Your next Google TV remote may never need a battery replacement

‘Light’ years ahead? Safe!


Android TVs and devices like the Chromecast with Google TV use Bluetooth LE remotes so that you can speak commands to your big screen — but the downside is that these use more power than traditional IR remotes or even RF-based controllers like the forsaken Logitech Harmony series , so you end up having to swap out batteries way more frequently than you did in the pre-smart TV days. Thankfully, one company has just made an exciting announcement on this front, tagged with the bold claim that you may never have to charge a remote or change its batteries again.

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Although a lot of brands make TVs with their own proprietary remotes, there are consulting firms that produce reference designs for manufacturers that just want a simple blueprint to follow for the remotes in their Android TVs and Google TV devices. UK-based TW Electronics, which has previously demonstrated smart TV remotes with dedicated buttons for switching user profiles, recently showed off an cool new design (via 9to5Google). This remote uses the same button layout as a standard Google TV remote, but also slots in a photovoltaic panel.

light-powered-TV-remote

Plainly put, photovoltaic panels convert light into electricity — and in this case, it’s evidently enough to keep pace with the battery drain of a Bluetooth LE connection, even in indoor light. TW Electronics is using Exeger’s Powerfoyle line of solar cells in its reference design for the new remote, which could be a contributing factor here. Assuming the batteries aren’t user-replaceable, you best hope this remote isn’t lost where the sun don’t shine. Of course, we mean in the dark depths of your couch.

There’s no specific release timeline for this everlasting Google TV remote – considering it’s just a reference design, we’ll have to wait for a TV manufacturer to include it with a new model. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Google will include one with its mysterious, upcoming new Chromecast — after all, an improved remote was ranked pretty highly on our wishlist for the updated TV dongle.

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