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The final firmware feature, which was supposed to be added to the Pronto but hasn't made it yet, is the ability to configure the [LEFT] and [RIGHT] hard buttons under the "Macro Menu". As it is on the Pronto, those buttons are assigned unnecessary macro functions and cannot be user-modified. Why the two companies don't agree to bundle all of these features under a single product is beyond me - the combination of these would allow for some amazing configurations.
Not just another pretty face…
The default TSU2000 (left) and RC5000i (right) interfaces.
While the RC5000i lacks the built-in code database, this comes as a plus to those with high memory requirements. The TS-1000 was perfectly capable of controlling an entire, complex home theater system with the amount of user memory it contained. Many users even managed to squeeze complete catalogues with access macros for 200, 300 and 400-disc CD or DVD changers. But some users still managed to max out the Pronto's 380kb limit with user-created games, calendars, contact lists, multiple jukeboxes and, well, lots of other stuff that probably didn't need to be there. Whilst the TSU2000 contains 152% more memory than the original model, the RC5000i packs in 269% more due to the lack of a code database. With that much space, it would seem practically impossible to run out of space - wait, I've said too much! Now that the challenge is there, I'm sure someone will figure out exactly what to do with 1404kb.
Although the RC5000 has an MSRP of $549 USD, $150 more than the TSU2000, it does come with some valuable extras such as a 3-year warranty (compared to 1-year) and an included rechargeable docking station, gold colored. The RC5000i and RC5000 Setup (the nearly identical Marantz version of ProntoEdit) also come with a revamped user interface that, to many, adds more functionality and flair to the basic remote without resorting to computer editing.
Finally, since all Pronto and RC5000 models include flash-upgradeable memory, the operating software and feature set can be updated at any time in the future with files provided by the manufacturer. As both Philips and Marantz have released numerous upgrades, either the TSU2000 or RC5000i would be very safe purchases.
Although many remote users find it difficult to familiarize themselves with the operation of a touchscreen display, it's really worth the effort. The lack of tactile feedback and the need to look at the screen seems outweighed by the ability to customize the user interface in any way you want. Technical or simple; task or device oriented; help menus, favorite channel buttons, easy system initializing macros, CD jukebox title lists - these are just a sampling of the kinds of things that can only be created with a fully graphical LCD display. Plus, the seven most often used functions can always be assigned to the Pronto's complement of hard buttons.
So which remote is right for you, the Philips Pronto TSU2000 or the Marantz RC5000i? Part of that decision depends on whether you feel you can live with the physical limitations of a touchscreen. If you can, the rest depends on which set of firmware features you prefer and whether you would sooner have the code database or extra user memory. Either way, you can't go wrong. Highly recommended.
Also check out our coverage of the Yamaha RAV-2000.
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)