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Do I Need a Remote? - Page 2

post #31 of 76
I guess I"m just assuming that most people on this forum exclusively use software specifically designed for HTPCs. I never found navigating a regular desktop from 10 feet away very easy or fun. I think it's pretty obvious that most computer software, including browsers, are not designed to be used this way.
post #32 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclos3 View Post

Actually, zooming through the WMC guide with a mouse is a pretty smooth and fast experience.

EDIT: It seems like everyone with a remote setup is very defensive. Are you trying to justify your purchase or the time it took to get it configured properly? The way the original poster uses his HTPC might suggest that a remote is not worth it for him and we're trying to provide some counter points to the "get a remote now," camp.
I presented some pretty good use cases that show the clear superiority of remotes which weren't refuted or even acknowledged.

Here's the investment I have in getting my remote configured properly: Plug in $15 IR dongle, spend 5 minutes making a "Watch TV" activity macro. I have keyboards/mice and keyboard/mouse apps I use when needed, but the most efficient interface by far for watching my DVR is a universal remote. I press one button to turn on my TV, PC and AVR, select all the proper inputs and launch media center. Then I use the transport, arrow keys, menu keys an num keys to navigate and control playback, all without ever looking at my remote or taking my attention off the program I'm watching. Doing otherwise simply makes no logical sense. If I have an application that works better with a keyboard/mouse, I have no problem doing that. However, it's a very rare event.

To those that never change inputs or even change volume, what kind of system do you have? How do you integrate game consoles, home automation, or other playback devices?

Of course it's possible to control everything with a mouse. It's probably even possible to type with your feet. But why would anyone want to do that unless they had to?
post #33 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Nobody said they didn't use a mouse and keyboard. They said using a remote in the HT environment is superior. Most people here use their HTPC as a STB type device for control as such and not as a PC.

BTW, The OP is clearly asking about remotes and if they work with PC's and what type of remote to get.

Ya, I agree that as a STB device you should get a remote and go through the initial setup to enjoy a seamless experience down the line.

The first question he asks is "Do I need a remote?" Next, he describes his usage and asks a few more questions about remotes. I think, based on the way he currently uses his HTPC, the answer to his first question is "No." Oldsmoboat, are you planning to change how you use your HTPC? I.e. do you want to use it more as a set top box type device and less for gaming and browsing?
post #34 of 76
A system that is controlled by a remote = HTPC

A system that is controller by a mouse and keyboard = PC connected to a TV.
post #35 of 76
Why use a mouse or remote when you could hook up a Kinect and use your body.
post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

A system that is controlled by a remote = HTPC

A system that is controller by a mouse and keyboard = PC connected to a TV.
Exactly!
post #37 of 76
Getting back to the OP:
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsmoboat View Post

Am I supposed to be using a remote?
Use whatever works best for you.
Quote:
If so, how would it interface with the PC?
IR dongle.
Quote:
Do these remotes work with TotalMedia Theater or do I have to use MCE?
Don't know. Others have said they work without MCE.
Quote:
Does a universal remote like the Harmony (to control TV, Receiver, DVR) work with a PC?
Yes.
post #38 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

I presented some pretty good use cases that show the clear superiority of remotes which weren't refuted or even acknowledged.

Here's the investment I have in getting my remote configured properly: Plug in $15 IR dongle, spend 5 minutes making a "Watch TV" activity macro. I have keyboards/mice and keyboard/mouse apps I use when needed, but the most efficient interface by far for watching my DVR is a universal remote. I press one button to turn on my TV, PC and AVR, select all the proper inputs and launch media center. Then I use the transport, arrow keys, menu keys an num keys to navigate and control playback, all without ever looking at my remote or taking my attention off the program I'm watching. Doing otherwise simply makes no logical sense. If I have an application that works better with a keyboard/mouse, I have no problem doing that. However, it's a very rare event.

To those that never change inputs or even change volume, what kind of system do you have? How do you integrate game consoles, home automation, or other playback devices?

Of course it's possible to control everything with a mouse. It's probably even possible to type with your feet. But why would anyone want to do that unless they had to?

I acknowledged that if it is your priority to have volume control (and input) all on one device, the keyboard and mouse is not the best choice. I like the scroll wheel and mouse pointer approach for live TV (w/guide) though and I think most people would be able to navigate the guide more quickly with a mouse than direction keys on a remote. I don't have numbers or hard facts to back that up though, so to each his own.

