Originally Posted by lockdown571
But even if they can, why would you want to do things this way?
If it's a regular mouse, then you need a flat surface. Even if you have a coffee table, it's awkward for a home theater. You could use a gyration mouse, but there is no way you can tell me navigating XBMC with a gyration mouse is as easy or fast as using a simple remote.
What type of regular mouse are you talking about? I'm talking about optical mice and every mouse I have works on my thigh, on the couch cushion, armrest, or the surface of the coffee table (with the exception of a glass coffee table). I haven't used a gyro mouse in many years and I imagine that it would be very frustrating to use in XBMC. However, regular mice are very efficient, even in programs that seem designed for remotes. I'm sure there are more mice friendly skins out there, but I haven't felt the need to go searching.
I think our disagreement comes from the way we use our HTPCs. I use it as a computer that is attached to my theater and I don't want this interaction to be hamstrung in any way. I don't have a problem seeing the Windows desktop at boot up or switching between WMC for live TV, XBMC for stored videos or a web browser for streaming videos (Netflix, Youtube, streamed documentaries from websites, etc.). Having this interaction be similar to that of a Blu-ray player or receiver is not what everyone wants.
That said, ease of use and the UI experience is still important to me, which is why I like XBMC. Guests can use XBMC with a mouse and keyboard just fine and I don't see how a remote would make the experience go any faster or be easier for a person to understand. I will grant you this -- it would be nice to have volume control on the same device as pause, play, select, etc. If this is a deal breaker for anyone, they should go the remote route.
For some people, a better choice may be to forgo the additional cost, setup routine and reduced functionality that comes with using a remote to interact with the HTPC.
So, I ask the original poster this. How do you want to go forward using your HTPC? If you still plan to game, browse the web, etc., just keep using a mouse and keyboard. If you want it too be completely self contained within a Media program, and be like any other device in your rack, start looking at remotes.