Meet Joseph Jackson; Black Man Who Invented The TV Remote, The Programmable VCR, DVR, and TIVO

Meet Joseph Jackson; Black Man Who Invented The TV Remote, The Programmable VCR, DVR, and TIVO


His device is widely used at home to improve the viewing experience of television, and while many people may not be familiar with Dr. Joseph N. Jackson, he is a big deal. Prior to the invention of the TV remote, viewers had to manually turn a knob to change channels that required movement. However, viewers can now browse through a wide range of options without feeling overwhelmed.

Jackson created the programmable VCR, DVR, TIVO, and television remote controllers. He came up with the idea in 1976. Jackson is also a co-founder of the Black Inventions Museum, Inc., as well as an inventor, scientist, businessman, and humanitarian.


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Ernest and Octavia Jackson gave birth to Jackson in 1937 in Harvey, “Jefferson Parish,” Louisiana. He is the fourth child in a family of eight. He started working as an oil field tool maintenance helper at the age of 17. He enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 18. He served in the Army from 1956 to 1957, unloading ships in Alaska, and as a Military Policeman from 1958 to 1961.

In 1975, Jackson completed his degree in Business Administration from Columbia College, Columbia, MO. He holds a doctorate in Applied Science and Technology from Glendale University in Santa Fe, NM.

Jackson’s interest in inventions began when he disassembled radios as a child, eager to hear who was speaking. At night, he went to a television repair school. For seven years, he also ran a part-time radio and television repair shop in Fayetteville, North Carolina. That experience inspired him to develop the precursor to the V-Chip, a technology used in the television industry to block out violent and objectionable programs that young children might watch.

The first TV remotes, like the one in this ad, were attached to the set by a long cord.

Aside from the Programmable Television Receiver Controllers, Jackson has at least six issued U.S. patents. Patents in the fields of telecommunications and female fertility prediction devices, as well as several copyrights, trademarks, and pending patents in the fields of aircraft security and tracking systems.

Years ago, the network television industry summoned him to testify before the House of Representatives and several Senators about technical solutions to television violence.

In 1993, he founded Protelcon, Inc. to market and distribute TeleCommander, the first empowerment television accessory designed to give parents control over their children’s viewing content and habits.

His other inventions include the banding machine and a personal fertility predictor.

On October 29, 2009, Dr. Jackson received approval for his Fem-Choice ® program from the Los Angeles Unified School District, student health and human services, and district nursing services.

He currently works as a patent consultant for many potential inventors across the country.







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