Robert Adler, the man who in 1997 gained an Emmy for his contribution to the invention of the television remote, has passed away. In his 93 years he claimed over 180 patents (the most recent of which was filed on February 1), but his greatest achievement was to invent the first practical wireless television remote control. Way back in the mid-50s when he was working for Zenith Electronics Corp., Adler produced a remote control that communicated with a tuner using four prongs that produced ultrasonic sounds. Unlike earlier solutions -- like Eugene Polley's "Flashmatic" remote -- Robert's remote wasn't prone to interference, didn't require a wire, and, unlike current remotes, didn't require a power source. The original name of the first effective wireless TV remote? The Zenith Space Command remote control. As a tribute to Mr. Adler, we'll be calling our zappers this name for the next few days: we hope you'll join us in yelling "where's the Zenith Space Command remote control?" the next time you lose the little bugger. Rest in peace Robert.

HDTV Listings for February 17, 2007