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Devices To Control Home Theatre


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#1 Ian13

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 07:38 AM

Trying to make some final purchasing decisions for my home theatre.
One of them is what device to use to control my home theatre.

It is going to be a dedicated cinema room, no 2 channel music, no free to air or pay tv, no gaming - JUST MOVIES.
I am wanting to control the Projector with slide and lens, Preamp, and Blu-ray player.
The lighting and air conditioning would be nice to control from the one device but not to fussed if not.
And not sure what else can actually be or need to be controlled - Audessey sound equaliser, subs, power amps?????
Some of the equipment will be in a purpose built Cupboard/rack at back of the room with glass door.

Looking at such devices as Philips Pronto, Logitech Harmony, i-Pad etc, or any others you think i should consider.
Please keep in mind that i am NOT computer or tech savvy and have never used or owned any such devices before. :wacko:

Wanting something simple enough to be able to setup and use it properly and something very reliable.

looking forward to your suggestions

#2 beejay76

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 08:17 AM

I have complete control over my HT with both the Pronto and iPad. I prefer the Pronto over the iPad because it has hard buttons as well as the touchscreen.

#3 Ian13

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 08:24 AM

I have complete control over my HT with both the Pronto and iPad. I prefer the Pronto over the iPad because it has hard buttons as well as the touchscreen.


Yes, i too am leaning towards hard buttons plus touchscreen.
The Pronto Pro you have, what model is that TSU_9600?
Is the pro a step up from the base models?

Edited by Ian13, 03 December 2011 - 08:27 AM.


#4 HTPC-Guru

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 11:13 AM

Ipad/iphone/ipod with the Irule App and a Global Cache Itach. So easy to use once its set up im loving it. It can control anything that uses an IR remote.

Mate if you have never owned or used any of this equipment before its going to be a big learning curve, it will take you a long time to get comfortable with your setup and you will constantly be adding/changing things.

Its all part of the fun ;)

There are a few Irule threads on here and over at AVS

#5 S2 13BT

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 04:51 PM

Harmony remote.

The One or the 900 would be a good choice. So easy to use and setup and can also control anything that'll take IR. 900 has RF too and there's an adapter if you need to control a PS3.

Cheap too!!

#6 Ian13

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 07:42 PM

So can any of these devices control your lighting or is that a separate device?

Also with these remotes is it possible for someone like me who has no real tech or pc skills to be able to programme them myself or would i need to get someone in to do it.

#7 beejay76

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:50 PM

We're watching a movie at the moment...both kids have an iPad and I have the Pronto

iPad A has an App beta on it that I'm doing some testing on for the developer, it has complete control over what we can watch (but volume control comes in a later release).

iPad B has an App on it that has complete control over what we watch, including lighting control, curtains, screen, volume control, source selection, everything...

The Pronto has complete control over everything.

I prefer the Pronto because it has the hard buttons, the kids like all of them.

The iPad stuff is easy to configure. The Pronto takes some patience and some savvy in learning how to set it all up, but the result is one of complete control in a single remote.

Here is a screenshot of the iPad that's controlling the movie playback, pretty cool hey!!

http://i740.photobuc...ay/IMG_0044.png

And here is a screenshot of the other iPad. I can program it to do what I want simply by adding more buttons to the drop-down list, and then configuring that button to do what it needs to do...only takes a few minutes to do!

http://i740.photobuc...ay/IMG_0519.png

BTW all those cover arts you can see on the 2nd screen shot (and using gestures to scroll through the rest of the movie collection), all I need to do is tap the cover art and the movie will start automatically without me needing to do anything else! And this includes BluRay playback...doesn't get much easier or better than that.

Edited by beejay76, 03 December 2011 - 11:26 PM.


#8 beejay76

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:56 PM

Yes, i too am leaning towards hard buttons plus touchscreen.
The Pronto Pro you have, what model is that TSU_9600?
Is the pro a step up from the base models?


I am using the TSU9600. This model (and the TSU9800) works via a serial extender which is a step up from the lower models which are IR only. The Philips Pronto remotes were discontinued about a year ago. When Philips made the announcement I went and bought a spare TSU9600. You probably can't buy a new one now, however they are readily available on the 2nd hand market. They were intended for professional installation, but you can DIY.

#9 beejay76

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 11:00 PM

So can any of these devices control your lighting or is that a separate device?

