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The TV Remote Control-Could You Live Without It?

Updated on April 19, 2016

.The remote control came to my mind this week when I heard that Eugene Polley had passed away at the age of ninety-six. Mr. Polley was the inventor of the wireless television remote control.

Do we applaud Mr. Polley or not? The tv remote is certainly a convenience. It is wonderful for people that are ill or have mobility problems. For the rest of us, it has gradually helped us in becoming couch potatoes.

I grew up in the world of black and white television viewing. There was only one tv in the house and only three channels to choose from. Television programming usually ended by 11:00 pm everyday.

The remote control in our house was my father. Being the military man that he was, when he walked through the door he was in control of what we watched and no one dared to get up and change the channel.

TV viewing has definitely changed since I was a child. With non-stop 24 hour a day viewing available, you never have to leave your couch as long as you have the TV remote in your hand.

The choice of programming is endless with more channels available that I ever thought possible. The wireless remote has made it easy to flip through channels and find movies, all types of live sporting events, more news than you ever want to hear plus your favorite TV series.

While the TV remote is handy, it can also be a hindrance and cause problems in a family household.

The channel surfer is someone who can sit back on the couch and work that TV remote for thirty minutes without ever watching a program in its entirety. That behavior is sure to wear on your nerves rather quickly.

The TV remote hog is just as bad. They like to keep their hands on the remote while watching TV. It gives them some sort of remote ownership satisfaction. Just attempt to pry the remote from their hands.

Lost Remote-911

How many times has your remote control been lost or misplaced? If you have small children, one of them may have walked away with it. Someone else may have taken it up to their room or you yourself may have just absent mindedly misplaced it.

Whatever the reason, this is a major emergency in some homes. Everyone in the household has to stop what they are doing and look for the remote.

Heaven forbid anyone has to manually operate the television set for themselves. Do they even know how to change a channel without an instruction book?

Screams of "who had it last, when was the last time you saw it and I told you not to touch it" echoes throughout the house.

Remotes have been found in some odd places. Here is a list of where you might find your remote.

  • In the refrigerator
  • Mom's purse
  • The bathroom
  • Dishwasher
  • The dog house
  • Toy box
  • Laundry hamper
  • Trash can
  • Book case
  • Food pantry
  • In a shoe
  • Tool box
  • Bathrobe pocket

Will the tv remote ever be obsolete? Probaby, with voice activation available, we wouldn't even have to push a button to change a channel. I guess couch potatoes will have to invest in bigger couches.

Eugene Polley (AP Photo/LG Electronics)
Eugene Polley (AP Photo/LG Electronics)

A Quote From Mr. Polley

From a 2002 interview, Mr. Polley proudly said "The flush toilet may have been the most civilized invention ever devised, but the remote control is the next most important. It's almost as important as sex."


Are you glad that the tv remote was invented?

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    • JPSO138 profile image


      4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      The remote control is obviously one of the gadgets that we look for when we are in the house. Everyone wants to get hod of it and normally they are sometimes misplaced. Yes, I am glad that the remote is there, however, come to think of it, it would have been advantageous to health if there was no remote.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      5 years ago from North-East UK

      I'd be lost without my remote - I am a couch potato and I really don't care :o) I do other things as well, but I do love my telly remote (though I never get to hold it if hubby is in the same room!)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This is a great thought provoking hub. I find it funny that people will get up and search for the remote... Hello - just go change the channel. But then I realized, is that even possible these days. Can you manually change the channel. At some point, the remote has become essential. We once lost our remote for our bedroom TV and while you could watch TV and change channels, you could not change functions. It was annoying. Glad we finally found the remote!

    • europewalker profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks mattodom, christin53 and Mhatter99 for taking the time to read and comment on this hub. Much appreciated:)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      even when I could watch TV, I was taken with how more proficient a young person was with a remote than I.

    • christin53 profile image


      6 years ago from UK

      I'm from the days of black & white TV. In those days you only had the tv on when you wanted to watch something. It is annoying these days with the tv always on and someone constantly surfing channels. Good interesting hub.

    • mattodom profile image


      6 years ago from New Hampshire!

      today's technology. but AWESOME. thanks for sharing!


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