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Can We Please Have a Decent Remote

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 8:31 PM on October 18, 2010

I probably have 20 remotes in my possession at this time, with at least four in current use and they all look and work basically the same. A remotes today looks the same as it did 20 years ago . This designed worked fine when all we wanted the remote to do was change channels and adjust volume on the TV or maybe play a DVR. Today however the TV is seen as the place that the consume content, whether that content is on their internal network, being streamed from the Internet or coming from traditional TV sources. This means that the ability to search is key. Anyone who has tried to search using most remotes today will tell you it is one of the most annoying processes there is.

With this in mind you would have thought that Google would have thought long and hard about the design of the remote control that was introduced with their new Google TV. Now I will admit it is different then a traditional remote control, but not in a good way . It was clearly designed by a team of engineers and not a team of designers. It does everything it is suppose to, but looks really ugly. I don’t know many people want to use a keyboard as a remote control, or have that sitting on their coffee table. Yes I do realize that you will be able control the Google TV from both an Android phone and an Iphone and this is a solution for those who have an Iphone or an Android phone, but let’s not assume that everyone is going to have a smart phone in the future. Also using your phone as a remote is not very practical if you have a family. Someone needs to create a better remote for a reasonable price, something under $100.00 would be nice. I would love to see a touch screen remote with an on screen keyboard, one about 7 inches would be perfect. If you can make a remote application for the Iphone or the Android then why can’t someone make a touch screen remote for the Google TV. If that is not practical how about a retractable keyboard, the new TiVo remote has the right idea, but it needs to be a little bigger to avoid cramped fingers

I realize what I am asking for is probably harder then I think, but I don’t think I am asking for too much. The remote control definitely needs to catch up with how people view and find their content. I want something that is not only practical, but is also nice looking. What would be your perfect remote control and do you think I am asking for too much.

4 Comments

  1. From Andrew at 2:01 am on October 19, 2010

    Perhaps the problem is that a remote control as we know it is not the solution.
    When cars and tractors were first invented they steered using controls based on rudders and reins as these were common man-machine interfaces. The standardisation on the steering wheel came along later, although it too was borrowed from ships.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but I suspect that simply making a more complex remote is not it.

  2. From tomwiles at 5:58 am on October 20, 2010

    Apart from expensive after-market remote controls such as Logitech Harmony, I don’t see the standard remote control changing much. They are typically a piece of plastic with buttons and an infrared emitter at the top. The layout and labeling of the buttons seems to be the most critical element when it comes to usability.

    Eventually there might be good add-on apps for the iPad or other tablets for certain devices, however I don’t see basic remote controls changing much.

    Even Apple does a rather mediocre job with remote controls.

  3. From Andrew at 8:39 am on October 21, 2010

    Have you seen the way the Wiimote works? You can actually point the device at the screen.

    What about Kinect and similar? Imagine navigating screens just by moving your hands. Push to the left and you move to the next screen, swipe to the right and you go back.

    I think the days of the remote as we know it are numbered.

    Andrew

  4. From kinectimals at 2:20 am on November 12, 2010

    I’ve to admit, I’ve been a huge Venture Natal/Kinect sceptic ever since it was announced with that sham Milo walkthrough and an awful lot of hyperbole. I have been attempting to maintain an open mind but the various rumours which have circulated about space, lighting and multiplayer points have been a trigger for concern. The advertising determination that Microsoft took to put this within the arms of mainstream journalists and celebrities somewhat than anybody who actually has experience and experience writing about gaming was extremely worrying.