A Discussion On Touch Screen Remotes 

Introduction

Probably the ultimate in hand held touch screen remote controls would be the Pronto TSU6000 color touch screen remote.  This is a discussion on one possible configuration to show what the capabilities of the unit are.

I chose this system to describe because it is relatively simple.  It was installed in a bedroom, so it didn't have a surround system.  The components were a Zenith plasma display, a Zenith combination DVD/VCR, and a Zenith HD satellite receiver.  Here is a connection diagram:

There comes a time in a high-end home theater systemís life when a thousand-dollar remote is in the cards. Suppose you have spent $15,000.00 for a 60-inch plasma display, megabucks on theater receiver, 300 disc DVD jukebox, satellite/over-the-air HDTV receiver, to die for speakers, automated door to cover your plasma when not in use along with special order home theater seating and mood lighting control, what is left? A thousand-dollar color touch screen remote control, of course.

Enter the Phillips Pronto Pro TSU-6000.

This is the remote to end all hand held remotes. It comes with a color touch screen, ProntoEdit software that allows the configuration to be developed and tested on your computer, and a charging/docking station for storage while not in use.

Pronto TSU-6000 Description

The TSU-6000 is shown to the right.  It features a color touch screen that can be configured to duplicate the action of thousands of buttons plus some hard buttons for standard operations such as MUTE, VOL up/down, CHANNEL select up/down and four buttons below the touch screen that are labeled by the bottom fields of the touch screen.

Basically the remote is configured via the creation of screens, some may be activity screens and others may be device screens.  the device screens are where the IR commands will be stored, whereas the activity screens will be where the overall system control will be programmed. 

TSU-6000 Color Touch Screen Remote

Now we will go into the design thought process that should be gone through when designing your system.  Issues that should be paramount are those that relate to how you will use the system rather than the individual components within the system.  Too many times a TSU-6000 remote is set up with the components only in mind and not much thought as to how the system will be used.  What you end up with often is a remote that requires unnecessary switching from one device to another to control your system and not much better in operation than a good non-programmable universal remote control would provide.

At this point it should be explained the difference between a device oriented remote and an activity oriented remote.  The device oriented remotes only perform the necessary functions for the device selected whereas the activity oriented remotes control the system for the activity selected.  The difference being when a given activity is selected the various groups of buttons will actually control different components.  For example, if we choose to watch a DVD as an activity, the transport keys would operate the DVD, but the volume controls would operate the TV or surround amplifier.  Many non-programmable universal remotes will have a certain degree of this capability in their setup, but they don't have the flexibility to cover all of the bases as will be covered as we go along.

The touch screen style remotes can be either, but are much more powerful if programmed to do both.  The following is a sample configuration for a TSU-6000.  The software for using a personal computer to program a TSU-6000 can be downloaded from the www.pronto.philips.com site or using these links:

TSU-6000
Owner's Manual - 808K

ProntoEdit 4.0 (13.5 MB) 

The Philips site requires registration.

You can download the software and make a configuration without having to buy a TSU-6000 to see if  it is something you feel comfortable with.  The software will operate as an emulator as far as changing from page to page.  Also if you want to download the sample configuration used in this essay click: Sample Configuration 

Basic Philosophy
The philosophy of the TSU-6000 touch screen type remotes is to use the touch screen to emulate all of your remote buttons under icons on the device control pages.  Some people only use the device screens, but as I mentioned before, that will be pretty restrictive of the TSU-6000 capabilities as this configuration description will show as we go along. 

Screen Development
Screen development is basically started by placing icons onto the screen and then configuring the remote for what it is to do when the icon is pressed.  Icons can be drawn in any graphics editor that will produce a bit mapped graphic, but many configurations with some killer graphics are available online at www.remotecentral.com in the Pronto files section.  I would recommend getting familiar with Remote Central as it is a tremendous resource for programmable remotes.  Downloading various system files and loading them in the edit software will allow you to pick and choose graphics and complete screens.  They will be configured for someone's system, but the screens and graphics are easily reconfigured to your system.

Sample Configuration
In order to show the versatility of the TSU-6000 I have chosen a configuration that is packed with activity screens with a minimum of devices.  This will show off the versatility without getting bogged down with a lot of equipment. 

