As remote controls go, we all know there’re different leagues that they aspire to. Some low-end handsets are content with replacing a crusty old faithful; others add multi-device control and perhaps a little LCD display. And then you have the big league, the remotes that actually border on Mensa challenges; Philips’ NX ProntoLite easily falls into that category.
Don’t be fooled by the “Lite”, this is no touchscreen toy. With a VGA interface that organises entertainment into activities on dynamic webpages, there’s control of not only audio and visual sources but a built-in Escient Fireball music server and Lutron RadioRa lighting control with complete on-screen feedback. Although happy with IR, the ProntoLite can also hook into a WiFi network and control the optional Serial Extender: a rack-mounted appliance with four individually addressable IR ports and four serial ports.
You’d have to be serious about your home entertainment/automation, though; the ProntoLite has a MRSP of $1,836. At that price, I find myself wondering why the tech-savvy enthusiast wouldn’t pick up a similarly capable UMPC and enjoy not only remote control but all the internet access, email and gaming that the full Windows platform allows.