TV Remote Control

The average house in a developed country today is filled with gadgets, gizmos and electronic devices. To us, who’re surrounded with technology from the time we wake up, this might seem little hard to appreciate, but if this was the 1930s, our homes would look like something out of a science fiction novel. Most devices in our home, we take for granted – the TV, stereo, laptops, notebooks and computers, household appliances, air conditioning, mobile phones and so many others. One might say, to a large extent, we’re addicted, if not enslaved, by these devices. And along with the devices themselves, we are addicted to their remote controls.

Think about this a minute. If your DVD or TV remote control were to stop working tomorrow, would you really be able to operate it? Chances are you wouldn’t know how to switch it on anymore, much less switch channels or play a DVD. Most people would definitely spend a long time looking for the other control panel and may just give up. Few others will run all over the place, trying to get the remote fixed or replaced, forgetting altogether, that there is another way to work the TV! That’s the extent of our dependency on the remote control.

Your TV remote control is basically a consumer IR device. Which means it works via Infra Red rays. Some remote controls also work via radio signals. Because they work via IR, TV remote controls require a line-of-sight operation. This means you need to point the remote at the TV for anything to work. Any physical interference blocks the signals. The TV remote is easily powered by AA or AAA batteries. Although when it was invented by the Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950, it was pretty much an amazing gadget and also a luxury unlike it is now. However, the technical working of the gadget apart, the social workings of the launch and widespread use of the TV remote control were no less striking.

Firstly, the TV remote control was a boon for the lazy. The TV has always been a luxury item or something like a relaxant. Sit and enjoy type of device. They got this way due to the remote control, without which one would have to walk all the way to the set for every little change or adjustment. When Zenith launched the TV remote control, they did so to ‘change the lives of the lazy people for good’. However, what the remote really gave the consumers was power. Think about it – for how long have you sat in front of the TV without flipping channels? My guess is about 10 second’s tops. In fact most of us turn on the TV with the sole purpose of flipping channels. That’s what entertainment is all about.

However, can you imagine flipping channels without the TV remote control? It seems impossible. That is what changed before and after the remote. Viewers now had the power to flip channels as fast they wanted and as often. Imagine what this does to the TV program producers, the ad makers and all those guys who put up whatever you watch on TV. It virtually makes them go all out to keep you from flipping their show. And that’s exactly what happened. After the remote control was invented, TV ad slots were cut down from the original 30 seconds to 8 seconds or even lesser. The same applied to shows – they had to get better, smarter and faster. Channels like MTV had to change the way their shows, which had little more than DJs yapping, were shot and produced. Videos of songs were edited and shows and channels had to add ‘extra features’ to make viewing the show flip-immune.

This TV Remote Control Review is Written/Updated on Apr 26th, 2009 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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