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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to make it as simple as possible for the wife to control and enjoy the HTPC! We currently have a Pronto Remote and Airboard KB but of course the Pronto is a bit intimidating for her. I have been considering two products for her use. Streamzap http://www.streamzap.com/products/pcremote/index.php has a remote that is IR and has integration with many pc apps already. The other choice is the ATI remote wonder http://www.ati.com/shopati/promotions/remotewonder.html which uses RF transmissions. The web site for ATI doesn't give much detail as to its features or application integration and customization. Is there anyone who has used both or either and can provide me with some advantages and disadvantages of the remote. I like the fact that the remote wonder can be used out of line of sight, however, it cannot be programmed into my Pronto. I also like that it can control mouse movements so that my wife can use it to maneuver throughout the PC without the keyboard as with Internet browsing. I'm not sure if the Streamzap allows this. Also, I am aware that it can control many popular apps like powerdvd and such, but I wonder how well it does this. Basically, I want it as easy as possible for her to work with the HTPC preferably with one device. If she has to switch from remote to keyboard and back it will deter her from using it altogether as has been the case. Obviously, the Wife acceptance factor is important to me, or I wouldn't consider this at all. Granted, I will probably use the remote myself if it works as well as hoped, but it's mainly for her to get involved with the HtPC phenomenon! The price difference is only $10 so that is not really a consideration only ease of use, feature set and integration with HTPC apps. Thanks in advance for all your opinions and any input you can offer.
 

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"considering remote for wife to run HTPC"


I'd say that was a fair swap :D
 

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Your Pronto is intimidating? I'd venture to say the interface you've put ON the Pronto is intimidating.


I put together an interface that works for both of us. For all my gadgetry, within five minutes of my wife using the Pronto, she turned to me and said, "This is the best thing you've done."


I put together another interface for a friend (who also has a lo-tech wife... err, well, you know what I mean) as he installed an entire viewing room in his basement. She was overjoyed with it as well. Both feel empowered and peace reigns in the media rooms.


The interface I put on my Pronto has two main buttons -- WATCH TV or USE COMPUTER. She presses WATCH TV, mostly. I press USE COMPUTER.


I'd say you just need to tweak your Pronto a bit... or alot, depending on what you've got installed now.
 

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I would have to second ScottK's advice. My wife wouldn't use our HTPC until I got her a Pronto--Yeah, she actually insisted on my getting a Pronto!! Anyway, I don't think you can get much simpler, but it will take some work.


I also noted that you are using the Pronto-Airboard combo. I use this also, but am strongly concidering getting an Irman. The airboard interface is a little testy and a little limiting. An example of a problem I have, if the number lock key is active on the airboard, the computer responds differently to the pronto than if it is off. I think Irman will stop these problems.
 

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Pronto is definitely the way to go. When I first told my wife I spent $300 on a remote, she thought I was crazy. But after using it for a while she totally changed her mind. Getting full control of an HTPC can be a fair amount of work, but with Girder and IRMan it is indeed possible and it's worth the effort IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I appreciate all the comments. Purchasing the Pronto remote was not a problem because she knows that I will end up getting what I want at one point or another, so she figures it's pointless to resist. I do sometimes get that "look" but she tends to bite her tongue because I do earn the bread around here.

I have tweaked the interface of our pronto to run all of our regular a/v gear. I even setup a macro just for her to watch satellite tv and she uses it fine for that. I have quite a few components that the pronto controls and with all of it's pages, I guess it seem intimidating to her. Anything that's outside of her macro seems complicated. It's fustrating to me because I've tried to get her more involved with our home theater but aside from sitting there and watching with me, she's hands off. She loves our setup and has actually learned to observe some subtle nuances of improvement with each of my system tweaks. However, she's totally reliant on me to set everything up and get the feature rolling.

I'll be the first to admit that the airboard is sometimes a pain in the butt to use and juggle along with the pronto. I have heard much of Girder and Irman on these boards but haven't really tested those waters. Is it really that efficient and easy to do? Is it also easy to setup your pronto for this combination? Also, can the Irman replace the airboard IR reciever without problems?

