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Palm Pilot is an excellent Universal Remote Control
This thread has 230 replies. Displaying posts 16 through 30.
OP | Post 16 made on Saturday June 12, 1999 at 00:06
Daniel Tonks
Historic Forum Post
The Palm Pilot as a remote is good for those who:

a) Already have a Pilot
b) Don't want to spend a lot of money
c) Are looking for customization of button placement & labels

Drawbacks are:

a) The unit must be used upside down in remote mode
b) Most require an add-on IR booster dongle
c) Limited to 15 screens (my Pronto uses 19, plus 7 "favorite channel" screens and a home screen for a total of 27)
d) No custom graphics possible
e) Your Pilot cannot realisticly be used for any other purpose - if you're keeping day planners, phone contacts, etc on it, is it always going to be by the home theater for everyone else? Do you want strangers poking through your personal data?

The Pilot is a PIM, not a remote. People have managed to get programmable scientific calculators to play games and music - does that mean it's designed or even vaugely good for that purpose?

Not I'm not saying don't get one -- that's a personal decision. However after seeing what the Pronto can do, the Pilot fails to impress as a practical home theater control device.
OP | Post 17 made on Sunday June 13, 1999 at 18:46
Historic Forum Post
Daniel Tonks,

I don't quite understand why you seem so biased against the Palm Pilot. Do you have some sort of contract with Philips or something?

For those of you keeping score, the PRONTO is a better remote control. This was never meant to be a Palm vs. Pronto battle. However, the Pronto is a good $100 more. And for those people who are on a budget, the Palm is an excellent choice. It does EVERYTHING that the Pronto does, plus more (ie. Timed macros for recording programs). Interface wise, the Palm is no match for the Pronto. But, if you can do without the bells and whistles, then the Palm Pilot will work perfectly fine.

Another point: I purchased my Palm Pilot SOLELY as a remote control. I use it as a entertainment control. It controls all of my home theater/stereo components, and has databases of my phones numbers, addresses, mixed drinks, recipes, trivia questions, and whatever else you could possibly want on there. Going on a trip? Download a map of where you are going, and there is you're trip tik.

But all these features are beside the point, next to the Pronto, and possibly the Madrigal, it is the most capabale remote control, for about $100 or more less!!! Now, if you have the money, please buy the Pronto. If you can't justify spending the extra $100 for a component which is limited to ONLY a remote control (PRONTO), then get the Palm Pilot. You won't be sorry.

Also, have you ever used a Palm Pilot for a remote? I would hope you have (you being the owner of the site) before making such bold statements. Although, I doubt that you have, seeing that this remote won't be a free one like the others :)
OP | Post 18 made on Sunday June 13, 1999 at 21:31
Daniel Tonks
Historic Forum Post
I have nothing against the Palm Pilot. It offers excellent customization of screens for the money and would be an especially good choice for those who already own the handheld. The problem I have is that some people are comparing ("advertising") its' feature set to the Pronto as if it were the same or better - don't get one thinking you'll get a Pronto. If you can't afford a Pronto, by all means consider the Pilot add-on. But know exactly what you're getting (and aren't getting) beforehand.

Being software based, I fully expect a more advanced program to come out for it soon - if or when that happens, I will look at it anew. My only reason for recommending the Pronto is that it is a fantastic remote control. If you can prove otherwise, I would be glad to listen.

There's no point explaning how the Pilot can take notes, keep phone addresses, plan trips, organize accounts - guess what: that's exactly what it was designed to do!
OP | Post 19 made on Monday June 14, 1999 at 06:44
Dan K.
Historic Forum Post
I noticed in Mr.Tonks lastest reply he did not answer the question have you ever used the Palm Pilot as a remote control.I take will that to mean no.I was going to reply to his previous reply earlier but figured why bother.All the Pronto has going for it is better graphics. The number of screens are not really a factor,the favorite channel list and such could easily be placed in the the memo list of the Palm Pilot.If you have to scroll thru 27 screens to control your entertainment center I say keep your Pronto grahpics which the Pronto owners are spending hundreds of hours programing into there remote contol.For people looking for a remote control to control there electronic equipment and not all the free time in there lives the Palm Pilot is all you will ever need in a remote control.
OP | Post 20 made on Monday June 14, 1999 at 13:04
Steve Fox
Historic Forum Post
I've been following this thread with some
interest since I also own a Pilot... but feel
I gotta step in here.

