Ok, so this item isn’t directly anything to do with science fiction television but I figured it was important enough to at least mention.
Eugene Polley, the inventor of the TV remote control has died at the age of 96 according to a report on the BBC News website. His 1955 invention was called the Flash-Matic and used light to turn the TV on and off and change channels. Over his 47 year career, Polley was granted 18 patents and was said to be proud of his invention.
The first light controlled device was temperamental at best as other light sources would interfere with its function. However, over the years it was succeeded by a sonic version, and infr-red version and a version that used radio frequency.
Originally seen as a luxury item long before the days of 100′s of TV channels, the TV remote is now ubiquitous and along with sliced bread should be considered one of the greatest inventions ever.