Thanks again, everyone!


siwilson-good one. I sometimes forget how some of us can read between the lines :).
 

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Well, one of the first rules of usability -- make the interface suit the user, rather than force the user to adapt to the interface.


When I did my design for my friend, I sat with his wife and talked about what she wanted from the media center. I watched how she and the kids watched TV, how she turned on the radio or a CD when doing laundry (next to the media room.) Based on the information I gathered, I put together some designs on paper and got feedback. Once there, I put together version 0. She used it for a week, sent me some more feedback and they've been happy ever since. I even left enough documentation so if he wants to mess with it, he can without worrying too much about blowing the whole thing.


One of the biggest mistakes I see with a lot of the CCFs that are supposed to be "user friendly" is that they are designed from a "component-based" (turn on the tuner) as opposed to an "activity-based" (I want to listen to music) point of view.


My 2 cents, based on experience, is that adding another remote to the mix promotes confusion -- and probably won't achieve all that you want.


On my system at home, I use IRMAN and Girder. Although I have some issues with the usability of Girder (yikes! don't get me started...) the end-result functionality is amazing.


But it does take some work. At the end, the question is how much is it worth to you?
 

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ECHO above... My nearest and dearest is happy now as my pronto home screen has 3 buttons 'Watch TV' 'Watch a Movie' and 'Listen to a CD' each one does the audio switching and jumps to either transport controls or channel selection...


Getting Girder to do the back end work helps and this way if I switch DVD app she does not even notice... Just change the active girder group and all the buttons still work...
 

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PP - Have you integrated a 510 into the control system yet? Probably the primary reason I picked one up was to eventually have something that my wife (who's handicapped) could more easily use. I just haven't got around to it yet and was wondering if you had.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by quinones
I have heard much of Girder and Irman on these boards but haven't really tested those waters. Is it really that efficient and easy to do? Is it also easy to setup your pronto for this combination?
Girder is powerful, but it also has a learning curve. I am on the low end of the curve right now, but I'm getting there. The Airboard IR receiver will only respond to Airboard IR signals, so it is limiting how much I can use Girder with it. If I get an IRman, I can input any IR signal to the computer, and Girder will perform the desired function. This way, I could download a CCF for the Pronto that I like (or my wife likes), then teach Girder to respond to the remote control instead of the normal way of teaching the remote to respond to the computer.


I have the ATI Remote Wonder, and it confused my wife more than Pronto. It is limited to only working with ATI programs, plus you cannot label the programable buttons on it, so my wife never knew which button did what.

Quote:
Originally posted by quinones
Also, can the Irman replace the airboard IR reciever without problems?
I, too, would like to know this answer. This is the only think that has stopped me from getting the IRman. Will I have to keep both receivers connected, or will IRman receive and work with the Airboard drivers?


I guess one other thing has stopped me. Are there any solutions that both receive and send IR so that I can control other AV from the computer?
 

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Using the Web remote plug in for Media Jukebox for CD audio control...


Actually I put off doing anything as DTPro is sounding like the holy grail for this task but its realease has been pushed back... With 20/20 hindsight I should have done something with Talisman / Girder but it seems like DTPro is ready real soon now...
 

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You will need both the IRMan and the Airboard Rx unit
 

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I think one of the main problems of remote controls are all the 'modes' or multiple RCs laying around. "Why doesn't it play when I press play ?".


Therefor I've used Girder to control all my AV applications with the most simple remote control (no modes). "Play" is always play and power always switches off the application ;) . No need to travel through menus or what so ever and Girder automatically adjust when for instance a DVD or CD is inserted.


I watched people using the equipment and then used Girder to behave as they expected. Now I have a simple and good working configuration. (This was for instance my problem with Zoomplayer. People just open the CD drive when they didn't like the movie. Windows started to nag that the file is missing. I've used Girder to close the window :) )


Wykat
 
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