Thursday, July 07, 2005

A truly universal remote?

This article from Engadget ( sparked the idea: instead of the remote having buttons which tell the device what to do (which can be combersome when you have complicated devices which all use the same remote), have each individual device tell the remote what buttons to display.

The remote itself would be similar to a PDA screen in size, and the OS similar to Palm's where you can view applications by category, or all at once. The screen defaults to a simple screen with the names of the devices it can pick up using Bluetooth (or IR if you're old school): VCR, DVD, receiver, TV, etc. When you want to turn on the TV, you select TV and the rest of the components disappear (or at least minimize) and your basic options for TV come up: power, volume, channel, mute, etc. If you want advanced features, select "advanced" from a drop-down menu and your current list expands to include picture in picture, color/brightness controls, and any other fancy things remotes and TVs can do nowadays.

Each component sends the remote the information it should display to the user. If your new DVD player burns DVDs, it would tell the remote to display a "burn DVD" button under its "advanced" tab. No need for a new remote.

Also, it keeps the controls that many people don't use out of the way offering a very clean-looking, simple remote which still operates all your equipment.