I own a Pilot III and would never think of
using it for a remote... why? It's always with
me! What's the point of a remote that's never
by the theatre? Now I actually have seen the
addon,a friend has it. Sure, it's okay. But not
user friendly ("turn it upside down? why
honey?") and even if you do keep it aound who
wants to take the booster on and off all the

Now I do own a Pronto - thanks to the excellent
info provided here by Daniel Tonks. who runs this
Site for free for everyone. What exactly have
you, Dan K or PCC, ever done for anyone besides
PCC advertising the Pilot in every message?

I own a Pronto & a PalmPilot. The software for
the pilot is a poor inbred cousin compared to
the pronto. It will work. But aint great.
OP | Post 21 made on Monday June 14, 1999 at 13:30
Daniel Tonks
Historic Forum Post
Sigh. There doesn't seem to be any point here. Pilot users refuse to believe there could be anything better out there, Pronto users already know there isn't! Statements like "it is competing with the Pronto and the Madrigal at a much better price level" & "Can it do the same things as the Pronto? Yes, for the most part" are somewhat misleading. It does everything a universal remote control can do, and more, but is not in the same class as the Pronto -- the same way the Pronto is not in the same class as a Lexicon.

Are Pronto users "spending hundreds of hours programing" their remotes? Do you own a Pronto? I thought not. No, I don't own the OmniRemote, however I have used one. Is drawing every one of your buttons on the screen in the Pilot really a time saver over downloading a pre-configured template for the Pronto, or even using the built-in ones?

All those people who aren't "looking for a remote control to control...all the free time in there lives" could download my graphics for which I have spent hours for the benefit of others who may want to use them. I'm not the only Pronto fish in the pond either - there are dozens of other hardworking Pronto users who have taken the time to provide their work for others to freely borrow from. So please, let's keep the outrageously exaggerated statements to a minimum, yes?

My position remains the following:

* The Palm Pilot can be used as a remote control
* It is an adequit choice for people who already own the PIM
* I do not personally recommend it if you a) use your Pilot for anything else b) have more than one family member who wants to use the theater or c) think it's a Pronto.
OP | Post 22 made on Monday June 14, 1999 at 15:21
Historic Forum Post
Daniel is right, there isn't really much point to this thread anymore, but I'll throw in my thoughts anyway.

I own a standard Palm III and I've used Omniremote, but I still lust after the Pronto. I think Omniremote is impressive -- I never realized I had my universal remote sitting on my desk all this time. Even without the IR booster I was able to get about a six foot range out of the Palm III, which really isn't too bad.

But while it is impressive, it's not flashy. And really, aren't we all looking for something flashy and cool here? We already have the remotes to do the job, we're just hobbyists looking to do it better and have more fun doing it.

For those of you using the Pilot for control, have you played with a Pronto? Download ProtoEdit and some of the sample CCFs and look at some of the fantastic things people are doing with their Prontos. Omniremote isn't even in the same class.
To me, the graphics and versatility of the Pronto make it worth the extra $100. In fact, even though I already own the Pilot, I don't plan to use it. If I could get 10 feet out of it, I might spend $20 for the software and use it as a stopgap measure, but I don't think it's worth spending $40 for the software and the booster, because I've seen what the Pronto can do and I'd rather save my money until I can afford one of those.
OP | Post 23 made on Monday June 14, 1999 at 23:25
Historic Forum Post
Dan K.

