Hastings: You’ll Control Your TV with This

During his keynote address at NewTeeVee Live, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talked about abandoning the 50-button TV remote as we know it, in favor of a pointer device like the one used by the Wii. There actually is a company already building such a pointer remote device, and we’ve got a video demo of it, if you want to see a glimpse of the future Hastings described.

Earlier this year, Hillcrest Labs trotted out its “concept car” of a TV remote, which uses the Freespace motion control technology. It was a loop that you pointed at the screen to scroll through options and select your content. (It has anti-tremor technology built into the device so the on-screen pointer doesn’t shake as you try to steady your hand — neat!) Hillcrest wouldn’t actually make the remotes, but rather license the technology out to consumer electronics companies to manufacture.

Hastings referenced the Wii-mote during his talk as an example, and Hillcrest actually filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Nintendo, claiming the Wii motion controls violate Hillcrest’s patents.

Regardless of who winds up the winner in that fight, this video demo of Hillcrest’s technology gives you a sample of how you could be soon ditching those button-filled remotes for on-screen menu guide and hand gestures to browse not just TV shows, but photos, music and even streamed Netflix content.


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