TV Remote Control WTF



  • I bought this crappy 20" analog TV off amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Jenson-CV2017J-Flat-CRT-Player/dp/B000GJF762/ref=sr_1_2/002-7159017-7604851?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1194393077&sr=1-2).  I just wanted a 20"+ cable-ready TV to put in my office, so I went with the cheapest one I could find.  I definitely got what I paid for, but I particularly loathe one feature of the remote control.

     
     To change to a double-digit channel, you first have to press a button that tells the TV you're about to enter two digits.  Otherwise, it will assume you only want to change to a 1-digit channel.  For example, if I wanted to flip to channel 26, I'd have to press a button telling the TV to prepare for 2 digits, and then enter 2 digits.  If I try to press 2 and then 6 without first pressing this magic button, it will read the first digit and immediately jump to channel 2. 

     

    I have to wonder what lead to such a stupid design.  I'm guessing there was some major fuckup in how the TV processes a request to change a channel and nobody noticed it until it was too late, so they haphazardly came up with this "fix."

     



  • Clearly the single-digit channel operators paid off Jenson to "throttle" traffic to the higher channels. Conspiracy alert!!



  • @bighusker said:

    To change to a double-digit channel, you first have to press a button that tells the TV you're about to enter two digits.  Otherwise, it will assume you only want to change to a 1-digit channel.  For example, if I wanted to flip to channel 26, I'd have to press a button telling the TV to prepare for 2 digits, and then enter 2 digits.  If I try to press 2 and then 6 without first pressing this magic button, it will read the first digit and immediately jump to channel 2. 

     

    I have to wonder what lead to such a stupid design.  I'm guessing there was some major fuckup in how the TV processes a request to change a channel and nobody noticed it until it was too late, so they haphazardly came up with this "fix."

     

    Most TVs where you just do two digits have the same problem with accessing three-digit channels (most go up to 120something IIRC, though they only go up to 69 if they're set to "antenna mode"). So you don't have much of a solution there. Granted two-digit channels make up the larger portion of your stations (I don't remember any provider I've used that used the 100-series channels on the basic cable - that those channels were only accessible if you bought/rented their tuner box). Solutions I've seen are a specific '100' button you press to get to the three-digit channels, or the TV my folks have now if you try to go to channels 10, 11, or 12 it'll wait a bit for a third digit. The cable box we used to have a for a while (until we couldn't afford it anymore not to mention we rarely watched anything up there) would let/make you do 0-0-4 or whatever to get to <100 channels.

    So.... there's not really a perfect solution, is there?



  • @aquanight said:

    @bighusker said:

    To change to a double-digit channel, you first have to press a button that tells the TV you're about to enter two digits.  Otherwise, it will assume you only want to change to a 1-digit channel.  For example, if I wanted to flip to channel 26, I'd have to press a button telling the TV to prepare for 2 digits, and then enter 2 digits.  If I try to press 2 and then 6 without first pressing this magic button, it will read the first digit and immediately jump to channel 2. 

     

    I have to wonder what lead to such a stupid design.  I'm guessing there was some major fuckup in how the TV processes a request to change a channel and nobody noticed it until it was too late, so they haphazardly came up with this "fix."

     

    Most TVs where you just do two digits have the same problem with accessing three-digit channels (most go up to 120something IIRC, though they only go up to 69 if they're set to "antenna mode"). So you don't have much of a solution there. Granted two-digit channels make up the larger portion of your stations (I don't remember any provider I've used that used the 100-series channels on the basic cable - that those channels were only accessible if you bought/rented their tuner box). Solutions I've seen are a specific '100' button you press to get to the three-digit channels, or the TV my folks have now if you try to go to channels 10, 11, or 12 it'll wait a bit for a third digit. The cable box we used to have a for a while (until we couldn't afford it anymore not to mention we rarely watched anything up there) would let/make you do 0-0-4 or whatever to get to <100 channels.

    So.... there's not really a perfect solution, is there?

     

    Actually I have the 3 digit, wait on each digit one.

    That does seem like the perfect solution... Can't imagine making it any simpler.

    Perfection is alllllll relative. 



  • Guess what's wrong with my digital TV tuner? Instead of acting like an ordinary sane TV tuner does (which is pretty much what you describe), changing to single-digit-numbered channel is pain: It expects multiple numbers to be entered, so I have to hit the number and wait two seconds to change to most of the channels I watch. Okay, all of the channels I watch. (Remember, this in the country where - yes - we've mostly had single-digit number of TV channels available nationwide.) If I make a wrong channel choice, it always takes at least two seconds to change to the channel, no matter how many digits it the channel number has, because obviously the tuner has no way of knowing how many numbers I'm about to enter.

