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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am working on a htpc for use with my new Westinghouse 37" 1080p lcd. My tax return is coming soon and I will be gathering many of the components.


I can't just use the monitor directly all the time with a wireless kb/mouse as it is the only tv and my girlfriend would not appreciate me hogging it (as in actuality, she is the tv hog :p). Right now I also like having video(esp. music vids) playing in the background while I use my laptop on the couch for surfing/working etc.


I currently have two scenarios in mind to control the htpc from the couch:


1. I attach a 15 or 17 inch touchscreen lcd to a movable arm on the side of the couch and run the dvi/usb cable to the pc, which is directly in front of the couch under the lcd. I extend the desktop to the touchscreen and use this to control it along with probably the new logitech dinovo edge and mx revolution mouse.


2.get a new vista UMPC and use remote desktop to control the htpc. I would get one with a kb, eliminating the need and expense of the dinovo (I don't really do that much typing(this post aside
and hopefully vista's voice recognition works). This would have added bonuses as I could surf and do other tasks on the umpc without using system resources on the pc. I would also have a new mobile pc for the road, the only thing I do with my laptop away from home is lite surfing and video/music playback, so the umpc would be a much more mobile solution; in addition, I could use it as a media player for my car (where I listen to music most) by hooking the audio out to the aux in on my car cd player.


Option one sounds simpler and more direct, but for just a little more money, the umpc route adds a lot of extra functionality and would be preferable (Shameless ego plug: It would also be quite the irony considering my htpc's name. See Signature.) But I have a couple of questions:


-Does anyone here have experience with remote desktop on xp? How is it, is it fully functional and smooth, or clunky and unusable for htpc control?

-I don't plan on throwing away my copy of xp, its still functional. Using dual mobo's, I want to use xp for all my surfing and downloading and encoding and use vista (on the westy only) for a/v playback and tv tuning and gaming (haven't figured out exactly how i'd want to control games yet). I havent found anything on this: has anyone heard if vista remote desktop will be cross compatible with xp, so I can use the umpc to control both?

-On the same lines, I will also be experimenting with mythtv, is there a way to remotely control linux from a windows pc through a remote desktop-like application?
 

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wireless keyboard w/ built in mouse and IR remote like streamzap
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinch /forum/post/0


wireless keyboard w/ built in mouse and IR remote like streamzap

I knew this would be difficult to understand. I realize that most people want their htpc to be super simple, user friendly and easy to pick up and just work. I am not worried about simplicity. I like to be creative and experiment (and I also like to show off). A simple kb/mouse/remote is not what I want. I am definately determined to use one of the two options above, either simple touchscreen and dinovo edge combo or the umpc with remote desktop.


What I need to know is what, if any, experience people here have with remote desktop and how functional is it. I don't have two computers that I could use to test remote desktop myself.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Dark /forum/post/0


I knew this would be difficult to understand. I realize that most people want their htpc to be super simple, user friendly and easy to pick up and just work. I am not worried about simplicity. I like to be creative and experiment (and I also like to show off). A simple kb/mouse/remote is not what I want. I am definately determined to use one of the two options above, either simple touchscreen and dinovo edge combo or the umpc with remote desktop.


What I need to know is what, if any, experience people here have with remote desktop and how functional is it. I don't have two computers that I could use to test remote desktop myself.

you seem neither interested in simplicity nor functionality.


i use remote desktop all day long... but only on my HTPC when doing maintenance. from your posts one can tell you never used a HTPC connected to a TV for any length of time but since you know best... good luck.
 

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I am using a touchscreen to control my HTPC but I am using a 3r party software call Netremote as a front end. In the backend I am using Girder to automate a lot of my tasks. When I do an update, I use RDP or VNC depending on the work I want to do.


Check out http://www.promixis.com and read more about NetRemote.


You can also use Media Center and get a remote and control that through your TV.


Tal
 

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I agree 100% with tal. I've found nothing more accurate, more stable or easier to use than having one computer control another computer and all other a/v stuff and lighting via netremote, girder, usb-uirt and tcp/ip.


Of course the controlling computer (remote) can be a anything ... palm pilot, tablet, laptop or desktop. I never ever use my pronto or any hard button remotes at all anymore. I've also tried HTPC GUIs and it is simply not as easy to use nor as intuitive or fully automated.
 

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I have a few wireless touchscreen setups in other rooms, but I can control my entire home theater and home automation system using nothing but a Logitech wireless mouse. The software on my HTPC remaps mouse buttons to IR codes specific to the AV input I have selected. I can change to any input on my JVC LCOS simply by clicking a shortcut on my HTPC's desktop. Each of the home theater components feel as if they are just another part of the XP desktop, like opening an application.
 

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Remote desktop is what it is. You get reasonably good control over desktop applications. Just don't expect to do full color and certainly not video. But if all you're talking about is pulling up relatively static displays then it's great. Video and high-color stuff, forget about using RDP for it. As for compatibility, you can't remote control XP. At least not without using their "Remote Assistance" nonsense. If you want to control an XP desktop take a look at VNC. About the same as RDP in most respects.


Frankly I find using a 'real' remote is best at the couch. I went with a Universal MX-3000. Not without it's programming challenges but the wife loves it. And when she's happy, I'm happy. Fiddling with a touchscreen PC just didn't cut it. Nor did dealing with a PPC PDA that didn't have a decent charging cradle or embedded wireless. It's not cheap but it's quite nice and has a great 'show off' factor without coming across as irritatingly nerdy.


