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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was thinking of adding a touchscreen to my rack and was browsing for LCD screens when I came across this.

http://www.viewsonic.com/smartdisplays/


This looks like it can be the ultimate screen/remote. Wireless interface to your HTPC. Image you can have the screen sitting on a coffee table or rack that you can then take with you and move about. Definitely looks cools. Only negative I can see if price.


Anyone see these in action? Comdex?


Chris
 

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I took a good, long look at them during Comdex. My first reaction was the same as yours: The coolest HTPC controller yet! Then I realized (and confirmed) that it wouldn't work. They work by creating a remote connection to your main PC. They do NOT use the same user session as your main monitor so you cannot control a DVD player. If you tried, it would attempt to display the DVD on the Smartmonitor, not your video card output. Two different Viewsonic reps confirmed that this would not work as a home theater controller. You could control a music jukebox, but that is about it.


Interesting the way these things work: The display is basically a Windows CE device with 802.11b wireless built in. This Tablet type computer then creates a terminal service connection to your computer. If you have ever used the remote control feature of Windows XP, then you know how this works. Pretty cool idea, but not so good for a HTPC.


Now a product that looks promising is the new iPronto. It looks like a cross between a tablet PC and a Pronto remote. Pretty cool but very expensive.


Kent
 

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That's a huge shame. I bet Viewsonic would sell a bunch of these with the HTPC taking off. Otherwise, I see the applications limited. With the low cost of laptops and launch of new tablet pcs why would anyone buys these for lite work or web browsing. I think they missed a hugh opportunity here. I'm still curious if this could work if you had a web based front end to your HTPC?? Interested to see if anyone comes out with a work around/hack for this. Again, think it's cool idea. By any chance did you see any similar or competing products? I know about the pronto but too rich for my blood.


Chris
 

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The way I see this is exactly like a EPOD or webpad using terminal services.....


Now if you can use a 3rd machine as the 'router' in the equation running ML etc relaying via girder to the HTPC then you have both HTPC and pad connections... This is what I do but with $100 hardware instead so its not quite as cool but has the functionality.... Have to say they look like slick displays...


Also while the reps may have said what they did I wonder what would happen if you use a dual head card with the second output to the projector... Then configure it to send the overlay to the 2nd display... dScaler / DVD etc all on the projector... The rest still in your hand... My guess is this should be doable....
 

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It is looking pretty good. I wonder about streaming video over wireless. THe gear is going in the right direction. I think I'll stick with my Fujitsu C-500 ( 500-Celeron 256meg @ win98 ) with docking station.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In reading the specs on this, it may work though not elegantly. From what I read it's running Windows CE. That being the case, you can use an app called VNC to remote control your HTPC. Again not elegant but it works. I currently have this setup working on my Compaq Ipaq but it's not that great as the screen on the Ipaq is too small for me. In this case you should be able to see the screen nicely and control it as if you were sitting in front of the pc. This would mean you would need to install this on a secondary pc (non-HTPC) that needs to remain active. Again not ideal but may work.


Phat Freddy, you mentioned an EPOD or Webpad. What are those and how good are they? For $100 that may be the direction for me. How the weight and battery life.


MrPenPad, can you comment as well on your solution?


Thanks

Chris
 

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I looked into the AT&T VNC program about a year ago. It tends to need more network bandwidth than wireless can support; at least with my linksys 2.4 GHz config. The 5.6 GHz may have better \\ higher throughput ??


The fujitsu is a next step forward from the Point 510 that flooded the market about a year ago. It is small, sleek and dark grey. The poor mans alternative to itouch ?? I snagged the C-500 for under $800 so it was an affordable alternative in my case. Being a full PC platform, you can run windows 98,ME,NT,2000 and XP. Some Unix flavors too. I like the smaller OS's that still have multimedia support so I stuck with the preinstalled 98 in this case. Cheap notebooks might have some value here but a touch screen is hard to beat as a human interface. The Fujitsu Point 510 is hard to beat used at under $200 ?? Its a little slow on surfing with multimedia web sites and cant do audio or video webcasts but for touch screen control it is perfect. The wireless pcmcia card gets quite warm. Let me know what you've seen or heard as well.


My ultimate goal some year is to have a metal broach that I touch to get the HTPC attention I would wear and give voice commands. Kind of like the "Blow it up crew" StarTrek NextGeneration ?? No matter where you are you issue your request in relative terms. i.e. "Turn on the lights" instead of "Lights on A5" or "lights on Basement"...


Hope you find a interface that works and is family freindly.
 

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I have been thinking about this for a while. I beleive this is the "freestyle".


Anyway, I think Phat Phreddy has it right. There is probably a setting in xp where you can set the video overlay to monitor 2 and use a dual head video card.


If not, Zoomplayer can probably write this into the program.
 
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