As we make the television way more complicated, how will Fido’s favorite chew toy — aka the remote control — evolve? The remote is ripe for innovation, but the trick will be figuring out which revisions will have appeal for such a mass-market device.
Our in-house analyst Mike Wolf sums up the competing possibilities in the category:
- Network-enabled remotes – improving on crappy infrared signals
- QWERTY/touchscreen remotes – much better input options (but at a price). Both Skype and IBM are trying to patent this stuff.
- Gesture control – Wii for your TV, as done by GestureTek, Canesta, Softkinetic and others (see Chris’ summary of the players)
- Apps on other hand-held devices – software that enables your phones and iPods to control your television
We’re probably the most excited about this last option. We spoke with Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir on Friday, and he attested that by the fourth quarter this year FiOS users will be able to tell their TV what to do using their phone. Since conglomerates like Verizon already run so many communication channels in and out of our lives, we only hope they can start integrating their own parts. It’s only rational that phones — which use to we text and talk with our friends on all day — should be a crucial part of making TV social. The next thing for the remote control could actually be the end of the remote control.