Later this summer, Vizio will launch an 8-inch tablet that will come with an IR blaster. According to the company, that device will support 95-percent of the consumer electronic devices currently available in the U.S.
I’m sure there are many out there that are excited by Vizio’s news. Those folks like the idea of being able to use a single device to surf the Web, check their e-mail, play with applications, and control their televisions.
But I can’t agree with them. I can’t stand the idea of using a smartphone or tablet as a remote. And the idea that the Vizio tablet will come with remote functionality doesn’t appeal to me in the least.
See, I’ve used portable devices as remotes before. I’ve used my iPhone to control my Apple TV, and I’ve controlled Google TV devices with Android remote controls. And I can say beyond a shadow of doubt that the experience just isn’t for me.
Of course, I realize that there are few out there that might agree with me. Supporters of the technology say that it’s the next logical step for universal remotes, since users will be able to have all the buttons they need on their touch screen, while still having the ability to surf the Web and do other things. It’s like having a Logitech Harmony remote, but better.
However, I don’t necessarily see value in universal remotes, and I don’t necessarily want my smartphone or tablet to do everything for me.
In my experience with universal remotes, I’ve found that they’re useful for a short period of time. I take an hour to set up all the gear in my living room then take another hour to become acclimated to the experience. After seeing the limitations on the universal remote and the odd quirks that annoy me, I inevitably switch back to my multi-remote setup.
Yes, I’m the guy that has 5 remotes and uses all of them to switch from one piece of content to another.
And while I’m sure there are some that scoff at that, I find it more appealing. I don’t need to deal with a touch screen and I’m not forced to keep mashing buttons to get to the desired remote. I simply need to pick up the remote that comes with a respective device, hit a few buttons, and I’m all set.
So, I’m afraid I won’t be one of the folks buying Vizio’s upcoming tablet for its remote functionality. Though I can see why some who already use universal remotes might like the idea of using it, I don’t. To me, using a smartphone or tablet for remote control isn’t worth my time. I’d rather stick with my multi-remote setup and be done with it.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think I’m getting the best experience by doing that.