Early Remote Controls Had More to Worry About Than Just Changing Channels

Illustration for article titled Early Remote Controls Had More to Worry About Than Just Changing Channels

You would think the first remote controls would be dead simple to use. What the heck could they do, right? Change three channels? Turns out that a remote from 1961 had much more to worry about then just flipping channels.


The RCA Victor Color TV in this 1961 video had a seven function remote control to adjust tint, color, brightness, volume, fine tuning, channel selection and power. The remote itself wasn't complicated—it's just a oversized rectangular klondike bar lined with rockers—but why did the video explain the fine tuning and calibration control in detail, saying how you can get the picture just the way you want it. Having to fiddle with tint, color, brightness and fine tuning on a regular basis would just drive me nuts.

Of course it's stupid of 2011 ol' me to assume they could've just thrown those controls in a settings menu, but couldn't they have just hidden it inside the cabinet? Were they afraid of messing with the wood design? Anyway, watch the video to remind yourself how good we (or is it, they) have it. [Cynical-C via DVICE]

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Back in the day each TV station would set their own tint and color, so you had to adjust the color every time you changed the channel. When my dad changed the channel it took him a minute or two to get the guys face back to flesh tone from green. In the TV signal today there is a color calibration signal embedded in the vertical blanking interval that takes care of adjusting the color for us.