A recent post on the website Read Write Web discusses the remote control, and how the author feels it needs to "die." Over the course of the article, there are points made with regards to the current implementations of remote controls and their pitfalls, including:
- Rather than evolve with televisions, remotes just got bulkier
- Navigating endless amount of channels is cumbersome due excessive button pressing
One suggestion for making this better? Touchscreen devices and voice controls. The idea is that swiping and voice commands can allow for users to more easily get through the cumbersome menus that accompany most TVs. Additionally, these would allow for users to more easily search for shows or enter their email address for services, since a smartphone or tablet there would have a full keyboard available.
While I agree that remote controls need an overhaul, they're not at fault here. The author points out to issues with cable providers' EPGs (electronic program guide) for all his frustrations, while simultaneously praising something like the Xbox One; admittedly I have not used an Xbox One yet, but if the dashboard is anything like the 360 I wouldn't call it simple.
The issue does not lie in the remote control; it lies in the cumbersome and terribly dated software that cable company providers are delivering to our set-top boxes. Switching to a new way of interacting via smartphone or voice commands wont solve the issue of navigating STBs.
Additionally, blaming the need to enter email addresses on remotes is not entirely correct, the blame should go to the service provider. HBO GO and MLB.tv are two services I can think of that allow activation via codes, meanwhile I've lost count of the ones who haven't implemented this in their activation process.
Remotes do need a change, but before we can begin to build better and smarter remote interactions we need to address the real issues at hand: complex EPGs, cumbersome registration processes and the overall complexity of media players.