I favor the Marantz 9200, but it runs around $900 street price. It has the color screen and, most importantly to me, extra hard buttons. If you want to go a bit lighter on the wallet, you can get a b&w screen pronto (TS1000) for around $150 these days (the newer model with more memory runs around $230). Once you master the prontoedit software (not as hard as it first appears) you can really set up a great remote using the available downloads at remotecentral.
For me, having an easy interface like the pronto makes my system far more enjoyable (and useable) by my wife. That makes it easier for me to go buy more toys
I give two thumbs up to the Home Theater Master MX500. The advantage of this type of remote as opposed to the Pronto type, is the numerous dedicated hard buttons. I personally have tried Pronto type remotes and really dislike having to "page" through 2 or 3 levels to get to the "button" I need as opposed to having it right there in front of me. Other people disslike remotes with many buttons. It's all personal preference.
Had a Pronto, sold it, bought an MX-500, lived happily ever after.
IMHO, consider a Pronto only if (a) you always look at the remote when using it, and (b) are willing to spend the time coming up with a nice layout for all of your components.
For me, the MX-500 is the best of both worlds -- it has a plethora of hard buttons for everyday commands, and a ten-selection LCD screen for switching between components and more obscure commands that don't map logically to hard buttons.
Also, it has great button density around the joystick, which makes it work great for selection and transport. I actually prefer it to my TiVo remote, and I loved the TiVo remote.
The only thing I'd add is more macro flexibility. As it is, there are four hard buttons that you can use as macros, and then one macro for each of the 10 components. I actually don't come anywhere close to this limit right now, but could forsee a situation where I'd like a little more flexibility.
I think the ergonomics are also great. It's a very friendly remote all around.
There may be other remotes that are also great, but no matter which way you go, I can't understate the need for a lot of hard buttons.
Add my vote to the MX-500! I still have the Sony 2000 series remote, but with my eyesight, those small squares on the screen were almost impossible to see. Both units are outstanding in their learning capabilities, but as the others have said, you either like the buttons (me!), or you like the touch screen factor. Also, you have to consider how you like the remote to feel in your hand, especially when it's dark in the room (the MX-500 is great in this respect). Finally, there is the "significant other" factor; I solved this problem with buying my wife her own remote!
If you really want to dig into this, check out Remotecentral.com. They have VERY extensive reviews of all the popular universal remotes. After a lot of reading there last year, I, too, settled on the MX-500 and have been very happy with it.
I've got a Pronto to replace my god knows how many remotes. Works a treat, except with my Kenwood 990D amp - but there's files on remotecentral for that! You really need a PC to program it, and the software to program it could be improved. But, it's quite quick to learn and you can download other people programs for your equipment as I have done.
Disadvantage is that you've got to look at the device to see the "buttons". Otherwise, excellent.
I've got a the Marantz version of the original Pronto (don't recall the model number), and it works well, but I prefer hard buttons. I got the Pronto so my family could operate everything. If you've got access to discrete codes for all your devices (particularily on/off) you can make your home theater so user-friendly that even your wife and her parents can use it (I speak from experience here). Kids aren't a problem, but wives and parents are a challenge
I am surprised. Usually when this question comes up at least one person points out the advantages of the "One for All" brand of remotes.
They have everything from basic $15 ones that control 4 devices up to ones that can control 7 or more devices and cost about $50. A tiny fraction of the other brands.
Almost all of their remotes can be programmed so that any key can perform any function. In addition, some of them also have learning capabilities.
I have one of their fancier remotes in our TV room and 4 of their more basic remotes around the house which i use in conjunction with our multi room dist. system to control TV, VCR and a couple of sat. recvrs.
My Dad has the one-for-all type remotes (although it's actually another manufacturers). Very handy for the TV/VCR/SAT. Good for him as he doesn't have to learn how to use all the different remotes, but I don't know how well it would put up with replacing the ten my Pronto does!
I'd like to see the pronto having more space in the drop-down menu for selecting which item to control. With my system you have to scroll down for some of my remotes.
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