Are TV remote controls over complicated?

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I don’t think I am alone in thinking that remote control handsets are overly complicated, and in many cases you need to use at least two to programme your TV, Digital Set Top Box, Sky and DVD players.  There are so many buttons, some of which are multi-functional,  and if you don’t happen to have a pair of reading glasses to hand, can be incredibly confusing to decipher.  Whilst I accept that advances in technology are usually of long term benefit, the simple operation of a television for some people, including my own mother who has dementia, can be beyond their reach.

With over 43% of our population aged over 50, which is set to increase in the next 10 years to 50%, is now the time to ask TV manufacturers to give us the option, to have a simple remote control, for those who want less functionality from their TV for example, just to watch a few channels with a choice of volume, and something more advanced for the rest of the population.  From my own experience of trying to assist parents, in-laws and aunts, and even my own husband, TV operation should not be as daunting as it sometimes appears to be!  It may not just be age related either … I know when my teenagers have gone babysitting, TV operation in someone else’s home is not necessarily a universal procedure.

Maybe we should start a petition to have an alternative controller …  What do you think??


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Sally Lock

I have been writing blogs and features for some years, specialising in recipes and all things related to food. Previously, I wrote for an environmentally friendly garden website, and have been a recipe advisor for Womans Journal. Mother of three and the ultimate multi-tasker, I am also the Creative Director for Silversurfers and manage all our social media too.

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16th Oct 2012
Thanks for voting!
I'm glad this has come up as it has long seemed to me that TV remotes are perfect examples of poor IT design. Pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum from the iPhone. The problem is a common one in technology where "functionality" (horrid word) takes precedence over ease of use. Result - the remote can do an amazing range of things, but only if you have a cognate degree and months of dedicated practice.

Logitech is one company that purports to make remotes that "learn" how to operate all your different bits of kit but they haven't made that much impact.

What is needed is either a common industry standard to be agreed (try herding cats) or some manufacturer like Apple to come along and blow everyone else out of the water. That could happen, but I would have been more confident if Steve Jobs were still alive.
Heather Woods
8th Oct 2012
Thanks for voting!
agree with the above! however, having now reached 60 and consequently adjusting to more time 'home alone', I am just being to get curious about/trying to relearn all the quirks of multiple remotes, couldnt agree more about simplification.
wondering if a 'one button' on-screen display saying 'what would you like to do?' (and offering suggestions such as 'watch tv', 'watch sky progamme', play dvd' etc) would be helpful?
3rd Oct 2012
Thanks for voting!
Thinking of ditching my Virgin tv now freeview has now arrived at last so will only need one remote.
Anyone want a dozen for dvd/VCRS/ old TVs etc?

Dash, new smartphone only has one button, not good when your eyesight is bad or you have fat fingers. Time for all voice control for everything I think.
16th Sep 2012
Thanks for voting!
Can I borrow some masking tape please!
16th Sep 2012
Thanks for voting!
It's such a great idea! I am thinking of doing it at home!
7th Sep 2012
Thanks for voting!
I totally agree, tv technology doesn't seem to be keeping up with computers, can't wait till I can control the tv with my I pad, or can I?

Often the programme is halfway tthrough before I have fathomed out how to switch on the sky, tv and sound, what a palava. Can anyone recommend a one touch system?
16th Sep 2012
Thanks for voting!

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