Home Page
The starting point for the TSU-6000 is the home page.  On other pages just to the left of the time in the upper right portion of the screen will be a little house icon.  Touching the house icon will bring you back to the home page.  The home page for our sample system is shown to the right.

Notice there are three main activities that can be selected; MOVIES, TELEVISION, and MUSIC.

Touching these areas will bring up the activity screen for each selection.  Basically you decide what you want to do and make the selection.  Pressing MOVIES will mean you want to watch either a VCR tape or a DVD.  Pressing TELEVISION will mean you want to watch satellite TV and pressing the MUSIC will mean you want to listen to some music source.

Shown to the right is the MOVIES  screen.  Notice there are selections for what movie source we want to use:  

  • The Premium selection will set the system up to view the satellite receiver and jump to the 1st. premium channel screen.  Premium movie channels would be HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc.

  • The Basic selection will set the system up to view the satellite receiver and jump to the 1st. basic movie channels screen.  Basic movie channels would be TCM, TNN, Bravo, etc.

  • The Pay Per View selection will set the system up to view the satellite receiver and jump to the 1st. satellite receiver controls so that a PPV channel can be selected and requested.

  • The DVD selection will set up the system to view a DVD and will jump to the 1st. DVD device control screen. 

  • The VCR selection will set up the system to view a DVD and will jump to the 1st. DVD device control screen.

If you notice just to the right of the channel icons you will see a navigation bar that if pressed in the black area will advance you to the next screen.  If the dark orange area is pressed the previous screen will be jumped to.

The TELEVISION selection screen is shown to the right. Below are the first three screens that are accessible from the TELEVISION screen.  They are grouped by the type of viewing the channels would be associated with.  Makes for a easy way to surf.

 

 

 

 

 

The MUSIC selection from the HOME screen is handled in a similar manner with the following selections on the MUSIC selection screen: 

  • The MUSIC selection will jump to a series of screens that have icons for the music channels available on satellite.

  • The MUSIC VIDEO selection will jump to a series of screens that have the various music video channels available on satellite.

  • The COMPACT DISC selection will jump to the DVD device control screen since the DVD is also used to play CD audio discs.

  • The BG MUSIC selection in this configuration is used to control a second satellite receiver that is used for the home background music system.  It  jumps to screens that are essentially the same as the MUSIC selection described above, except the remote will control a different satellite receiver that is tied into the b/g music system.


HBO
PREMIUM 1


SHOWTIME
PREMIUM 2


OTHERS
PREMIUM 3


BASIC 1


BASIC 2


OTHERS


TV NETWORK


TV SPORTS


TV NEWS


SAT MUSIC CHANNELS


SAT VIDEO CHANNELS


DVD CONTROL TRANSPORT

 

All of the above screens are entered in the area of the configuration Pronto calls HOME and the DEVICES.  There is another group of screens that Pronto calls MACRO GROUPS  where macros and device button codes are stored.  Unlike the DEVICE screens, the MACRO GROUPS screens will not be visible on the remote after download.  These screens are to hold the button IR codes for each device.  An example for the DVD/VCR unit is shown to the right.  There are similar macro screens for the plasma, the satellite receiver and the b/g music satellite receiver.  In the sample configurations there are also empty screens with labels only  for the addition of other components such as an amplifier, radio tuner, etc.  Also there are some special macro panels that create all of the channel numbers from 001 to 999 without having to code each channel with individual numbers.  This also allows for the learning of just 0 through 9 for a satellite receiver to be able to make all of the channel numbers.


SAMPLE DEVICE MACRO SCREEN
FOR HOLDING BUTTON IR CODES

Summary
The Pronto pro TSU-6000 is the ultimate toy for the ultimate home theater system.  There are practically an unlimited quantity of configurations that the units can be programmed to perform, limited mainly by your imagination.  This device is crying to be teamed up with a 400 DVD jukebox with icons of the movies for the buttons to select them.  That's just one of the possible uses for this unit.  

To purchase from Amazon.com, click here: Pronto Remote Controls

Add Comment...

Fallen Heroes Fund