    Luckily, the tuner also has an on-screen menu which a) doesn't have this delay and b) due to showing full channel names has less chance for wrong choices.

    Okay, seriously, I fail to see where the WTF is with that TV. What you're describing is the channel-changing behaviour I've seen with *most* of the TVs here.

    What's supposed to be the "sane" behaviour, then?



  • I actually know a lot of TVs that work like that and I like them. Being in Australia, I live in the dark ages. No cable, no satellite or anything fancy like that. Just 5 free to air channels (7 if you have digital).

    Because of this extreme lack of channels, it's actually better to have a remote like the one you have. It means that whenever you change channels, it happens instantly. What annoys me are those remotes which require you to hit the number, then wait three seconds for it to time out and finally change channels.

    I don't really see this as a WTF. It seems to me that it's an inconvenience at best! Sometimes these things are designed for people in difference circumstances to you... that's just something we need to deal with. It's incredible how much crap we get in Australia that's clearly designed for the US Market. Unfortunately designers need to look at where their market is and design for it. It's probably a bit much to ask that they support every users preference in a cheap TV anyway you bought from Amazon anyway.</EndRant>



  • @aquanight said:

    @bighusker said:

    To change to a double-digit channel, you first have to press a button that tells the TV you're about to enter two digits.  Otherwise, it will assume you only want to change to a 1-digit channel.  For example, if I wanted to flip to channel 26, I'd have to press a button telling the TV to prepare for 2 digits, and then enter 2 digits.  If I try to press 2 and then 6 without first pressing this magic button, it will read the first digit and immediately jump to channel 2. 

     

    I have to wonder what lead to such a stupid design.  I'm guessing there was some major fuckup in how the TV processes a request to change a channel and nobody noticed it until it was too late, so they haphazardly came up with this "fix."

     

    Most TVs where you just do two digits have the same problem with accessing three-digit channels (most go up to 120something IIRC, though they only go up to 69 if they're set to "antenna mode"). So you don't have much of a solution there. Granted two-digit channels make up the larger portion of your stations (I don't remember any provider I've used that used the 100-series channels on the basic cable - that those channels were only accessible if you bought/rented their tuner box). Solutions I've seen are a specific '100' button you press to get to the three-digit channels, or the TV my folks have now if you try to go to channels 10, 11, or 12 it'll wait a bit for a third digit. The cable box we used to have a for a while (until we couldn't afford it anymore not to mention we rarely watched anything up there) would let/make you do 0-0-4 or whatever to get to <100 channels.

    So.... there's not really a perfect solution, is there?

     

    I've always been partial to the "enter" button myself.  Enter the requesite number of digits and press enter.  For some reason, it just seems more intuitive to me.  Although, it's still an extra button to press, so it's far from being a perfect solution.  I just found this to be the oddest "solution" yet. 

     

    My cable box has the same "solution" that others described (you have to use leading zeroes to change to a single or double-digit channel).  It takes getting used to, but that is OK too I suppose. 



  • @DaEagle said:

    I actually know a lot of TVs that work like that and I like them. Being in Australia, I live in the dark ages. No cable, no satellite or anything fancy like that. Just 5 free to air channels (7 if you have digital).

    Because of this extreme lack of channels, it's actually better to have a remote like the one you have. It means that whenever you change channels, it happens instantly. What annoys me are those remotes which require you to hit the number, then wait three seconds for it to time out and finally change channels.

    I don't really see this as a WTF. It seems to me that it's an inconvenience at best! Sometimes these things are designed for people in difference circumstances to you... that's just something we need to deal with. It's incredible how much crap we get in Australia that's clearly designed for the US Market. Unfortunately designers need to look at where their market is and design for it. It's probably a bit much to ask that they support every users preference in a cheap TV anyway you bought from Amazon anyway.</EndRant>

     

    Which is why I said "I definitely got what I paid for."  I'm not complaining, and I'm certainly not asking for them to support my personal preferences on such a cheap TV.

     

    Maybe this is a "common" solution in Australia, but I've owned a ridiculous number of TV sets over the years and this is the first time I've ever seen it implemented this way. I just think there are better ways of doing it (either letting people enter the leading zeroes or having an enter key.)  The "enter" key is still an extra button press, but the method of input never changes, regardless of how many digits are in the channel.  On my set, you press nothing when entering a single digit.  To enter two digits, you must press the "--" button beforehand.  To enter 3 digits, you must press the "--" twice.  I agree that the "perfect" solution is relative, but this one doesn't seem all that desirable to me.



