An executive with the nation's largest TV remote manufacturer that recently inked a six-year deal with cable giant Comcast Corp. says that touchscreen remotes like those on iPhones could be on the horizon.

"It's not just a clicker anymore," Lou Hughes, an executive vice president at TV remote manufacturer and developer Universal Electronics Inc., said in an interview.

Hughes also noted that the new deal with Comcast extends beyond just TV remotes. Last summer, the California-based  Universal Electronics acquired Ecolink Intelligent Technology Inc., also of California, that develops wireless security and automation product for homes.

Comcast has been expanding into the home security and automation through its "Internet of things" business.

According to ABI Research, the global sensor and device market for home security and automation is expected to grow to $4 billion in 2019 from $1.4 billion in 2015."You can see where Comcast is going with their Xfinity Home products," Hughes said.

Earlier this month, Universal Electronics disclosed in a regulatory filing that Comcast has acquired the rights to acquire 725,000 shares in Universal Electronics at $54.55 a share at certain conditions. Comcast can exercise the agreement if it purchases $1 billion in products from Universal Electronics over the next six years.
Comcast has been buying TV remotes from Universal Electronics for at least 20 years and the deal takes their relationship "to a new level," Hughes said.

Hughes said that Universal Electronics supplies about 75 percent of the subscription-TV business with remotes that are designed in California and manufactured in China, Mexico and Brazil.