TV remote control is getting harder and harder to use? This is not your illusion

Have you found that the TV remote control in your hand is getting more and more difficult to use?

The buttons are small and easy to press wrong; the remote control is thin and small, not ergonomic, and has a poor grip; the interaction is cumbersome and difficult to use, and the touch area is often "ventilated"; the surface of the remote control is too slippery and often slips to the sofa In the crevice…

If your TV is a smart TV bought in recent years, there is a high probability that you will encounter the above problems.

At a time when TVs are getting smarter and the picture quality is getting better and better, why is the remote control that affects the basic user experience "getting worse and worse"? This is really dumbfounding.

▲ Picture from: hindustantimes

Is the remote control of your TV easy to use?

Let's first take a look at the best-selling TVs of various brands during the Double 11 last year, and the remote controls they are equipped with.

According to data from Aowei Cloud, the top five brands with the best market share this year and the models that are still on sale are Xiaomi L60M5-4A, Hisense 75E3F, TCL 65V8, Sony KD-65X9500H, and Skyworth 65A5. .

▲ TV sales statistics on Double 11. Picture from: Audiovisual Circle

I found the remote controllers corresponding to the above models in offline physical stores, and had a practical experience. Combined with online shop buyer comments and feedback from netizens, I scored points for the design of these remote controllers.

▲Only represent personal experience, the remote control may be different due to production batch

Among the remote controls equipped with the above several TVs, Xiaomi is considered to be more representative. It has used a similar design since the launch of the first generation of Mi Box. To some extent, it has led more and more domestic TV manufacturers to streamline the buttons on the remote control.

But the remote control of Mi TV is not outstanding. The workmanship is mediocre, the keystroke of the keys is short, and the size is slightly smaller, and the experience is general when used.

The key feel is relatively good, is the remote control of TCL . The area is large and the feedback of pressing force is moderate. The disadvantage is that the grip is average, and the shape and workmanship are a bit off the chain.

What makes me most want to complain is Sony's remote control, which is a good interpretation of what is "vase design". The TV I am currently using is Sony A8H, and the remote control is the same model as KD-65X9500H. I have used it for nearly three months and still haven't learned "blind exercise".

The first problem is that the buttons have irregular shapes and small areas. For example, the volume plus and minus keys are shaped like plus and minus signs. When reducing the volume, I have to concentrate on staring at such a small strip, so that I can press it down accurately, otherwise it is easy to press it empty.

The second problem is that the keys are too flat and the key travel is too short. Perhaps in order to prevent dust and splashing, Sony made the buttons extremely flat. The consequence of this is that the user needs to use the nail to press to control it.

So on the Internet, you can see problems like the picture below. The idea of ​​the designer of Sony's remote control is really elusive.

For the remote control workmanship, grip comfort and button size of Hisense and Skyworth TVs, I only gave two stars. In terms of pressing feel, Skyworth's remote control is slightly stronger than Hisense.

▲Hisense on the left, Skyworth on the right

In addition to the above-mentioned TV remote controls, I have also experienced Huawei Smart Screen and OPPO TV S1 in the past two months. The remote controls of these two TVs also impressed me.

Let’s talk about Huawei’s smart screen. The touch interaction used in its remote control is a bit like a touchpad on a computer. This is a relatively advanced interactive solution, but I am not satisfied with the tuning. When I slide up, down, left, and right, I need to control the amplitude of the sliding very accurately, otherwise it is easy to make positioning errors.

The design of the OPPO S1 remote control is a bit unconventional. The commonly used volume up and down keys are not on the front, but on the side. You need to get used to it for a period of time when you first use it, otherwise, like me, when adjusting the volume, you intuitively press the long bar on the front.

▲ Picture from: Vincent Zhong (YouTube)

In addition, the remote controls of these TVs mentioned above have no anti-slip material on the back. The ultra-thin remote controls such as OPPO TV S1 and Sony TV are easy to slip into the slits of the sofa.

The appearance is beautiful, but the experience is poor

Public information shows that the first remote control used for TVs appeared in 1950 and was developed by Zenith (now a subsidiary of LG). At that time, TVs were still controlled by wired connections.

▲Picture from: Sansui

This remote control is very simple, with only four buttons. The silver one on the top is the switch key, and the three buttons below are the channel and volume plus and minus keys. It looked like a small brick and was very thick. At that time, people thought it was a lazy behavior not to leave the sofa to operate the TV, so the remote control was called "lazy bone."

Five years later, the company developed a new remote control, which is wireless. The appearance is very interesting, a bit like the temperature measuring gun we use today.