  • I've only had one TV set that didn't require the double-digit mode. It's a newer model Sony Trinitron. I don't know if there's a connection.

    Just 5 free to air channels (7 if you have digital).
    Because of this extreme lack of channels, it's actually better to
    have a remote like the one you have. It means that whenever you change
    channels, it happens instantly.
     

    It can still change instantly, even to double-digit channels. You press 2, it zaps to 2 instantly, then quickly press 3 and it zaps to 23 instantly. It doesn't have to wait for more input -- like a double-click for your mouse has to -- as there's only 1 single action that can take place: zap.

    That's what my aforementioned TV does. It's quite perfect.



  • My old TV (small, budget) TV had an option in the menu where I could pick if I wanted 1 digit or 2 digit switching. When I was a kid, I remember accidentally setting that option to two-digit (even though we only had 4 channels then) without knowing what that option was actually for. When it got annoying switching to static all the time, I decided to program all the possible combinations into the remote, so that, pressing, say, 3-2 would switch to channel 2.



  • I suffer from the opposite: if I switch to 26, the TV immediately switches to channel 2, whereI have to wait 2 seconds for the image to appear. Then, when pressing the 6, it switches to 26. Couldn't they build in a timeout of a second, and not immediately switch to 2?



  • The situation the OP describes is the common and most sensible solution for UK users.

    In the UK, there are only 5 analogue terrestrial channels. TVs are set up so instead of entering the actual channel number (which is a channel in the sense of a numbered frequency range), you just enter 1 to 5. You may have higher numbers set in the case when you are within range of multiple transmitters (different ones will often give different local news). Even so, people virtually never want to use a 2-digit channel.

    There are around 40 freeview digital terrestrial channels, so it's different for that case, but most people use set-top-boxes anyway.



  • The sane solution is, of course, to Huffman-code the channel numbers. If there is no channel 10, 11, or 12 then there is no conflict with channels 100-129.



  • @m0ffx said:

    The situation the OP describes is the common and most sensible solution for UK users.

    In the UK, there are only 5 analogue terrestrial channels. TVs are set up so instead of entering the actual channel number (which is a channel in the sense of a numbered frequency range), you just enter 1 to 5. You may have higher numbers set in the case when you are within range of multiple transmitters (different ones will often give different local news). Even so, people virtually never want to use a 2-digit channel.

    There are around 40 freeview digital terrestrial channels, so it's different for that case, but most people use set-top-boxes anyway.

    And sky satellite tv and virgin cable tv both use 3-digit channel numbers exclusively. The lowest numbered channel is 101. Though I think I remember that my parents' sky box had the option to automatically switch to 10x after a couple of seconds if you only press one number.



  • Since analog TVs never have a channel above 199 (actually never above some significantly lower numer than that; I just don't know what it is), the best solution is the one that has been employed since the 80's:  A +100 button can be pressed before the last two digits to enter a three-digit channel number; a two-digit number is entered as the two digits; a one-digit number is entered as either (a) 0+channel number (e.g. channel 6 = 06) or (b) hit the digit and wait four seconds.

    There was no need to redesign this; it worked well, and most TV brands used it.

    Now that we are in a digital age with up to four digits in the channel number, the best solution seems to be to wait a few seconds before accepting a number as completed, or to jump immediately if the user presses an enter or select button.  This works really well on my TV.  I've had the receiver for six or seven years, so it isn't like this stuff hasn't been figured out.

    Yeah, this is a stupid design.  WTF?


     



  • @SurfMan said:

    I suffer from the opposite: if I switch to 26, the TV immediately switches to channel 2, whereI have to wait 2 seconds for the image to appear. Then, when pressing the 6, it switches to 26. Couldn't they build in a timeout of a second, and not immediately switch to 2?

    Immediately switching good

    timeout bad 

    Can't you press 2-6 on your remote without that interesting 2 second wait?



  • @Critter said:

    Since analog TVs never have a channel above 199 (actually never above some significantly lower numer than that; I just don't know what it is), the best solution is the one that has been employed since the 80's:  A +100 button can be pressed before the last two digits to enter a three-digit channel number; a two-digit number is entered as the two digits; a one-digit number is entered as either (a) 0+channel number (e.g. channel 6 = 06) or (b) hit the digit and wait four seconds.

    There was no need to redesign this; it worked well, and most TV brands used it.

