My two ideas that I think are good:
1. standardize the basic remote control protocol (on/off, change channel, volume up/down, basic DVD controls like start pause, fat forward, etc). Once in place and enough stuff follows it you have the joy of being able to use any remote control for the 99% of what you want. If you need to program recordings or do picture-in-picture, then you'll have to dig up the remote for the particular unit. But if you just want to watch something, off you go. Oh, and when you buy a new universal remote (or need to change the batteries in the one you have), you may never have to bother with programming it.
2. standardize a 12 or 20VDC rail in homes - that way we can get rid of all those damn wall warts. Each wall outlet will have several connections for the DC current along with the AC plugs. USB almost gets us there, but 5V and the limited current make it not quite what's needed. I don't really know enough about electrical issues to know if this is workable, but it sure seems like it should be.
#1 would be very useful. Why are there 2 different play buttons? Multiple forward and reverse buttons? etc. etc.
#2 AC vs. DC
is rather interesting. Having both would be useful. What I'd really like to see though, is standardization of plugs and adapters... I have, at my desk, 4 different kinds of plugs. It's nuts. Hmmm... Come to think of it, it would also be useful to have both 220V and 110V electricity in the house. 440V in the kitchen, workshop and laundry room would be useful if manufacturers still supported it.
Now lemme see... A good idea...
STANDARDIZED PLUGS AND JACKS EVERYWHERE
Yep. That's it. Standardized plugs and jacks for audio, video, data, telephony, AC power, DC power, mobile phone adapters, etc. etc. etc. Now, some of those already exist, and some exist in some places, but we are very far away from having sane standards. AC/DC adapters are a disaster. How many mobile phones do you have power charger adapters for? Why is the phone jack on the wall and back of the phone different from the phone jack in the phone itself?
Actually, I'd like to extend that to simply use and follow standards.
e.g. When you pick up a product at the grocer or off the pantry shelf, and you look at that date stamped on it...
- Is it MM-DD-YY or DD-MM-YY or YY-MM-DD or YY-DD-MM? - You cannot be certain in many cases. The ISO standard is clear: YYYY-MM-DD (YYYY/MM/DD)
- Assuming that you actually know what the date reads... Is it a BEST BEFORE or MANUFACTURED ON date? Makes a difference.
Having manufacturers label things unambiguously would be very useful.