Is there a market for the $1.5k remote?

I've been pretty harsh on universal remote controls in the past.  It's not that I don't see the point of them – quite the opposite, in fact – but just that manufacturers seem to be in a race to fit as many buttons as possible in and end up with something that's more difficult to fathom than the original brace you were hoping to replace.  Still, I'm nothing if not an optimist, and so I truly believe that the right remote is out there waiting for me.  And so like a mildly peckish beaver I devour any reviews that I spot, that empty place in my heart just desperate to be filled.

Latest up to parade itself in front of me is Philips' Pronto Professional TSU9600, which builds on the success of the iconic original Pronto line by strapping on a few extra hard buttons and updating the screen, accompanying PC software and home-automation compatibility.  And so that's how it fell into the hands of the folks over at Automated Home, who promptly spent around 12 hours tweaking it to high-heaven.

Were they happy?  Well, there's no doubting the lush-factor of that VGA touchscreen, the database of product codes is mightily comprehensive and the optional wired and wireless extenders mean the TSU9600 isn't limited to the TV room.  And yet the very nature of its dedication to a single purpose may be its downfall; at £800 ($1,580) it's a whole lot of money for something that can't browse the web, be used to check email or even look at show listings.  Nowadays people expect at least a little convergence in their tech, and although Automated Home are correct in saying that the Pronto slots neatly in-between lower-end remotes and high-end pro installations, I'm curious as to the size of the market within that slice.

Philips Pronto Professional TSU9600 Review [Automated Home]