Originally Posted by NorCalJason
On the subject of remote control of your HTPC...
I too have used a variety of different remotes over the years. Most recently a Harmony One. I was running XBMC at the time, and I was unhappy with the integration. It felt... funky.
After trying a "remote" app for my smartphone, I was hooked. THIS is the level of integration I was looking for! Not only is the interface repeated correctly on my touchscreen smartphone/tablet, it's all controlled over IP. No line of sight needed... You can be in the kitchen, press the thumbnail image of the artist you'd like to listen to, and boom.... It launches on your HTPC.
I've used Constellation for XBMC, and JRemote for JRiver. Both are excellent products under $10. And absolutely BLOW AWAY the functionality and integration of a traditional remote.
Touchscreens don't work well for DVR-ing IMO, you can't by feel
find the transport controls, you have to pick up and look at the remote, actually you have to look at it the whole time you're using it. I can see where they'd be great for controlling a movie based system where 99% of the use is just picking a movie from the list and kicking it off, or for a music system where you queue up your playlist.
But for a TV solution where you need to frequently pause, play, ffw, rw, etc it doesn't work well. I also prefer hard buttons for volume so I don't need to look at the remote to change the volume.
Originally Posted by lockdown571
I guess what I don't understand is the remote you're using. What kind of remote doesn't let you easily remap commands to logical buttons? This is trivial on a Logitech Harmony with both hard and soft buttons. Remapping the commands on XBMC's side is pretty simple as well if you want some continuity between WMC and XBMC (although I would avoid using two different programs to begin with).
I've got a URC MX880 and the problem is not remapping buttons on the remote it's that the same IR command will do different things in different apps. The fact that it's one set of IR commands and one receiver (input) makes it much more difficult to keep the remote's soft keys and what they're controlling in sync.
For example in WMC the "Guide" command brings up the program guide, and is logically mapped to the "Guide" hard button on the remote. However in XBMC "Guide" brings up the context menu, so it should be mapped to a soft button on the remote.
With separate sources you just setup a macro on the remote to switch inputs and switch activities, but when it's all one source, it's much harder since you can't switch sources, and if you use the link option to fire off XBMC from WMC the remote has no idea whether you're in XBMC or WMC to know which customized pages (key mapping) to display.
Originally Posted by captain_video
The two remotes I mentioned previously give me total control over every program I use, not just the basic functions. I can control every aspect of XBMC between the two of them. The Harmony One gives me basic transport functions and navigation whereas the Lenovo 5902 provides keyboard and trackball functionality without requiring a dedicated keyboard and mouse.
I'd call the Lenovo a keyboard, not a remote. And I don't want two remotes, let alone a keyboard or mouse in my HT. There's a reason I have an MX880+MRF350 in my HT, and it's not so I can have other control devices in there as well.
You can always remap keys on the Harmony One so that the same keys perform the same functions in all programs.
How would you remap keys on the Harmony so that the "guide" command works as the guide from the Guide button for WMC and for the context menu from a different key in XBMC? And how would you make sure the right one is automatically
used in the right application?