The Pronto family now has four different types of files, most not compatible with each other:
CCF: Black & while and color files for the original Philips Pronto TS-1000, TSU2000, SBC-RU890 and SBC-RU940; the Philips ProntoPro TSU6000 and SBC-RU970; the Marantz RC5000, RC5000i, RC5200 and RC9200; the Onkyo CHAD USR-5RF and Yamaha RAV-2000. No other file format can be loaded into CCF editing programs. Uses standard Pronto hex codes.
ICF: Large-screen color file format for the Philips iPronto TSi6400 remote control/EPG/web browser. ICF editing software can also load classic CCF files, but not PCF files.
NCF: Black & white files for the Philips ProntoNEO TSU500, SBC-RU930 and Marantz RC3200. No other file format can be loaded into NCF editing programs. Does not use standard Pronto hex codes.
PCF: 16-shade black & white and 16-bit (64,000) color files for the Philips Pronto NG TSU3000 and SBC-RU950, plus ProntoPro NG TSU7000 and SBC-RU980. PCF editing software can also load classic CCF files and can use standard Pronto hex codes.
B2-02 What is a PCF file?
Unlike the Pronto’s CCF format, which is a compiled binary file, the Pronto NG uses a new PCF format that, in essence, is nothing more than a ZIP file. If you rename the file extension to “.zip” open it with an archiver (such as WinZip or WinRAR), you’ll discover that it contains a large XML text file and a directory with numerous bitmaps.
It is possible to “hack” the XML file to customize certain normally uncustomizable items, and extract/modify any bitmap (as PENG does not offer a “save bitmap as” feature).
For more information on PCF files, see our sections describing how to export a bitmap file and how to open PENG PCF files in Wizz.it.
B2-03 Can I import a CCF file? Or an NCF file?
ProntoEdit NG can import CCF files, but not NCF files. CCF files will load completely – graphics, macros and IR codes – but note that the Pronto NG platform has progressed a long way from the original Pronto. There is more available screen real estate, more hard buttons and a greater number of possible grayshades. Importing a CCF file and using it as-is will not utilize the Pronto NG to its full capabilities.
One final note – ProntoEdit NG is unable to import certain database codes or dirty learned codes. If certain buttons from an imported file do not work correctly, re-learn those buttons through the Pronto NG remote control.
B2-04 Why do some files fail to open?
You may experience problems opening certain PCF files – usually larger and more complex ones. ProntoEdit NG is an extremely resource hungry application, and unless your PC is fairly powerful some files may crash when attempting to open them or, if the file does open, may not display all button images.
Although the exact cause of these crashes has not been positively identified, PCs that typically experience these issues 1) are not running Windows XP, and/or 2) have low amounts of memory (512mb or less). Upgrading these two items may help with such issues.
B2-05 How can I optimize memory usage?
Don’t learn a signal more than once – even through the Pronto NG stores internal aliases to identical hex codes, learned signals rarely learn exactly the same twice. Instead, store only a single instance of a signal and alias all others to it. This is especially helpful when creating favorite channel macros.
Ensure all learned IR codes are clean – this is hard to ensure for some devices, however any hex code that is very long or is longer than others for a particular device is most likely not a clean learn. Also, if the last four digits (for example say 03f7) are duplicated elsewhere in the code chances are it is not clean.
Standardize on one button style – using a different button style for each device results in high memory usage. Instead, settle on a single design and limit the number of button shapes/sizes as much as possible.
Don’t use separate “pressed” button icons – that doubles the memory occupied by a button style. Instead, have only the font color change when the button is selected.
Reduce the number of separate panels – just creating a blank panel uses up a moderate amount of memory. Keep the number of “waste” panels to a minimum. Don’t store panels you don’t need in your CCF file. If you are trying to put a 300 disc CD collection in your remote, try to keep usage to one panel per disc. Finally, keeping separate panels with codes to alias your real buttons to may make for good design, however it is not memory efficient.
