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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought it'd be fun and a little educational to gather a collection of what people felt were entirely avoidable mistakes that manufacturers (for some reason) keep making. From trivial to profound.


Some of you might come up with things that are chronically absurd that never occurred to many people.


I have three trivial things that bother me off the top of my head, but I'm sure not everyone agrees. Not in any order:
  • Lit up logos
  • Re-inventing the stand just to be different from prior years, even when they already achieved a "great" one in the past
  • Metallic parts of the facing bezel that reflect light annoyingly
 

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I don't mind the illuminated logos as long as you can turn them off. (Sony have always done this)

I agree that stand design has taken a step backwards recently. I really hate the look of most TV stands these days, and I miss the days of a TV stand that had a beam approximately half the width of the television with two vertical supports, rather than stands which only support the television from a narrow bar in the center and are completely unstable.


So, things that manufacturers keep getting wrong...
  • Menus that are stupidly complicated. Everyone gets this wrong. I can understand them, no-one else in my family does, so I have to go and set them up any time someone buys a new TV.
  • Menus that are not rendered at the display's native resolution. It just looks bad.
  • Menus that are slow to navigate. I don't care about fancy graphics or animations, speed is what matters. It's even worse with a lot of internet-connected TVs taking about a minute before you can even access them after turning them on.
  • Why are there still those legacy 0-9 buttons on my remote? I have never used them, and maybe once or twice a month they are pressed accidentally so it jumps to the analog tuner and I get blasted with white noise. For digital channel switching, people use the guide anyway.
  • Let me disable any input on the display. I am only using a single HDMI port on the TV and nothing else. I would want to leave HDMI available (actually, they automatically disable themselves if nothing is connected) but the tuner and legacy inputs are always active on the input list and can't be disabled.
  • Why is there not a backlight (LCD) or contrast (Plasma/OLED) control on my remote next to the volume control? It's the only reason I need to go into the menu at all these days after calibrating the set. (auto brightness control never works well, and on my model Sony actually thought it was a good idea to integrate it with changing color temperature too)
  • Why put "backlit" buttons on the remote if it just puts a glowing outline around the buttons, rather than actually letting you see what they do - it's useless.
  • All televisions should have the equivalent of Sony's Theater button on the remote. It's a one-button toggle that switches between the current display mode, and the theater picture preset. Alternatively you could implement it as a "game mode" button that does the same thing, but for the game preset.
  • If you have a "picture off" power saving mode (and you should have that) it might be a smart idea to have a button dedicated to it on the remote, rather than burying it several layers deep in the menus.
  • Similar story for the sleep timer, and all sets should support a variable "auto-off" function if the remote hasn't been used in X amount of time. My TV only has options for 1/2/4 hours, and I really want 3. 2 hours is not long enough to avoid interrupting a film, and 4 hours is 90 minutes longer than most.
  • Overscan and sharpness controls for HD signals. Shouldn't exist at all. Put in a dummy sharpness control if people insist on turning it up.
  • Supporting 120/240Hz refresh rates on the panel, but only accepting 60Hz inputs. Drives me crazy as someone that has a PC hooked up to their TV.
  • Having backlight scanning to improve motion resolution, but only allowing it to be active with interpolation at the same time. (which adds a ton of input lag, so both must be disabled for gaming)
  • If your set has LEDs on the front of it - particularly if they are blue LEDs - you should support turning them off in the menus. It's ridiculous that I have to put electrical tape on the front of something I've just spent thousands on.
  • Report the current refresh rate and levels being used in the OSD. Tell me "1080p, 59.94Hz, 16-235 RGB" rather than "1080p" Make it an advanced option if necessary.
 

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"If your set has LEDs on the front of it - particularly if they are blue LEDs - you should support turning them off in the menus. It's ridiculous that I have to put electrical tape on the front of something I've just spent thousands on."


O M F G yes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogo  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making#post_23239055


"If your set has LEDs on the front of it - particularly if they are blue LEDs - you should support turning them off in the menus. It's ridiculous that I have to put electrical tape on the front of something I've just spent thousands on."


O M F G yes.