    Now that we are in a digital age with up to four digits in the channel number, the best solution seems to be to wait a few seconds before accepting a number as completed, or to jump immediately if the user presses an enter or select button.  This works really well on my TV.  I've had the receiver for six or seven years, so it isn't like this stuff hasn't been figured out.

    Yeah, this is a stupid design.  WTF?

    There are similar design issues in the gaming industry.

    Many games have gimmicks and experiment with the interface; the way in which something works or the player is informed of game status. Gears Of War, I noticed, displays a splash of blood on the screen if you're hit. That's interesting. Halo has interesting ways of incorporating the ammunition in the weapon model.

    But for some reason, no game designer notices these or incorporates them into their own game. And because of that you hardly have any evolution of generic, good game features.



  • Nope. I have to wait for the 2 channel to be displayed, before the 6 responds. Pressing 6 during the black screen does nowt...



  • @SurfMan said:

    Nope. I have to wait for the 2 channel to be displayed, before the 6 responds. Pressing 6 during the black screen does nowt...

    My sympathies, sir, my sympathies. 



  • Before we got digital cable, our TV took 2-digit channels only.  For channels 2-9 I had to do 0-2, etc.  One weird thing was that the TV used channel 90 as the "VIDEO" channel.  I guess the manufacturers never imagined anyone would want more than 88 channels.

    I still do this on my digital cable, with three digits now, 0-0-2, but I think it will just take one or two digit channels after a pause.  I thought this was the norm for remote behavior, but no one mentioned the zero method yet.



  • @dhromed said:

    @SurfMan said:

    Nope. I have to wait for
    the 2 channel to be displayed, before the 6 responds. Pressing 6 during
    the black screen does nowt...

    My sympathies, sir, my sympathies. 

    The good part is that it is my TV in the bedroom, which is somehow stuck on the pr0n channel anyway :) j/k



  • I don't really see the WTF. I would hate to hit enter (or something similar), everytime i wanted to watch something on say, channel no 6. Actually, I haven't seen many system other than the one you're describing and it makes perfect sense to me, but maybe that's just because i'm used to it.

    For my current (also old an crappy) tv, i once bought a universal remote. I'm not sure whether it is an issue with the tv or with the remote, but currently it uses the current channel to figure out how many digits you're going to enter. So if you're watching channel 23 (or any 2 digit numbered channel), it assumes that you'll want to go to a 2-digit channel next. And if you're watching a 1 digit channel, it assumes you're going to watch another 1 digit channel next. Now that's what i find annoying.

    by the way, why would anyone want a system with 4 digit numbers? Are you actually watching 1000+ different channels? I very much doubt that.



  • Its fir efficiency, if you want 1 digit channels you get them instantly, no 2 sec wait thats alota 2 seconds thats waisted of your lives!!!

     

    (kinda makes sense that once you are in the habbit it saves time, but its just not worth it) 



  • I bought this crappy 20" analog TV off amazon

    TRWTF is that you're suprised it sucks.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Hantas said:

    by the way, why would anyone want a system with 4 digit numbers? Are you actually watching 1000+ different channels? I very much doubt that.

    If you hadn't noticed, or are unaware, some (most? all?) the current 100-999 systems have lots of gaps with no programming.

    They tend to group channels by genre ('lifestyle', kids, films, news, crap etc.,) typically using the hundreds digit to indicate the genre. If there are less than 99 channels in that genre then that 'space' gets wasted.

    I assume they've run out of hundreds to represent the genres.

    Or there are a couple of genres with > 99 channels. 

    Spotting TRWTF™ left as an exercise for the reader. 



  • @WWWWolf said:

    Guess what's wrong with my digital TV tuner? Instead of acting like an ordinary sane TV tuner does (which is pretty much what you describe), changing to single-digit-numbered channel is pain: It expects multiple numbers to be entered, so I have to hit the number and wait two seconds to change to most of the channels I watch. Okay, all of the channels I watch. (Remember, this in the country where - yes - we've mostly had single-digit number of TV channels available nationwide.) If I make a wrong channel choice, it always takes at least two seconds to change to the channel, no matter how many digits it the channel number has, because obviously the tuner has no way of knowing how many numbers I'm about to enter.

    Luckily, the tuner also has an on-screen menu which a) doesn't have this delay and b) due to showing full channel names has less chance for wrong choices.

    Okay, seriously, I fail to see where the WTF is with that TV. What you're describing is the channel-changing behaviour I've seen with *most* of the TVs here.

    What's supposed to be the "sane" behaviour, then?