NetRemote and Girder are certainly 'must haves' for automation control. But much like the MX-3000 they're not without their setup issues. But they do work well.


But I still find it's still best to have a plain old 'stick type' remote handy. When you're watching Tivo or dealing with a DVD menu nothing beats an RF remote with easy to feel tactile buttons. Touchscreen remotes more or less require you look at them to operate. Some have hard buttons but usually not enough of them.


And forget about making cool looking screens with tiny buttons. If you want to actually be able to USE the remote during normal TV watching activities you'll learn to make a couple of large button area screens. For example, it's a lot more useful to have a big touch area on the whole left and right sides of the screen handle rewind and fast-forward functions. Or areas that fit within the arc of a thumb when holding the remote in one hand. While it looks really cool to have a row of graphic buttons they're a real pain to press accurately during normal use.


As for car and portable use, just get an ipod. They're cheap, easier to use and more durable than a UMPC. There's a wealth of interface choices too, ones that will actually fit into the rather limited arc of usability when driving.


On the rare occasions we want to surf the web on the TV there's an input from another desktop connected to the PC input (it's a pioneer 50" 1140HD). I just flip to that input, pull out the wireless keyboard/mouse and go. Surfing requires next to nothing CPU-wise so any old spare box will do. It's running VNC along with being networked to everything else in the house so everything we do on it can't be accessed from our regular PCs or laptops.


So I probably wouldn't bother with the UMPC.
 

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I am using remote desktop to control my music computer with poor results. When it loses connection I have to restart the music server before I can connect again. I am very frustrated having to walk into another room to restart this computer all the time. I couldn't recommend remote desktop as reliable.

Can anyone make some suggestions?

I have downloaded updated remote desktop host/client software and ran network setup on both computers. They are wired together by netgear switch, but I have also tried linksys router setup as switch.

client computer:

XP home

Nvidia onboard ethernet

Host computer:

XP Pro

3com ethernet card

When it is unable to connect it also doesn't show up in network places. These computers seem to be ignoring each other because my other computers will usually show up. Sometimes when I am connected using remote desktop the computer I am connecting from won't show up on the network places of the computer I am connected to. What else can I try? It is boggling my mind that the client can't be found on the host network places occasionally while logged in.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by great juan /forum/post/0


I am using remote desktop to control my music computer with poor results. When it loses connection I have to restart the music server before I can connect again. I am very frustrated having to walk into another room to restart this computer all the time. I couldn't recommend remote desktop as reliable.

Can anyone make some suggestions?

I have downloaded updated remote desktop host/client software and ran network setup on both computers. They are wired together by netgear switch, but I have also tried linksys router setup as switch.

client computer:

XP home

Nvidia onboard ethernet

Host computer:

XP Pro

3com ethernet card

When it is unable to connect it also doesn't show up in network places. These computers seem to be ignoring each other because my other computers will usually show up. Sometimes when I am connected using remote desktop the computer I am connecting from won't show up on the network places of the computer I am connected to. What else can I try? It is boggling my mind that the client can't be found on the host network places occasionally while logged in.


Try VNC:

www.tightvnc.com
 

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Actually, internal network addressing is controlled by your routers internal DHCP server rather than external DHCP or DNS. Creating a reservation on your router for each PC's MAC address so that each assigned internal IP address is static would be the correct way to ensure that you will be always be able to connect to a local server from another PC on your home network.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbmcgee /forum/post/0


I agree 100% with tal. I've found nothing more accurate, more stable or easier to use than having one computer control another computer and all other a/v stuff and lighting via netremote, girder, usb-uirt and tcp/ip.


Of course the controlling computer (remote) can be a anything ... palm pilot, tablet, laptop or desktop. I never ever use my pronto or any hard button remotes at all anymore. I've also tried HTPC GUIs and it is simply not as easy to use nor as intuitive or fully automated.

Maybe I missed something in this discussion beause I was searching on 'GIRDER' and landed here.

Could you elaborate a bit please?


I am getting ready to setup an IRman and Girder to control a new PC that I am hooking to my TV.


I am going to program my MX-700 to control the PC through the IRman/Girder path.



When you say that you never use any hard button remotes,what do you use?


My MX-700 is a hard button remote but I am assuming that your statement would have easily applied to soft button (LCD) remotes like Pronto - right?


Unless you a using a Touchpad or a keyboard then I don't see how you can control a PC without a hard or soft button button remote.


Thanks,

Joe
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Q /forum/post/0


When you say that you never use any hard button remotes,what do you use?

· USB-UIRT with IR "chicklets" (to control IR equipment. I don't even use it to receive any IR signals at all)

· NetRemote (user interface on remotes)

· Girder (the glue)

· one 19 and one 17" LCD monitor (the remotes)

· Logitech wireless track balls (to push the Netremote buttons on the LCDs)

· X10 devices (lights, etc.)

· Wireless headset (for voice control)
 

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Hi all,


I definitely agree with smoothtlk!


I just installed ML/MLS/DVDLobby plug-in/TheaterTek plug-in on my Home Automation PC and TheaterTek DVD on my HTPC PC.


Now I can use one of my Toshiba 3500 Tablets or a 8.5" Touchscreen attached to a SFF PC, with DVDLobby installed on each, to remotely control the playing of any movie on my HTPC PC or any other Video PC in my house.


The installation takes some effort and requires that all of your PCs have LAN access, but there are plenty of support forums at Cinemar and TheaterTek to get you going. The integration of DVDLobby and TheaterTek is really nice!


Just a thought.


Regards,

TCIII
 
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