The Dark Age of Remote Controls

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In this day and age I’m always amazed at the array of remote controls people seem to need to operate their TVs/entertainment systems.  I haven’t owned a television since 2006 and I know that adds to my confusion, and fascination, with the amount of remote controls required to get anything working.  I also find some of the buttons and commands are rather cryptic to figure out what controls which function.

For example, watching TV at my mother’s house requires 3 remote controls.  In order to watch regular cable TV the input option has to be changed to “component” and not the option labeled “TV”, as I might have thought.  If somebody hadn’t shown me that I needed to select “component” as the input option, it would have taken me a long time to figure out and maybe a Google search.

Even with the lesson and instructions on how to watch regular TV, I still failed in getting it to work one night.  Despite trying all the remotes, selecting the proper input, and some general button pushing, I still couldn’t get anything to appear on the TV.  The following morning my brother figured out that the remote hadn’t connected properly with one of the devices which now needed to be turned on manually.

Over the last decade, I’ve noticed that I’m not the only person challenged by the complexity of trying to operate a television.  Many of my friends and relatives have systems with multiple remote controls, each one doing its own specific thing.  Some of them have a master remote, but as I mentioned earlier, it can still be difficult to figure out which button, or remote, is controlling which function.  It seems that most people end up memorizing a routine series of buttons to press to access the few things they need.

In my opinion, remote controls all seem horribly outdated in comparison with the sleeker, more advanced technological devices I’m used to using.  And for the kinds of things they are commanding, i.e. an entertainment system and watching TV, they seem overly complicated.  I know there are some options available for setting up the system through one’s phone or tablet, which to me seems like a much better and more sophisticated option.  Although likely even then, there will still be challenges with compatibility between the different components and ensuring they can be operated through one master control panel.

1 comment for “The Dark Age of Remote Controls

  1. Irene
    18 April 2017 at 08:37

    Right on! There are some apps out there that could simplify this but I haven’t checked any of them out. Love to get some recommendations.

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