Custom installers who were making money selling customised Univeral remotes such as the Philips Pronto or the Logitech Harmony Remote are set to be hit by a loss of revenue say analysts as consumers move to Smartphones and tablets to control their devices.
Custom installers who were making money selling customised Univeral remotes such as the Philips Pronto are set to be hit by a loss of revenue say analysts as consumers move to Smartphones and tablets to control their devices.
“Everybody realises that the remote control is the dinosaur of the consumer electronics industry,” said David Mercer, a television analyst at Strategy Analytics, a research and consulting firm. “The subscription TV Companies like Foxtel and the TV manufacturers are beginning to realise that they have to start moving away from the traditional, basic remote control.”
Trying to pack too many features into a remote can make it both expensive and physically imposing Mercer claims.
He said that the remote Sony developed for its new Google-powered TV has more than 75 buttons that requires the use of both hands. He said that it looks like the controller for a hobbyist’s model airplane.
According to the New York Times there have already been successful attempts to use smartphones as remotes. Sonos, which makes Internet-connected audio devices, offers a free iPhone application that replicates every feature of its own 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 Samsung, are following suit with smartphone remotes, and phone apps that can control both audio and TV devices as well as home theatre systems.
Technology giants like Apple and Google, along with a wave of Silicon Valley start-ups, have a vision for the future claims the New York Times that would make channel-surfing old hat and a thing of the past.
They believe, viewers will choose from vast pools of video without distinguishing between TV broadcasts and content streamed over the Internet.
The number of homes with Internet-connected televisions is expected to reach 43 million by 2015, up from two million at the beginning of this year, according to Forrester Research, a technology research firm.
“The nature of how users access content is going to evolve, and is starting to evolve,” said John Burke, the senior vice president and general manager for broadband at Motorola, which makes set-top boxes for cable providers. “Having remote controls that give the user better ability to interact with the experience is going to be key.”
Some companies are not sold on the idea of the smartphone as the remote of the future. Companies like Sony with their Move system and Microsoft with their Kinect gaming system allow users to move their hands and use their voices to control movies, sports and video content streamed through an Xbox console, no remote is necessary.