By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, over 33 million remote controls are laid to rest each year in the U.S. marketplace.
Surprisingly, millions of them didn't really need to be replaced. Consumers incorrectly thought their remotes were broken when they really weren't.
So said Charlie Waters, technical director at MrRemoteControls.com, a company selling original replacement remotes online, who explains: “A high percentage of non-working remotes appear to be dead but can actually be brought back to life. Of course that is only true if they haven't been thrown at a wall, chewed by the dog or physically damaged in other ways. There is a little known, but very simple, technique people can use to 'reset' their non-working remote to make it work like new,” said Waters.
If a remote suddenly stops operating, even after replacing old batteries, follow these easy steps to get it working again, according to MrRemote. Take the batteries out of the remote control. Press and hold every single button down for three seconds, one at a time, until every button has been pressed and released. Do not skip any buttons.
If the remote has slide bars, the slide must be moved to each position, and then the button-press step should be repeated. When finished, put the slide bar in the correct position to operate the desired unit (for example TV), and put new batteries in and try the remote.
“When customers call us and say their remote has stopped working, we ask them to try this process before ordering a new remote,” said Waters. “Over 20 percent get positive results and are delighted when their unit seems to have magically been repaired. The real reason is that the IC chip, known as the brains of electronics, often loses its memory or gets locked up, and this procedure resets it back to factory specifications.”
If the above method doesn't work, there are choices for a replacement. “Most people gravitate toward a universal remote control as a solution. The problem is most universal remotes just can't get the job done — they don't operate key features like full menu or programming functions, which are necessary on most of today's sophisticated electronic equipment,” said Waters.
“In addition, program codes are needed to set up universal remotes. For many people this is as difficult as getting the clock on their VCR to stop blinking. Consumers often end up dissatisfied with universals and are left trying to purchase the exact original remote.”
But finding the original remote for purchase is easier said than done. Retail stores cannot carry original remote controls; there are simply too many of them to keep on the shelves.
And if the remote is purchased from the manufacturer — if you can find them — consumers should be prepared to pay premium dollars for the original. Often these cost from $49 to over $100; plus many older models have been discontinued.
That's where MrRemoteControls.com can be of assistance, said the company. With over 250,000 original new remotes in stock, dating from 1987 to the present, most models can be replaced with the exact remote, and at discounted prices, it noted.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.