Sidenote - Lightdims are the greatest invention since the invention of LED Indicator lights - i love these things and use them on everything:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1403635/official-panasonic-gt50-series-discussion-thread-no-street-price-talk/4530#post_22664779
 

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The only thing I do on my TV is turn it on and off, so I would like my TV to automatically turn itself on and off when it detects a signal or no signal. Maybe if there's 5 seconds or so of singal/no signal, it responds. Other than that, I don't have any complaints.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyWalters 


Sidenote - Lightdims are the greatest invention since the invention of LED Indicator lights - i love these things and use them on everything:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1403635/official-panasonic-gt50-series-discussion-thread-no-street-price-talk/4530#post_22664779
I do not like the indicator light stuff on my TV, PS3, sat-receiver etc.. I hate it. Dimming is not good enough for me. I want all of it to disappear when i watch TV at night.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23238703


So, things that manufacturers keep getting wrong...
  • Menus that are stupidly complicated. Everyone gets this wrong. I can understand them, no-one else in my family does, so I have to go and set them up any time someone buys a new TV.

I have a lot of GUI design in my background and I have to tell you that it is just something that every engineer thinks he understands and almost none of them do.

Quote:
  • Why is there not a backlight (LCD) or contrast (Plasma/OLED) control on my remote next to the volume control?

That would be awesome. It would drive me nuts though because I'd be tweeking every single show I saw 3 times an hour.

Quote:
  • Supporting 120/240Hz refresh rates on the panel, but only accepting 60Hz inputs. Drives me crazy as someone that has a PC hooked up to their TV.

+1

Quote:
  • Having backlight scanning to improve motion resolution, but only allowing it to be active with interpolation at the same time. (which adds a ton of input lag, so both must be disabled for gaming)

Interesting point!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgm1024  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23239691


I have a lot of GUI design in my background and I have to tell you that it is just something that every engineer thinks he understands and almost none of them do.
Oh, I am very aware of that.


It just amazes me that no-one has looked at the menu system on the TVs they're putting out and thought "why is everything so damn complicated?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgm1024  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23239691


That would be awesome. It would drive me nuts though because I'd be tweeking every single show I saw 3 times an hour.
Backlight/contrast only exists to correct for ambient light changes though. I generally only switch between 0 (night) 4-6 (daytime) and 10. (really bright out)


There probably isn't much need for any more granluarity than that for a quickly accessible adjustment - put the fine-tuning controls in the calibration section of the menus.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making#post_23239768


Oh, I am very aware of that.


It just amazes me that no-one has looked at the menu system on the TVs they're putting out and thought "why is everything so damn complicated?"

It amazes me that they think people use the tuner on their TVs, too. But, hey, what do we know?
 

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One recent trend that irks me is the elimination of the printed owner's manual. Prior to this trend my number one complaint was the printed owner's manual itself.


Let me clarify--back when there were manuals they were written and or translated poorly enough to make them indecipherable to the non-enthusiast buyer. Getting them to a level where one didn't need to be a tech-head to understand them would not have been a problem--have a tech-head explain the functions to a literate English speaking writer and have the latter actually write the manual. Instead they've just eliminated the manual that comes with the set. If one is lucky one can find the equivalent of the written manual on the mfgs. website, if not they are forced to post questions in user forums to find out just what feature does what and how to access it.


I realize this elimination of the printed manual isn't exclusive to tvs--I have to drag out my computer to find out how to do anything on my Onkyo 616 receiver, and a little JBL Flip bluetooth speaker I bought the other day had only a bunch of line drawings on a poster with no printed information at all on how to set it up--again the interweb was my friend. Is it really that important to save paper or do companys just (perhaps rightly) assume most of their customers can't read?


The use of chrome on bezels and pedestal bases reminds me of Detroit car companies in the 50s, as does the deceptive advertising hype that permeates the tv business these days.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23241126


One recent trend that irks me is the elimination of the printed owner's manual. Prior to this trend my number one complaint was the printed owner's manual itself.
Sony has at least partially solved this by having the manual built into the TV, accessible via the "i-Manual" button on the remote.


I don't mind the lack of printed materials as long as they are properly archived on the manufacturer's website - I prefer reading a PDF on my iPad to print.


But the bigger issue is the menus themselves. You shouldn't need a manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23241190

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23241126


One recent trend that irks me is the elimination of the printed owner's manual. Prior to this trend my number one complaint was the printed owner's manual itself.
Sony has at least partially solved this by having the manual built into the TV, accessible via the "i-Manual" button on the remote.


I don't mind the lack of printed materials as long as they are properly archived on the manufacturer's website - I prefer reading a PDF on my iPad to print.


But the bigger issue is the menus themselves. You shouldn't need a manual.

