Hardware devices like TVs, music players, Radios etc. have played important role in our lives to fulfill needs of entertainment, news & information for a long time and still continue to do so. You control these devices through hardware control systems. There are knobs or buttons for audio volume control, channel change control, video color management, video brightness control etc. on these devices.
Now these same devices can be controlled using software. Most people use software devices like Real Player, Win Amp and other multimedia player devices which control video & audio hardware devices on user’s computers. Now you can even control your refrigerator, Air conditioners, heating systems, TVs etc. using remote control software devices using internet etc.
What is the difference between a hardware control & a software control for these devices? Why software control devices are better than hardware control devices? Let us discuss these topics in detail.
Hardware control devices are mostly directly connected with the hardware device itself. Hardware control units can at best be mounted on a remote control device. In te first case, operating the control devices is inconvenient. For example if you want to change channel of a TV set then you will have to get up from your sofa, go to the TV set and change the channel from the control unit of the TV set. Each time you need to change a channel, you have to do this exercise. When remote controls were invented, they helped in solving this problem. The conventional remote control is still a hardware device connected to the TV through infra red signals.
Software control systems not only can do the things which a hardware control system can do but they can do a lot more things. One advantage of software control system is that they can be invoked when needed and shut down completely when not needed. For example, the control panel of Win Amp comes up on your computer screen when you start it. When you no longer need it then you close the control panel. When Win Amp is shut down then it does not use any space on your window screen. It also stops using your computer memory. Can you imagine your radio (the physical radio in your car) disappearing completely when it is shut down?
One other advantage of software control units is that you can customize the appearance and usage by choosing appropriate options. For example you can invoke advance sound mixing buttons on your Win Amp just by choosing right options. These options will come on your screen and you can use them. In case of hardware control units this is not possible.
The best advantage of software control units is that now it is possible to control your gadgets remotely using internet. So even if you are at your office. you can switch on your air conditioner at home. This kind of functionality is now coming to most devices we use today in our every day lives.