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XBMC Gets a Dedicated Remote

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  • Without a doubt, I'm sure it will ship with a locked bootloader. How am I suppose to root and flash my remote with such nonsense? COM'ON!!11

  • Excellent! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @09:59AM (#35719898) Journal

    I've been looking at the XBMC wiki for how to program a Logitech Harmony -- or any other universal remote -- and was thinking "they have to be kidding". Modify the keyboard.xml file by hand?

    I've been using the Android app and my phone as a remote, but it is limited. This will save a bunch of headaches.

    • Re:Excellent! (Score:4, Informative)

      by rylin (688457) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:05AM (#35719970)

      Seriously?
      Plex (XBMC fork) has had full support for Logitech Harmony for ages now.

    • by SScorpio (595836)

      It depends on the IR receiver you are using, but I'm using a Windows MCE receiver and I have the Harmony setup as a standard MCE remote all of the mappings for the Live CD version worked correctly without modifying any of the configs.

      • by chill (34294)

        Then I have to try that again, because the WMC remote w/IR that I bought didn't work out of the box. Only a few buttons worked and "back" wasn't one of them.

        I'll see about programming the Harmony as a Windows MCE and see what happens.

        I am using the Live CD version, installed on HD.

    • by NFN_NLN (633283)

      I've been looking at the XBMC wiki for how to program a Logitech Harmony -- or any other universal remote -- and was thinking "they have to be kidding". Modify the keyboard.xml file by hand?

      I've been using the Android app and my phone as a remote, but it is limited. This will save a bunch of headaches.

      It's a little work but well worth it.

      I picked up the Sony Bluetooth Remote (PS3) on sale for ~$16 and a Bluetooth dongle for ~$7.
      The result is awesome. Works no matter where I am in the house and the button layout on the remote is nice. I just modified "slow step" "forward/backward" to be the volume control.

      The PS3 remote is unbeatable for the price!

      • by Tek12 (969515)
        Except that with Bluetooth, the device never sleeps unless you configure it to sleep after x minutes to save battery life. I've had the PS3 remote with a Kensington USB Bluetooth dongle on Mac & Plex running for a while now and this is my biggest complaint. The batteries die seemingly within days. If I instruct it to sleep after x minutes to save battery life, then you need to mash keys on the remote to wake it up in Plex which is annoying as well. I've bought Remote Buddy for Mac to use the remote
        • by NFN_NLN (633283)

          Except that with Bluetooth, the device never sleeps unless you configure it to sleep after x minutes to save battery life. I've had the PS3 remote with a Kensington USB Bluetooth dongle on Mac & Plex running for a while now and this is my biggest complaint. The batteries die seemingly within days. If I instruct it to sleep after x minutes to save battery life, then you need to mash keys on the remote to wake it up in Plex which is annoying as well. I've bought Remote Buddy for Mac to use the remote with Mac software.

          I use XBMC over Windows along with "PS3 Application" to control the remote. At one point I do remember a bug where the program didn't sleep the remote. It works now, just a programming issue.

    • by BLKMGK (34057)

      Duh, program it to use MCE keycodes, no XML required. I have programmed two Harmony using an old MCE remote and they work well.

      That said, 2x of these new remotes will likely follow me home soon :-)

    • by cdh (6170)

      I've been using Harmony remotes (550s) with my 2 XMBC installs (one Mac, one Windows) for about 2 years and have yet to touch a keyboard.xml file. If you select a Windows Media Center setup for the Windows one it just works. The only thing that doesn't seem to work is "page up"/"page down" (which does work on the Mac, but I don't remember what I have that setup as).

    • by IronChef (164482)

      I didn't have to modify the keyboard config file by hand to use my Harmony... But I did have to spend a long time f'ing around with EventGhost. (My Harmony-compatible IR receiver is a USB-IRT, which I bought ages ago to use with SageTV.)

      Last I looked the xbmc wiki was way out of date or simply silent on some topics. The forums were the best source of info, but also the most newb-hostile forums I had ever seen. Newcomers were often referred to sticky threads that were out of date. Development moved quickly a

    • by Marble68 (746305)

      No, not serious.

      I use my Harmony with XBMC and have ZERO issues and programming was a breeze.

      Just tell the Harmony it's using a MCE keyboard. Then, in the Harmony SW you can modify the buttons to your liking.

      It couldn't be simpler. Start here http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=77519 [xbmc.org]

    • by DedTV (1652495)
      I buy whatever the cheapest remote/IR Receiver combo I can find at the time (can usually find one for under $15), toss the remote, keep the receiver for use with a Harmony.