However, in regards to the way the OP currently uses his HTPC, how do you think he should proceed? He web browses and plays games with his HTPC. Should he add a remote, but keep the keyboard and mouse "on the coffee table" as well? I'm not being sarcastic -- getting a remote AND keeping the mouse and keyboard within reach may be the best compromise for him. If a mouse and keyboard must remain within reach though, this greatly diminishes the value of macros and all-in-one control.
post #39 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclos3 View Post

I acknowledged that if it is your priority to have volume control (and input) all on one device, the keyboard and mouse is not the best choice. I like the scroll wheel and mouse pointer approach for live TV (w/guide) though and I think most people would be able to navigate the guide more quickly with a mouse than direction keys on a remote. I don't have numbers or hard facts to back that up though, so to each his own.

However, in regards to the way the OP currently uses his HTPC, how do you think he should proceed? He web browses and plays games with his HTPC. Should he add a remote, but keep the keyboard and mouse "on the coffee table" as well? I'm not being sarcastic -- getting a remote AND keeping the mouse and keyboard within reach may be the best compromise for him. If a mouse and keyboard must remain within reach though, this greatly diminishes the value of macros and all-in-one control.

How? It isn't as if the two are mutually exclusive.
post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Why use a mouse or remote when you could hook up a Kinect and use your body.

Excellent point. I think this discussion is over.
post #41 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

A system that is controlled by a remote = HTPC

A system that is controller by a mouse and keyboard = PC connected to a TV.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Exactly!

That is pretty disrespectful to this community. By extension, you're saying that users who don't use a remote to control their connected PC, do not belong in this forum as they do not actually have HTPCs.

"Theater" also tends to refer to a screen and projector in a dedicated room. Should we apply your logic and make this a club for only those with "theaters" in their house and relegate less dedicated folks to a "TVPC" forum?

I hope not! I think anyone who views content on their TV or projector from a PC or laptop no matter the form factor is taking part in the HTPC experience, right?
post #42 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

How? It isn't as if the two are mutually exclusive.

If you are switching frequently between movies, web browsing and gaming, you'll be accessing all of those input devices frequently enough that the value added by the macros and universal control is not so great. Don't get me wrong, a macro'd universal remote is a great thing and some of its uses are essential if you don't want to touch a keyboard and mouse. However, if you having a keyboard, mouse and remote right in front of you, the impact of what a universal remote brings to the table (no pun intended) is less profound. See what i'm getting at?
post #43 of 76
Thread Starter 
Wow, this thread blew up, thanks for the replies.

I haven't heard of passkey lite, I'll check it out. I was working under the impression that to watch Blu Rays (both rented and owned) that one needed a suite like TMT or CyberLink. I used the trials of both and didn't care for CyberLink.

I sit 10 feet away on my couch. I use a wireless keyboard and wireless trackball. I prefer the trackball over a regular mouse and it's easy to use on the couch. Sometimes the range is iffy if I get my leg between the mouse and the htpc.

I game (FPS), browse, edit pics, watch Netflix, use Word/PowerPoint, etc on the PC. I put a Blu Ray drive in this build to watch movies. We often go between Netflix, blu rays (both on PC) and the Dish DVR for shows.

During blu ray playback, it seems a remote would work better to start pause, ffw and rwd (30 second skip like the DVR?). Plus it might reduce clutter. Right now, I have to use a remote for:
HDMI switch, DVR and receiver plus a mouse keyboard for blu ray playback. If I want to play the Wii, I need to use the TV remote. Buying a new TV (March?) will eliminate the need for the hdmi switch.
post #44 of 76
There's no requirement for a projection or screen in the definition of theater.
Quote:
Definition of THEATER
1
a : an outdoor structure for dramatic performances or spectacles in ancient Greece and Rome
b : a building or area for dramatic performances
c : a building or area for showing motion pictures

It doesn't appear in the definition of Home Theater either.
Quote:
home theater noun
An entertainment system for the home that usually consists of a large television with video components (as a DVD player and VCR) and an audio system offering surround sound

And according to wikipedia using a remote control is integral to an HTPC.

That said, there's no reason people not using a remote should not be in this forum.
Edited by Sammy2 - 2/12/13 at 10:16am
post #45 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclos3 View Post

If you are switching frequently between movies, web browsing and gaming, you'll be accessing all of those input devices frequently enough that the value added by the macros and universal control is not so great. Don't get me wrong, a macro'd universal remote is a great thing and some of its uses are essential if you don't want to touch a keyboard and mouse. However, if you having a keyboard, mouse and remote right in front of you, the impact of what a universal remote brings to the table (no pun intended) is less profound. See what i'm getting at?

Still mutually exclusive. Having one doesn't diminish the other as they are independent of each other.
post #46 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Still mutually exclusive. Having one doesn't diminish the other as they are independent of each other.

I never said nor implied that they were mutually exclusive. And of course the keyboard/mouse doesn't make the remote worse, but again I never claimed this. The presence of a mouse and keyboard does make the remote go from essential to "nice in certain circumstances."

