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Apple patents universal remote -- no programming necessary

March 22, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • An image from Apple's patent for a universal remote.
An image from Apple's patent for a universal remote. (Patently Apple )

Are you struggling with a multiremote system at home? Do you wish you could control your television, DVR and DVD player with one single remote that wouldn't be a pain to program? Do you think that remote should be your iPhone?

Then get psyched: On Thursday Patently Apple turned up a patent filed by Apple that shows the company is hard at work designing the remote control of your dreams.

Apple's patent, which the company filed in the third quarter of 2010, would allow you to take a picture of an existing piece of electronic equipment — your television for example, and send it to the iCloud, where Apple would determine the type of device you want to control as well as the make and the model of that device.

Once it identified the device, Apple would obtain the IR codes for the existing remote control, test the IR codes, and then program a universal remote control — providing virtual buttons corresponding to the functionality of the old remote control, presumably on your iPhone or iPad.

All that, and all you had to do was take a picture of your television with your phone. No paging through product manuals, or going online to look up product codes.

Dreamy!

Of course, it is not a reality yet. And using your phone as a remote control comes with its own set of problems. What if you accidentally leave your phone at work, or you lose it, or it gets stolen? Now you can't watch television either?

Also, consider having to swipe your phone open, type in a password, find the remote control app button all just to turn down the volume when a family member needs to ask you a quick question.

Still, the multiremote juggling act most of us engage in each time we want to watch television is completely insane and desperately needs to be addressed.

Whether this particular idea ever comes to the marketplace or not, we're curious to see how companies are broaching the remote control issue.

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Original source: Apple patents universal remote--no programming necessary

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