If you’re not too, too young you must remember the futuristic movie with Tom Cruise,”Minority Report”. The futuristic cop played by Cruise stood in front of a huge transparent screen and waved his hands around to somehow control the images, sliding them on and off the screen while he looked intently for the evidence he was after.
That future is basically not too far away now, in fact the TV Remote Future is here. The screens can be that huge and they can be transparent but are not readily available yet, unless you have as much money as Tom Cruise. There are a whole gaggle of companies coming out with gesture recognition technology that will be close however. The screens aren’t transparent but they are pretty darn thin. The screen isn’t the fun though. The fun is making these Godlike gestures to watch what you want. You’re like Merlin the magician. It will not only be a whole lot of fun but just imagine the looks on your friends face when they come over to watch your God like gestures..
The leader in this new technology so far seems to be Samsung’s Smart Interaction. It’s currently available in the ES7500 and the ES8000 LCD TV’s and E8999 Series Plasmas. Samsung used a built in microphone and video camera which recognizes both hand and voice commands. It comes with a conventional remote but you can basically slip it in the drawer to use when your grandparents come over so as not to scare them to death. But wait there’s more, the TV’s also have face recognition so you can create individual user profiles. That’s right your TV will recognize you and only you if your register. It will certainly give you a kind of God like feeling.
LG has come out with a wand type gesture based TV remote with it’s new Magic Motion remote control line. They work similarly to a Nintendo Wii game controller where you wave it a certain way for certain controls. All you have to do is point the wand at the TV to move a cursor through the on screen menus. You then just click and scroll the wheel to make your favorite selection. You can even use the wheel to scroll through the channels and browse, just like the mouse on a computer.
Panasonic threw itself into the ring packing a small, egg shaped second remote with a huge circular touch pad in the center to control all of their new VT50 plasma TV’s. You can use your thumb to control a mouse-like cursor and navigate through the menus. You can even enter text using an onscreen virtual keyboard. All you have to do to make a selection is tap the screen or click the left arrow key at the top of the remote.
Now that we have you dreaming about the future all day and how wonderful that future must be we are going to step back a bit to burst your bubble. Most of this stuff is cutting edge technology and like all new technology it will take some real time to iron out the bugs. Just ask Henry Ford, oh yea he’s dead but we’re always coming out with new ideas for the car. Well I hope you get what I mean. Most of you will be frustrated trying out these new controls at home. At least the guys in the test labs were. It will take a while to acclimate yourself to talking to a TV. Even programming the thing and getting it used to your voice is best to be done when no one is watching, because you will look and sound like an idiot. Once you start waving your hands around at the screen you will definitely look like one. Especially when things don’t work exactly right every time. Frankly it’s more fun just telling people about your remote then actually demonstrating it. Save them for a time when you’re just all alone and nobody’s around to make fun of you.