Senior-Friendly Television Remotes

It seems like most television remote controls today come with about 600 buttons and are painfully confusing to operate. If you’re in the market for a simple remote that’s easy to see, simple to use and durable, you’re in luck. There are a variety of options on the market today that can meet almost any need.

The first place to start looking for a big and simple remote control is Hy-Tek (www.bigbuttonremotes.com; 630-466-7664), a manufacturing company located in Sugar Grove, Illinois that makes three of the top selling products around. Depending on your specific wants and needs, here’s what they offer:

Tek Partner: At 5 ˝” wide and 8 ˝” long, this super-sized universal remote is ideal for seniors with low vision. It has huge brightly lit buttons with big readable characters, and a narrow center design which makes it easy to handle for a big remote. But the great thing about the Tek Partner is its simplicity. It contains only the essential functions making it easy to program and simple use, and it operates any combination of TV‘s, VCR’s, DVD players, cable boxes, satellite dishes and many digital converter boxes. Priced at $40, this remote is also very durable and it even glows in the dark to make it easy to find.

Tek Big Button: This rectangular shaped universal remote (2 ˝” X 9 ˝”) is the “little brother” version of Tek Partner, but still has the same large and illuminating buttons, and offers the exact same features. But because of it’s slightly smaller size, the Big Button may be a little easier to handle for some people and it’s less expensive, costing $25.

Tek Pal: The newest member of the Hy-Tek family, the Tek Pal ($15) is the most basic, simple remote you can get. This palm sized remote comes with six large buttons (Power button, Mute button, Channel Up and Down buttons, and Volume Up and Down buttons) that light up when pushed. The Pal however will only work with televisions that have cable wired directly into the TV. It will not operate cable, satellite or converter boxes, and does not control DVD players or VCRs.

Other Options

If the Hy-Tek remotes don’t do it for you, here are some other senior-friendly remote controls you should check out.

Weemote SR: This is a uniquely designed, egg shaped remote that offers only ninebuttons that can be programmed to your favorite channels. Available at www.weemote.com (or 305-253-8387) for $25, this simple remote works with TV’s, digital cable, DirecTV, satellite dishes and digital converter boxes, TiVo, ReplayTV and Ultimate TV. But it won’t operate your VCRor DVD player.

Jumbo Universal Remote: This is a huge (5” X 11”) rectangular shaped remote control that operates a TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite dish, cable box, and an auxiliary audio-visual device. The problem with this remote is that it’s so big it’s difficult to handle, but at the same time it’s easy to see and impossible to misplace. To learn more visit www.jumboremotecontrol.com. Brookstone also sells a similar version called the “Super-Sized TV Remote” for only $10 at www.brookstone.com or 866-576-7337.

Slicker Clicker: This simplified remote has only one button and two knobs like the old fashion TV sets from the 60s and 70s. Press the button to turn the TV on and off, then turn one knob to change the channel, and the other one to change the volume. The Slicker Clicker (www.kiscompany.com; 877-300-2040) operates TV’s, cable boxes and digital conversion boxes, but not satellite dishes, VCR’s or DVD players. Price: $60

Sony EZ-TV & Cable Remote: This is a basic, simple remote (2 ˝” X 5 ˝”) that operates TVs with cable or satellite connections. It has large white buttons with bold black numbers as well as clearly marked channel and volume controls. Price: $13, www.independentliving.com, 800-537-2118
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