     

    If you're referring to a digital tuner box (I assume you are because of the menu/channel guide), then try pressing the "OK" or "ENTER" button that you use on the menu screen after you input a number to change the channels (single, double or triple digit). Most tuners these days implement it that way (either way for the number entry to time out or switch immediately when "OK" is pressed).



  • @PJH said:

    If you hadn't noticed, or are unaware, some (most? all?) the current 100-999 systems have lots of gaps with no programming.

    They tend to group channels by genre ('lifestyle', kids, films, news, crap etc.,) typically using the hundreds digit to indicate the genre. If there are less than 99 channels in that genre then that 'space' gets wasted.

    I assume they've run out of hundreds to represent the genres.

    But, erm, you decide which transmission goes to which channel on your TV.

    You mean gaps in frequency?
    Or does your TV come preprogrammed with most channels?



  • @Hantas said:

    by the way, why would anyone want a system with 4 digit numbers? Are you actually watching 1000+ different channels? I very much doubt that.

    My local cable system (Time Warner) uses 4 digit channel numbers for HD channels. The local NBC station in HD, for example, is 1312.

    Don't know why, though. 



  • @dhromed said:

    @PJH said:
    If you hadn't noticed, or are unaware, some (most? all?) the current 100-999 systems have lots of gaps with no programming.

    They tend to group channels by genre ('lifestyle', kids, films, news, crap etc.,) typically using the hundreds digit to indicate the genre. If there are less than 99 channels in that genre then that 'space' gets wasted.

    I assume they've run out of hundreds to represent the genres.

    But, erm, you decide which transmission goes to which channel on your TV.

    You mean gaps in frequency?
    Or does your TV come preprogrammed with most channels?

     

    I think people here are generally referring to the tuners they use. Digital cable and satellite setups with channel numbers that go up to 99 provide you with a set-top tuner box. The output of the box is typically selectable as channel 3 or 4 over coax cable, and HD units often have HDMI or component outputs. I've never seen a unit that allowed you to reprogram the channel numbers coming from the service provider.



  • @asuffield said:

    The sane solution is, of course, to Huffman-code the channel numbers. If there is no channel 10, 11, or 12 then there is no conflict with channels 100-129.

    pure genius ...



  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    @PJH said:
    If you hadn't noticed, or are unaware, some (most? all?) the current 100-999 systems have lots of gaps with no programming.

    They tend to group channels by genre ('lifestyle', kids, films, news, crap etc.,) typically using the hundreds digit to indicate the genre. If there are less than 99 channels in that genre then that 'space' gets wasted.

    I assume they've run out of hundreds to represent the genres.

    But, erm, you decide which transmission goes to which channel on your TV.

    You mean gaps in frequency?
    Or does your TV come preprogrammed with most channels?

    Gah. I was assuming a set-top box. Not a TV.



  • @PJH said:

    @dhromed said:
    @PJH said:
    If you hadn't noticed, or are unaware, some (most? all?) the current 100-999 systems have lots of gaps with no programming.

    They tend to group channels by genre ('lifestyle', kids, films, news, crap etc.,) typically using the hundreds digit to indicate the genre. If there are less than 99 channels in that genre then that 'space' gets wasted.

    I assume they've run out of hundreds to represent the genres.

    But, erm, you decide which transmission goes to which channel on your TV.

    You mean gaps in frequency?
    Or does your TV come preprogrammed with most channels?

    Gah. I was assuming a set-top box. Not a TV.

    Ah, kay.

    I've never been near one.

     



  • @dhromed said:

    There are similar design issues in the gaming industry.

    Many games have gimmicks and experiment with the interface; the way in which something works or the player is informed of game status. Gears Of War, I noticed, displays a splash of blood on the screen if you're hit. That's interesting.

    And probably patented.

    Halo has interesting ways of incorporating the ammunition in the weapon model.

    Ditto. At least in the current (completely ridiculous) regime both these things would quite possibly be patentable.



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    I bought this crappy 20" analog TV off amazon

    TRWTF is that you're suprised it sucks.

    He bought a TV so cheap that it was assumed he would be too cheap to have cable...in said case, most channels would be only one digit!



  • @m0ffx said:

    @dhromed said:
    Gears Of War, I noticed, displays a splash of blood on the screen if you're hit. That's interesting.

    And probably patented.

    Halo has interesting ways of incorporating the ammunition in the weapon model.

    Ditto. At least in the current (completely ridiculous) regime both these things would quite possibly be patentable.

    A hate for patents stirs inside me.


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