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Why remote controls have so many buttons…

New audio visual devices such as digital televisions, blu-ray players and media players contain so many features that the remote controls required to operate them have almost as many buttons than the keyboard on your PC. But why do we need so many buttons – many of which never get pressed?

Remote Control

The lack of a motion sensing input device – think of your computer mouse or a Wii remote – means that a menu is the only way to change settings on these products. All the buttons are simply shortcuts to certain pre-selected menu options.

A motion sensing remote requires a graphical user interface (GUI) like Windows, and a sensor capable of detecting the movement of the remote. A GUI would provide a more intuitive way of interacting with the device. Many televisions and blu-ray players are capable of connecting to the internet or a home network, and a GUI would allow the development of better features which utilise this connectivity. 

Audio visual manufacturers have so far avoided this development in favour of utilising existing (however outdated) technology. Hopefully it won’t be too long before remote controls resemble a computer mouse rather than a keyboard.


2 responses to “Why remote controls have so many buttons…

  1. safetyandsecuritytips March 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I think remotes are a big mystery to alot of people, it partially due to that GUI interface, mix of buttons and there ability to control multiple devices. I cant believe that people pay hundreds of dollars for those harmony remotes when they allready have multiple functionality capabilites built into there tv, sat or cable remotes. I got a Radio Shack 6 in 1 Kameleon that can basically do tv, sat, audio reciever, and blue ray player for like 20 bucks 5 yrs ago and that is all you need.

    It will be a pretty cool day when the IPhone has a app that can control all those devices in my home entertainment system. But it will have to control infrared, radio and sych with those devices so that might be a while yet.

    Good blog, keep up the good work.

    P.S You can check out some of my computer tips I talk about the computer backup and alternatives if your interested.

  2. Flash Games March 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Thank you..really informative!!

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