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Color ProntoPro Update
And other TSU2000 screen news.
Posted by Daniel Tonks on December 11, 2000 at 1:00 AM
RC News Story
I've received some exciting details on the forthcoming ProntoPro. You can catch earlier news in this update. To begin with, the ProntoPro is now expected to ship sometime during Q2 of 2001 - that's April to June 2001 timeframe. Next, I've confirmed that the ProntoPro will indeed feature an RF transmission system, in addition to base IR. RF will be used in conjunction with an optional basestation, which will allow the hookup of IR emitters and more - this late addition is probably partially responsible for the delay. Users with equipment behind them or in cabinets will finally have a less pricey alternate to the really expensive color RF remote systems available.

Continuing, the ProntoPro will ship by default with a NiMH rechargeable battery and a docking station (which is a separate unit from the RF station). Battery life at this early stage is around a few weeks; expect more when it's finally released. But the best news of all is that the ProntoPro will definitely feature a full 8 megabytes of user memory. Hello DVD/CD jukebox thumbnails! Unfortunately, there won't be an upgradeable memory system (say Compact Flash or SmartMedia), but Philips has at least doubled the amount of memory they were originally planning to include. The graphical interface will apparently be very similar to what is now being used on the Pronto at 240x320 resolution, but with a few more frills and animations thrown in for good measure. I'm still hoping they'll open up the entire screen to user customization, but I have nothing on that yet.

Operating speed is evidently comparable or slightly faster than the current Pronto - this is a slight disappointment in my opinion, but one has to remember that the CPU is still much faster than the current one, as it must handle a lot more information to display color graphics. Philips will actually be using an updated Dragonball processor in the ProntoPro. I haven't confirmed it, but they're probably using the MC68VZ328 which runs at 33MHz (the current MC68328 operates at 16MHz). The expected price for all of this? It's still being targeted for a MSRP under $1000, plus the RF basestation if desired.

For those with the Pronto TSU2000:
For anyone with concerns over LCD screen quality, Philips has apparently standardized on a single screen source for the TSU2000. This should hopefully quell those "luck of the draw" issues that cropped up this year. Comparing the "new" screen to my old TS-1000, the contrast ratio seems slightly less, though everything is now bluer - more of a true aqua color. Finally, just a note that the version of ProntoEdit 2.0 that ships with the TSU2000 is of no use to TS-1000 owners - it does not include the necessary upgrade file in order to make your TS-1000 fully compatible. Since I've been promised that a full downloadable version will be available shortly, I recommend that all TS-1000 owners wait a while longer. Even still, ProntoEdit 2.0 will only be of limited benefit to original Pronto owners - the code database will, of course, not function, while the only other visible change is a complete redesign of the "Button Properties" screens (where text, colors, IR codes and bitmaps are configured). No new operating or editing features are included.

For those of you already using ProntoEdit v2.0, you may have already noticed that it won't let you edit, copy or paste IR hex codes - the window is grayed out. Well, there is a fix. You must edit the c:\windows\pronto.ini file with a text editor, such as Notepad. Then, under the [version] section, add this line:

developer=1

Save, and restart ProntoEdit. You will now be able to copy, paste and otherwise massage IR hex codes in whatever way you like. You'll also notice that this adds a fourth button, "Advanced", which allows you to add RC5/6 codes. If you find this screen too large on your system - it doesn't fit the screen vertically - you must either switch to a higher resolution screen, or switch from "Large Fonts" (125%) down to "Small Fonts" (100%) under your system display properties. This should be corrected shortly.

Continuing on, ProntoEdit 2.0 only partially converts RC5000 Setup 2.0 files. If the RC5000 file had "jumps in macros" - something not supported by the Pronto - they'll actually be displayed in ProntoEdit just like they would in RC5000 Setup, with the [J] icon. However, actually running such a macro results in the Pronto giving a "corrupt CCF" error (and even give a program crash on the Emulator) - ditto with "page history" jumps. So, if you're downloading files off of Remote Central and you experience such an error, be sure to check into that.
[Need help? Join the ProntoPro & TSU2000 forum...]

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