Sony : The Evolution Of The Tv’s Remote Control


Sony : The Evolution of the TV’s Remote ControlIt may seem a little dramatic, but imagine the world without remote controls. Scary, right?
Before 1952, this was the world exactly. The living room was starting to become the hub of family entertainment, serving as an arena for the ultimate TV-user experience.

1952 marked the year of many great shows in television. “The Today Show” debuted on NBC and families across the country got to tune into Macy’s first Thanksgiving parade from the comfort of their home.

With the increase in programming options, navigating channels involved hopping off the sofa, walking over to the set and flicking the knob a couple times. A small but tedious task when it’s multiplied by several times an hour, 7 days per week.

Since remote controls hit the scene, the focus of these gadgets have greatly shifted within the last 60 years: from recognizing such a device could exist to integrating these core features into our phones.

The first remote control was developed by Zenith Electronics LLC, an American consumer electronics brand at the time (founded in 1918). Their version of the remote was called the “Lazy Bones” remote control that connected directly to the back of the television set by a cable. Although a start, having a wire going from the television to the couch in the middle of the living room wasn’t a long term option. Zenith then moved onto their next upgrade: a wireless remote called the Flash-Matic.

Zenith inventor Eugene Polley integrated four photocells into the four corners of the frame on the television set. Users would shine a flashlight on these four corners for channel surfing. This idea was the first of its kind and a stepping stone to the modern remote control. However, Polley didn’t account for natural sunlight coming through the living room. The sunlight would interfere with the photocells, causing the TV to become out of whack.

Next up was the Zenith Space Command remote control, created by Dr. Robert Alder that utilized ultra-sonic technology. This method would be the solution for all remote control devices for the next 25 years until the next greatest thing; infrared technology.

Nowadays remotes are just as important to advance as their TV counterparts. As TVs become smarter, equipped with internet, streaming, Bluetooth connectivity capabilities, and even Android operating systems, the function of a remote is advancing to continue to provide an easier way to enjoy TV entertainment.

These advances include a touch-pad space, the integration of its features into a mobile phone, and even voice command capabilities found in Sony’s new line of 2015 Android TVs.

It’s no doubt that remote controls are a necessity in today’s technology world, controlling more than just TVs. Who knows where remotes will go in the next 60 years? With it being Monday, I’m sure we’d all like to see a fast forward button for the work week.