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UEI Licenses Database to Philips
Posted by Daniel Tonks on February 16, 2000 at 1:00 AM
RC News Story
Remote news: I've received two status updates on upcoming remote products. First, Sony's new RM-AV2100 will be shipping from Japan during April. It is expected in retail stores sometime in May. I hope to have one, along with a full review, before then. For more information see our CES 2000 feature.
[Talk about the Sony RM-AV2100...]

Secondly, the Home Theater Master MX-1000 is now expected to be available by the end of March. The hardware is fully finished -- Universal Remote is just packing in as many customization options as they possibly can. Although the remote will initially only use the PC connection for archiving configurations, a full editing package will be available several months after the remotes' release. I've learned that the MX-1000 is in fact flash upgradable and that Universal plans on constantly developing this product to be the best it can be. One future feature that's already being considered are timer actions, since the remote already has a full time/day/month display. Here's a link to their MX1000 press release, or take a look at Remote Central's CES preview for more information.
[Talk about the MX-1000...]

Pronto & UEI? Although it appears I'm not yet on UEI's list of people to send these things to, a faithful reader provided a link to the following press release:

February 15, 2000
Universal Electronics To License Technology, Database Codes To Philips For Use In Touch-Screen Remotes
Philips Will Use UEI's Patented Technology For State-Of-The-Art "Pronto"

Universal Electronics, Inc. (UEI)(NASDAQ: UEIC) today announced that Philips Remote Control Systems (Philips RCS) will license UEI's two-way communication patent and extensive database of infrared codes for use in Philips' Pronto Intelligent Remote Control in the United States. Pronto is a state-of-the-art universal remote featuring a touch-screen that lets users easily tailor and manage many of their household systems with a single tap of the screen.

Starting in 1992, Philips RCS has grown into a major supplier of traditional remote controls and other wireless input and control devices for the consumer electronic, set-top box and retail markets. UEI is the leading global supplier of universal remote controls and other wireless handheld technologies for home entertainment and information systems.

"We are pleased to marry UEI's two-way communication patent as well as our advanced universal database technology with Philips' RCS to produce an extraordinary product," says Camille Jayne, UEI Chairman and CEO.

Using UEI's infrared (IR) code database and patented technology, Pronto will become even more user friendly and be able to address an even larger number of consumers, according to Philips. The device uses downloadable software to synchronize the unit with PCs, allowing consumers to customize the user interface.

Since 1987, UEI's development of a family of patents has pioneered computer-based universal remote controls to operate home television and entertainment equipment. UEI currently has more than 30 patents issued or pending for wireless hand-held devices.

With these critical patents and a database of some 100,000 equipment codes - the largest library of infrared codes in the world, Jayne notes that UEI is uniquely positioned to stay ahead of the wireless-control-technology curve and supply leading electronics firms.

About Philips Remote Control Systems
Philips Remote Control Systems is part of the Royal Philips Electronics, one of the world's largest electronics companies, with sales of $33.9 billion in 1998. Philips is a global leader in color television sets, lighting, electric shavers, color picture tubes for televisions and monitors, and one-chip TV products. Its 227,600 employees in more than 60 countries are active in the areas of lighting, consumer electronics, domestic appliances, components, semiconductors, medical systems, business electronics and IT services (Origin). Philips is quoted on the NYSE, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other stock exchanges.

About Universal Electronics, Inc.
Universal Electronics, Inc., based in Southern California, builds and markets pre-programmed, easy-to-use wireless control devices and chips, principally for home entertainment equipment and the subscription broadcast market. The company's product lines under development include other wireless interface technologies, such as combination keyboard/remotes and touch-screen remotes. UEI licenses its patented technologies and database of codes to companies selling into the cable and satellite industries, and to original equipment manufacturers. The company also sells its universal remote control products to distributors and retailers in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia under the One For All(R) brand name.

For more information, contact Universal Electronics, Inc., Camille Jayne, 714 820 1000, Paul Arling, 714 820 1100, Athena Fristoe (PR Agency), 909 622 1975, or visit http://www.uei.com.

Although the press release is particularly vague on specifics, I don't see exactly how the current Pronto will use the "two-way communication" technology -- or even what it's supposed to be used for. The database, on the other hand, will be a huge plus to current and future Pronto owners. I've known for a while that an IR code database will be forthcoming for the remote, but it's nice to see Philips is going right to the top in terms of size and quality. I'm sure both of these licensed products will be used in a wide variety of Philips remote controls, not just the Pronto, but I'll see if I can get some clarification from either Philips or UEI.
[Talk about the Philips Pronto...]

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