Remote Controls for TV / DVD / Blueray -- Why must each device have its own?

in life •  3 months ago

Are we being tricked? Why is there no open source / open standard for hardware manufacturers?


Let's get the technical stuff out of the way. There was a standard called RC-5 developed by Philips in the late 1980's and is still used today. A newer protocol called RC-6 is coming out, but ask yourself, after 30 years, isn't it time to really wonder why we have so many different incompatible remote controls for TV on the market ?

It's all about branding. Printing the manufacturer's name right on the remote control, so you stare at the brand name every day.

It's about style. "Our remote looks better than that other remote. Our new remote looks better than our older version of our remote".

Getting a new TV, means you get a new remote. It's about user perception and it is a waste of resources.

...and finally, it's about losing your remote, and rather than pay for a replacement for $50 + shipping, many people decide to just go out and buy a new TV or DVD player.

What about universal remotes?

They are rudamentary at best. Not all button options are available. There are so many different device "codes" ... programming them can be a pain. If you have a Sony TV, quite often you'll have to cycle through about 6 different Sony codes, maybe more!

Imagine a world where every single remote control could be reprogrammed to any device.

Here's the savings involved:

  1. Hardware manufacturers could sell their devices without a remote. (You could buy one as an optional purchase at the time of sale)

  2. Any existing remote in your house could work with your new device simply by entering in a standard 10 digit pin code (as printed on your device's label, almost like a wifi password)

  3. All of the old remote controls disposed of would no longer have to be recycled or decomposed.

  4. The open source standard would allow up to 8 devices to be programmed to any remote. Now your table wouldn't have 3 or 4 remote controls sitting there.

  5. Just like many different phone manufacturers use Android, many different TV and DVD manufacturers could adopt the open standard for remote controls.

  6. A volume button + or - should be a volume button with any device. A menu button should be a menu button.

We think of all of the strides we've made with standards like USB... somehow the TV / DVD industry has made very little progress when it comes to remote controls.


  • Do you think we'll ever see the day that open standards, and open source, could reach the TV / DVD / Blueray hardware market?

By the way in 2014 ZigBee (the smart home / privacy concern technology) announced a remote standard but so far, it isn't all that common place yet. I'm personally against Zigbee technnology. I believe my home, should not be connected to the internet through regular household appliances, and I do not like that idea..

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I suspect most remotes are so cheap that it's just not an issue to throw one in. The average user is not technical and they just want it simple. I've had some universal remotes, but they could be complex to set up. There were also apps for old PDAs like the Palm that had an infra red port. I can control my LG TV with their app, but it's easier to use the remote. It just seems people tolerate this issue


It just seems people tolerate this issue

....I think that's a big explanation for it.

Now if we take that single point..

What people seem to tolerate, continues to exist, even after 30 years.

Now it makes you wonder.. What else do people tolerate, that doesn't change?

Ohh, this sounds like a nice segue into my next article.

Buy everything from Samsung and a Samsung Android tablet ... one expensive fix but their tablets can control the Samsung washing machine and everything these days!