TV interface

Is this really the best we can do?

Isn’t it quite absurd that we haven’t nail this yet?

We recently heard about all the great advances in terms of image quality, 4K, bending screens… Yet controlling a TV feels clunky and awkward.

Even worse, given the never ending increase in devices connected to the TV (DVDs, Blu Rays, AppleTVs, consoles…) the usage of different remote controls is painful, unless a Universal Remote is used. But even in that case, the process itself of selecting the activity is weird, for very common operations.

For example, if you want to play a movie on an AppleTV (or DVD player, or TiVO, etc), you may have to turn it on, then (using the remote), turn on the TV, select the input (which may involve cycle through a lot of unused inputs, like Composite), adjust the volume, and then get the AppleTV controller.

If at any point we need to adjust the volume, we’ll need to get again the TV remote.

All this is very weird and not the best user experience…

So, just for the sake of discussion, let’s say a couple of ideas for what I think could be a TV with a much better interface:

– Everything is a channel. Why HDMI is “an input” but TV channels are numbered? Allowing to select HDMI input as channel 3 allow easy access to it, and simplifies the interface.

If there is no input (e.g. the DVD is off), the channel will be skipped for channel surfing purposes, unless the user specifically request the channel number.

A good remote. I don’t think that there’s any excuse for not being Universal and Programable Remote. The included TV Remote should aim to control more things than just the TV. It should have as few buttons as possible, more on that later. And, another important feature, it should be possible to make it beep if lost (e.g. clicking a button on the TV)

Programmable channels. When a channel is on selected, all the settings (mainly image controls, but may also include a volume adjustment) will change accordingly. The remote will also know that the controls are now related to this channel. For example, if the DVD channel is selected, most of the keys are related to the DVD remote (except volume keys); if the AppleTV channel is selected, the keys refer to the AppleTV controls.

A list of channels (ideally showing their current input) that allows easy rearrangement and enabling disabling them will be great to navigate and give an overview.

An interesting (and useful) design, a two-sided remote on the Chromebox. Obviously, not from a TV manufacturer

A companion app that allows to configure all the parameters easily on a PC or mobile app.

I understand that the complexities of the different devices in the living room is complex, and that there are problems that can be impossible to fix (for example, having an HDMI router may still present problems given that more than one “channel” will be coming from the same “input”)

But I find quite ridiculous that we are still dealing with such terrible interfaces in TVs these days…

Mis cachivaches para trabajar

Siempre hay un cierto interés por conocer el equipo y programas que otros desarrolladores usan para trabajar. Ya que uso ciertas cosas “raras” (al menos poco frecuentes) y tras escuchar el último podcast de “El amuleto de Yendor”, que comentaban algunos de estos temas (especialmente teclados).

Como introducción, me dedico principalmente a programar en Python, así que el entorno está adaptado a eso. Como este post está quedado muy largo, empiezo con el hardware (ordenador, trackball, configuración de teclado y teclados) y continuaremos en otro post con el software.


Desde hace un par de años uso, tanto en el trabajo como en casa, ordenadores Mac.

Mira que es bonito el puñetero

Tengo un iMac de 27” que funciona muy bien. Me encanta la pantalla, tiene una resolución fantástica y, la primera vez que lo utilicé, me impresionaba lo grande que era.

Antes de eso utilizaba Ubuntu. Desde hace tres años no utilizo Windows y no tengo ganas de volver, la verdad. Tuve una muy mala experiencia (instalando un Service Pack me borró TODO el disco duro) y, para el tipo de cosas que lo uso, no lo echo de menos. NO, no echo de menos los juegos. No tengo consola y soy de  jugar juegos tipo Flash o en el iPad. A pesar de trabajar en la industria del videojuego, no soy un gran “jugón”.

Me gusta el hecho de que sean máquinas Unix, de manera que puedo programar con relativa facilidad software que luego correrá en servidores Linux y poder utilizar software libre del entorno. Utilizo Mac Ports para instalar muchas herramientas de código abierto, aunque tiene sus problemas. En mi caso utilizo mucho la línea de comandos para programar, pero el interfaz es muy bonito para las tareas fuera de eso.

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