There’s plenty of reason to hate cable companies, not least of which is the hideous, wonky, slow UIs they foist upon us through our cable boxes. Think about: slow scrolling, undifferentiated lists of information that you have to scroll through for 10 minutes, constantly hitting a button on a crappy, confusing remote control, just to find a Law & Order rerun. Did we mention we don’t like them?
Finally, Peel has come along with nifty gadget, designed by Yves Behar’s Fuseproject, that lets you sidestep all that mess. All of the interaction happens using an app on your smartphone instead of your remote; the little fruit-shaped doodad above is a Wi-Fi/IR station that acts as a go-between for your TV and smartphone. When you sit down to watch TV, you simply tap your location into the app. It then goes and looks up all the shows that are on, and lists them in a clean interface. (The Peel device comes in three different shapes: An apple, an orange, and a pear.)
But what’s particularly alluring is that the interface is molded by your own preferences: You can say what you like, you can search by genre, and over time, the app’s AI starts to recognize your viewing patterns and makes suitable suggestions. In addition to controlling your TV, audio, and DVR, Peel also has a social function, so that you can share what you’re watching with friends.
A bit like the Jawbone before it, Peel represents both a design and an investment for Fuseproject — they’ve take an equity stake in the company. Which is a good thing: It’s all too easy for designers to just take paychecks. When they invest, you know they think they’re onto something good.