Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Smartphone replacing Remote Controls?

The standard TV remote control, lost so many times beneath sofa cushions, may soon be lost to history. Many people are now switching to their smart phones as substitutes to their remote controls.

TV viewing habits are changing as more Internet and on-demand content — YouTube videos, streaming movies, shopping sites, Facebook photos — flows directly onto big screens. Navigating all of that demands more action from the viewer, including a fair amount of typing, which current remotes cannot handle.

There have already been successful attempts to use smartphones as remotes. Sonos, which makes Internet-connected stereos, offers a free iPhone application that replicates every feature of its own $349 touch-screen remote control. Over half of Sonos customers now use the app, which links to the stereo over a Wi-Fi network.

Several television manufacturers, like Mitsubishi and Samsung, are following suit with smartphone remotes, and phone apps are part of both Apple and Google’s TV offerings.

Technology giants like Apple and Google, along with a wave of Silicon Valley start-ups, have a vision for the future that would make channel-surfing seem quaint. Soon, they believe, viewers will choose from vast pools of video without distinguishing between TV broadcasts and content streamed over the Internet.

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