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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The ChannelScan Remote Control

Sometime in the mid-1970s, somebody had a great idea.


You see, while the very first TV remote controls came out in the early 1950s, they were seen mostly on the most expensive and highest end models.

The Zenith "Lazy Bones" Remote Control (1950)
And went wireless by 1956.

The worst thing about photocell remotes is when the sun reflected across the TV screen, the channel would suddenly change too.

They were featured throughout the 1960s, but it wasn't until addition of volume and finer tuning controls in the 1970s that they became a mandatory item to have.

And it was probably soul crushing to watch your neighbour brag about his/her new TV with a remote control while you're still getting up every half hour to walk seven feet or so to change the channel.

But even if they could afford a Zenith Space Command console with the full featured remote, they often also had to put up with a remoteless cable box like this every month too. Which seriously negated any real benefit from remote control TVs until full cable frequency tuning remote TVs came out in the '80s.
But thanks to our never ending source of modern miracles, the As Seen On TV commercial, now you can turn that clicky-chunky channel knob into a sleek remote control.

This beast operated by attaching onto the VHF channel selector knob, using an AC powered motor to physically tune the VHF channel knob. It also controlled power, but it did not tune the UHF selector knob, fine tune or control volume or picture adjustments. There was no on-screen menu. The remote used a switch button to move the selector up and around the VHF TV dial and to power off.

But unfortunately, it had one 25 foot drawback, it wasn't wireless. This presented countless hazard problems with the elderly, running kids and pets in the living room and accidents happened. Painful ones. (Zenith went to wireless for a reason, I guess.)

I remember seeing the TV commercials for this thing. I'm not sure how long this was available, but I imagine it was pretty much DOA.

Also see: Controla-Tone (1955)

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