Thanks, but no thanks Comcast

The other day I turned on my TV. Whatever happened to be on the channel that first came on wasn't what I was looking for, so I hit the "Guide" button on my Comcast remote.

I've only been a digital cable subscriber for about a year now, so I guess I'm no expert. Before that I had DirecTV. Even though the technologies are completely different, the "Guide" button on the DirecTV remote and the "Guide" button on the Comcast did basically the same thing - they displayed a TV grid that could be navigated on-screen to select what to watch.

I've been happy with this arrangement with both of my remotes, so I was very disturbed just recently when the "Guide" button on my Comcast remote started bringing up a new menu with a pretty Comcast logo and a number of selections to jump to various Video-on-Demand features, and oh yeah, the program guide.

We had some trouble with our cable last week, so I initially guessed that this was some default setting that I just need to find and turn off so that the "Guide" button would bring up, well, the Guide.

Much to my surprise, today I received a postcard in the mail from Comcast, encouraging me to check out the new "Quick Menu" feature by, you guessed it, pressing the "Guide" button. It seems this is a new "feature", designed to "give me a much faster way to get to ON DEMAND and all your favorite stuff..."

I'm all for upgradable and programmable cable boxes; I'm glad Comcast wants to make their service easier to use. However, my remote already has an "On Demand" button that I often use when I want to watch video-on-demand. Similarly, when I want to just watch TV, I pressed the "Guide" button to see what's on. I found this arrangement fair and convenient, each button does pretty much what you would expect by reading the label.

So, if anyone out there can explain how making the program guide, a main selling feature of digital cable service, require two button presses instead of one, makes life more convenient, please let me know. Because we all know that just because we can add a feature, it doesn't mean we should.