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Philips RC9800i Touchscreen Remote Control - Product Review

Philips RC9800i - Taking Control Of Home Theater

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Philips RC9800i Touchscreen Remote Control

Philips RC9800i Touchscreen Remote Control

Photo (c) Philips
Home theater has given us more and better options for enjoying television viewing, and other home entertainment options. However, it has also given us the clutter of remote controls. The quest for a remote control that can do it all is the "Holy Grail" of home theater. There are many "universal remotes" that can than replace some of the functions of your remote control collection, but the Philips RC9800i is a powerful tool that enables the user to take full control of just about any component.

Product Overview

The Philips RC9800i is an infrared wireless remote controller that is 5-inches wide, 4-inches high, with a 3.5-inch color LCD touch screen and a series control buttons.

The RC9800i features 32MB of internal memory and an internal database with remote control codes for over 1,100 brands of audio and video components. The database can be expanded through software upgrades via the RC9800i's USB interface, in conjunction with a PC.

In addition to its larage database capacity, the RC9800i can also learn remote control commands by interfacing with original remote controls.

The RC9800 is also compatible with audio/video home networking control functions via Wi-Fi connectivity.

The RC9800i can control components individually or by group activity.

The RC9800i also offers Electronic Program Guide (EPG) interface capability.

The RC9800i features a convenient docking station that serves as both a charger for the internal rechargable battery system, as well as being an AC adapter, which allows the unit to be operated while in the docking station.

A comprehensive user manual is provided in several languages and provides very detailed illustrations and explanations regarding the setup and use of the RC9800i.

Testing Setup

For this review, current and older audio/video components were grouped in several setups to test the remote control capability of the RC9800i:

Remote Control Test Setup #1: Sony 13-FS100 13-inch Televsion, Sanyo VR7200B BETA HiFi VCR, Technics SL-PD888 5-Disc CD Changer, Yamaha AVX-100U Integrated Dolby Surround Amplifier.

Remote Control Test Setup #2: Samsung LN-R238W 23-inch LCD-HDTV, SLS Q-LIne Home Theater System, Pioneer DV-341 DVD Player.

Remote Control Test Setup #3: Syntax LT-32HV LCD television, Yamaha HTR-5490 6.1 Channel AV receiver, Samsung DVD-HD931 DVD Player, Philips DVDR985 DVD Recorder.

Using the RC9800i

Using the RC9800i, I had no difficulty in accessing the control codes for all components used, including older components. Integrating the functions of both the older and newer components in all the setups was accomplished. There were only couple of instances in which the learning functions of the 9800i were needed.

Other observations included:

1. The RC9800i contained the remote codes for a 20-plus year old Yamaha AVX-100U surround sound amplifier, including access on/off control, all input control, volume, mute, and most other functions normally accessible by the AVX-100U's original remote.

2. I was very surprised that the RC9800i contained the remote control codes for the two decades-old Sanyo VR7200 BETA VCR in its database.

3. Although the RC9800i did not have the remote control codes of the SLS Q-line home theater system in its database, I found that by accessing the database entry for Sherwood-branded home theater systems, I was able to access all of the remote control functions for the SLS Q-line system.

This means that if you know the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) brand for a specific component, you may find that its codes may be in the RC9800i's database, which would save you from taking the extra time using the learning function, although that is always an option when the desired codes are not in the database.

Group Activity Functions

The 9800i can either control components individually or group components by room and operate them by activity. For instance, if you want to watch a DVD on your home theater system in the living room, all you have to do is go to the living room category you placed your components in and go to "watch DVD on Sony TV (or any other entered TV)" and the 9800i will turn on the TV, DVD player, and your AV receiver, and switch your TV and AV receiver to the correct inputs.

PHILIPS RC9800i Remote Control Display Screen Example

PHILIPS RC9800i Remote Control Display Screen Example

Photo (c) Philips
Instead of having to use several remotes and clicks to get things going, with the RC9800i, you can tell your TV, DVD player, and home theater system to turn on, access the proper inputs, and set the volume with just two or three remote clicks, rather than having to reach for several remotes and punching in five or six clicks. Of course, you still have to put in the DVD and pop the popcorn yourself.

One thing you can't avoid is that if you have several rooms with components, it does take a while to set everything up, which can make for an all-day project. However, the 9800i takes you step-by-step through the process, asking you questions on how the functions of your components work. The set-up procedures of the RC9800i can enable you to access and run your audio and video components in a very efficient manner.

The 9800i can expand to accommodate more components and rooms. If you add a component to an existing setup, you can integrate its remote control functions with the rest of your system using the RC9800i.

You can also periodically update the RC9800i's database through software downloads. It also has capability to interface with WiFi-enabled components and digital music and photo functions with a PC.

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