Fighting Over the Phone

If you can’t agree with your housemates about what to watch, a deathgrip on the remote control may no longer be a winning strategy. Verizon has announced that FiOS customers who have a Motorola Droid or HTC Imagio cell phone can download an app that lets them control their FiOS television set top box using the phone. In addition to channel selection, you can pause, rewind, and fast forward, and even send photos from the phone to appear on the TV. Oh, and if the phone rings while you’re watching TV, the volume will automatically mute while you take the call.

This is a clever and excellent idea, in my opinion. The average smart phone has more computing power than my desktop computer did 10 years ago, so it certainly is smart enough to handle the tasks of your average remote control without even breaking a sweat. Why go out and spend a lot of money on a universal programmable remote when you’ve already spent plenty on your phone. I’m a big fan of consolidating functions into fewer devices. If you’re going to carry your phone everywhere, why not let it do more than just make and receive calls (and take photos and movies, and browse the Web, and locate your position with GPS, and play games, and maintain your schedule and all your contacts, and and and and)? Surely, controlling your TV with it makes sense. I hope that companies will find more ways to let a single device do the work of a basketful of other gadgets.