The tools your cable company gives you to locate shows–a plasticky remote and an endless on-screen grid–have barely changed since the 1980s. Griffin’s Beacon brings the process into the 21st century by letting you use an iPhone, iPod or Android phone as a net-connected touch-screen universal remote for your TV, set-top box, DVR and other living-room gear. Much of the magic is in the powerful and approachable iOS and Android apps, from a company called Dijit. It’s never been easier to find programs you actually want to watch lurking among all those shows about pawnbrokers and cake bakers.
Price: $69.99 at Griffin Technology