Saturday, April 3, 2010

Remote Controls - the icing on the cake

The little credit card remote that came with the Compro Vista T100 tuner card has either busted or the battery has gone flat... after 2 weeks.

I'm not hugely upset - it was not good in the first place and it gives me the excuse to replace it.

Now I've learned what is important in a remote control - proper buttons! The little blister button things on the Compro remote are hard to feel, so you can't tell easily when they've been pressed and the regular layout of the buttons makes it hard to use in the dark.

Furthermore, it has no way to make the PC come out of sleep - since I aspire to spend the rest of my life on the lounge, this isnt good.

Also, no number keypad makes channel changing tedious and I can't give music rankings from 1 to 5 without getting the keyboard.

I've noted that the wireless radio mouse can wake the PC, so its obviously quite possible without having to send a signal to the PWR pins (i.e. the pins that the ON switch activates).

If it were an IR mouse, I was tempted to get some kind of Logitech Harmony All-in-1 remote, that way I could program a Logitech to send a mouse click to the wireless mouse sensor.

So I decided that just a plain Media Center remote would be fine, as any advantages of having one remote control for everything would be more than outweighed by having to get up to turn on the HTPC (remember... no compromises!)

On Thursday, I looked at a few different remotes - it boiled down to either a Hauppauge or a Rock one - neither which was available in the CBD on Thursday.

So I ended up getting a cheap Ace Media Center certified remote for $35. It does everything that I need and later on when the kids won't smash a Logitech all-in-one, I can upgrade to one remote that does it all.

Most importantly though - it activates the on/off switch on the HTPC without any problems at all.

Its opened up an interesting idea for keeping costs down: Now that the remote sensor can be discretely hidden, there is actually no reason particularly to make the HTPC visible at all. It can be completely hidden from view. Since the case was slightly over $200 and was the most expensive part by far, those on a budget might be able to consider hiding an unsightly case in a drawer or behind the entertainment unit -as long as there was acceptable access for actually inserting a DVD and for cooling, it would be a good way to majorly reduce the cost.

No comments:

Post a Comment