In the pursuit of ease of use, the design team struggled with how to symbolize the notion of rating a program, an unfamiliar button concept for most viewers. (By telling the machines what kinds of shows they like or dislike, users ''teach'' TiVo what programs to record on its own.)
''Rather than pick some esoteric technical term about 'preferred' or 'not preferred' television programming, we came up with the thumbs,'' Mr. Newby said.
The next challenge was to fend off an attack of buttonitis.
''Buttons proliferate on remotes like rabbits,'' Mr. Newby said, adding that he and his designers, who ranged in age from 25 to 45, had ''bloody battles'' over which ones to include. They managed to hold the number at 30, a considerable achievement given how many functions the TiVo receiver performs.
19 February 2004
Remote control design
A New York Times article today describes the process by which the folks at TiVo created their remote control.