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October 6, 2015

remote control

Microsoft Developing Voice-Activated Remote Control: Humanity Is Doomed

by Jean Bentley, posted Oct 27th 2010 3:00PM
Microsoft logoFurther proof that the end is nearer than we think: Microsoft announced Tuesday that it is developing voice- and gesture-activated controls for televisions.

Yes -- in the very near future, not only will we be able to stay put on the couch when switching the TV from 'Teen Mom' to 'American Idol,' we won't even have to lift a burdensome remote control and point at our cable boxes to do so. Instead, all we'll have to do is grunt a command or swing a hand at the screen.

James Baldwin, Microsoft's chief technology officer for television, said the company's Kinect technology, which allows users to interact with their video game consoles without controllers, could be adapted for hands-free remote control use, Variety reports.

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Three Bad Things About One Great Invention, the Remote Control

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 12th 2010 5:02PM
remoteRegardless of what I just said in that headline, let me assure you: I love my remote control! It's the device that tells me "you don't have to just sit there and watch what's on. You have options!" It's perfect for someone who watches a lot of television, vital for someone who writes about television, and it really is the can opener of the living room. It's the tool you absolutely need.

Having said all that, there are several problems I see with having something so convenient at your fingertips as you watch the tube.

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Six Game Shows that Used Actual Torture

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 8th 2010 4:00PM
An act of torture during the InquisitionIf you were shocked to hear about ABC's 'Downfall,' a game show that drops people off of buildings for our amusement, you clearly don't watch enough TV and lead a rich, fulfilling life.

Television's long and storied history is filled with game and competition shows that pit their contestants in a physical, psychological and gastrointestinal showdown, most of which were lost to the ravages of obscurity. Well, it's "filled" if you only look at the last few years or so when the economy tanked and people turned to humiliating themselves in the national media to keep from having to hunt small rodents for sustenance. That's how 'The View' got started.

These are the shows that not only tortured contestants, but also their viewing audience unless Dick Cheney happened to be watching any of them.

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What Jackie is thankful for

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Nov 25th 2009 6:06PM
Oh, the humanity! Les Nessman reports on the turkey dropYes, it's that time of year once again. It's Thanksgiving -- yay, food! With the times such as they are, I'll admit to being more thankful on a regular basis during this year than many years gone by. I have a job (a few jobs actually), a roof over my head, money for food and bills, good friends, family, a bionic knee so I can be a bit like The Six Million Dollar Man, and so much more.

But, since this is about television, I'm going to focus on what I'm thankful for in television and TV-related kind of things. We might share some items on the list, we might not. While the times might not be great for financial dealings, it's a wondrous time for television geeks like you and me. Or, maybe it's just me. So, exactly what am I thankful for? Read on.

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The TV Squad Podcast: The Prisoner, '80s TV, soap news and more

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 19th 2009 6:16PM
TV Squad logoIf you haven't seen The Prisoner yet, you may want to skip the first fifteen or so minutes of this podcast, because we talk about the whole damn thing this week. Jason Hughes and Allison Waldman join me to talk about the AMC remake of the British cult classic, as well as these topics:

Run time is 1:02:55.

You can listen to the podcast below, or download from here or by subscribing to our RSS podcast feed. It is also available via iTunes. Feel free to leave us feedback in the comments or drop us a line at tvsquadpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com.

As usual, the music at the beginning and end of the podcast is "Life" by Justin Trawick. Though I decided to add a small surprise at the beginning, a call-back to an interview I did a few years ago. Hope you enjoy it.

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Colin Quinn remembers Ken Ober in his special way

by Danny Gallagher, posted Nov 17th 2009 2:28PM
The sudden and shocking of passing of TV writer, producer and host Ken Ober turned a lot of heads. Here's one of Ober's head (ahem) getting turned, for a change.

Collin Quinn, Ober's longtime friend and Remote Control co-host, posted a hilarious picture on his Twitter page of himself, Ober and the uber-cute Kari Wuhrer on the set of their equally hilarious game show.

I'm tempted to let Bob use this for our weekly Subtle Subtitles post, but am worried the funniest of the comments will get us banned from every library in the country assuming, of course, that reading is still going on in America's libraries.

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Ken Ober, Original Host of 'Remote Control,' Dead at 52

by Elizabeth Chan, posted Nov 16th 2009 10:36PM
Ken Ober, Original host of 'Remote Control' dead at 52Ken Ober, best known as the original host of MTV's 'Remote Control,' passed away in his Los Angeles home on Sunday.

He was 52 years old.

Ober's death was confirmed by his talent agent Mark Measures. According to Measures, "The last person to have spoken to him was on Saturday morning. No foul play is suspected, no suicide, it looks like natural causes, just no one knows the exact cause yet." It had been reported that Ober had been complaining of flu-like symptoms.

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Remote Control host Ken Ober dead at 52

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 16th 2009 5:27PM
Ken OberWow, it's one thing to write about the death of someone like Edward Woodward, someone who was older and not in good health, but it's another thing to write about the death of someone only 52. Ken Ober, who hosted the classic (well, in my mind it's a classic) MTV game show Remote Control in the late 80s, died yesterday of unknown causes.

If you've never seen Remote Control, it was a wacky pop culture trivia game show that supposedly was filmed in Ober's basement. Besides being a really fun game show (especially for someone raised on television), it costarred a lot of people who later became household names, such as Adam Sandler, Denis Leary, and Colin Quinn.

