Samsung's prototype remote control doubles as a mini TV

The TV Couple prototype is on show at this week's IFA show in Berlin

For TV addicts it could be the ultimate remote control: a 7-inch portable touchscreen that can not only control gadgets in the living room but also check out and what's playing on channels other than the one currently showing on the big screen.

A concept of the product is on show this week at the IFA electronics fair in Berlin, and the double viewing feature is enabled by dual tuners in the main television. One tuner is dedicated to the TV and another is used to tune in channels to be shown on the remote control. An 802.11n WiFi link connects the two devices.

In its most basic mode, one tab displays buttons to control the TV, while a second tab shows a TV guide application. The user can browse information about what's on TV or watch an alternate channel on the remote control. The channel can be displayed full screen if the user wishes, so the device can double as a secondary television.

"The advantage is that if you have a family, your wife [can be] watching one channel, and you can browse on your small device some other channel or zap there without annoying anybody else," said Michael Zöller, a marketing director at Samsung Electronics Europe.

When the user finds a program they want to watch on the big screen, they hold down the channel icon on the remote control and then sweep the icon upwards towards the top of the screen. The channel then changes on the TV.

A third tab on the device can access basic Internet applications.

The concept is still being developed and there's no word on when it might be available.

"We think this might be a very interesting application for the future," said Zöller.

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Martyn Williams

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