Remote Controls for Television
Early in the 1950s it was apparent that no one really liked to get up and down out of the easy chair over and over each evening to change channels on the TV set! Any baby boomer will remember those early days when Mom and Dad had us 'kids' change channels for them. There had to be a better solution.
One example of an early remote was a small hand-held unit for a 1948 Garod TV set (model 10TZ20), which was called a "Telezoom", it only enlarged the picture with the press of a button, and did not change channels, or anything else, for that matter. All of the early remotes were wired to the TV set, usually with a 20 foot long cable (wire).
Zenith quickly established itself as the leader in the design and development of the TV remote control. A 1950 magazine advertisement (shown below) announced proudly that to have "..Complete automatic program selection in the palm of your hand.... from anywhere in the room..... [was].... Another Zenith First!"
The early remote controls for television went into production in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They tended to be very simple devices capable of changing channels and not much more. The more advanced controls could also adjut volume and turn the television off. Not many were capable of turning the television on again because the power to drive the remote control receiver was also turned off with the rest of the television.
At that time, the majority of remote controls used ultra-sonic signals - sound at around 38KHz. It was a relatively slow and unreliable communication medium and infra-red based remotes were introduced fairly quickly.
Over the last thirty years or so, infra-red has replaced ultra-sonic completely and functionality has increased steadily. Modern televisions often use the remote as the only method to tune and set up the television. The hundred or more functions seen on a modern remote is a far cry from the three or four function remotes of the 70s and 80s.
*** Sorry, but I knew someone who had a 1973 Panasonic 26" console TV with an IR (infra-red) remote.
It was wireless and activated/turned the mechanical tuner/dial.
The dial turned and snapped into each channel position (2-13) with a decided click.
That was at the early part of the Japanese/Asian product invasion into the American market, back when we still had factories with American workers and built everything we needed here in our own country. That was before the free-trade globalists sold out America with nafta gatt and the wto and sent all manufacturing overseas.