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From 1961: the new exciting world of remote controls

by Bob Sassone, posted May 28th 2009 10:10AM
I dropped my remote control last night (actually, one of four that I have on my coffee table for various electronics), and it got me thinking about the remote controls we had when I was a kid. We didn't have one, that is, at least not for the big Magnavox cabinet TV (a real piece of furniture), nor the Sony Trinitron after that (so futuristic because it had separate push buttons for each channel!).

Here's an RCA ad from 1961 for a remote. I'd rather have this than the confusing mess I have now. Love the opening special effects with the glittery star thing. And what the heck is that next to the TV, a hookah?

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What do you call your remote?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 17th 2008 3:03PM

remoteIt's one of the eternal questions in life: what do you call your remote?

Tim Dowling over at The Guardian has a story about all of the different names that TV viewers have for that little device that saves us from having to walk across the room and has probably contributed to the onslaught of ADD we have. All of the names we've all heard are on the list, such as "clicker" (my mom used to call it that), "flipper" (which was popular with Frank on Everybody Loves Raymond), "wand," and "changer." Of course, The Guardian is a British paper so you're going to get some words that Americans really aren't familiar with, such as "tellychanger," "podger," and "hoofer-doofer." Most people I know just call it "the remote." We should come up with a different name for it. "Binky" is good, but that's already taken for pacifiers. How about "the glooptron?"

I call mine "Jessica."

[via TV Tattle]

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Control your media center with Niveus Pocket Remote

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 20th 2007 4:05PM
Niveus Pocket Remote
Too lazy to get up and walk across the room and turn your TV on? And too cheap to buy one of those fancy Sideshow remotes with the built in LCD so that you can select music without turning the TV on?

Niveus is beta testing Pocket Remote 2.0, a Windows Media Center remote control application for Windows Mobile or PC. Here's how it works:
  • Download the zip file to start a 10-day free trial (no final pricing information has been released yet)
  • Unzip the file to find two installers, one for the server (the PC you want to control) and one for the remote control application you want to install on your PDA, smartphone, or remote PC.
  • Install the server program on your PC and select whether you want to control Windows Media Player or Windows Vista Media Center
  • Install the remote control application on your mobile device or remote PC.
That's it. Now when you launch the remote control application you can play music, online radio, or use a virtual remote control to access other media center features. You'll need to have an internet connected PDA or PC running on the same network as your server. Niveus Pocket Remote does a pretty good job of auto-detecting servers on your network, although you can enter information manually as well. Oh yeah, and you can control multiple PCs as well.
[via Chris Lanier]

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Keyspan releases $50 RF remote for Vista Media Center

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 7th 2007 5:40PM
Keyspan RF remote for Windows VistaKeyspan's new RF remote for Windows Vista Media Center has all your usual play, pause, and fast-forward style features. It's even got the signature green button in the middle.

But there's one thing that's missing. A huge price tag. It seems like every day a new company is releasing a remote control that's more powerful than your computer, and costs more to boot.

The Keyspan remote might not be as cheap as the universal remote you can pick up for your TV/VCR/DVD player at the local Radio Shack. But at $50, it's a pretty solid looking device. Since it's an RF remote, you can control your media center from up to 90 feet away without a direct line of sight.

Unlike Snapstream Media's similarly priced Firefly RF remote control, which is designed to work with BeyondTV, Keyspan's remote is made for Windows Media Center. That means you won't have to install any software to use it.

[via Business Portal 24]

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Trust RC-2400 remote control for Vista Media Center

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 19th 2007 2:20PM
Trust RC-2400If you've never heard of Trust, you must live a very sad and lonely existence. Oh wait, no. We meant the consumer electronics manufacturer. If you've never heard of them, you're not alone.

But the company's new RC-2400 remote control for Windows Vista Media Center looks sexy enough that we're willing to overlook the company's obscure name and drool at the pretty picture in all its retro style goodness.

The RC-2400 is a 49 button remote with the big ole "green button" we've come to know and love in the middle. The RF remote control comes with a little USB RF dongle. And the RC-2400 is Microsoft certified and should work with your Windows Vista machine, no drivers required.

The remote should be available this month, although there's no word on pricing.

[via FloppyHead]

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Gyration launches new motion-sensing remote control

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 14th 2007 8:00AM
Gyration Ultra R4000Motion-sensing remote control makers Gyration are at it again, this time with the Gyration ULTRA R4000. Like Gyration's existing line of products, you can use the remote as a standard controller for your media center, or you can use it like a mouse to control an on-screen cursor by waving your hand.

The ULTRA R4000 also includes a view screen that presents information about your music playlists without even turning your television on. Of course, this is only useful if you've got a set of speakers hooked up to your media center independent from your television set.

It supports RF and IR, meaning you can control your PC without a direct line of sight. You can also use the ULTRA R4000 as a universal remote, replacing TV, cable, and other A/V remotes.

The remote should be available in the fall of 2007. No word on pricing yet.

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Watching Joost on your TV with a remote control

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 6th 2007 1:07PM
Now that Joost is actually signing deals to get content you might actually want to watch from CBS, MTV, Comedy Central and other networks, you might be wondering how to watch the computer-based internet television platform on your television set.

While Joost really does make watching online videos a bit more like watching TV and a bit less like surfing the web, you still pretty much need to use a keyboard to navigate. And that means even if you run a line from the video-out port on your computer or graphics card to your TV, it's no easy feat to watch Joost on the big screen.

Luckily, you can map the keyboard shortcuts to most PC remote controls. And you can even add an icon to your Windows Media Center Program Library that will start and stop Joost. Here are a few tips:

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