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Philips Shuts Down Pronto Business Unit

The remote control product line 'no longer fits with the Philips' strategy.'


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Bye, bye Pronto. The remotes, like this TSU9300, were a force in the industry for more than 10 years.

Philips says it is shutting down its Pronto remote control product line. The company has been trying to find a buyer for the Pronto business since 2009 and was unsuccessful.

From the official statement:

“In December 2009, Philips announced the intention to relocate some of its existing remote control activities in Leuven, Belgium to Asia. At the same time, the intention was communicated to investigate alternative strategic options for the Pronto business, as this activity no longer fits with the Philips strategy. Following thorough research, no suitable partner was found for the acquisition of these activities. As such, Philips confirms today that it will discontinue the Pronto product line and related activities. “

The iconic brand targeted at the custom installation industry was first introduced in the 1990s. Since that time, the competitive landscape for remote controls has gotten much more crowded.

UPDATE
Philips Pronto: What Went Wrong?
Integrators and other business partners say the iPod/iPad wasn't to blame for the demise of Philips Pronto; why didn't Philips try harder to find a buyer?
The shutdown is especially surprising since Philips just invested a significant amount of R&D into the development of its new TSW9500 in-wall Pronto touchscreens. The product received strong reviews last month at the CEDIA Expo.

The Pronto business, headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, serves the custom audio-video installation market with advanced control devices. Lower-end versions of the remotes are sold online and via retail outlets such as Sears.

The company says it “will engage in a dialogue with its social partners on the consequences for the involved personnel of this announcement.”

Due in part to the time difference, Philips executives could not be reached for comment in regards to specific advice for integrators with units in stock or in the field who may be seeking technical assistance, warranty support or repair parts. [Editor's note: CE Pro intends to update this article upon receiving comments from Philips.]

Also, while the shutdown was announced today, Pronto remotes will likely remain on the market for quite some time as inventories are exhausted.

What impact will Pronto's departure have on the automation market?




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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Universal Remotes · Automation · Philips Pronto · Philips · Remote Controls · Control · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

16 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Jon Ogden  on  10/29  at  01:09 PM

This is horrible.  Just after I finished writing a module for the Prontos as well.  UGH!  What a stupid move.  Sad to see a great product like this go away.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  10/29  at  01:16 PM

Huge bummer. The custom team was really committed and enthusiastic.

Posted by Details Matter  on  10/29  at  01:41 PM

How much actual, profitable Pronto business is done by legit integrators?  I would bet $$$ (that’s 3 dollars for those doing the math) that most Pronto business was from retail sales to DIY types and trunk-slammers selling their “services” in the parking lots of those retail stores.  DIY-ers will likely turn to other widely available universal remotes and they won’t even miss Pronto.  Impact on actual, legit, custom integration?  Little if any.

Posted by 39CentStamp  on  10/29  at  01:54 PM

I cut my teeth with the pronto TS-1000 way back when. I still carry one in my computer bag that i use for learning/testing IR commands. Great remote. We switched to URC a couple of years later because of the hard buttons. We never looked at pronto again after that. My guess is that the iPad was the straw that broke the camels back.

Posted by djsmallz  on  10/29  at  02:25 PM

@ Julie

True on that.. they were very devoted..

Surely the end of an era!

get ready for the ebay floodgate!

Posted by Dave Garfinkle  on  10/29  at  02:46 PM

True the 1000 was game changing at the time but the lack of quality control in the 3000 and 3500 came about at a time when other soft button naming remotes came onto the scene.  That wounded Pronto for many years, And besides,  our industry is a cottage industry compared to the numbers a firm like Philips wants to see in units sold.  This economy certainly cannot support so many programmable remote companies, and then stir in the iPad and you have everyone taking a step backwards to gaze through the foggy scene ahead.  We are losing great products on a quarterly basis.  Who is next ?  And, when will it stop….

Posted by Adam Kent  on  10/29  at  05:19 PM

When an iPad costs half the price of a less functional remote how can the business model for high cost remotes be sustainable.

This is the first of many closures, first it was the media servers, then remote controls and next the half hearted control systems.

It will be the manufacturers first then the distributors anyone relying on selling systems that don’t encompass new technology and user demands cannot survive in this new and fast changing market place.

Posted by gordonlighting  on  10/29  at  07:12 PM

It is hard to understand why huge companies swallow up smaller companies and consistently fail to integrate all the parts and pieces. Philips could have divested the same product to several of its subsidiaries and maximized the return of the product development. The Pronto, in some form, could be used by Lightolier Controls as an architectural lighting remote for several different lighting systems they control. It could be Brilliant. Color Kinetics could have added it as remote color changing event controller. The Euro dimmer company Dynalite could have upgraded their DTP line of touch panels. And the venerable Strand lighting could revise their Pocket Pallette so techies could run onstage and make lights move and change colors wirelessly with one hand while still holding a cigarette in the other. Someone in the Netherlands made another poor decision.

Posted by SOLONG?  on  10/30  at  10:57 AM

Will URC be the next remote control company to go?

Posted by 39CentStamp  on  10/30  at  05:10 PM

URC isn’t going anywhere IMO. They are successfully expanding beyond the universal remote control.

Posted by Andrew  on  10/30  at  05:29 PM

I think BitWise controls success did this!

Posted by Mark Coxon  on  10/31  at  02:23 PM

@39 centstamp

Agreed.  URC was smart enough to do some R&D and get out of the remote “only” business.  Their remotes are much less as well, which helps.

Posted by illcrx  on  10/31  at  09:51 PM

Philips has the best touchscreen remote on the market, we have other options to give clients but in the back of our mind we’ll know they’re getting second best.

That being said Im selling 2 in an install in a few weeks and I hope I can get them!

Posted by Chris  on  11/01  at  03:28 PM

Philips had an excellent, reliable, easy to program, versatile product.  This is really unfortunate.  An iPad or iPhone is not a substitute for something like the TSU9400.  However, having seen the way Philips abandoned other parts of the CE marketplace in the past, this isn’t surprising.  I have customers that love these remotes and no doubt will want to get additional units before the supply runs out.

Posted by Jed  on  11/03  at  08:26 AM

Very sad developments indeed, another case of fat-cats at the top really having no clue of the “potential” of their own IP and how to refocus/better leverage it. Nah, just sell-it-off for a quick profit.

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