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The TSU7000’s color screen doesn’t use the same type of backlighting as greyscale screens. So, instead of that blue-green electroluminescent (EL) panel that we all love to hate, the ProntoPro NG uses white LEDs that provide smooth, vivid illumination. A total of 5 brightness levels are provided, including “off” (although “off” isn’t particularly useful unless the TSU7000 is directly under the sun, since the screen is all but illegible without illumination). The brightness level can be configured in the remote’s Tools Menu, or on the fly by holding the [Backlight] button and using the [Page Up/Down] toggle.
As good as the TSU7000’s screen is, the hard button backlighting is as disappointing. Here the ProntoPro NG does use the same EL panel as the TSU3000, generously described as “blue” in marketing information. Compared to the new uber-bright screen, the [actually-green] EL panel is barely visible. The TSU7000’s black painted keys have nifty laser cut button labels much like a cell phone, so the dim lighting only has opportunity to escape through the label or around the edges. It only illuminates when the [Backlight] key is pressed, and will stay on for about 4 seconds before fading off (no, this isn’t customizable).
Shake & show...
Instead of the TSU3000’s light sensor that would activate the backlight when ambient lighting levels fell below a certain level, the TSU7000 includes a different but much more useful sensor: a pickup sensor, just like the TSU6000. This can be configured to activate the screen whenever the remote is tilted front to back about 45 degrees. The sensor is in fact a small ball bearing that generates a soft rattling sound if you shake the remote a bit, but it’s not as noticeable on the TSU7000 as on other remotes I’ve used.
Some owners love the feature – pick the remote up off a table and the screen illuminates ready to go – but it can also be an annoyance in a dark room during a movie, when you really didn’t mean for the display to come on in all of its brilliant glory.
On or off remote.
Although the TSU7000 is primarily targeted to custom installers and advanced do-it-yourselfers – those who plan on making full use of the TSU7000’s PC-editing capabilities – not everyone attracted to this remote will be looking for full-blown customization. So, Philips offers two programming options: simple and more advanced. If you don’t have a computer (highly unlikely since you’re reading this), there’s the option to complete basic programming right on the remote. Although less sophisticated, this technique does allow for any number of devices, preprogrammed codes, custom button labels, macro recording and timers.
Otherwise, if you’d like to open up a wealth of other possibilities the TSU7000 ships with a USB cable and the ProntoProEdit NG (“PPENG”) editing package on CD. For this review we’ll cover both options, beginning with the on-remote method. For reference, our sample TSU7000 remote control is using firmware APP version 3.7.7.
The ProntoPro NG’s main user interface has been upgraded substantially from the original Pro, the major change being a more compact control bar at the top. Absent on the TSU7000 is the old “Macro Menu” – macros can now be placed anywhere. Just two main sections remain: “Devices” and “Home”... the latter of which isn’t even used in the default configuration! Supplementing these are two automatically generated areas, the “Device Overview” to list all possible devices, and the “Page Overview” to list all pages contained in a device. (Note that the TSU3000 has had its user interface upgraded to match the TSU7000 since our review.)