Thought Leadership

OFF-TOPIC: Expectations vs reality

By Colin Walls

I am of the opinion that disappointment is an underrated emotion. Many people do not see to take it seriously. To me, if someone says that they are disappointed in me or with something I have done, that affects me deeply. If someone that I care for has a disappointment in their life, I am saddened and have a great urge to fix it for them [though, most of the time, that is not possible].

As far as I can tell, there is no real opposite [antonym] for the word “disappointment” in English. I am thinking of situations when one’s expectations [of something or someone] are exceeded. I have a recent example from my own life in mind …

In “normal” times, I am not a big TV viewer. I would probably watch a couple of hours per week. I have never liked the way that the TV schedule can rule your life, so the modern on-demand or “catch up” technology suits me perfectly. Mostly I had other things to do and would always prefer to go out to see a movie or attend the theater. Of course, for most of the past year, things have been different. I have been exploring what TV has to offer. I have even discovered that the TV works when it is still daylight outside – I never knew that. 😊 I have a smart TV, so I had a good selection of services available and I have been enjoying movies, new TV shows and some old stuff that I can revisit.

However, I ran into a problem. One of the services, that I wanted to use is BBC iPlayer. However, the app on my TV was out of date and could not be upgraded. It is not my incompetence – there is much angry discussion about this on the Internet. As I have a Lightening to HDMI adapter, a good work-around was to simply connect my iPhone or iPad to the TV and use the app on these devices and that worked fine. However, it was fiddly to set up and there is no remote. I needed a proper solution.

A friend confidently told me that what I should do is buy a suitable streaming device and suggested product “A” [I generally do not advertise other companies’ products here – hence the code]. As he is very technically savvy, I was ready to follow his advice. However, I decided to check with a nephew of ours, who is very keen on such technology. He said that, whilst “A” would do the job – he had used one for quite a while – he recommended “F”, which cost one third as much and was much more flexible and capable. He said that, if I got one and did not find it suitable, I could easily sell it on. I placed an order with my favorite online supplier.

My expectations were that I would have something that would work much as my iPad had done, but with a remote to select apps, content and pause/stop etc. It does all this, but so much more:

  • It controls the TV; I can pick up the “F” remote and turn the TV on or off and control sound volume. So I generally have no need for the TV remote.
  • It is very fast; much faster than the TV. I guess that the TV, being 7-8 years old, has a much slower processor.
  • It connected to the Wi-Fi totally effortlessly.
  • It has voice control! I can pick up the remote, press a button and say “Find blah blah” or “play whatever”; the TV lights up and the show/movie is ready to go [most of the time – occasionally it makes some interestingly wild guesses …]

Overall, my experience was the complete reverse of disappointment; my expectations were greatly exceeded. I am always an enthusiast for technology [with hopefully a pragmatic approach to it], but can hardly believe that I can get this functionality for so little money. Both my wife and my daughter have commented that they do not recall me getting so excited about a gadget for many years. Me neither!

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at