Have you ever thought it unwieldy to have both a remote control on your table and a loudspeaker on your TV? No? Well, Sony has decided to combine them anyway.
In one of the weirder audiovisual two-in-one products, Sony has come up with a portable speaker that also works as a (very bulky) remote control. The speaker can work either as well as or instead of the speakers on your TV itself.
The main use of the speaker seems to be for situations where you are away from the screen but still want to hear the audio, such as when cooking or putting kids to bed. The speaker connects via a 2.4GHz wireless signal, so you should get a decent range.
As a secondary use, Sony suggests it could be handy for people who struggle to hear the TV in a noisy room. As well as manual volume control, the speaker has two automated settings: one which adjust the volume based on ambient sound (ie screaming kids interrupting Thanksgiving viewing) and another which isolates and boosts speech so you can at least try to make sense of Colin Farrell in True Detective.
Perhaps because the speaker may appeal to elderly users with hearing difficulties, the remote control element features oversized buttons for those who hate fiddling with modern remotes.
While the device could be useful for some viewers, it does have a couple of major drawbacks. Firstly, it has a battery life of just 16 hours and will then need a three-hour recharge. Secondly, it’s initially going on sale in Japan only for the equivalent of US$170.