Lets not obfuscate the point with dictionary look ups. I was simply making a point that defining an HTPC as something that is exclusively controlled with a remote is silly and not at all in the spirit of this forum. In fact, it is short sighted and rude to the large user base that does not use a HTPC in the rigid manner that you have decided is acceptable.
post #47 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsmoboat View Post

Wow, this thread blew up, thanks for the replies.

I haven't heard of passkey lite, I'll check it out. I was working under the impression that to watch Blu Rays (both rented and owned) that one needed a suite like TMT or CyberLink. I used the trials of both and didn't care for CyberLink.

I sit 10 feet away on my couch. I use a wireless keyboard and wireless trackball. I prefer the trackball over a regular mouse and it's easy to use on the couch. Sometimes the range is iffy if I get my leg between the mouse and the htpc.

I game (FPS), browse, edit pics, watch Netflix, use Word/PowerPoint, etc on the PC. I put a Blu Ray drive in this build to watch movies. We often go between Netflix, blu rays (both on PC) and the Dish DVR for shows.

During blu ray playback, it seems a remote would work better to start pause, ffw and rwd (30 second skip like the DVR?). Plus it might reduce clutter. Right now, I have to use a remote for:
HDMI switch, DVR and receiver plus a mouse keyboard for blu ray playback. If I want to play the Wii, I need to use the TV remote. Buying a new TV (March?) will eliminate the need for the hdmi switch.

Thank you for clarifying. It sounds like you have a lot of remotes in play. Can you set the Dish remote up to control the over devices? When I had Comcast, those remotes could control most of my equipment other than the projector, so I bet this one could eliminate a few of yours as well. If that doesn't do it for you and you really don't like using the keyboard or mouse for pause and play, going with a true universal is probably your best bet.

For the range, where is your RF receiver? I have my HTPC (if I'm allowed to call it that) in a closet at the side of my theater and use a USB extension to place the RF USB dongle in a better location.

EDIT: Also, what is your receiver? Many receiver remotes are universal. I was pleasantly surprised that mine (Onkyo 807) could control my old, Infocus projector.
post #48 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclos3 View Post

I never said nor implied that they were mutually exclusive. And of course the keyboard/mouse doesn't make the remote worse, but again I never claimed this. The presence of a mouse and keyboard does make the remote go from essential to "nice in certain circumstances."

Lets not obfuscate the point with dictionary look ups. I was simply making a point that defining an HTPC as something that is exclusively controlled with a remote is silly and not at all in the spirit of this forum. In fact, it is short sighted and rude to the large user base that does not use a HTPC in the rigid manner that you have decided is acceptable.

If you state that having one diminishes the other you have made them not mutually exclusive. I am stating that they are are because neither of them has any effect on the other. I never said that you said they were mutually exclusive either. What you are saying does actually imply that they aren't but they are. You specifically said, "However, if you having a keyboard, mouse and remote right in front of you, the impact of what a universal remote brings to the table (no pun intended) is less profound." which is making one dependent on the other, which they are not.

I have no problem with anybody that uses a keyboard and mouse to control their HTPC but it was stated that a Home Theater requires a projector and screen as a matter of comparison and by definition this is not true so therefor the whole argument based on that fallacy is not true.
Edited by Sammy2 - 2/12/13 at 10:55am
post #49 of 76
One diminishes the value of the other. If I replace the word "value" with "importance," does that make it easier to understand?

If I own one car it has a certain "value" to me -- I need it to get around, to go to work, etc. If I acquire a second car the "value" of the first goes down. I.e. I won't be stranded if the first one breaks. Did the second car effect the monetary aspect of the first car's value? No. Does this make sense? Value has a broader scope than you are considering.
post #50 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsmoboat View Post

Wow, this thread blew up, thanks for the replies.

I haven't heard of passkey lite, I'll check it out. I was working under the impression that to watch Blu Rays (both rented and owned) that one needed a suite like TMT or CyberLink. I used the trials of both and didn't care for CyberLink.

I sit 10 feet away on my couch. I use a wireless keyboard and wireless trackball. I prefer the trackball over a regular mouse and it's easy to use on the couch. Sometimes the range is iffy if I get my leg between the mouse and the htpc.

I game (FPS), browse, edit pics, watch Netflix, use Word/PowerPoint, etc on the PC. I put a Blu Ray drive in this build to watch movies. We often go between Netflix, blu rays (both on PC) and the Dish DVR for shows.

During blu ray playback, it seems a remote would work better to start pause, ffw and rwd (30 second skip like the DVR?). Plus it might reduce clutter. Right now, I have to use a remote for:
HDMI switch, DVR and receiver plus a mouse keyboard for blu ray playback. If I want to play the Wii, I need to use the TV remote. Buying a new TV (March?) will eliminate the need for the hdmi switch.