      To maximize what you can do with the Harmony, without digging into the keymap.xml file and keeping everything simple and easy, just set up both "MCE Remote" and "MCE Keyboard" as devices in the Harmony software.
      (Computer > Media Center PC > Microsoft > Then Enter "MCE Remote" or "MCE Keyboard" as the model in the Harmony Soft
  • Finally... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MoldySpore (1280634)
    ...I can get rid of the crappy remote I was using. Since my harmony didn't work with it well I was using a standard Meritline special, that basically just did mouse and keyboard inputs. Got the job done, but I would much rather have the full functionality of XBMC in my hand instead of the work around method I was using. This will really turn XBMC into the all-in-one media front end it was meant to be. It will also be much less daunting of a task to control for some of the less tech-savvy out there, such as
  • Meh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hcdejong (561314)

    And another remote that tries to confine a computer UI into the classic TV remote. Granted, adding the keyboard is a nice touch, but it's still too limited.

    I've been using a mediacenter computer for a few years now. The remote control solution I use:
    - keyboard
    - mouse
    - Griffin Powermate

    1. a mouse makes for a much better pointing device than a four-way button
    2. the keyboard and VLC's configurability gives me dedicated buttons for VLC's functions, like very short jump/short jump/medium jump/long jump; crop/asp

    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Informative)

      by MoldySpore (1280634) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:55AM (#35720670)
      Most of the higher quality HD skins for XBMC (Aeon, etc) are designed specifically to not use the mouse. Once you remove the mouse from the equation, a remote like they are offering becomes a complete solution for controlling your media center. With all its plugins, there is really never a reason to ALT+TAB out of XBMC unless you need to use a browser for something unrelated to media (there are even gmail plugins for XBMC).
  • Just using a standard Xbox remote receiver with a DirecTV RCA remote and it works very well, but an RF remote with a keyboard on the back? That's perfect. Ever since I saw the Boxee box I wanted to get one just so I could have the remote, but this is even better. The only other thing I could ask for on this remote would be a trackpoint -- or even better -- an analog slider a-la PSP/3DS that works as a trackpoint.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:14AM (#35720080) Journal
    It is always a bit surprising how expensive and/or limited remotes have continued to be. The hardware for implementing IRDA (at least when purchased in USB dongle form) costs peanuts(and, while ordinary remote control IR is somewhat different in operation, it has fairly similar part count and less demanding data rates, plus much higher volume, so it could hardly cost more) on the PC side, BT HID peripherals start fairly cheap as well, and have fairly standard support in most OSes for all normal keycodes, some extended multimedia ones, as well as mouse position and button state information. Ample.

    The only real complication would be dealing with the assorted wacky IR codes used by random consumer electronics. Even there, though, an IR receiver for 'learning' or a small abuse of the HID spec for allowing a utility program to download premade device control sets would be neither difficult nor expensive.

    And yet, we still have just a few classes of remote: the 'free in the box, impossible to obtain a replacement' device specific ones, the dollar-store 'universal' ones(universality may vary), the MCE-yes-the-computer-is-MCE-enabled-out-of-the-box-but-it-still-comes-with-this-ghastly-USB-dongle ones(all of which seem to have hit every branch while falling out of the ugly tree), or the extremely expensive basically-an-entire-PDA fully programmable universal ones.
  • I'll buy one. Would really appreciate it if it had an "Info" button though - that screen is such a pain to get to with most remotes.
    • FFS if you bothered to look at the pictures in TFA, don't read it obviously, you'd have seen a nicely placed info button...

    • by BLKMGK (34057)

      All of the MCE remotes I have support an Info button as I recall. They're cheap but often contain buttons you don't need. The best ones give you direct access to Movies and Music with dedicated buttons. I'll be ordering a pair of these myself though as I'd prefer RF, we'll see how they work out...

  • I will definitely be buying this once it's out. And to those who think a keyboard/mouse is good enough...you've got to be kidding me. That is such a fugly setup for a HTPC that it's not even funny.
  • What is the advantage of IR v WiFi (if any)? XBMC would seem like a relatively natural thing for a smartphone to control, no? I think Boxee has an API for WiFi remotes you can use. There is some code explaining some of it here: http://code.google.com/p/boxeeremote/wiki/AndroidUDP [google.com]
  • I understand that people use devices differently and that for a lot of people this will be great, so I'm not trying to threadcrap here or anything. However, this remote wouldn't work for me for a couple of reasons.

    1) Gyroscope that makes only one side active at a time, depending on orientation. This wouldn't work for me because I use my remotes in all sorts of orientations depending on how I happen to be sitting/laying. Often instead of pointing it at the TV, I have it in my hand, upside down (ie: my hand o

  • by Malard (970795)
    For anyone wondering, the whole implementation will be open source, so you can port the remote to work on any other media centre, Myth, Plex, Boxee (if they want!)
  • ...probably have a universal remote. What xbmc really needs is just a USB receiver. I wonder if they sell that receiver separately.

