via RS-232. One of this remote's marquee features is its built-in 802.11g functionality, so you can control IP-enabled equipment and access digital media files from a Windows Media Center PC, with viewable metadata on the remote's screen. The TSU9400 comes with a matching docking cradle that recharges its Lithium-polymer battery.

Additional Resources
Read more AV remote reviews from everyone from Philips, Logitech, Harmony, RTI, Crestron, Apple and more.
• Read a review of the Philips TSU9300 Pronto Remote from Dr. Ken Taraszka.
 

The TSU9400 is a higher-end remote that is sold primarily by custom retailers, who have been trained to program it using the ProntoEdit Professional software. However, the TSU9400 is also sold through some direct-to-consumer outlets, and ambitious do-it-yourselfers can program it on their own. The system is built around creating activities, such as Watch TV or Watch a DVD, and the software offers a lot of flexibility to design the touch-screen pages to look exactly the way you want them. Philips recently upgraded the software to add ProntoScript, a JavaScript-based software tool that lets you view real-time feedback from devices connected via RS-232 or IP. For instance, you can view and adjust the current volume level of any audio system around the home, get song/artist info from a satellite radio in another room, or pull up lighting/temperature status.

On its own, the TSU9400 is a highly configurable universal remote that can be programmed to control a wide range of A/V devices in multiple rooms. The form factor strikes a nice balance between touch-screen control and hard buttons for basic tasks. A wi-fi ability is a nice perk for those users who wish to remotely access and control digital files on a PC. The TSU9400 is at its best, however, when mated with the optional RF and serial extenders to provide more robust whole-house control.

Read The High Points, The Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2

pronto_tsu9400.jpg

High Points
• The TSU9400 can control numerous devices and multiple A/V systems. 
• Its touch-screen is bright, colorful and detailed, and the hard buttons are nice for basic tasks like volume and channel changing.
• The ProntoEdit Pro software offers a lot of flexibility and customization options.
• When mated with the optional extenders, the TSU9400 offers much of the functionality of more expensive control systems.

Low Points
• The ProntoEdit Pro software is designed for use by trained programmers, so consumers who buy this remote direct may find the remote more challenging to set up. 
• The RF extender is not included in the $899.99 package.
• It would be nice if Philips added Web-browsing functions with that 802.11g ability.

Conclusion
The TSU9400 is a fully-featured universal remote that offers the customization of a tablet-style touch-screen remote in a more convenient handheld form. It's a great choice for the more advanced consumer who wants to completely customize the user experience and has several systems to control. Mate it with the optional extenders and enjoy a robust whole-house control system.

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