Date: Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006, 08:00
Apple makes some nice Bluetooth gear but having a full-sized keyboard on your coffee table is just as bad. The new Front Row remote looks good but can’t control a TV tuner and if you’ve spent any time trying to control EyeTV you’ll know it needs a lot of buttons.
To make your Mac Mini into a true consumer Media Center, something like the ATI Remote Wonder (US$49, pictured) is ideal. Every single button is programmable meaning it can control any application and any option that has a keyboard shortcut. The only thing I’ve found lacking with this set up, is the ability to type in the occasional words while surfing or searching the iTunes Store / EyeTV guide.
This little beauty on the right, the Freedom mini Bluetooth Keyboard (£60, ~US$100, pictured), solves this perfectly. It’s not cheap but it is small enough to sit unobtrusively next to your other remotes and has a nice power save feature. Crazily it’s not advertised anywhere as being Mac compatible but it’s recognized by Mac OS X using the built in HID profile – no drivers needed. it works perfectly and all Apple shortcuts are available by pressing that (windows-esque) Start button by the space bar.
The only things missing from making this a killer remote would be a row of programmable keys along the top for controlling media apps & if that cool looking cursor pad (bottom left) could be used for controlling the mouse.
Anyone else have any good (or bad) experiences with media center remotes?
Contributed by: Ditch