I guess I forgot to mention something. If you use passkey lite or the full version or anydvd you give up bluray menus. Doesn't bug me but some people don't like it.

I would suggest trying the different htpc gui's, WMC, XBMC, mediaportal and Plex while you are at it. You might find something you like.

A universal remote is normally worth every penny. For $15 there is no reason to not try a remote. You will save that much in batteries if you set the keyboard aside.
post #51 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

I guess if you only watch one channel then a mouse would work pretty well.

I don't watch any channels. I watch programs that have been recorded.
post #52 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Most couches I know of are either cloth or leather, and the arm is round rather than flat. And what if you're sitting on the center of the couch? What if you're on the left side of the couch and you're right handed?
.

A laser mouse will work fine on a couch that is either cloth or leather. Not sure what point you're trying to make there. Center of a couch would be an issue, if you didn't have a Gyration mouse--I'll give you that. Mice work in both hands! My wife injured her right arm and we recently switched sides. Not a problem for either of us.
post #53 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

I guess I"m just assuming that most people on this forum exclusively use software specifically designed for HTPCs. I never found navigating a regular desktop from 10 feet away very easy or fun. I think it's pretty obvious that most computer software, including browsers, are not designed to be used this way.

Now you're just making stuff up. The apparent image size of my desktop is about the same size on my desktop PC as on my HTPC, because the HTPC is connected to a larger monitor that is further away. There is virtually no difference!
post #54 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

To those that never change inputs or even change volume, what kind of system do you have? How do you integrate game consoles, home automation, or other playback devices?

First, I haven't refuted your remote claims because I've never used a remote on an HTPC, except the one that came with the old MyHD card. That was a PITA. But the question of this thread is do you need a remote.

As to the quote, do you really not know how to change the volume on a computer with a mouse? There are at least two ways to do it using almost every program.

I don't have other playback devices--that's the point of having a HTPC. I do have a X-Box, but that's connected elsewhere. When it was connected to the same TV I would change the input the same time I turned the TV on and off. Other than that the remote is pretty useless when using an X-box.
post #55 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

A system that is controlled by a remote = HTPC

A system that is controller by a mouse and keyboard = PC connected to a TV.

Nonsense. The existence of the remote says more about the operator than the system.
post #56 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk View Post

Nonsense. The existence of the remote says more about the operator than the system.

What does it say about the operator?
post #57 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk View Post

A laser mouse will work fine on a couch that is either cloth or leather. Not sure what point you're trying to make there. Center of a couch would be an issue, if you didn't have a Gyration mouse--I'll give you that. Mice work in both hands! My wife injured her right arm and we recently switched sides. Not a problem for either of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk View Post

Now you're just making stuff up. The apparent image size of my desktop is about the same size on my desktop PC as on my HTPC, because the HTPC is connected to a larger monitor that is further away. There is virtually no difference!

I was going to stop participating in this discussion, but this has become beyond absurd. You're trying to tell me that using a mouse on a couch is a perfectly reasonable navigation method for the average HTPC user? And when I have friends over and the couch is full, should I just use my buddy's crotch as my mouse pad? Not exactly my idea of a good time, but to each there own.

And you're also trying to tell me that text is just as readable on a computer monitor as it is on your TV? You either have a very small monitor, or an enormous TV. Would you really consider writing up a 1000 word document in Word on your HTPC? Would that be comfortable? What does everyone else on this forum think?
post #58 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclos3 View Post

Lets not obfuscate the point with dictionary look ups. I was simply making a point that defining an HTPC as something that is exclusively controlled with a remote is silly and not at all in the spirit of this forum. In fact, it is short sighted and rude to the large user base that does not use a HTPC in the rigid manner that you have decided is acceptable.

I would agree, which is why I didn't say what the existence of a remote said about the user. biggrin.gif
post #59 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post


I was going to stop participating in this discussion, but this has become beyond absurd. You're trying to tell me that using a mouse on a couch is a perfectly reasonable navigation method for the average HTPC user? And when I have friends over and the couch is full, should I just use my buddy's crotch as my mouse pad? Not exactly my idea of a good time, but to each there own.

And you're also trying to tell me that text is just as readable on a computer monitor as it is on your TV? You either have a very small monitor, or an enormous TV. Would you really consider writing up a 1000 word document in Word on your HTPC? Would that be comfortable? What does everyone else on this forum think?

I think you are missing out if you don't use a mouse on your buddies crotch... What a negative nancy.

Using a mouse isn't as bad as it sounds. For $15 a remote is a no-brainer.
post #60 of 76
OR, I could use this:



It works with both hands, doesn't require a surface to use. I can use it sitting down, standing up, or lying down. It controls my entire A/V system. Navigation is fast and simple, and any idiot can use it. If you want to use a mouse, go for it. I think I'll stick with my remote.
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