Friday, 11 May, 2001

DVD Movie Interface Standards?

You'd think there'd be a standard user interface for DVD movie menus.  It's close:  all of the movies I've seen so far have a menu that you can operate with the arrow keys and the Enter key on the remote, but the behavior of the menus is somewhat erratic.  In general, you use the arrow keys to highlight the desired menu item, and you press the Enter key to go to that section of the DVD.  Except sometimes hitting the right or left arrow will take you to the previous or next page.  Sometimes.  Other times the left and right arrows act like the up and down arrows, or they're used to move between the left and right columns of entries.  It's all a bit frustrating when I'm sitting on the couch in the dark trying to navigate the darned menu.  Do I hit Enter or not?  If I move to an "automatic select" option and then press Enter, I end up selecting the default action on the page that was the target of the automatic option.  Some DVDs aren't even consistent within themselves.  Couldn't DVD producers have agreed on a common standard? 

DVD menus are minor, true, and the consequences of hitting the wrong button aren't anything like what would happen if somebody swapped the clutch and brake pedals in my car.  Still, I think people would be much more comfortable with technology if things of the same type worked the same way.