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Palm Pilot is an excellent Universal Remote Control
This thread has 230 replies. Displaying posts 31 through 45.
OP | Post 31 made on Friday June 25, 1999 at 00:31
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For me, this whole debate over the Palm Pilot vs the Pronto is academic. Philips has no plans to release the Pronto in Australia, although we have the most gadgets (videos, TVs, PDAs etc) per capita of any Western Country.

So which will i buy??? The only one that is available, unless i want to pay about $900 - $ 1000 for a pronto from the US.

Philips YOU SUCK.
OP | Post 32 made on Friday June 25, 1999 at 01:01
Daniel Tonks
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I'm sure you'll be able to find the Marantz RC5000 over there (though for no apparant reason companies seem to delay release of some products in Aus).
OP | Post 33 made on Friday July 2, 1999 at 16:16
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Today is my first time on the cite. I've heard some very exciting and interesting comments. I just purchased the Pronto and part of the fun has been the programing, however I would like to explore some of the programs that have been sent in to the cite. Could you please tell me what I need to do to view and down load these programs? Do I down load it straight to the Pronto, or to a disk, can I view the program before downloading, etc?
OP | Post 34 made on Friday July 2, 1999 at 17:17
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The best thing to do is just go to the "Files" section of this website, download ProntoEdit via the link near the top of the page, then go to the "Complete Systems" section via the link on the lower left of the files page. There you will see plenty of CCFs. Download those and open them up with the ProntoEdit emulator and you can see some of the great things people are doing with their systems.
OP | Post 35 made on Friday July 2, 1999 at 22:12
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Why are people continuing to call the Pilot the best $200 remote when someone stated that you can pick them up used for around $50 on ebay. Add the software and hardware for $40 and you are still under $100. Does everyone agree it is a no brainer compared to anything remotely, (pun intended), close to that price.
OP | Post 36 made on Friday July 2, 1999 at 23:33
Daniel Tonks
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True - for under $100 it is an excellent value.
OP | Post 37 made on Saturday July 3, 1999 at 21:24
Todd Besselievre
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I just received my Sony AV-2000 ($109 from Computability) and haven't programmed it yet, but I am already considering sending it back and getting a Palm Pilot/Omniremote. I still am trying to decide if the Palm Pilot is worth the additional $ over the Sony AV-2000.

As I understand it, the original Palm Pilot (selling for $60 on ebay) requires a memory/IR card to be able to transmit a signal). The IR card is now selling about $90 on ebay. The omniremote software is only $20. No IR extender is needed for the IR card. Therefore, to use an original Palm Pilot as a remote still costs at least $170 ($90+$60+$20).

If one can get a Palm III for $165, then as a remote it will cost $205($165 + $20 software + $20 for IR extender).

I assume that the non-remote features of the Palm III (backlit screen, etc?) are more than $35 better than an original Palm Pilot, so between the two I would probably choose the Palm III.

Now I see my choice as keeping the Sony, or sending it back (restocking fee?) and spending another $100 for the Palm III-as-a-remote.
OP | Post 38 made on Sunday July 4, 1999 at 00:38
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I had the same dilema when purchasing mine, as with anyone else trying to decide about the Palm Pilot. I went ahead and spent the extra cash for the Palm III. The main reason I went for that was the Palm III is more current, meaning that if for some reason I decide not to use it for a remote, the chances are that I will have the option of keeping 'up to date' with current configurations of the latest Palm. Also, I don't have to mess with upgrading the operating system and memory. One other thing, I HIGHLY recommend the RF attachment I metioned above. It fits perfectly onto the Palm, and you don't have to turn the Palm upside down to use it...oh yeah, and it has the RF capabilities (control stereo through walls). Knowing that, you may want to shoot for the ebay one, and get the RF attachment.

Remote Control wise, they should be the same.
OP | Post 39 made on Sunday July 4, 1999 at 00:53
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It seems the Palm III is down to $135. Check the message written by Jeff. (Hope you don't mind, but I thought it was appropriate to include it in this post).

Written by Jeff on 07/01/99 16:16:39

I was looking to replace my 4 remotes with 1 and be able to program the interface (including labels and macros) to my specifications -- and I had better things to spend $300-$400 on.

I read ALL the messages and reviews EVERYWHERE and narrowed it down to the Sony RM-AV2000 or using the Palm Pilot. I decided on the Palm over the Sony because 1) I wanted the ability to program the labels and make the thing very customized and dummy-proof and 2) I needed to order some computer equipment and I found an offer that included a free Palm III -- I actually got two of them. The Palm III can actually be bought for about $135 now -- close to the price of the Sony, yet a more versatile device.

I did consider a Pronto or similar device with a nicer remote interface than the Palm. Instead of paying $300-$400 to buy one of those programmable jobs with the slicker looking interfaces I spent the money on a new receiver with Digital Dolby, DTS, on screen menus, and digital and S-video inputs up the yin-yang (JVC RX888 - hard to beat for $350)!

So on to the point of my message. I loaded Omniremote onto the Palm and programmed a few buttons. I quickly found out the IR signal worked from 8 feet on my cable box, from 1.5 feet on my Kenwood receiver only with the glass door on the cabinet open, and not at all on my Mitsubushi big screen.

Then a friend called and I told him about the two free Palm's I got and we worked out a deal where he would buy the 2MB upgrade for his Palm Professional and I would trade him straight across for one of my new Palm III. This way, I got an IR (comes on the 2MB upgrade) that was more powerful than the Palm V and the add-on IR from the Omniremote people, AND I didn't have to use the Palm upside down. I would highly recommend going this route by buying a used Palm Professional and then spending $50 for the upgrade.

