The Philips Pronto probably set the standard for a truly universal IR remote control. I have had mine ever since they came out with the Pronto 1000. It has gone through many combinations of satellite and cable PVRs. What I like about it is that you simply learn the codes from the vendor-supplied remote, and then program the Pronto for a theme-based (or Activity-based) approach: Pressing the “watch TV” button turns on the TV, AVR, cable or sat box, switches the appropriate inputs, yaddahyaddahyaddah.
Unfortunately the Pronto is no longer manufactured. After many years of service mine is showing its age: First the docking station died. About a year ago the backlight died. It was clear I would need a replacement before too long. I searched long and hard. My criteria were relatively simple: I wanted a remote with only a few hard buttons as opposed to dozens, it had to be computer-programmable without having to access a vendor’s site for programming, and it had to provide the same flexibility in programming as the Pronto. Unfortunately these simple criteria eliminated a bunch of universal remotes: Either too many buttons, no macro capability, or far too expensive (my limit was $350.).
And then I came across TouchSquid. This remote is based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablets with IR blaster. The Galaxy Tab 2 with IR blaster costs about $150, and the TouchSquid software is $50, i.e. the total package is about $200. For this, just like with Pronto, you get an activity-based remote. Unlike Pronto, you get a great looking color touch screen. Also unlike the Pronto programming is VERY simple and intuitive. However, I had some reservations. After all, I spent HOURS programming the Pronto and finding discrete power codes for devices that only toggle, etc. etc. And here is the solution for this: TouchSquid has a utility that converts Pronto ccf files to TouchSquid code. Free. Mind you, this is really only for geeks. But then, if you are reading about a Pronto replacement chances are good you fall into that category.
I have had TouchSquid for a few months already. For the first week Pronto was still on the table but did not get used any longer. Now it’s put away with all the other remotes for the various hardware. I just returned from a short vacation with a bunch of pictures. I wanted to see them on the large TV rather than on my pc. I connected the cables from the camera to the TV input on the side and was about wondering how to switch inputs. Then I decided to just make an other activity: It took me less than five minutes – without pc, just with the tablet – to configure this new activity. One button-push and the appropriate equipment is turned on, inputs configured …
Last but not least is tech support. Initially I had some technical questions on how to use the ccf conversion software. Tech support is without question second to none. Email got answered within less than 24 hours. Always! (so far, at least).
So is TouchSquid perfect? Not quite, but close enough for me. Following is my summary:
Great color graphics with touch screen;
Very easy to program;
The software is on your pc;
Absolutely great technical support;
Galaxy’s IR blaster is not as powerful as the Pronto. In my case I have to sort-of aim the remote at the equipment. With the Pronto you control the equipment from anywhere in the room.
That’s itI Would I buy TS again? You bet, in a heartbeat.
Last edited by vancouverron on October 1, 2013 23:28.