Did seniors and their TVs become disconnected in the analog-digital switch?

I tend not to write about gadgets -- but the TV remote has bugged me for a while -- since the analog-digital switch, my mother-in-law struggles to use the remote control of her new digital TV.  Sometimes she gets it by reading printed directions. Sometimes she just yanks the cord out of the wall to turn it off. Somehow, I don't think she is the only one who used to have an older-style dial TV that you walked up to and switched on. From an e-mail I received recently: "When we gave the new TV to my husband's mother, she said, "what's with all the buttons? Up, down, off, on. I don't change the sound and at my age I have the time to go through the channels."

That's where this device comes becomes a stealth winner in a battle to keep seniors connected to the outside world -- turning the TV on and off, changing the channel -- is near the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. But for some silent population, many who have dementia, who have difficulty learning new skills, have difficulty using their hands to push buttons, it may be gone and we can't hear their puzzlement. Worse, once the switch was past, news media lost interest.

The Keep It Simple (KIS) company figured out what seems to have eluded well-meaning people and companies during the transition. They invented a dial remote, the Slicker Clicker, that addresses the problem. And it works -- I programmed several TVs (after a few false starts -- instructions are not perfect) -- place it 6 inches from a 'new age' remote -- hit a few buttons on the source remote,  done. Once it's programmed, turn a dial to change the channel and volume!  And in a fully darkened room, the dials glow. How retro!  How cool.

 

TV Remotes

Laurie:

You may not remember but in the Fall of 2012 you reviewed the Flipper, a TV Remote that has only six buttons (on/off for TV and cable box at the same time, mute, and up/down buttons for volume and channels). My mother in law was bedridden, and living in a very good ALF. I bought the Flipper. She loved it. It gave her one thing in her life that she could control. She called it 'my toy.' And more smiles came from that simple device than anything else except family. So, don't put yourself down for publicizing a 'gadget.'

Slicker Clicker from KIS - gone

Company appears to be out of business.

Wow -- Panasonic TV Remote -- Somebody Noticed Aging Boomers

We just bought a new, relatively low cost plasma TV -- looks great. But that's not the exciting part -- The remote for this model, TC-P42C2, was designed with the older, bi-focaled and possibly shaky-handed TV surfer.  Large number buttons, and, large volume and channel advancing buttons.  The mute, format, info, closed caption, input, buttons are still miniscule, but hey, let's give 'em credit. Compared side-by-side with the Samsung remote that it replaced, substantially bigger remote and buttons.  Progress!

 

Simple Remote

Laurie,

Over the last 10 years, we've been selling simple remotes. Not dials, which are interesting but might be difficult for arthritic hands, but only 6 buttons.
http://www.dynamic-living.com/product/tek-pal-simple-tv-remote/

While your focus has been on much needed technology that can help seniors at home, ours has been on products with uncomplicated designs that assist seniors (and everyone else). This includes simple 6 button remotes, big calendar clocks, weighted shower curtains and products that talk.

What intrigues me is that our products are always being 'discovered' by people who previously did not have the need for them. To them it's a whole other universe. I guess you only see what you need.

Is there a story in that for marketers to people over 55 for both of us?

Agreed -- you see what you need -- and you decide what that is

Let the market tell you who they are:

http://www.ageinplacetech.com/blog/reaching-older-audience-brand-versus-channel

One side benefit of an increasingly computer-comfortable boomer population is that if they want to find something, they will be able to do so.

 

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