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Hi All,


I'm not a regular contributor to this forum although I read it regularly to keep up on what's going on in the home theater world. But now I want to hear from all you professional installers and enthusiasts...


I've recently been put in the somewhat unique position in my job as to have some affect on the user interface design of many of the digital television designs that will be brought to market over the next couple of years (and maybe beyond). Not necessarily the graphics design of the UI, but the feature set of the UI. What I want to know is what drives you crazy about the existing UI's in the market place? What would you like to see on future designs? What would you like to never see again?


I'm interested in the opinions of both professional installers & tuners as well as end users. I'm also interested in knowing what UI's you find to be exceptional, and why.


Here are some of the ideas that I've picked up so far:


1. Discrete "power on" and "power off" codes for IR remotes. Having this will prevent IR remote macros from getting out of sync. Unfortunately I can address this for display devices, but not the rest of the component chain.


2. Stateless UI's. Meaning that, through an IR remote, you can instantly access any function without first having to navigate through a menu system. I'm not proposing that menu's be banned, but that there be a way to access everything both through the menu (for users that just use the factory remote) and a way to access each feature with a unique IR code (i.e. for Pronto remote and the like).


3. For advanced picture tuning, what kind of controls would be useful. There are the obvious and usual hue, sat, contrast, and brightness controls, but what else? sharpness, dlti, luma peaking, gamma, color temp, etc.


4. Special "advanced" tuner's menu that allow easy and non intrusive access to the controls used most for tuning the picture on a display device. I know everyone hates the contrast control that takes up two thirds of the display.


The company that I work for builds asics and software for the digital display controller industry and I am about to embark on the software and UI implementation of a next generation high-end TV reference designs. And I thought, maybe, for a change, I'd try to solicit input from those who ultimately end up using (and judging) the systems created by the companies that will use our reference designs. (I'd throw out names, but I probably wouldn't have a job tomorrow and this would all be moot) While we create the reference design, it is our customer decision to use our GUI (modified to their look and feel) or design their own. But, if we are able to implement a compelling solution, everyone wins in the end. Our customer get to market faster, and the end users get the features they want.


If you would like to contact me directly my personal email is exposed in my profile. So as not to be rude, I've refrained from cross posting this to the other forums but would welcome any feedback from those with experience with other types of display devices.


Who knows where this will go, but it is at least worth a try...


Thanks for listening and I welcome your feedback,


UIGuy
 

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In addition to 2), I would also make the opposite possible, make EVERYTHING accessable thru a menu system that can be accessed just using the arrow , enter, and exit keys. The advantage of this is that a simple universal remote will be able to get to all functions (I don't need to get the original remote out of storage to use some seldom used command).


Also, make as many things as user configurable as possible: color of letter box/window box bars, display channel when ever channel is changed (and for how long), ... A good/bad example of this: my (expensive) Sony D** box tuner has only ONE custom guide (which is bad, and in addition, everytime you hit guide, you need a couple of remote clicks to get to it, while my cheap Samsung D** box has multiple custom guides and you can set which is the default).


For item 3), make them input and signal dependent, my 433cmx does this and I love it.


When changing sources, make the change "clean". When I change chanels on my Sony box (going from SD to HD), I get flicker and audio dropouts.


These comments come from a user's point of view.

John Flegert
 
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