[mythtv-users] FYI: harmony 650 37.99 @ costco (instant 17rebate)

Craig Treleaven ctreleaven at cogeco.ca
Wed Nov 30 14:25:53 UTC 2011

At 3:13 PM -0500 11/29/11, Dean Collins wrote:
>Pretty much every device has on/off/toggle commands.

I'd dispute that.  If you follow, say, RemoteCentral.com, you'll find countless cases where there is no discrete on/off command.  Or other weirdness in the control interface.

In fact, I think IR control of home entertainment devices is one of the most bass akwards technologies extant.  No two-way communication.  Slow.  Prone to transmission errors.  No auto-configuration of connected devices.  Zero intelligence in the interface (a sleep timer doesn't count).

It's been reported that Steve Jobs, before he died, felt he had come up with a radical re-working of television.  Eg:


Many guess that this means using Siri for a voice command system.  Jobs just said "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine."  Being Apple, it almost certainly means that all content will come from Apple--there will be minimal ability to connect other sources, I would guess.  Otherwise, I don't see how they can attain the simplicity goal.

The part I can't fathom is audio.  Too many potential customers already have multi-channel sound systems.  How does an Apple TV control somebody else's a/v receiver?  That doesn't seem like the simple system Jobs touted if you have to mess with an IR blaster to control your legacy audio system.  Or have they done a deal with one or more component companies to supply new models with a compatible control system.  (How does the Siri-controlled a/v receiver hear your command to lower the volume when the opening scene from Band of Brothers is blasting?  ;) 

Anyway, I think that the interfaces to home entertainment systems are well-overdue for a rethinking.  The chicken and egg problem is, some company has to go first and get enough of the rest to play along.  Maybe Apple can do that; maybe somebody else.


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