    Also, from a hardware design perspective that receiver looks rather small. I think you would want to build this to have a very wide IR receiving angle. I would be interested in seeing this thing get tested in the real world.

    Even with this remote, you may or may not be able to turn off/on your xbmc system from it. That depends on your motherboard/BIOS/processor.

    I think,
  • I read the the headline and thought... what the fark does an internet comic need a remote for?

    Love tequila! Just love it.

  • FTA:

    The feature with the coolest potential is a gyroscope, which tells the remote which side is facing upright. That means you can hammer away at the miniature keyboard without triggering an unintended volume change from the buttons on the other side.

    Except when I'm laying in bed watching TV and I want to use the remote upside-down. I think I'll keep my AVS Gear [newegg.com] infrared remote for now, kthx.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:39AM (#35721214) Homepage

    I really prefer my Crestron remote and system. I talk to the XBMC dedicated box via tcp/ip and get two way info so that my Touchscreen remote displays elapsed time, show info, etc....

    Glad to see that a XBMC specific remote is coming out with a keyboard on back to make IR remote users life's easier for searching or entering info.

    and no, I'm not filthy rich.. I am using outdated Crestron gear that I bought for near nothing on ebay. you can have rapper and sports legend level home integration if you simply put the effort out there to find what is affordable and not have a "it's used, thats ooky" response to used gear.

    • by hirschma (187820)

      This sounds great. Can you give some more details about your setup? Like, what hardware, how you're doing the TCP/IP stuff, etc?

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        search google for crestron. or go to crestron.com

        also search google for XBMC tcp-IP control. both are incredibly documented.

        finally search for crestron XBMC module and you will find a great module that someone wrote and open sourced to make it super easy.

  • If this came with a dedicated VFD it'd be a ton better. That said, getting the mplay blast VFD / IR receiver working under ubuntu brought new meaning to the words "suck" and "pain", so embedded / native support might be nice...
  • love it. Been using it for years with a MythTV and other devices (bluray player, etc) and have not found anything I have liked better as far as macros, remote learning, and button feel. Only thing I have really wanted is to be able to do RF as well for a dish network receiver, but have not found anything that will do both IR and RF.
  • For a while I've been looking forward to getting this http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Wireless-Keyboard-Rechargeable-Notebooks/dp/B003UE52ME/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1298676916&sr=1-2 [amazon.com]

    For half of the price, you get a keyboard+touchpad combo in a very compact package, and it has a backlight which I admit to needing most of the time. It's even more stylish, so while I agree that a dedicated remote layout is a good idea, the price, and the availability of very good alternatives make me do

    • Does it control anything besides XBMC/media pl

      From one of the articles:
      "The Nyxboard Hybrid supports IR to function as a universal remote for your TV and includes an RF adapter for operating your home theater device without line-of-sight."

      When it launched just over a year ago, it was going for $90 ...

      you get a keyboard+touchpad combo in a very compact package, and it has a backlight which I admit to needing most of the time. It's even more stylish, so while I agree that a dedicated remote layout is a good idea, the price, and the availability of very good alternatives make me doubt it will have that much success.

      You weren't clear on the subject of your last sentence, but I currently have a cheap (15 GBP) RF remote for XBMC, and 4 other IR remotes (amp, TV, DVD/HDD player/recorder, Satellite receiver). While I can use the amplifier's remote for most of the function

  • I hope they ship a IR dongle for the Xbox with it or how else is this supposed to work?

    btw, it's a shame that they still call it XBMC. They should have dropped that name when they ceased to make it work on the Xbox, so the few guys who continue the development for the Xbox wouldn't have had to use the rather stupid name XBMC4Xbox.

  • The thing I hate about most remotes that come with devices (except strangely my DVR remote) is that they aren't really handy
    in the dark. Yeah I'm looking at you Logitech, Seriously? Google TV keyboard, awesome, Not Backlit? WHY?

    I think maybe it would be nice if everything was just wifi, With bi-directional communications your remote could actually maybe
    know that the device powered down or the output was changed to another device. With IR mostly you get the "ok I tried doing what you
    told me to do but I have

  • Great to hear that they'll have their own dedicated remote - a necessary tool for a media PC, IMO. The tactile feel of the buttons is important and a dedicated remote should make setup a breeze.
    What I love is the flexibility: I setup lircd from scratch, using my stereo receiver's remote. It took a few hours to configure since I had to teach it my remote's buttons, but the results are fantastic. One remote for the stereo, TV, and XBMC. That's all that's needed.

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