Earlier in the week I was having a discussion with my Dad. Over the years of Christmas we have accrued many of “new-fangled” television devices; Apple TV, Amazon firestick, and (my personal favorite) the Chromecast.

“Why are all of these devices so complex!” my Dad exclaimed. “They aren’t complicated! Let me show you!” I yelled back.

After we got past our initial un-pleasantries, one person not willing to learn a new device, and another thinking it was dead simple to understand, we started to break down what the issues were with each system.

We ended up going through what the throught process was for each button for the DVR engineers.

Here is what the Time warner universal controller looks like

The Pinacle of Design

Some of the points that became clearer as we went through each button was that the DVR remote was designed as the “Universal Remote”. The top included each possible device that the remote could support. For the DVR, It supported 2 dimensional navigation as well as back and forward through menues. 1 dimensional time manipulation (fast-forward, pause, reverse) as well as various buttons for menu selection. The TV input supported volume control, input selection, TV menu selection. The DVD player aspect supports a separate group of buttons to move through a DVD.

The remote with the most contrast would be the apple tv.

Where's all the buttons?

Conceptually there are only 4 buttons for this remote. All with similar purpose to the DVR for menu navigation.

In terms of the UI there is a significant difference. the DVR

Three of the four buttons react differently depending on the context. For instance, if you are watching a movie on the netflix app instead of controlling 2d navigation the circular input controls time and speed. In this case each application can change the behavior of the buttons. This means that the user is required to put more effort in keeping track to what context they are currently in.