Remote controls have been used to control devices since the late 1890s, when Nikola Tesla used a radio remote control to manoeuvre a boat during an electrical exhibition at Madison Square Garden in 1898. Since that time, the remote control has evolved into a device that has made it much easier for people to control nearly any type of electronic equipment imaginable; especially the television. The TV remote control came into existence in 1950 and was connected to the TV via a wire. In 1955, the first wireless remote was developed, which signalled the beginning of an endless technological quest to develop better and more effective TV remote controls.
Today, people have a nearly endless variety of TV remote controls to choose from. They can range from a basic unit that merely turns a TV on and controls its volume and channels, or they can be massive devices that control not just the TV, but the stereo and house lights as well. Buyers who are considering the purchase of the ultimate TV remote control should understand how they work, the different types available, the best features to look for, and how to purchase a remote using eBay.
How a TV Remote Control Works
The first wireless remote controls utilised ultrasound to project sound waves at a television that was equipped with a receiver that detected the various sounds emitted from the remote and performed the function designated for that particular sound. As the buttons were pushed, they struck bars that emitted certain frequencies that would change channels or manipulate the volume on the TV. The remote control continued to evolve and utilise different technologies to control more aspects of the television such as colour, tint, and brightness.
Most modern day TV remote controls use low frequency infrared beams of light in order to communicate with the television. A light emitting diode in the remote flashes pulses of light that are received by the TV. Each button on the remote has its own pulsating pattern that tells the TV what to do. Infrared remotes operate through line-of-sight communication, which means that the remote must be pointed directly at the receiver on the television. Other remotes utilise radio frequency waves to communicate with the TV. RF signals can communicate with a receiver without the necessity of being pointed at it, which is effective for communicating with receivers that control many different devices and might be hidden from direct view.
Different Types of TV Remote Controls
When one is looking for a TV remote control, it is important to figure out ahead of time, just which type is best suited for one's needs. The chart below provides an idea of the types and the various features that each offers.
Manages the TV only, was manufactured by the television company
Supports functionality of more than one component such as DVD,VCR, and Blu-ray
There are many different styles of remote controls available depending on what the user requires. Regardless of the style or the function capabilities of the remote control, they are either operated by pushing buttons or via a touch screen.
The most common type of TV remote control is the push button design. The push button remote control was the first TV remote invented in the 1950s, and the first ones had very few buttons and only controlled volume levels and channels. Push button remote controls are usually based on infrared technology but can also be designed to use radio frequency when line of sight between the remote and the receiver is not possible. Push button remote controls are easy to produce and are relatively inexpensive depending on the amount of functions it is capable of performing.
Push button remote controls can be very simple versions that feature volume controls, up and down channel capability, on and off buttons, and a number pad for manual channel input. Other push button remotes can feature buttons to control VCR or DVD player operation or even complete home theatre units. Push button remote controls are usually lightweight and well constructed and can tolerate heavy use for a long period of time.
Advancements in technology have brought touch screen capability to TV remote controls. Touch screen remotes feature an electronic visual display that can detect the location of a stylus or finger that touches the screen and it then correlates that location with an action. The touch screen can be configured to appear the same as a push button remote control and some touch screen remotes can be customised in appearance according to the desires of the user.
Touch screen remote controls allow the user to directly interact with what is being displayed without any moving parts. When the user taps or swipes the screen, the movement sends an electronic signal to a controller that processes the location and sends a signal to the television. Touch screen remote controls utilise infrared light to communicate however, Bluetooth technology is becoming increasingly popular because it can communicate with a receiver over longer distances and does not require line of sight.
Features of an Ultimate TV Remote Control
When it comes to defining what makes up the ultimate TV remote control, there are basically three features that people usually take into consideration. While all TV remote controls perform the same basic function of controlling a television, there are remotes available that feature the ability to control multiple devices in one convenient package.
Ease of Use
Perhaps the most important feature that many people require in their ultimate TV remote control is that is be simple and easy to use. Straightforward interfaces that are well organised and easy to manipulate are very important to many users who do not want to spend a great deal of time learning how to use their remote control. The ultimate TV remote control has frequently used buttons in easy to locate positions on the remote so they can be manipulated without the user having to search for them.
Many people enjoy having remote controls that are fairly basic designs that control all the main functions of the television but are not so overcrowded with buttons that they find it difficult to interact with the device without being confused. For these types of people, the ultimate TV remote control is defined not by the amount of things it can do, but by how easy it is to operate.
Another feature that many people consider vital to an ultimate TV remote control is the number of devices it is capable of controlling. Many people spend a great deal of time and money setting up intricate home entertainment systems that feature many different devices. These systems can include a television, a stereo receiver, a DVD player, a CD player, a satellite or cable box, speakers, and even interior lighting. If each of these devices has a different remote, it can easily become confusing to find the proper remote when needed, not to mention the unsightly appearance of several different remotes lying about.
A remote that can be adapted to control new devices that are added to the system is also an important consideration. Having one remote that has the ability to control multiple devices is one of the most important aspects many people consider when searching for the ultimate TV remote.
Although the appearance of a remote control does not affect its operation, many people specifically search for TV remote controls that have a very high tech or attractive appearance. The television remote is something that is always in a place where it can be seen, so many people take a great interest in purchasing a remote that not only serves all of the purposes they require of it, but it must look good while it performs those functions.
The features that make up the ultimate TV remote control differ dramatically from one user to the next depending on what the most important aspects of their remote control are. Many people want a remote control that is easy to use and looks good, while others require multi-function capabilities that allow them to control several different devices as well as add additional ones to the remote as they grow their systems. The ultimate TV remote control utilises either infrared light beams or Bluetooth technology to communicate with the televisions receiver.
Prior to purchasing a new TV remote control, buyers should make sure to familiarise themselves with the various functions and features that they need in their new remote control. It can be very helpful to visit electronic stores and actually hold and operate various remote controls in order to find the brand and style that is most appealing. Once the buyer has decided on the type of remote control to purchase, they can take advantage of the many great deals and large variety of products available on auction sites such as eBay.