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New UCommand Remote Details
Posted by Daniel Tonks on April 24, 2000 at 1:00 AM
RC News Story
Monday: I'd like to apologize for not having many updates lately, however there's been a lot going on behind the scenes here at Remote Central that has been taking ungodly amounts of time. I hope to have it all resolved shortly...

To make matters worse, my motherboard is beginning to fail and my whole computer system is in need of replacement. No, it's not all failing but it is getting old. Now, I've always built my own systems, with exactly what I need. I've been keeping a close eye on the market for several months now, and I can safely say there is no perfect hardware out there. For well over a month I've been waiting for a particular motherboard to come out. My needs are simple. I don't want a 440BX motherboard because the technology is getting too old. I don't want an "integrated" i810, nor do I want the slow & buggy "new" Intel i820 or i840 chipsets. I've got 256mb of ECC SDRAM and I'd like to keep it for a bit longer. So, it boils down to the VIA 133A. I've never been fond of non-Intel chipsets, but that seems to be the best match for what I need. Now the hard part: I need 6 PCI slots. It almost appears to be no problem -- there are exactly two boards available with 6. But the problem is, the one I've been waiting for was supposed to be released on April 10th but is now delayed until May 20th. The second one has been out for some time, but of course is no longer in stock and won't be for several weeks. Next, just try to find a 7200RPM hard drive larger than 20 gigabytes. Not gonna happen too quickly. The video card I want has been promised since November but still hasn't shown up. Case? Well, that was certainly easy to pick -- but of course it's not in stock and is thus a special order item. Who knows how many months it'll take. It seems my whole experience so far is "hurry up and wait". {Sigh}

Moving on to matters closer to the site; oddly enough dealing with "remote" items...

UCommand: As mentioned last week, a new touchscreen remote is coming out soon from a company called Crisp Solutions. Though physically very similar to the older Rotel RR990, I've received a list of improvement that have been made to this particular remote:

  • Device screens have been upgraded for newer components such as surround sound amplifiers and digital satellite/cable receivers.
  • Data for an entire device screen can now be deleted at once.
  • Buttons can be relabeled (from preset selections, as on the Sony RM-AV2100), displayed or hid.
  • Backlight can be configured to remain on for 10, 20 or 30 seconds.
  • Extended battery life (9-12 months typical with 4x AAA).
  • Larger carrier frequencey range (10KHz to 150KHz).
  • Smart learning feature (automatically swithes to next learnable button).
  • Learning speed has been improved from 3 to 15 seconds to 1 to 3 seconds.
  • Auto power off for LCD screen (20 minutes).
  • Each button can hold a macro; each macro can be 25 steps long (up from 10).
  • Macro delays can be added between steps (0.5, 2s, 5s, 10s).
  • Light sensor can be configured to one of 4 different sensitivity levels.
  • Flash memory prevents data loss without battery power.
  • Many functional improvments for additional usability.
  • Units can be duplicated via interface cable.
I've received a few photos by email showing a side profile view and a couple screenshots (DVD/Aux/DSS):

Other specifications:

  • Can control 8 devices, 28 buttons per device.
  • Learning on all buttons.
  • Selectable beep tone confirmation.
  • Touchscreen size: 2.5" x 4.25".
  • Physical size (LxWxD): 7.0" x 3.22" x 1.1".
  • Weight: 220 grams (w/batteries).
The remote will be sold directly over the web and will be competing around the $100-$150 price range.
[Talk about the UCommand...]

Contest: Yes, this month's contest sponsored by AVsmarts.com is soon coming to a close -- be sure to get your entries in before it's too late! You could win a Dolby Digital decoder, a M500 learning remote control or a spiffy power center. The skill-testing question really isn't as hard as it looks!

Pronto CCF files: As usual there are a number of new Pronto files to browse through this week, including new or updated system CCF files by Andrea Whitlock, Alan Minchew, George Woods, Graeme Goulding, John Quigley, Kerry Buckley & Steve Anisman. In addition, I've finally added a new way for people to download who previously were unable to connect to the FTP server. Basically, if you can read this page you can download CCF files. Just click on the second alternate link on the download page for a particular file. For others, the auto-download from the FTP site is the preferred method.

Pronto reboot: As you may or may not have heard, a firmware fix for the Pronto reboot problem is expected shortly. It indeed turns out to be a hardware problem revolving around the screen, however it is one that can be fixed in software. The upgrade will be for all remotes, including ones not experiencing the problem. Basically, they'll be even more stable. A new version of ProntoEdit may or may not be released at the same time, however if it is there will only be bug fixes; no new features. I expect one for the RC5000 at the same time or shortly afterwards.

Now if I could only get through to the official rep at Philips -- all of this information comes from sources close to Philips. Hello, world? ;-)
[Talk about the RC5000 & Pronto...]

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