Now everything works great, even the TV. The range still isn't quite as good as the stock remotes, especially on the Kenwood, but I am hoping the new JVC receiver will have better IR pickup. One trick to improve range is to hold the button down a little bit as opposed to quickly tapping it when you are "training" the Palm.

The only thing I don't like is the fact I can't make the macros on Omniremote change to another screen. You can make the macros execute buttons on the different screens but you can't get it to actually change to a different screen at the end of the macro. Hopefully, they will add this in a future release.

I am also loading a drink recipe program and storing our telephone book on the remote as we make a lot of phone calls from siting on the couch. I really like the versatility of using this type of device instead of a dedicated remote device despite the more basic looking interface.

My bottom line advice to those looking for a remote is; if you are a big home theatre junky, have a lot of components (more than 5) or your components are more than 10-12 feet away, and you don't have something better to spend the $350 on, buy something like the Pronto.

If you have something better to spend $300+ on, (especially for a frickn' remote), yet you want programmable capabilities similar to something like a Pronto (with a bit less visually appealing screen interface), and you don't sit farther away than 10 or 12 feet from your equipment, get your hands on an old Palm Professional (probably worth about $75 from a friend or maybe on E-bay) and pay $50 for the 2MB upgrade.

If you just plain don't want to spend $300+ or don't want to program a remote from scratch, or have a lot of components, or sit more than 10-12 feet away from your equipment, go with the Sony for about $120.
OP | Post 40 made on Sunday July 4, 1999 at 02:52
Todd Besselievre
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PDD, I think you've convinced me to get a Palm III and the RF attachment. The Pacific NeoTek site and Tom Hoots'site with his OmniRemote Configuration at [Link:] also helped convince me to dump my Sony and go with the Palm.

To Jeff: Storing your telephone book on your remote? You must live in a really small town. :)
OP | Post 41 made on Tuesday July 6, 1999 at 16:04
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I thought I would throw my $.02 in here about the Palm w/ OmniRemote.

Now I have never owned or even played with the Pronto, so I have nothing to say about it. (except: Why do I have to register just to download the ProntoEdit software so I can see your CCF files?) I do have a couple questions about it though, what is the pixel width and length of the scrren, and how good is the backlight?

I have used an awful lot of other remotes though. I bought a used Palm Personal (~$75 on ebay) and the upgrade card (~$60 see and I'm using the OmniRemote software. I recommend the Palm Personal or higher because the older models do not have a backlight. There are two problems with this setup, one minor and one major. Minor first: as previously stated, I also wish the Macros could drop you on a specific screen as part of their calls. More seriously, the thing is highly directional. You can't necessarily see the screen while aiming at a component placed low to the ground.

On the other hand, you do not need to hold the unit upside down, and I do not recommend the IR adapter sold by Pacific Neotek. I do recommend a used palm III (~$140-150 on ebay), and the IR2RF widget at [Link:].

Given that, this is the best remote I've used. The configurability alone is worth it's weight in gold. (Not to mention that a Palm Pilot is extremely light.) Being able to clearly see what each button does and control all button layouts is phenomenal.

The Palm/Omniremote is better than: Theater Master SL8000 and SL9000, the Rotel RR990, the Sony RM AV-2000, and the interactive Sony LCD remote that comes with their higher end ES receivers, The One4All Home Director (and every other One4All that I know of), and the Marantz RC-2000 (in its all iterations).

Given that, I wanted to share two notes on setting up the software. First I found it tricky to program for my Fosgate THX pre/pro. You have to play with holding the button down throughout the training or just tapping it briefly during training. Also if you hold it continuously, try starting the button press before the training. I also had trouble programming it to control my Marantz AC-3 processor. Turns out I need to delete a file called "SerialIR Com" from the Palm's OS before it would work.

Lastly, I also noticed there has been some debate over whether or not you should also use it as an organizer. I chose not to, but I'd view it on a case by case basis. Once you decide it is a Remote as its primary function, you can fill up the memory with games and other fun stuff. Even TV can get a little dull sometimes. When that happens, I hit the Applications key, and jump into a game of: Frogger, Chess, Bridge, Solitaire, Tetris, Spades, Othello, Euchre, Checkers, Rummy, Galaga, Asteroids, Battleship, LodeRunner, Backgammon, etc. When I tire of those (or if it is a particularly long commercial break) I can pull up a document and read another installment of Sherlock Holmes and his adventures. Can the Pronto amuse you completely through an entire half time break? (See for the game software.)

I could not be more delighted with my Palm-as-a-Remote purchase.
OP | Post 42 made on Tuesday July 6, 1999 at 18:23
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I know you won't be disappointed with your Palm especially with the RF attachment.

Tom Hoots' site on the Palm Configurations ([Link:] )is an excellent resource to see a design of the omniremote. Although, I like mine better...too bad I don't have a website though :)
OP | Post 43 made on Thursday July 15, 1999 at 13:24
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Why is it no one has mentioned the Take Control in this huge debate? Is it not nearly as customizable as the Pronto? Here I am trying to make a decision between the Take Control, Pronto, or PalmIII. Help me out here, folks!
OP | Post 44 made on Thursday July 15, 1999 at 18:13
Daniel Tonks
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No, the Take Control isn't as customizable as the Pronto by a long shot - but it is much quicker to configure.
OP | Post 45 made on Thursday July 15, 1999 at 18:39
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I've seen a lot of differing opinions on the Take Control, and it seems that the Take Control is not as customizable as the Pronto.

So, if you have the money to spend, buy the Pronto. If you want to save $100 - $150 dollars relative to the Pronto, buy the Palm.
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