Universal remote controls have long been a part of our lives and I for one definitely remember the magic of being able to control the TV and the VCR (just saying VCR feels like it sprays my face with wrinkles) with just the one remote and how cool that was. I even remember one of the rich kids from school having a remote control built into his watch and turning the TV off whilst we were trying to watch a video in science class. The stuff Just William tales are made of I’m sure you’ll agree. But unlike Greece, who invented the phrase resting on one’s laurels and don’t appear to have done much since, remote control manufacturers have been moving with the times.
One For All have released a clever new remote control that introduces gesture-based input to sofa surfing. It’s brilliantly simple in execution (although I’m sure it took some pretty nifty engineering to get going) and has a relatively natural feel to it. I can’t look at a mobile phone screen without instinctively touching it as my primary form of interaction and One For All’s SmartControl motion could quite possibly have a similar effect – after a few days of using it I found myself gesturing with my regular remote controls and looking quite the idiot.
So how do the gestures work? Well the ‘Goodnight’ feature means you can power down all your devices by flipping your device on its front. I can see this going a little awry if you’re careless with your remote control use, but mine mostly just sits on the coffee table untroubled by the world. The SmartControl Motion is pre-programmed with six pre-defined gestures that reduces set-up hassle for the average TV viewer. Want to skip through commercials when watching programmes recorded on Freeview+ or Sky+? Of course you do. Just flick the remote to the right. You can also change channel, skip DVDs backwards, play or pause. There’s even the ability to mute with a simple tap. The gestures were relatively easy for me to learn – but then I’ve spent years of Super Street Fighter II so have been training for this day most of my adult life. However, I’m guessing a normal person would easily be able to remember most of the more common controls and integrate them into their day-to-day TV use.
SmartControl Motion works with all your digital equipment. It will control up to six different devices including HDTV, DVB-T (eg. Freeview), IPTV, Blu-ray, iPod docks, Home Cinema, PS3, Xbox 360 and more, across all brands. It has dedicated keys for media devices such as Blu-ray players, iPod docks and media playback from video game consoles such as PS3 and Xbox 360.
SmartControl Motion doesn’t require any device codes to be input to get A/V equipment set up and programmes in less than three minutes with just three key presses for all the most popular brands, thanks to One For All’s unique SimpleSet technology.
SmartControl Motion is out now at Dixons, Currys and PC World, as well as online at www.amazon.co.uk priced £34.99.