“Any time is a good time to swap your button-laden remote for one with a touchscreen,” says Pete Baker, vice president of sales and marketing for Remote Technologies Inc. (RTI).
The reason? In a nutshell, greater control over your entertainment experience.
A touchscreen provides a way to display more information about your A/V system. You’ll be able to see a catalog of movies loaded in your media server, peruse the song titles in your iPod and get to a list of your 10 favorite satellite channels. Just touch what you want to watch or listen to, and the remote shoots out a command to the appropriate equipment.
Another benefit, says Baker, is the ability to get more descriptive with commands. On a touchscreen the command can be spelled out in plain English. Play movie and listen to music, to most people, makes more sense than a button with an arrow on it or labeled Aux1.
So should you give up buttons altogether? Not necessarily, says Baker.
“Nothing beats the tactile feel of a button when you’re operating a system in the dark.”
Plus, buttons still offer the quickest, most convenient way to launch common commands like channel up and down and volume up and down.” Baker’s recommendation: a “hybrid” remote, which combines hard buttons with a touchscreen.
Some examples of RTI’s options:
RTI T1-B hardbuttoned remote, $349
RTI T2-B, hybrid with monochrome touchscreen, $499
RTI T2-Cs, hybrid with a color touchscreen, $699
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.