Don’t use full-screen bitmaps – a single full-screen bitmap requires a lot of memory. If you’re running low, keep these to a minimum.
Delete template devices – if you started with the default PCF, there are a number of devices at the end of the device list with different icons. These are template devices and may be deleted to save memory. Remember, you may always access them again from the sample PCF as included with ProntoEdit NG.
Reduce image quality – if you load in a 24-bit color BMP file, it will remain that way in your layout until downloaded to the remote. Since extra large PCF files can bog down the software or cause other issues, reduce the quality of those images so that they do not exceed the limits of the remote (16 greyshades for black and white models, or 16-bit color (64,000 colors) for color models. This can be done quickly by downloading your design to the remote, uploading it back, and then saving the uploaded file.
Important information on bitmap usage – even if you use the same bitmap in multiple places, unless all copies have the same transparency settings the software will save a copy for each version. So, if you use a particular bitmap with transparency once, ensure that you specify the same transparency on all other copies of the same bitmap. Note that, even paying attention to the former pointers, the software can STILL save multiple copies. There’s nothing you can do about that, but sometimes the software will spontanously purge duplicated files (really).
B2-06 I’m receiving the message “this file type cannot be opened by this editor”. What can I do?
Although multiple remote controls make use of Philips’ PCF file format, not all editors can open all file versions. For instance, Marantz Wizz.it cannot open a Pronto NG PCF, and ProntoEdit NG similarly cannot open color ProntoProEdit NG files.
However, there is a workaround:
Open the PCF file as an archive, either in WinZip or WINRAR. To do this you may need to change the file’s extension from “.pcf” to “.zip”. When you do so correctly you should see a “Bitmaps” directory and a “ConfigEdit.xml” file.
Now, edit the file’s comment by selecting Actions > Comments in WinZip, or clicking the Comment button in WinRAR.
To open a PENG PCF file in Wizz.it (B&W), change the lines that currently show as:
to read the proper Wizz.it value of:
To open a PPENG PCF file in Wizz.it, change the lines that currently show as:
to read the proper Wizz.it value of:
To open a PPENG PCF file in PENG, change the lines that currently show as:
to read the proper PENG value of:
To open a PENG PCF file in Wizz.it9 (color), change the lines that currently show as:
to read the proper Wizz.it9 value of:
To open a PPENG PCF file in Wizz.it9, change the lines that currently show as:
to read the proper Wizz.it9 value of:
Save your changes to the file.
You should now be able to load the files into the software of your choice. Note that the conversion may not work perfectly – for example, PENG does not support many of PPENG’s advanced graphical capabilities such as alpha transparencies, meaning that complex layouts will look rather poor with undesired effects around buttons.
B2-07 Is there an easier way to open a PCF file as a ZIP file?
Typically, you must rename a “.pcf” file to “.zip”. For example, “myfile.pcf” would become “myfile.zip”. However, there is an easier way. Although in this example I talk about WinRAR, my archiver of choice, this should also work with any other program (except XP’s built-in Zip support).
After installing and running WinRAR once, exit.
Now, find a PCF file. Right-click over the file.
Select “Open With” > “Choose Program...”
Scroll down and select “WinRAR archiver”.
Make sure that “Always use the selected program to open this file” is NOT selected.
Now, whenever you right-click over a PCF file, go to “Open With” and select “WinRAR archiver”. This will load your PCF file without needing to rename it to “.zip”.
B2-08 I’ve extracted and re-compressed a PCF file. Why won’t it load?
PCF files, which are merely renamed .zip files, have a special description in the zip comment field. By completely extracting a PCF file and then re-compressing it, you are not including that comment.
Some valid comments are:
ProntoEdit NG Type:005
ProntoProEdit NG Type:007
Marantz Wizz.it Type:009
Marantz Wizz.it9 Type:010
However, it is much easier to work on a PCF as a “live” file. For example, instead of re-compressing all extracted contents into a new file, drag-and-drop only those files that have been modified back into the original PCF/ZIP file. This will preserve the original comment and generally make things easier to work with.