Also with these remotes is it possible for someone like me who has no real tech or pc skills to be able to programme them myself or would i need to get someone in to do it.


My iPads and the Pronto can all control the lighting, curtains, shutters, projection screen, monitor security cameras, and of course control the HiFi stuff, with 2-way feedback. Mine was a DIY installation.

#10 Ian13

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:23 AM

Here is a screenshot of the iPad that's controlling the movie playback, pretty cool hey!!

http://i740.photobuc...ay/IMG_0044.png
Yes that looks very impressive.

And here is a screenshot of the other iPad. I can program it to do what I want simply by adding more buttons to the drop-down list, and then configuring that button to do what it needs to do...only takes a few minutes to do!

http://i740.photobuc...ay/IMG_0519.png
This also looks great.

BTW all those cover arts you can see on the 2nd screen shot (and using gestures to scroll through the rest of the movie collection), all I need to do is tap the cover art and the movie will start automatically without me needing to do anything else! And this includes BluRay playback...doesn't get much easier or better than that.

So i am gathering then that you have all your movies stored on a computer hard drive (like a library) to be able to achieve this?

Edited by Ian13, 04 December 2011 - 07:25 AM.


#11 beejay76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:34 AM

So i am gathering then that you have all your movies stored on a computer hard drive (like a library) to be able to achieve this?


movies and CD's, correct...once you can serve up your content like that you'll never go back to the old way of putting a disc in a player again!

#12 Ian13

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:40 AM

I am using the TSU9600. This model (and the TSU9800) works via a serial extender which is a step up from the lower models which are IR only. The Philips Pronto remotes were discontinued about a year ago. When Philips made the announcement I went and bought a spare TSU9600. You probably can't buy a new one now, however they are readily available on the 2nd hand market. They were intended for professional installation, but you can DIY.


Excuse my ignorance but i did not know what a serial extender was, so i googled it.
So the Philips Pronto's are a computer based/operated remote that requires a pc or laptop to be in the chain of equipment in your home theatre?
So with this serial extender i gather it is hard wired (cat5 cable???) in between the pc/laptop and the piece of equipment you want to control? Hope i am understanding this correctly!
Do you need a serial extender for each piece of equipment?

I am way out of my depth here but am trying to get an understanding.
Much appreciate your help and i do sincerely apologise for what must be for some of you dumbass questions

#13 Ian13

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:46 AM

movies and CD's, correct...once you can serve up your content like that you'll never go back to the old way of putting a disc in a player again!


Interesting. So no need for a cd, dvd or bd player.
How would the quality of the picture be coming from the pc compared to a high end BD Player? Would there be any difference?

#14 beejay76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 09:56 AM

Interesting. So no need for a cd, dvd or bd player.
How would the quality of the picture be coming from the pc compared to a high end BD Player? Would there be any difference?


The content (BR, DVD, CD) is stored bit-for-bit uncompressed on a server, the player connects to the server over the network and grabs whatever it's told to play by the control system. The picture quality is as good as the best high-end players available today, plus there is the added benefit of not having to put a disc in the player, plus the movie starts instantly right at the start without FBI warnings and without having to navigate the disc menu or any of that other gibberish you otherwise need to endure. The control system (iPad, Pronto etc) connects wirelessly to the network (with the Pronto you don't need the serial extender for this to work, it talks directly to the device being controlled via TCP/IP).

#15 beejay76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 10:05 AM

...So the Philips Pronto's are a computer based/operated remote that requires a pc or laptop to be in the chain of equipment in your home theatre?...

So with this serial extender i gather it is hard wired (cat5 cable???) in between the pc/laptop and the piece of equipment you want to control?

Do you need a serial extender for each piece of equipment?


A computer and (free) configuration software is required to program the Pronto to do what you want it to do. Once it's programmed you don't need the computer again unless you wish to change your configuration.

The serial extender is the bridge (hardware) that connects the networked/wireless side of the Pronto to the non-networked devices being controlled. The serial extender connects to the network via Cat5 cable, the Pronto connects to the network wirelessly via a wireless access point that's connected to the network via Cat5 cable. The serial extender can control multiple devices. You don't need the serial extender to control network enabled devices (because the Pronto can talk to them directly).

