When Push Comes to Touch
It's a little ironic that the term "remote control" has come to identify the device that TV watchers have the most direct, personal contact with. The ability to control from a distance originated with radio-controlled motorboats developed by the German navy during World War I. Imagine how those engineers would react to a modern home theater showing a DVD of Titanic.
A better term might be "central command," to reflect today's broad capability to customize the functions of audio and video systems according to the needs and preferences of the individual customer. And perhaps too often, remotes are a neglected sales opportunity for dealers and installers, who may have fallen into the habit of overlooking how many different people may need to operate the system, and their various degrees of sophistication.
Currently on the market are remote controls combining both infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF) transmission, whether in small hand-held, pushbutton configurations or touchscreen panels with icons and selection menus that can be tailored to every member of the household. There are also hybrid controls, featuring both LCD screens and familiar tactile buttons offering commercial quality, one-hand operation.