Scribblings Resurrection

Sony remotes and Mrs Windsor

Saturday, 25 June 2005

Elizabeth Windsor1 has apparently told Sony CEO Howard Stringer that she finds his company’s remote controls difficult to use. Stringer says that she told him I have a lot of trouble with your remote controls. Too many arrows.

Part of a Sony remote

I have to say that I entirely agree with her. The remote for my Sony SACD player has a group of arrows which always perplex me. I know that the big one at the top is the Play button. I also know that one of the pairs of double arrows makes the player go to the next or previous track while the other pair skips quickly through the track I’m playing but I can never remember which is which and so frequently end up pressing the wrong one.

OK, one of the groups is labelled AMS but since I have no idea at all what this means, without scrabbling around in the drawer for the manual, I am none the wiser.

And what about the pair of half arrows at the bottom labelled Index? What do those do? On every CD I’ve ever tried them with all that ever happens is that a number labelled Index on the player’s display goes up by one each time I press the button but, when I stop, the track simply starts playing again from the beginning. Do some CDs or SACDs have index marks? If they do, I don’t appear to own any.

Remotes in general often drive me barmy. The remote for my Philips’ DVD player has buttons which I understand the function of but they’re so badly laid out that I almost invariably end up going into slow motion mode when what I really wanted to do was press Play.

I imagine this state of affairs is largely down to designers who think “That looks cool” without ever stepping back to wonder whether their design actually makes any sense.

1 Also known as the Queen

Posted 25 June 2005, 10:33 BST

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