The Lektropacks AV Guide
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History of the Remote Control

Can you imagine today have a remote control that was actually connected to the TV set via a cable that would activate a motor to rotate the tuner inside the set. This was in fact the first remote developed in 1952 by Zenith, which they called “Lazy Bones”

Then in 1955 came the Flash-o-Matic; this lived up to its name – it shone a flashlight at light sensitive cells built into each corner of the TV set. However, as they turned the TV on and off, changed the channel and controlled the volume, people forgot which corner of the TV controlled which part plus sunrays would also randomly change the channels and effect the operation.

Then followed the “Space Command” in 1957, again developed by Zenith, which was a wireless remote control using ultrasonic waves. This too had its problems within the domestic home as clinking metal such as “dog tags” could effect the TV and also the high frequencies used would also cause some dogs to bark.

The original Space Commander was expensive because an elaborate receiver using six extra vacuum tubes was needed inside the TV set, in order to pick-up and process the signals.

In the early 1960’s transistors began to replace vacuum tubes and hand-held, battery powered units were then designed to generate the inaudible sound electronically.

Dr Adler’s ultrasonic remote control invention, in its modified form, lasted through the early eighties.

In the early eighties, the industry moved to infrared, or IR, remote technology. On the Infrared Control each button has its own command, which is sent to the TV in a series of signals. Originally these remotes were dedicated to one TV.

Also see Infra-Red Remote Controls.