I appreciate your backing of the Palm Pilot, however, there is no battle between the Palm and the Pronto. The Pronto wins outright. For those who have the money to buy the Pronto, buy the Pronto! End of story!

You brought up some good points about the Palm, but in the end, the Pronto can do it better. Now, for the budget minded person (although I still find $200 remote, budget minded...I had to draw the line somewhere though...), the Palm is an excellent choice. Compare it with other remotes you can buy for $200 and there is no competition as far as functionality and flexibility goes.

Steve Fox,
You are correct in saying that the Palm should not be used for both Organizer and Remote. It just won't work. But, my point is, using the Palm, buying the Palm, for solely a remote, makes an excellent URC.

As you stated, "Now I do own a Pronto - thanks to the excellent info provided here by Daniel Tonks. who runs this Site for free for everyone. What exactly have you, Dan K or PCC, ever done for anyone besides PCC advertising the Pilot in every message?"

Daniel Tonks does an excellent job with this site. In fact, believe it or not, this is how I came to choose the Palm as a remote, because I saw what it could do compared to the other choices available. But the latter part of your message??? I've heard of cyber sex, but cyber butt-kissing?...c'mon. That statement had nothing to do with the topic. I don't think anyone has doubted Daniel Tonks integrity for this site.

Daniel Tonks,
Sigh, is correct. I don't know how many times I've said this, but there is no competition between the Pronto and the Palm. The Pronto wins in all categories. And until someone else comes out with software for the Palm which is slicker or as slick as the Pronto, it will always be this way. If you are thinking of buying the Pronto or the Palm, and money is not an option, buy the Pronto. If you wish to save money, and don't need all the bells and whistles, buy the Palm. They are capable of the same things.

It's true you have to add the booster to boost the IR signal, however for $40 more, you can get an attachment which mounts on the front of you Palm, which will convert your IR signal into RF. This way you can control your hometheater/stereo/tv/etc., anywhere in your house. You do not have to point it at any device. This is what I have done.

Here is my position on the Palm Pilot:

*There is no remote with more capability and functionality available for $200. It is the best in it's price range for those reasons.

*The Palm Pilot continues to drop in price on a monthly, if not weekly basis. As it does, it's value will increase as an option for a remote control.

*Do not use the Palm Pilot as an organizer and a remote. It will be too difficult to do both.

*I would recommend this to people who are a)within the $200 price range, b)will use it as a remote control as first priority, c)and probably most importantly, can't afford or justify spending the extra cash to buy the Pronto!
OP | Post 24 made on Monday June 14, 1999 at 23:46
Daniel Tonks
Historic Forum Post
I'll say this: if the Pronto and Take Control didn't exist, the Pilot add-on would be the most customizable remote in it's price range. If fact, it probably still is the most customizable remote in it's price range considering how older Pilot prices are falling. But renaming and resizing buttons isn't all that makes up a good remote.

If 3Com were to redesign the Palm hardware somewhat, with the IR emitter at the top (and use that new one developed that allows for 4mbit communications & TV control) it would have more promise. I'm happy you and others find the Omniremote to be a good solution. In my mind, however, it's current hardware & software isn't even close to ideal for this purpose; it's more of a "gimmick"... resellers would call it "added value". :-)
OP | Post 25 made on Tuesday June 15, 1999 at 06:20
Historic Forum Post
As far as not being ideal for a remote control, I don't quite understand your point. For example, the hardware is much better than the Sony AV-2000 because of it's size, and it's better than the Rotel RR990 because it has physical buttons. The software has advantages over the MKII because of the unlimited macros, and the all important labeling and customization of buttons. These are just a few reasons which it is 'best' in it's price range. Gimmick? I would definately say that is a bit exaggerated. The only thing which someone might find cumbersome is having to flip remote control upside down. Keep in mind that the software can also be flipped upside down so that the remote is normal relative to you. Also, if you decide to get the RF attachment I talked about (what I have done), the remote control does not have to be flipped.

