This article is part of my Home Theater PC eBook. Learn more…
Your HTPC remote is one of the most important keys to controlling your HTPC because it proves that you know it well enough that you can relax while using it.
You don’t want to use just any remote for your HTPC because not all remotes are going to allow you to access every single function on your HTPC.
Universal remote control
You need a special remote, an IR remote or a remote that uses RF signals, so that you can use your system while in the living room.
One that will allow you to control your HTPC, play games on it, watch movies on it, and shut it down all with the click of a button is better than having 10 that each do one function.
There are many different brands and types of IR remotes you can get for your HTPC. Logitech makes various wireless products for computers and televisions.
There are remotes that can control each and every function but these remotes can be a little difficult for those who are really just about set up and go and do take time to get used to but you can control your whole HTPC system right from your 1 remote.
You want to get an IR remote like this whenever you mainly use software like Windows Media Center, Apple TV, Xbox 360, or PS3. If you watch movies and videos you can also use this kind of IR and that is pretty much the whole point of having an HTPC. There is a down side to having an IR remote though because you will need to have line of sight other wise it will be hard to operate.
If you have a remote that uses RF- signals such as the Logitech Harmony 900, this will no longer be a problem for you. You will not be able to surf the web or use iTunes with your IR remote though. That may be problem for the users who want to check their Facebook or surf the web.
Keyboard and mouse
On the other hand you can get a wireless RF- signal or Bluetooth compatible keyboard and mouse.
These are wireless and you will be able to control everything on your HTPC from both, including being able to surf the web unlike IR remotes. You can use them in the living room, the bedroom, the office; wherever your HTPC goes you can take them a long with you. There are many different types and brands of wireless keyboards and mice to choose from.
There is the Apple Wireless Keyboard, IOGear Long Range Media Center Desktop Keyboard and Mouse, which is really good one because it specifically designed with your media center in mind and is able to reach long distances in case there is a lot of space between you and your monitor, The Logitech diNovo Edge Keyboard, and the Microsoft Arc Keyboard and Mouse.
These are just a few to name some of the more popular ones for you to choose from but there are a number of brands that make wireless keyboards and mice for HTPCs.
Mini HTPC wireless keyboard
If you are really high tech person, you might even want to look into getting a mini HTPC wireless keyboard.
Mini HTPC keyboards give you the ability to send your computer right to your television and control it completely right from the keyboard.
You can have your HTPC set up somewhere else and have it beamed right to your television to watch movies, play games, or even listen to music without having to get up to turn it on!
You can find new mini HTPC keyboards online at many different stores and they aren’t very expensive either. Some good ones to check out would be the MSI Mini HTPC Keyboard, KeySonic RF Mini HTPC Keyboard, and the Orliv 2.4 GHz Wireless Mini Keyboard. A plus would be that a lot of these mini keyboards are very stylish as well.
While you may have an IR remote to control your HTPC from your couch, sometimes you will need to click on something, change the name, or move and delete something and this is hard to do with one remote and easy to do with one mouse and one keyboard. For the ultimate HTPC experience a suggestion would be to have both an IR remote and a keyboard and mouse combo.
This way you can use one when you just are trying to make use of your HTPC and the other when you need to do more dirty technical work. It never hurts to be prepared.
Read all the details about choosing the right HTPC controller from my latest ebook called “5 Steps to a Successful Home Theater PC Project”.