TV Remotes Advance with Trackpads, Voice Input and More at CES 2012

TV Remotes Advance with Trackpads, Voice Input

Last year, LG was the first TV manufacturer to change the way we interact with TVs. Their entire Smart TV line-up was gifted with an additional remote called the Magic Motion wand controller. Taking cue from Nintendo’s Wii console gaming controller, LG’s wand pretty much acted as a pointing stick to navigate their Smart TV platform effectively.

While all major TV brands have already adopted their own Smart TV platforms, it’s only this year where we’re seeing a major shift in remote controller designs to better support the growing Smart platform. Even so, the sad part is that not all remotes across their products are evolving at the same pace, so expect non uniformity in this developing phase as C.E. vendors dabble on various concepts to see which fits best for their products.

Notably from the CES show floor, Panasonic and Sony have come up with new remotes that incorporate a trackpad to easily navigate across the screen without waving your hand like LG’s motion wand controller. Speaking of which, LG also advanced their Magic Remote with a scrollable click wheel and added in a microphone for voice recognition to search web (and TV content), as well us posting to Facebook and Twitter.

The downside about Sony's new controller is that it currently only accompanies their newer Google TV based tellies, their network media player powered by Google TV (NSZ-GS7) and their new Google TV powered Blu-ray player (NSZ-GP9, which additionally supports voice search to browse content provided on their network).

Elsewhere, Samsung is taking another approach to possibly even ditch the remote altogether. Demoed at their booth was a TV that accepts voice input for basic control and navigation. However, it may not always be practical to use voice, so they’ve also added in hand gesture recognition so that your hand becomes a controller of sorts.

Looks like the ‘TV wars’ isn’t only about which vendor introduces the latest TV technology and provide adequate quality content for their Smart TV platform, but also which of them offers the most compelling user experience for the entire ecosystem.

Once these new TVs and gadgets hit retail, stay tuned to HardwareZone as we steadily evaluate them and share our findings.

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