One other point I should add:
*There is not another remote in it's price range ($200), where the software can be upgraded. There will always be enhancements which are free to those who purchase the Omniremote software. You will always have a remote which is consistently adding enhancements to it's remote control capabilites. It doesn't look like the Pronto now, but who knows? On a side note, the Omniremote won Product of the Year for 1998, according to Palm Power magazine.
OP | Post 26 made on Tuesday June 15, 1999 at 10:27
Historic Forum Post
Can someone explain in detail why you shouldn't use the Palm Pilot as a remote and an organizer?
I've never used a PalmPilot but I'm seriously consider buying one. I need a universal remote and I need a hand held computer. And I need more money, so I'm on a budget.
OP | Post 27 made on Tuesday June 15, 1999 at 11:50
Historic Forum Post
Whether or not you should use a pilot as both remote and organiser depends on your personal circumstances.
You can use it as both if the following are true

1. You are single or noone else is likely to use your home icnema set-up whilst you are away - therefore it doesn't matter if the pilot is not in situ.

2. Anyone else in the household who uses the pilot as a remote is proficient in using the original remotes if the pilot is not available - the home cinema set-up is still usable if the pilot is not in situ.

Consider with care using the pilot as your main remote if the following is true.

1. You have a wife / girlfriend / partner / kids who want to use your home cinema set-up but would be absolutely stranded if you took away the nice friendly macros that do everything for them - no pilot means no home cinema for these people.

2. You have a wife/ girlfriend / partner / kids who likes to fiddle with your pilot and accidentrally delete all that important information (calendars / appointments / phone numbers) you haven't had a chance to back up yet - boy are you going to be pissed by the sheepish looks on their faces as they hand you a pilot with the black screen of death.
OP | Post 28 made on Tuesday June 15, 1999 at 12:36
Historic Forum Post
So, Using a Pilot as a remote has little to do with 2 meg Memory on the PilotIII?
Is the PilotIII touch screen or do you have to use the stylus?
What is the IR range of the PilotIII?
Is a radio modem available for the PPilot III?
The reason I'm asking about the PP III I found it for $162.00 @ Which is a very good price.
THanks for the info..
OP | Post 29 made on Tuesday June 15, 1999 at 18:44
Historic Forum Post

So, Using a Pilot as a remote has little to do with 2 meg Memory on the PilotIII?

No. I have 12 screens programs, and it takes up 100k of memory.

Is the PilotIII touch screen or do you have to use the stylus?

It is touch screen, you do not have to use the stylus.

What is the IR range of the PilotIII?

Check out for all remote questions.

Is a radio modem available for the PPilot III?

Don't know.

The reason I'm asking about the PP III I found it for $162.00 @ Which is a very good price.

It continues to drop...
OP | Post 30 made on Monday June 21, 1999 at 16:29
Historic Forum Post
This is a pretty interesting discussion. Bickering over which device makes it easy to control equipment we are too lazy to get off the couch to control. Seems kind of ridiculous.

The bottom line here is there are two discussions taking place that should not be mixed together:

1) What is the best remote control solution in a given price range.

2) What is the best remote control solution available.

It sounds like 1) In the $200 and under price range, the Palm Pilot "wins" and 2) The Pronto is the best remote period. Due to the significant price difference the devices aren't in the same category so why even try to pit the two against each other except just to point out one device has features that are similar to features in another.

I, like many, just want to truly no longer rely on my five remotes and replace it with and easy-to-use universal that I won't have to replace in 6 months when I purchase a new piece of A/V equipment or DSS system, etc., AND not pay a price that is expensive as some of the components I am trying to control (which came with remotes in the first place.) If only the labels on the Sony were more customizable. Maybe purchasing the Palm Pilot just to use as a remote (and telephone directory for when I am sitting on the couch and want to make a call) is indeed the best choice?

The Palm Pilot is a computer that can be used for different purposes. Maybe the cream of the crop sole-purpose device will always be better but I like the flexibility and longevity of having a TOTALLY programmable device.
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