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How do you control your HTPC?

EnwezorN

Active Member
Hi
I am just putting the finishing touches to my Windows 7 Media Centre HTPC spec and I thought, how am I going to control it?

My PC is located remotely in the loft and I'm connecting it to the telly via an HDMI over cat6 extender via an Onkyo AV Receiver.

As I'm connecting the PC to the telly, I thought it'd be nice to have the option to use a full keyboard but then if I want to watch a film or listen to music, ideally I guess it makes sense to use a remote control and thinking about it, I'd like a remote control that will control my HTPC as well as my HTPC - hmmmmmm.......not sure that is possible?

Anyway, some HDMI over cat6 extenders come with IR extension - does it make sense to get one of these so I can control the HTPC with a remote (I've never used Windows Media Centre)?

So, after all that ramble, I think it boils down to the following:

1. Should I have an Windows Media Centre remote and if so, which one? (Means that I should get the IR extender too)
2. If I get a keyboard, then I can get a USB extender to extend this.
3. Any advice on a good all-in-one remote for telly, AV receiver and blu-ray player?

Cheers
 

jameson_uk

Well-known Member
I'd like a remote control that will control my HTPC as well as my HTPC - hmmmmmm.......not sure that is possible?
Not sure what you mean HTPC and HTPC?

1. Should I have an Windows Media Centre remote and if so, which one? (Means that I should get the IR extender too)
A lot depends on 3 but the main issue is that the best remote is not produced any more (The official MS MCE remote). You need and IR receiver connected to your PC but there are not that many options around

3. Any advice on a good all-in-one remote for telly, AV receiver and blu-ray player?
Logitech Harmony remotes are great for this. They will control volume on your amp, channels on your PC etc and switch over to right amp / tv inputs. This just replicates other remotes so for your PC you still need an IR receiver.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
I use a standard MS IR Remote control with USB receiver, but also have an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (using a Bluetooth USB dongle in the back of the PC).
 

skull_bone

Active Member
I use a Logitech Keyboard and mouse, and a Microsoft Media Centre remote (from when i bought XP MCE) and i can also use my iPod Touch via Logitechs great free app/software (Touchmouse i think).
My HTPC is situated in a cupboard in the Hallway, next door to the living room, and the HDMI cable gets to the Tv via the loft. I have a 3m USB male/female cable running into the loft to the centre of the living room ceiling, for the Keyboard and mouse, and i have a Pyramid IR Extender for the MCE remote (Sky HD too, as it's in the same cupboard)

The iPod touch connects to the HTPC via Wifi, through the router (in the living room) which is plugged into one half of a Homeplug settup which terminates in the HTPC/ Sky HD cupboard.

Overall, the set up works perfect, allowing me to play games, and watch movies without any fuss.
 

jameson_uk

Well-known Member
Sorry, I meant to say my AV equipment - receiver, SkyHD, etc as well as the HTPC.
Thanks for the advice.

As above I can not praise the Harmony remotes enough. HTPC v1 was for music, pics, film and DVD playback, Sky+ was for PVR /TV and amp was for volume.

Everything was plugged into different ports so when I pressed "watch tv" the remote would turn the Sky box and TV on, turn the TV over to the right input, turn the amp over to the right input. After that volume would control the amp, channel +/-, record, rewind etc would control Sky+. If I selected "listen to music" then the TV and amp were switched over to HTPC input and whilst volume would still control amp not the media control buttons would control HTPC.

This only works though if you have a receiver connected to your PC and there are not that many around. The other option mentioned is to use something like an iPod touch and control via WiFi but I have never found this to be great (usable but not fantastic) and obviously this rules out using a Harmony remote (I don't think the super hi-end models have WiFi ?)

For keyboard I use the MCE keyboard and this uses the same IR receiver as the remote. Again this is not made any more... A lot of newer wireless keyboards are bluetooth which could be slightly problematic connecting to a PC in the loft.

A few years ago there were lots of remotes available and many worked well. Now if you look at sites like:
Quiet PC UK - Quiet PC Case Accessories (only a single remote and expensive)
Kustom PCs Remotes / Input (very few remotes and several have the IR attached to the PC which may or may be an issue for you)
Scan.co.uk: Leading supplier of Home Entertainment (same as above)
Media Centre IR Remote Computing Maplin (I believe some users have started using this)
SpeedLink SL-6399 Media Centre Remote Controller | Ebuyer.com
Emprex 3009URF Wireless Windows MCE Remote Control | Ebuyer.com
might be worth a look at too
 

pRot3us

Distinguished Member
A Harmony One , I couldn't do without it now :cool:
 

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