Monday, January 11, 2010

New TV Feature Request: Ability to set the channel order

Recently I decided it was time to upgrade my aging 36" CRT television with a new HDTV. After doing a lot of research I narrowed down my requirements to the following:
  • At least 42"
  • HDTV
  • Low power consumption
  • Ability to hook up my Mac Mini so that I can watch internet TV (hulu, netflix, etc).
  • LCD Flat panel
  • Digital TV tune
  • Under $800.00
I looked around for a few months and finally ended up with a Vizio 42" Class Eco 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV, model # VO420E , that I bought at walmart for $648.00 . I really like this TV, it has everything I wanted, and the price was decent.

I have had the TV for a few weeks now, and the only thing that really annoys me is the fact that my non HD channels are separate from my HD channels. My non HD channels are 1 thru 70, and my HD channels are in this weird format, 6-0,83-1,83-2,84-11, etc. Here is what NBC,CBS,ABC, and Fox look like. (It is important to note, that I might be off with the HD channel numbers, since I can't seem to remember which channel is which.)

NBC: [non HD channel , 6] , [HD channel , 6-0].
CBS: [non HD channel , 13] , [HD channel , 83-11].
ABC: [non HD channel , 8] , [HD channel , 84-2].
FOX: [non HD channel , 7] , [HD channel , 82-4].

Now that I have an HDTV, I have become somewhat of an HD snob, why would I want to watch something that isn't HD if it was available. So I end up channel surfing thru the channels, and then if it ends up on a channel where I have HD, I then search for the HD channel. For NBC it was kind of easy to fix this because when you surf the channels it would put 6 and 6-0 right next to each other, so I ended up removing channel 6 all together, so now it goes 4,5,6-0,7,8,etc.

Feature Request:
If there are any TV manufactures out there, here is what I would like you to add to your next TV. I would like the ability to change my channel order when I am surfing. If I only watch 20 channels, why should I have to scan through all 70+ channels finding the few that I want, why not allow me to reorder them so that I can put my favorite 20 first, and then put the rest of the channels after. This way I could replace any non HD channels with their HD equivalents and I wouldn't need to worry about searching for those every time.

If you would like bonus points, it would be great if you could have a custom list for each person in the house, so that my wife can have her list of channels, and I can have mine. I envision it working like this. I pick up my remote, I hit my special button (there are 4 buttons, one for each profile), this tells the TV which channel ordering to use, and then when I start browsing, which channels to show next. My wife sits down, hits her button, and then the remote knows it is her, and when she starts browsing, she gets the channels she wants, in her order. We have favorite channel buttons, when extend that a little bit, and make it much more useful.

This feature seems very reasonable, and technology wise, not too hard. I mean come on, they just released 3D TV, that has to be much harder then this.

Well that is just my 2 cents, if you know of a TV or set top box that has this feature please let me know.