Change the channel? Pass me the cushion

Hunting for the remotes in our house is never an easy task – we lose the tiny remote for the DVD player more times than Andy Murray has lost at Wimbledon and end up having to sit in front of the telly pressing the buttons to fire up a film.


It looks like those days might be behind us thanks to the lovely folk from Red5, who sent me a Cushion Remote Control to try out. No, don’t be silly, of course it doesn’t control your soft furnishings – it’s an actual cushion that can be set up to control up to six devices – so TV, DVD, satellite or cable, Hi-Fi and so on.

The good news is that it’s soft and strokable and comes in a brown colour that should fit into most decors without looking too out of place. It’s also far too big to slip under the couch or down the side of the chair cushion, so I’m hoping (and all looks good so far) that our days of hunting for the remote might be in the past.

Setting it up can be easy. The cushion comes with some reasonably simple instructions, and a rather alarming looking book of codes that relate to all the makes of electrical device you can think of. When I went to set up the Toshiba DVD, I was worried as there were about four lines of codes – happily, I only had to try the first one and it worked. Same for the JVC TV – quite impressive as none of our electrical equipment is very new (in fact most of it is pretty old!).

However, getting our Sky box synced to the new remote control proved far more problematical. I tried the Sky UK code from the book. No good. I tried using the automatic search facility – that didn’t work either. In the end I had to resort to contacting the PR people to help me out. Eventually it was concluded that the remote is not compatible with Sky + HD boxes (which is a shame because Sky tells me that they have been issuing these as standard for the past five years or so), so unless you have the older, standard Sky box, you won’t be using the Remote Cushion to switch satellite channels.

My first thought when I saw the press release was ‘what a gimmick’. But in actual fact, it’s a great idea (although don’t squeeze it too hard when you’re hiding behind it watching Dr Who or you might change channels just at a crucial point). There is no way we will manage to mislay a whole cushion so I may well have gained many hours of my life back from the soul-destroying task of playing hunt the remote – although the lack of compatibility with Sky + HD boxes will be a deal breaker for many.

The Remote Control Pillow costs £19.95 from Red5 (which offers free delivery).