Philips hasn’t missed in their attempt to keep you busy while watching TV. Their Pronto, model TSU9600, is a high-end, LCD touch-screen remote control that’s designed for your home theater system but promises to control a lot more.
At the time of this review the Pronto TSU9600 had a MSRP of $1299.99.
All specs quoted in this article courtesy of Philips USA.
To the left and right of the screen are page, volume and channel toggles as well as mute, home and menu buttons. There is also a rotary wheel on the lower right side.
The top of the remote features a backlight and stylus for the touch-screen.
The TSU9600 has a rechargeable battery, which is charged by connecting to an illuminated docking station. The docking station uses an included power adapter.
In the box you get a ProntoEdit Professional CD, which will help program the TSU9600. You also get a USB cable and starter guides.
Philips contacted me about this product for a review. After looking at it online I jumped at the chance. Little did I know that installing this remote wouldn’t be as easy as opening a box.
This is a remote that you would likely buy at a home theater store and they would custom install it. I figured that’s why it cost so much.
As part of the review process, I emailed Philips a list of my components (manufacturer and model number) and service provider. They then programmed the remote control from their location and mailed it to me. (Your installer would just bring it over when completing the install.)
The tech came to my house and proceeded to test the TSU9600. If a device wasn’t properly configured then he set it up. In all, he was at my house for a little over an hour.
What the TSU9600 Controls
The technician also programmed various functions on my stereo receiver and learned the controls from my DVD player remote control.
How It Works
The TSU9600 works with Escient Fireball Media Servers and Lutron RadioRa lighting control. You can configure multiple room set-ups and have multiple user setting stored in the memory.
I had a single user home theater configuration with two views on the LCD screen. One was the Philips standard art design and the other was from the programmer, Only One Remote.
My set-up was simple. You could have a complex configuration, like unique profiles for Mom, Dad, the kids, the living room, bedroom, lighting, kids room, etc. All would be accessible by the press of one button.
The one-touch feature of this remote means multiple components are powered on by pressing one button. It goes beyond that. You can configure your TV one-touch set-up then switch to your music set-up with one button. The TV turns off and the stereo turns on. Want to switch from music to a movie? Press the DVD and the TV, DVD player and surround sound receiver all turn on.
The TSU9600 has an on/off switch but it’s really always on. It has a sensor inside of the unit (a ball) that turns the panel on when the remote moves. You can also tap the screen to turn on the Pronto.
- This was the only remote I needed on the table. It really did replace every other remote I own. The screen is beautiful and very crisp and colorful.
- It was so easy to use even my wife’s tech-illiterate grandma used it. All I had to do was tell her to shake the remote, press the TV icon and then look at the screen. It was that easy.
- The logos of the stations on the LCD screen made it easy to change channels quickly. They were also catagorized by various genres, like sports, movies, locals, etc. The downside was that I like to change stations by typing in the channel number. So, I had to go to a different screen to access the number pad.
- I couldn’t hold the TSU9600 with one hand and flip from channel to channel like I could with my current remote.
- You can upload music snippets into the remote. This could get annoying but in theory you could upload the Sportscenter jingle and it would play when changing to ESPN.
- The TSU9600 held a charge well and never ran out of juice. It was natural to put it in its docking station when done for the day. The docking station is illuminated with a light that shines through the clear base and gives off a bluish glow.
- Programming the remote wasn’t the easiest thing. If you don’t read instructions, understand macros or don’t have basic computer knowledge then this will be near impossible to figure out on your own.
- The TSU9600 didn’t have any quick editing functions embedded within the main unit. If you wanted to add or remove a channel from your view then you had to use their ProntoEdit Professional program.
- The piano-black faceplate gets dirty easily and is hard to keep free of fingerprints.
- The panel is sensitive, so if you press the wrong part of the screen you could turn something on and something off. Basically, you have to learn not to grab the TSU9600 over the screen.
The Bottom Line
Aside from the programming, which takes time to master, the TSU9600 is very user-friendly. The LCD screen is beautiful and the one-touch feature is a convenient twist on the old art form that is channel surfing.
The only true downside that bothered me was the lack of on-screen programming from the unit itself. If I wanted to change something on the remote then I had to use the ProntoEdit software.
The TSU9600 is a true coffee table organizer. It replaces all of your remotes, can control multiple televisions, DVD players, receivers and turn down the lights if necessary. It really is a couch potato or home theater enthusiasts dream.
The bottom line is that a thousand bucks for a remote control is a tough sell. While the Pronto TSU9600 has many features I like, the price tag would likely turn me off. Though, I did see some sites online that sold this remote for around $700. Keep in mind that this price tag is competitive against other high-end one-touch remote controls.