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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building a dedicated home theater with front projection but also have an HDTV in my family room and bedroom. I will be hooking PCs to all three and am looking for the best "sit back" solution for mouse/keyboard control, i.e., mouse and keyboard use sitting back on a couch. The problem is most acute in the theater and family rooms, which will see heavy gaming use.


What are some solutions that well and what do you recommend? I've been thinking about a flat tray with the keyboard affixed and space for a wireless mouse to go onto the lap, but am hoping there is something better.


Tom
 

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Hi Tom,


I've had a similar setup for a while. I'll give you a brief history of the stuff I've tried:


I decided against using IR, so the Silitek keyboard that I already owned was out, even tho it works quite well if you maintain a reasonable line of sight. So, I started out with the Intel Wireless Series mouse, keyboard, and gamepads. The keyboard is OK; it has good range (works from 20' back) but no Win2K support means the extra function keys are useless. Overall, the whole series is quite a flop. The mouse goes through batteries weekly, the gamepads have fairly slow responses sometimes, the drivers are terrible.


Next, still using the Intel keyboard, I got a Logitefch Cordless Trackman FX trackball, I've also tried the regular cordless trackball with wheel. Both work really well, and have great battery life. The drawback to these is their range. They seem to max out around 10 to 12' from the receiver. They claim a 6' range, so I got a bit of a bonus there. I tried the Logitech Trackman Live, which claims a 30' range, but that was a big disappointment - it seems to have the same range as the cheaper ones, and no USB.


2 days ago, I got the Gyration Gyroremote and keyboard combo (check www.gyration.com for info). It's pretty ridiculously expensive (getting it into Canada cost me about $500 CDN, but you can find them in the US for about $250 US for the combo, check pricewatch.com). The remote uses some kind of gyroscopic motion sensing technology to proportionally move the cursor on screen as you move the remote in midair. It works great, and has a really high-quality feel to it. The keyboard is also a well-designed piece, and comes with a protective shell. The key travel is fairly short, though, so if you're planning to type something this long with it (as I'm doing right now), you may wish you had a full-size keyboard. For casual use, it's quite perfect. Both the Gyroremote and keyboard claim a 100' range. Haven't tested that claim, but I know it works from any room in my house.


Finally, ATI just released the Remote Wonder. It's a UHF remote that works well with ATI products and can also be configured for other software. It also acts as a 2-button mouse. It's really cheap - about $50 US I think, and has really good range. As a mouse, it's a bit cumbersome to operate, since you have to hold a button down for each direction you want to move until you reach the desired spot. Give it a test run first. I tried it out, and it comes with the AIW Radeon 7500 that I'm getting next week, but I doubt it'll get much use now that I've got the Gyroremote.


As for gaming use, I'd recommend getting a good gamepad with a really long cord! The wireless stuff is great for regular typing and mousing, but for fast action movement I don't think any of the stuff I've listed here will satisfy a serious gamer.


HTH!


EDIT: Uh, disregard the word 'brief' in my first line!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the information. Wired vs. wireless is far less important than the ability to operate keyboard/mouse from a reclined position (without desk or tabletop). I have a conduit going into both the middle of the theatre and family rooms, and although wireless has advantages, I am mostly concerned about the sit-back mouse operation. Maybe a trackball mounted on the side of the keyboard would be the best combination along with a gamepad for gaming, though it would take me a while to get used to it.


Tom
 

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The Intel Wireless Combo (Base Station, Keyboard, Mouse & Gamepad) seems like a great idea to me, but they've discontinued the line. I've been searching for something similar to this offering from another (or any other) company so that it will continue to be supported into the future. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Ideally I would like a base station (IR or RF) and my input devices would be keyboard/mouse combo, gamepads and possibly even a remote. Is that too much to ask?
 

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I have the same question. I was considering using a joystick as a pointing device. Anyone ever try this? You can get software that converts your joystick to your main pointing device which seems like it would be a lot nicer if you didn't have a flat surface to move a mouse around on. Here is my complete gaming idea: an armchair with a cyborg joystick mounted to the arm, and then just use a keyboard on the lap. I have to admit that the gyromouse looked kind of cool too. It says on the site that it is only $99. Not a bad price.


-Josh
 

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I have the Chicony keyboard as well, and I'm not sure I could recommend it. The price is right, but the range is not that great and it treats the special keys oddly (i.e. ctrl, alt, shift.) In order to get a ctrl key combination you must press the ctrl key slightly before hitting the character. I have not successfully been able to generate a ctrl-alt-del at all.
 

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I picked up an RF wireless keyboard with a trackball built into it....Wish I could tell you the name, it's not ANYWHERE on the keyboard or receiver, it just says HFree. This is basically the unit, mine is black...
http://www.maxcooler.com/maxcooler/wirkeywittra.html.

I think I paid $40- for it from Newegg but I don't see it on their site anymore. For gaming, just get a long usb cable/extension and a wired trackball...Though I completed several games with the wireless from the recliner, switching over the wired trackball and using it with the wireless keyboard was MUCH more fun.

-Trouble
 

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I'm currently using the Chicony keyboard and am quite happy with it. It does have it's limitations, but it's inexpensive and it's the only keyboard I've found that can take constant abuse from my kids computer games.
 
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