Some tech companies, particularly smartphone makers, have dipped their hands into the TV market by bringing their smart technologies to the big screen. Unlike traditional players in that industry, however, the likes of Apple, Google, and even NVIDIA have stripped remote controls bare, leaving only what they deem to be the essentials. That hasn’t always been favorably received and Swiss network operator Salt has taken matters into its own hands, pun unintended, by launching a slightly more conventional remote for the Apple TV 4K that almost goes against everything Apple’s own Siri Remote stands for.
It isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. The design of remote controls also give insights into the core values and focus of the TV makers. The larger controls that are filled with buttons value quick access and sometimes muscle memory while minimalist remote controls from smart TV makers emphasize smart features and voice control. Neither is right nor wrong but some users just can’t make a giant leap in an instant.
It is for this first time Apple TV users that Salt is launching its own remote control. It has a more familiar design and heft that offers more buttons than either the Siri Remote and the old Apple TV remote. Thankfully it doesn’t overload the remote with buttons but only includes the bare minimum.
More important, however, is what the Salt Remote Control doesn’t have. It replaces the somewhat divisive touchpad for a D-Pad. It foregoes sensors and wireless connectivity for plain old IR. And it doesn’t have a mic for Siri because Siri on Apple TV isn’t available in that market anyway.
In a way, that has helped push the price down to 19.95 CHF, roughly $20, when the Siri Remote costs three times as much. The Salt Remote Control was supposedly made with Apple’s blessing and input so subscribers need not fear Cupertino taking their multi-button remote away.