Friday, February 20, 2004

Now Preening on the Coffee Table: The TiVo Remote Control

Now Preening on the Coffee Table: The TiVo Remote Control: " To most home viewers, remote controls may seem like ancillary sidekicks to the main attraction that is the television, DVD player or digital video recorder. Yet in some ways the remote has become the centerpiece of home entertainment: so many functions have been relegated to this slip of an object that if it is lost, you may find yourself unable to do so much as call up a menu for watching the movie you popped into the DVD player."
"They did a really good job," said Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group, a technology consulting firm in Fremont, Calif. Mr. Nielsen called the oversize yellow pause button in the middle of the remote "the most beautiful pause button I've ever seen."

SAD: The 'ten foot UI' -- one of the big challenges of blending interactivity into the home media experience. As more services are blended into the media consumption process, the fight will no longer be for the desktop (as is on PCs) but for a button or two on the remote control. To any Ad-skipping TiVo user, the notion of watching TV without a remote in your hand is akin to driving a car without a steering wheel. Of all the interesting turf wars in the effort to control consumer consumption and mindshare, the remote control will be one of the more interesting ones. There are alternatives to deal with function creep, such as on-screen display, speech control, or touch-screen remote (a la Pronto) but for various reasons these don't come close in terms of ease-of-use nor hand-holding creature comfort to a TiVo remote control.

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