CHOW#268 : Grandma’s TV remote

While attempting this CHOW, you could also take a look at a related blog “Digital Divide – By zero?!”.

My grandma is in her 80’s and lives by herself in Chennai. She is quite sharp and also strong-willed; loves Chennai and her circle of friends in Mylapore. I am located in Bangalore and due to the pandemic have not been able to visit her as I used to. For her birthday, I ordered a smart TV online. The dealer folks promptly did the contact-less delivery and got the TV going. They gave grandma a hurried tutorial, gave some WhatsApp contacts and left.

Grandma now takes a closer look at the TV remote. It looks kind of small and there are no buttons with numbers to press; only some discs and arrows. A puzzled grandma calls me for help. She is an ardent cricket fan and the India-England test match is starting the next day. But then, she is very clear about one thing – she won’t have people coming into the house and near her in view of the pandemic. She is vaccinated but will not relax her safety protocols one bit. Also, while WiFi has been installed a few days earlier, grandma is yet to get a smart phone. She has a feature phone and a landline though.

Now, how do we get her going in time for the match? Have a think, ladies & gentlemen – before you scroll down to see our suggested solution!





Suggested Solution:

If I have to help grandma without anybody else’s help in Chennai, I will have to ask her to hold the remote and walk her through step by step. I can myself use some YouTube videos while doing so. If the new TV has a built-in voice assistant, that would come handy for her to navigate on her own down the line.

If I can somehow convince Grandma to get local assistance (friend or family), someone with a smart phone, it gets a whole lot easier – essentially, a Chennai proxy for myself. They can just use the remote and set up for her for the test match channel without getting close to her; sanitize the remote and return to grandma! If grandma is open to it, they can give her a slightly more detailed tutorial.

Another option would be to get the TV provider himself to pay another visit and do the above role of the friend / family member. Since grandma has allowed them inside once earlier, it may be easier to convince her about another visit!

I also think it would be useful to get Grandma a new smart phone asap as an additional birthday gift!

So, what do you think of how we crossed the digital divide in this case?

What do you think?

2 Responses

  1. I endorse options 2 and 3. Nothing like a physical walk through, with protocols per her standard in place. You said she doesnt have a smart phone yet, else that would open up a whole lot of other experiments. A nice challenge! I hope she was able to watch her match.

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