Thomas is an NYC-based designer living in Brooklyn.

He writes, codes, designs a lot of different things, and loves taking photos + videos.

He's got the best friends and family supporting him through this journey, and he's always looking to meet new fabulous people to talk to. So!

If you'd like, you can say hello at me@thomasbyung.kim

Less Channels, More Channels

July 17, 2019

Smart TV. Sentient TV. Intelligent Television. Whatever you want to call it, it probably sits in your living room, connected to your wifi modem. In this case, smart, means that it's probably connected to the internet which allows a plethora of apps and functions that allow it to function as more than just a television (in the old sense).

However, think back just a few years, when suburbia and urban groves were plastered with satellite dishes that had Dish or DirecTV written on it. The good ol' days with remotes that had a thousand buttons, and thumb pains from flipping through hundreds, sometimes thousands of channels. That kinda sucked right? It wasn't the best user experience, nor was it economical for those that work long hours and just want to flip something on when they get home at night. Channels, inevitably, turned out to be not such a great idea once we realized that we can plug in a device the size of our palm to our TVs, to make them smart. Or just have them built straight in, eliminating the need of a huge dish being installed outside our house.

Fast forward to present day - I was flipping through some channels on a friend's Apple TV, and had a nostalgic feeling that I was flipping through channels once again.

Is it possibly the case that we got rid of a technology in order to re-create a better version, but paradoxically ended up creating the same system? Short of casting things from our external devices such as our phones and computers, it felt like the experience felt just like flipping through channels, especially as we add new cohorts of apps and services to our smartTVs so often.

Which brings up the question - is the user experience of navigating a television stuck in a spiral? How do we break from the cycle, and truly create a different experience of navigation? Maybe this is not necessary, however the designer in me can't help but think that we re-designed something to be simpler on the facade, yet intrinsically similar conceptually. What do you think?

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