Your Universal Remote Control Center
Virtual CEDIA Expo 2004 Report
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2004 CEDIA Expo Report

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The big remote control news from Philips came in direct contrast to their booth size (best described as “small”), but interestingly wasn’t in the form of a new Pronto model.

Instead, the RC9800i has been released under the “Home Control” and “Connected Planet” labels. The $499 RC9800i universal remote control is WiFi enabled, comes with a color TFT touchscreen display in landscape orientation, has 13 hard buttons, and is designed to be particularly easy to program. To that end, there is no computer editing software support at all: everything is done directly on the remote. Although this could certainly be called a controversial move – indeed the ProntoEdit software is really one of the best aspects of the Pronto remotes – the myriad of options and possibilities offered by that software can make the remotes intimidating to beginners.

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So, consider this a “ProntoNEO Pro” – an easy-to-program, easy-to-understand remote not designed to compete with the more advanced Pronto line up. Although software designed correctly would make the whole setup process easier – and offer configuration backup – it will be interesting to see how well this concept does.

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Other hardware features include a landscape oriented screen, 32mb RAM and 32mb flash memory USB connectivity and lithium polymer battery. The RC9800i also features an activity-based interface, photo browsing mode, MP3 audio playback preview, media management via bundled PC/Mac software, television program listings and a whole lot more.

Oh, and don’t worry about the Pronto line – it will continue to move forward.

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