A user interface should be as transparent as possible: it needs to not get in the way and its job is to quickly present an answer to the very next question you might have at any particular point. The user needs to learn the device, not the interface. And long before your brain finishes the sentence "how do I tell it to....." the UI should aim to be intuitively designed so that the answer is self evident. In fact, truly spectacular UI's effectively give you answers to questions not even formed properly yet----this is critical because by far the toughest thing for a non-techie is to figure out what and how to ask. And no I don't mean that @#$%ing talking paperclip that Office used to have.


There needs to be a sensible drill-down and flow. You cannot be presented with "hidden" functions, and you need to be able to get to critical things without the click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click 7th circle of navigation hell continually prompting you to run and get a Xanax.
 

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Quote:
Sony has at least partially solved this by having the manual built into the TV, accessible via the "i-Manual" button on the remote.

Samsung's done this as well, though there isn't a direct button on the remote. It's embedded into the menu. (I believe from the D series and beyond now.)


It's definitely a nice added feature. Though I can honestly say I've never had the desire or need to flip through my TV's manual. Now my AVR manual, that's a different story
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgm1024  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making#post_23241245


A user interface should be as transparent as possible: it needs to not get in the way and its job is to quickly present an answer to the very next question you might have at any particular point. The user needs to learn the device, not the interface. And long before your brain finishes the sentence "how do I tell it to....." the UI should aim to be intuitively designed so that the answer is self evident. In fact, truly spectacular UI's effectively give you answers to questions not even formed properly yet----this is critical because by far the toughest thing for a non-techie is to figure out what and how to ask. And no I don't mean that @#$%ing talking paperclip that Office used to have.


There needs to be a sensible drill-down and flow. You cannot be presented with "hidden" functions, and you need to be able to get to critical things without the click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click 7th circle of navigation hell continually prompting you to run and get a Xanax.

Very well expressed, couldn't agree more. The home electronics industry isn't alone in it's drive for complexity for complexity's sake--the learning curve on the typical modern automobile's many functions is criminally distracting.
 

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I'll add another mind-numbing mistake--ARC. Doesn't work much of the time or is incredibly difficult to set up when it can be made to work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23244769


Very well expressed, couldn't agree more. The home electronics industry isn't alone in it's drive for complexity for complexity's sake--the learning curve on the typical modern automobile's many functions is criminally distracting.

Hey thanks. I had a hysterical conversation once about this very thing with a friend of mine's father who was one of the VP's of GM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23244778


I'll add another mind-numbing mistake--ARC. Doesn't work much of the time or is incredibly difficult to set up when it can be made to work.

I have to disagree here unless you mean it's a good idea that they keep screwing up. Besides, I'm not convinced it's the problem of the TV----I'm suspicious of the receivers, but only because I always am: I've had so many flakey receivers in my (and in my relatives') time.


I do believe that it is a critically good idea though. You really need to have the TV call the shots on when it feels its ready for audio, and yes, you can backchannel the audio data other ways, but there's no sense in not using a data network to its fullest (which is what HDMI represents, even if only point to point).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making/0_100#post_23244883


The elimination of annoying indicator lights would be my number one pet peeve. I've had to tape over the power indicator LED on my last three displays.

You saw this post right? Seems made for you.


BTW, when the phantom stranger is written properly, like by Alan Moore, he truly is one deeply mysterious character.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgm1024  /t/1469682/mind-numbing-mistakes-tv-manufacturers-seem-to-keep-making#post_23244815



I have to disagree here unless you mean it's a good idea that they keep screwing up.

That's clearly what he means. It comes from the right motivations, but it rarely works as intended.
Quote:
Besides, I'm not convinced it's the problem of the TV----I'm suspicious of the receivers, but only because I always am: I've had so many flakey receivers in my (and in my relatives') time.

Receivers are a joke. Annual model cycles for receivers have become a terrible mistake and forced way too many mediocre products into the market than never quite get fixed before being replaced. It's a shame, too. No wonder Bose does well and Denon and Yamaha don't. Simplicity > features.
 

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Ugly, shiny stands and bezels. Sony has a "blue line" now around the bezel in their newest TV, I think it's the W900.
What are they going to have next, purple, bright yellow? Then they wonder why they are losing so much money every year. Another thing I don't like is that they will try and come out with new technology every 2-3 years, they need to perfect what they have now. It's like they get halfway there, then decide to move onto another type of TV. You can't make money when you're constantly spending money on R & D instead of sales, the customers don't even know what to buy anymore.
 
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