▲ Picture from: vintage

This remote control is called "Flash-Matic Gun" because it can emit light to the photoelectric tube located in each corner of the TV screen to control the TV.

▲ Picture from: vintage

Flash-Matic pioneered the concept of a wireless TV remote control, but its limitations are also obvious: a device without a protective circuit, if the TV is in direct sunlight, it may operate incorrectly.

A year later, Zenith's engineer Robert Adler (Robert Adler) designed an ultrasound-based Space Command. The shape is square, like a thickened cigarette case, with four buttons on it.

Interestingly, there is no battery inside Space Command, and there is an aluminum rod similar to a tuning fork under each button. Press the button to generate high-frequency sound to control the TV.

▲ A remote control with the same principle as Space Command

This solution led the trend for 25 years, until the infrared remote control appeared in 1980.

With the development of semiconductors that send and receive infrared rays, infrared remote controls have gradually replaced ultrasonic remote controls due to their low manufacturing cost, high transmission efficiency and high reliability.

▲ Picture from: Vasundhara Infotech LLP

At this stage, the shape of the remote control is almost the same, basically long, with many buttons densely packed on it. This is what the remote control looks like in our memory.

But for many families, most of the buttons on the remote control have not been used. The most frequently used by people are the switch keys, the number keys from 0-9, the menu keys and the volume keys.

Apple is aware of this. Since the first generation, designers have drastically cut off the buttons that people don't use frequently. The minimalist appearance makes it a "heterogeneous" in the remote control.

▲Picture from: streaming-blog

Then, with the rise of smart TV/TV boxes equipped with the Android operating system, Apple's simple style has also been applied to more and more TV remote controls. The remote control suddenly changed from extremely complicated to minimalist. It seems that the fewer buttons, the more advanced the TV.

The appearance is indeed getting better and better, but the user experience has been ignored by many designers.

▲ Picture from: singularityhub

The user experience is poor, as we have already talked about above. Problems such as small keys, too hard keys, and poor grip are mainly affected by physical factors.

On the other hand, it is due to the disconnection between the remote control design and the TV system UX.

Today, when TV functions are becoming more and more abundant and intelligent, major manufacturers have deeply customized TV systems. Does the logic of the TV system match the remote control? Many manufacturers remain silent on the answer to this question.

What kind of remote control do we need?

What kind of remote control is easy to use? In the eyes of Universal Electronics, the remote control of Apple TV can be excluded first. This company not only complained about the design of the Apple TV remote control, but also gave a solution. The actual picture looks like this.

Compared with the remote control of Apple TV, the number of remote control buttons provided by Universal Electronics has increased, and users no longer need to rely on the touchpad that is not very easy to use. It is also commendable that this remote control uses a backlight design. If the indoor light is dark, the remote control will automatically turn on the backlight, allowing users to see clearly the functions of the buttons.

The backlight design is still very necessary. After all, when we are watching TV, in order to have a better viewing experience, we will draw the curtains and turn off the overhead lights to create a darker viewing environment. At this time, if the remote control has a backlight design, users can control the TV more easily.

▲Picture from: ADweek

In addition, the comfort of holding also needs to be taken into consideration by the designer. I always think that the remote control does not need to be made too thin. The first is that it feels uncomfortable to hold, the second is that it is not easy to hold on the table, and the third is that it is easy to slip into the sofa.

Like Sharp and Samsung, the remote controllers of some models currently use the line design shown below. It solves many problems caused by too thin remote control.

Although many TVs are now equipped with voice recognition functions, the compatibility of third-party software, such as Bilibili TV version and Uni-Ten TV version, is uneven. When searching for TV shows and movies, the input experience is very bad.

Therefore, if the remote control can have a two-in-one full keyboard design, it can well meet the search needs of users in the intelligent era. In most cases, use the first layer of several commonly used function keys; when you need to input, separate the second layer, and use the full keyboard to enter text quickly and conveniently.

▲ Wechip

Of course, making some changes to the system will also improve the experience of remote control TV.

For example, Huawei has realized that when searching for content on the TV side, the input method of the mobile phone is automatically called, and the user can complete the input action through the mobile phone, and the experience is remarkable.

Today, when various manufacturers use TVs as "smart screens" and "home entertainment centers", it is time for the functionality of the TV's remote control to change.

At present, many TVs have built-in fitness applications, games and entertainment applications. If the remote control integrates the functions of a gamepad or has a variety of sensors built in , the functionality and entertainment of the TV will be released unprecedentedly. The remote control will no longer be a simple remote control tool, but a key to enter the home smart entertainment center.

The picture comes from: appleinsider

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