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Do high-tech remotes make watching TV easier?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Remember when you had to actually get up to change the TV channel? Things have come a long way. The latest remotes go far beyond the push of a button. Consumer Reports wanted to see if they actually make watching TV any easier.

Remote controls that work differently with far fewer buttons are coming with smart TVs. You use one from LG like a wand. It moves a cursor on the screen to navigate the menu. But it's not perfect.

Christopher Andrade with Consumer Reports said, "This TV remote does make it harder to navigate the usual TV menu, and also to do normal functions like change the input from your cable box to the antenna."

It also has voice recognition. That's fine for searching the web, but not for regular TV viewing. A Panasonic TV comes with a traditional remote and one that performs basic tasks like volume and channel changing, and a touchpad for smart TV functions like searching the web.

"While the second remote looks cool, like most remotes that come with the TVs, it's not universal, so you can't control your cable or satellite box," Andrade said.

Samsung also has a set that comes with a conventional and a touchpad remote. But it can be used as a universal remote. Plus, the Samsung set has gesture and voice controls. But Consumer Reports finds they make some things more difficult, like turning up the volume.

So do the newest TV remotes really make watching television easier?

Jim Willcox with Consumer Reports explained, "They're really designed to help you navigate apps, do searches, and surf the web. And from what we've seen, they do it pretty well."

But if you're just trying to catch the latest episode of Castle, you're better off with your regular old remote.

More televisions are coming with internet capability, and that's where these touchpad remotes shine. Consumer Reports says that while these remotes have some kinks to work out, you can expect to see a lot more of them in the future.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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