According to the research commissioned by ADB, the average Polish TV viewer uses only 7 buttons of the remote control regardless if it’s a TV set or a set-top-box.

As many as 4 out of 5 TV users know and utilise only 7 buttons on their remotes without not knowing the other 40, 50 or 60 do. In spite of an ever increasing number of customised options and new applications of traditional remote control buttons the respondents favour 7 of them: channel up/down, volume control up/down, source input, enter or ok button confirming choice and the power button.

It seems that if the industry wants to compete with other digital devices at home, developers need to find a way to navigate predominantly with these 7 buttons.

Other findings are: only 15% of TV viewers utilize other buttons than the main ones and only 2% of respondents boasted to know the functionality of all the remote control buttons are.

“The viewers have to deal with hundreds of applications, advanced functions and personalized settings, which perceived to be important by content deliverers but are considered too complex and impractical for average viewers”, explained Gerald Wood, CMO at ADB.

The survey conducted for ADB also shows how an average Polish person uses TV set in general. It was discovered that 99% of TV viewers watch TV channels, 87% use EPG, 21% use YouTube, 15% record with DVR or USB Pen-drive but e-banking or browsing Internet sites is still very rare – only 4%.

Those that remember old TV sets without remotes or even black-and-white TV have familiarized themselves with new technology but keep using TV sets for watching television only with no added value features. For them the most important TV set functionality is the number of channels and quality of video. Smart TV functions, like PVR, VOD or Multi-room/Multi-screen is still an abstraction. For that reason TV operators need to create information campaigns educating users about new TV features.

Younger viewers often use a TV set just to connect to an Xbox, PlayStation or computer and use it as a large screen, without bothering with advanced TV functionality. For them, what matters is the quality of the picture, matrix reaction speed and the quality of sound.

For years now the rudimental challenge for constructors, engineers and developers of TV technologies, especially those responsible for user interface and user experience remains, apart from aesthetics, navigation ergonomics and ease of searching through multiple TV and set-top-box functions. The remote is not a device invented primarily to browse the Web, search movies by title or actors, switching off adverts that sometimes become annoying or typing words in search engines.

However, the TV is still the device which is the centerpiece of a living room, where people go to relax. So the challenge is how to adapt this centerpiece to the ease-of-use needs of the end-user. “Simplicity and navigation ergonomics are the most important and sought after features when designing modern interface architecture”, says Wojciech Doganowski, New Product Initiative VP in ADB. “It’s the first impression that counts and if the user doesn’t find a way to navigate the application he will most probably abandon it forever”, explains Doganowski.

User manuals are both complex and extensive. Most people use them just to for basic purposes, such as installation and simple setup procedures. The rest is left to intuition and natural exploration. A typical TV or set-top-box manual contains not dozens but often hundreds of pages. Reading the entire manual is too cumbersome, so the users are left with what they know and how they explore the features themselves.