Publisher's Page: The quest for a 'one-does-all' remote control


By John A. Winters, Publisher
There is some quadratic-like formula that illustrates that as your children get older, you somehow get, well, dumber.
They know everything. Just ask them. Seriously.
I love the teenage years. Really.
I digress.

The reality is I wanted a new, and yes I will admit, bigger television. And I wanted one that had everything included and I could do it all with one remote. I mean access my stereo, Netflix, HBO, television, and so forth without going through a lot of hoops.
Honestly, I was just tired, and frankly couldn’t remember which input I had to hit for the music to play and was it HDMI 2 or HDMI 3 for movies and did the optical cable go in the input or output … you know what I mean.
So Eldest said I needed a “smart TV.”
That raised an immediate eyebrow. Sort of like when someone says “You can trust me,” or “I will take your secret to the grave” or “I’m not racist, I have (fill in your ethnic selection here) friends.”
I digress.
So we head off to the Big Box Store Of Electronics and after debate on the proper number of pixels per square inch we finally get it narrowed down.
I ask Eldest about setup and he gives me the hand wave off and goes, “Simple. No problem.” This again leads me to raise an eyebrow because I have experienced a “Simple. No problem” electronic set up with him before, which led to the Little Black Dress coming in and telling us to both go into timeouts.
Let’s just double check with an “associate” or “customer service advisor” or “experience satisfier.”
“Can I push one button and get to Netflix?” I ask.
“Yes sir.”
“Spotify? YouTube? Hulu? Saved movies? Playlists? Bluetooth to tie with my “smartphone.”
“Uh, yes sir,” he said and looks at me like I might know something. So I look over at Eldest and give him the “see, someone thinks I’m not a complete moron look” and he just shakes his head and walks off.
So we get this “smart TV” home and Eldest spends about 30 seconds getting it programmed. And he’s going so fast I don’t have a clue what is going on.
“So just remember this is the home button and you start here and then scroll down if you want 4K or just regular HDTV is here and Netflix is a hardwired button and …”
I’m already lost.
“Okay, let’s start at the beginning. How do I change channels with the remote when I’m watching television?”
“You can’t.”
“Wait what? Volume?”
“You can’t. That’s not what this remote does.”
“Why do I have a remote, and the only remote I might add, that comes with this television and it can’t change channels or the volume? What does it do?”
“You can switch over to Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, YouTube, HBO Now, Showtime …”  he keeps on talking as I just shake my head and walk out.
So I have this “smart TV” remote that can do anything, except switch television channels.
Sort of like my “smartphone” that can do anything except something simple, like be able to talk to someone without having to constantly say, “can you hear me now?”
“Smart” isn’t always better.
Until next time.