So in my application the Pronto talks to the player directly over the network, and it talks to the audio processor/lighting etc via the extender (because those devices are not connected to the network, or rather, they're connected to the network via the extender).

Edited by beejay76, 04 December 2011 - 10:27 AM.


#16 HTPC-Guru

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 03:49 PM

http://i740.photobuc...ay/IMG_0519.png

BTW all those cover arts you can see on the 2nd screen shot (and using gestures to scroll through the rest of the movie collection), all I need to do is tap the cover art and the movie will start automatically without me needing to do anything else! And this includes BluRay playback...doesn't get much easier or better than that.


What App are you using on the ipad? I have the same cover art setup using my HTPC on the bigscreen, but it would be pretty neat if i could just click on the movie from my ipad and it would start playing. Then i could get rid of my wireless keyboard.

#17 beejay76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 04:25 PM

What App are you using on the ipad? I have the same cover art setup using my HTPC on the bigscreen, but it would be pretty neat if i could just click on the movie from my ipad and it would start playing. Then i could get rid of my wireless keyboard.


Remotescape, with Volume control licence, but you need the proper hardware to go with it. HTPC's aren't supported I'm afraid so you'll need to keep the wireless keyboard.

#18 HTPC-Guru

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 06:37 PM

Which hardware is that Kaleidescape ?

#19 beejay76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 08:42 PM

Correct, I have Kaleidescape. The system is controlled by the iPad using the Remotescape App, or by the Pronto using the Kaleidescape module. The 2 control systems work in tandem with each other (that is, for example, if I press PLAY on one remote, it shows up on the other remote, very cool!). I can also control the system with another Kaleidescape specific iPad App which is very similar to Remotescape, but I can't say too much about that because it hasn't been released by the developer yet.

This link shows the capability of the iPad as a remote control with this system:



and here's another one:


Edited by beejay76, 04 December 2011 - 08:56 PM.


#20 Ian13

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 08:55 PM

The content (BR, DVD, CD) is stored bit-for-bit uncompressed on a server, the player connects to the server over the network and grabs whatever it's told to play by the control system. The picture quality is as good as the best high-end players available today, plus there is the added benefit of not having to put a disc in the player, plus the movie starts instantly right at the start without FBI warnings and without having to navigate the disc menu or any of that other gibberish you otherwise need to endure. The control system (iPad, Pronto etc) connects wirelessly to the network (with the Pronto you don't need the serial extender for this to work, it talks directly to the device being controlled via TCP/IP).


Do you purchase the disc's and then upload your movies / music to the server or do you pay to access the movies from the server itself?

#21 beejay76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 10:06 PM

Do you purchase the disc's and then upload your movies / music to the server or do you pay to access the movies from the server itself?


You import your content to the server, however the system has the capability to download content from the internet. The movie download service is more intended for the US market because they have sufficiently fast internet to download a 50GB BR movie in quick time. For me to download 50GB of data with my ISP would take several hours, and would significantly chew into my monthly download limit so it's not something I'm interested in. Kaleidescape are fine tuning the arrangements for this to work with the movie studio's, but ultimately you'll be able to download a copy of the movie which is identical to the BR.

#22 blybo

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 08:54 AM

Certainly think a Harmony is the simplest, and cheapest method of getting up and running. You do not need to be tech savy either to programme it, just a basic knowledge of your equipment and how it's all connected. I use a 900 in my HT room for the RF capabilities as my equipment is behind a solid door.

We also use a basic 600 (IIRC) in the family room.

Best of all my wife and visitors can use both remotes without fear normally associated with complex AV systems.

#23 Ian13

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:09 PM

. The Philips Pronto remotes were discontinued about a year ago.


So if that is the case how does one go about getting repairs or parts for them if something goes wrong?

#24 Gutty

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 05:57 AM

Certainly think a Harmony is the simplest, and cheapest method of getting up and running. You do not need to be tech savy either to programme it, just a basic knowledge of your equipment and how it's all connected.




Agreed. I've never programed a Pronto, but the Harmony is pretty easy for doing most basic functions, and anything a bit more difficult, there's usually someone on here that can help ;)

#25 beejay76

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:15 AM

1764808[/url]']
So if that is the case how does one go about getting repairs or parts for them if something goes wrong?


Philips will still supply spares for 7 years, but in all reality it's probably cheaper to replace it....