Well, it has been 2 days since the 9800 arrived. I did research here as my previous remote was a pronto classic and this site made programming it much easier than it would have been. From the opinions posted here I had my doubts about ordering but new in the box for 200 dollars I had to give it a try.
Unit looked very nice when turned off. Upon power on it already lost some of its appeal due to what I now believe is a needed contrast and color saturation adjustment. At ALL brightness levels the display appears to be washed out.
The setup begins
First setup just my core components of an RCA HD satellite receiver, my denon avr 5800, and my mits ws-55907.
My initial impressions; Large database of built in codes? Maybe, but in my opinion not implemented very well. The remote attempts to learn codes the manufacturer uses and then tries to match them up with code numbers. I believe that matching a code to an actual inputed model number would have been best. On all the units I have tried, not a single one, had all the buttons I use. Example... Denon avr-5800 did not have any of the codes or button names I could use for DD 5.1, DTS, and THX Home Theater.
SO anyway, I continued to plow forward to see what I could do. Learned as many codes as I could find or at least match closely to pre-assigned button names. (Philips has got to be kidding to believe that we really could remember 8 custom codes for each device without the ability to rename the button)
The base components were now functional to at least watch some satellite but getting the inputs correct still required jumping around to several screens.
I then added VCR, Laser Disc, and started playing with the EPG.
I activated EPG and downloaded more than 200 channels.... NOT a good idea... they do warn of not using over 100 to not impact performance, they are correct.
So then I felt I would break up the guides the way my system uses the individual channels. Although my DTV has local channels, it does not take advantage of all local OVER the Air HD channels and all the digital sub channels, The guide for cable is not captured either on the DTV box. The DTV box has separate inputs for Satellite, Ant A, and Ant B. I use all 3, One for Sat, one for Over the air HD and Digital Locals, and one for cable. I then decided to break up the EPG into 4 categories to lighten the load on any one setup.
Satellite Channels Satellite Music Local Cable
Then I find out that you can't assign a different EPG to each viewing activity, only per each unique device. THE WORKAROUND; Create a similar device to mimic the DTV receiver. A long as it is a sat receiver it didnít seem to matter what the manufacturer was. I just chose custom for the IR code and learned every used command for each pseudo HDTV receiver... Well that fixed the EPG problem.
Now the next thing that became annoying was having to manually switch the input to match what I was watching, i.e. dtv, locals, or cable.... (Why Philips did not design this into the sat receivers templates is beyond my comprehension)
So with much playing around I found that when using a dvd-r device you could assign a inputs... so pick a dvd-r, set it up for power always on (remember this is an imaginary device and does not exist) you will need to at a minimum assign a code to the play button to continue,,, pick an old unused remote and assign any command. Now assign this device does not change channels in the four screens for 1, 2, 3 and 4 digits channel options. Now the time to assign the inputs, click add and add the inputs you need on whatever device you have not been able to in the past. In my case I am assigning discrete codes from my DTV box to each input I use... When finished and you are assigning devices to include in the current activity, include the pseudo dvd-r device into the selection and you will be prompted for which input it uses for this activity...
WOOOO HOOOOO. It works great.... I select a viewing or listening option and the inputs are now selected correctly and the EPG works now for each of the 4 EPG's I downloaded because you can assign a different EPG to a different DTV receiver ( remember I only have one real receiver, but 4 devices entered with codes from the one)
Next issue, some devices are viewed using HD 1080i; some use some standard definition.... THE WORKAROUND, the same as above, I made another dvd-r and this time for the inputs, I assigned the code and label for HDTV, and STD TV, I then assign this dvd-r to the products used in the activity, and WOOO HOOOO, now no need to switch DISPLAY resolution for each viewing mode assigned an activity...
Needless to say, it is like custom startup macros which is what many users here have been complaining about... You can also assign a different sound mode to each input, i.e. DTS, DD5.1, Stereo, etc. and anything else your heart desires, well maybe not anything. But it is great for customizing the initial setup of each viewing or listening activity.
So, I have had it for 48 hours now and have a remote controlling 8 different activities with the proper, inputs on all devices, display resolution, sound mode, and EPG for each scenario by just the touch of the activity button