If you're looking for a clever way to control a few simple actions on your TV, try converting an Atari 2600 joystick into a remote control.
First, you'll need to purchase a standard miniature remote control and remove its circuit board. Then remove the batteries inside the Atari 2600 joystick. Use a heated soldering gun to remove one of the plastic partitions between the batteries; this will make room for the circuit board of the mini-remote, which will fit snugly into this space. The mini remote and the joystick use the same type of switches, so making it operational is simply a function of replacing the existing wires with the mini remote's wires. You can use the coin battery that came with the mini remote and the existing infrared LED lights to send the signal out of the remote.
After your modifications are complete, you'll be able to activate the TV by inserting two AA batteries and pressing the joystick's "fire" button. In addition, you can press the joystick to the right to turn the volume up and the left to turn the volume down. The "reset" button will mute the TV, and you can move the joystick up and down to change channels. The "audio/video select" button will allow you to toggle between TV and components [source: Hacked Gadgets].