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Philips Pronto NG TSU3000 Review
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The turbocharged tortoise and the haggard hare.
Despite utilizing a normally fast USB 1.1 connection, the TSU3000 doesn’t transfer files any quicker than the old serial port version – in fact it’s slower! As a trial I tried downloading a 1 megabyte PCF file to the Pronto NG over USB, and a 1 megabyte CCF file to the ProntoPro over serial. Including processing time, the PCF file took 3 minutes and 50 seconds, while the CCF file took just 50 seconds. Working on the basis of identical content rather than identical file size, the Pronto NG took 3 minutes and 20 seconds, while the ProntoPro took 1 minute and 10 seconds. Now how exactly is USB an improvement?

Other ways to transfer files include “Pack & Go” and “Make EXE” – both of which perform the same function. “Pack & Go” saves the current PCF as an executable file which will automatically download to a connected TSU3000 when run. “Make EXE” merely asks which file to convert. This feature is handy for custom installers who may wish to distribute a backup or updated configuration file to clients, but don’t want them to have to go through the hassle of installing and using ProntoEdit.

Philips Pronto NG TSU3000
Click to enlarge. (44kb)
For anyone trying to assemble a file from various configurations posted on the internet, Philips has added a “merge” function that copies the contents from one file into another.

The amount of available user memory on the TSU3000 is excellent, in line with its graphic requirements and the “effective” space offered by previous models. Using a large configuration file with a good mix of custom graphics and plenty of pages, a 4-color version of the file occupies 60% of the memory on a 2mb TSU2000, a 256-color version occupies 27% of the memory on the high-end 8mb ProntoPro TSU6000, while a 16-color version occupies 53% of memory on a 4mb TSU3000.

Never the same twice!
ProntoEdit NG is an ever changing package. When the TSU3000 was first released, many features were announced but promised as later developments – such as timers, conditional macros and different preset user interface elements. While it is already some time later as of this writing and those features have yet to appear, I have been promised by Philips that they will be released. Eventually. Really!

In the mean time, Philips has been working on fixing some of the many bugs and limitations that have so far been found in ProntoEdit NG. While creating my layout I came up with a list of 73 problems and suggestions, some minor and some more severe, but absolutely none of them prevented completion of the design.

It’s important to remember that ProntoEdit NG is actually an improvement over the already popular ProntoEdit. As long as you keep the bugs and limitations in mind and work around them rather than trying to go through them, absolutely incredible designs can be produced. For an example of what can be done, take a look at the sample screens from my configuration that are scattered throughout the past few pages, or browse through Remote Central’s Pronto NG file archive for original files submitted by artistic owners.

Philips Pronto TSU2000 Screen ShotPhilips Pronto TSU6000 Screen ShotPhilips Pronto TSU3000 Screen Shot
An example of how screens can be customized with PENG.

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