Putting New Pizzazz in Remotes

Even the most inexpensive TV's come with remote controls these days.  So do VCR's and tuners, and amps, and D-V-D players...and before you know it, you're swamped with remotes. 
The solution is called the universal remote.  They've been on the market for a while, but now the next-generation universal remote is gaining popularity, and it does everything but butter your toast.

Round up all the remote controls from your home, and you might end up with a pile that looks something like a pile of rejected old cell-phones.  Even so-called inexpensive "Universal Remotes" are not that handy.
"The problem with a unit like this is you can program it to say, run the VCR, but then you put it down, and the next person who picks it up, doesn't know what it's set to," says Jeff Smith of Sound Designs in Cape Girardeau.
So for true Remote-control collectors, a whole family of new-generation gizmos is hitting the market  -- promising even more remote-control paradise.
"...this one has a little joystick-type cursor, if you're dialing in a satellite or VCR, you just go bump bump bump, and press to select.  I've been selling these like crazy, and they're about $200," says Smith.
There are even new touch-screen remotes that resemble, and use much the same technology as your everyday hand-held computer.
I know what you're thinking -- that this is a lot of money to spend on a remote control.  A spectrum of cost here from $200 to almost a thousand.  But think of what you've already spent on your home theatre system.  Do you really want to skimp on the remote control, or have to get up from your couch and go up to the TV, or just push a button from the comfort of your couch?
"You spent 10-thousand or 25-thousand on a home theatre system, and if it's cumbersom to use, then you feel like I bought a pool, and I don't even want to swim in it," adds Smith.
And for the ultimate techno-lover in your home, either one of a number of higher-priced models can be personalized with icons, labels, and commands you design on your computer, then download into your remote.

Are we turning into a nation of couch potatoes or what?  Smith says you can even tune some of those remote controls so that it can open your garage door.