When you have Windows Media Center as the basis for your entertainment center or HTPC, you don’t want to be burdened with a big, clunky keyboard and mouse combo. Sure, it makes sense to keep a keyboard handy for the infrequent text-heavy Windows Media Center functions, but for day-to-day use, nothing beats a good old remote control. Well, except that you can’t get just any remote control but you have to choose the best remote for windows media center; even some of the more comprehensive universal remotes lack the wireless format and specific functions that you’re absolutely going to need to make the most of Windows Media Center. That’s why I’ve rounded up five best Remote for Windows Media Center– actually, six in total; three hardware remotes, and three apps that turn your smartphone or tablet into a full-featured WMC controller.
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Rosewill makes a handful of very good Windows Media Center remotes, but I personally prefer the RRC-126. It’s surprisingly small, so if you’re sick of bulky universal remotes, you’ll love it. On the other hand, people with larger fingers may have issues, and unfortunately the RRC-126 is not backlit. That could be an issue in theater-dark viewing environments until you’re familiar with the layout. At about $20 – $25, it’s almost worth it for the receiver, which can be made to work with nearly any other remote. so this is the first remote in the list of best remote for windows media center.
CE Compass MCE PC Remote
Nope, I hadn’t heard of the company either. But don’t let that stop you! This is an extremely flexible remote, one of the few that can work on both XP and Windows 7/Vista Media Center versions. Plus, it can work with XMBC or other HTPC packages. The mouse control is a big plus, but keep in mind that it may not always respond as quickly and accurately as you might like. this can be a good remote control for your windows media center.
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Logitech Harmony One
The great-granddaddy of universal remotes. So much praise has been heaped on this universal programmable touchscreen remote that I won’t go into too much detail here, except to say that it is media center compatible and then some. The obvious downside is that it’s ridiculously expensive compared to the other choices on this list, but you will never, ever need another remote. surely one of the best remote for windows media center.
Media Center Control or Unified Remote
Vying for Best Android remote control apps, either one will turn your mobile device into a great Windows MCE remote. Media Center Control is more specifically tailored for WMC, and it’s one of the few $6.50 app purchases that I’d make without a second’s hesitation. Unified Remote is more of a universal remote solution, although you’ll have no problems getting it to control all of WMC’s functions. At $4 for the full version, it’s also a little bit of a bargain compared to Media Center Control, but you may be perfectly content with the free trial version. Both use Wi-Fi (if you don’t have a wireless home network, you’re kind out of luck), but the Unified also adds Bluetooth compatibility.
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This is virtually the iOS app version of the Harmony One — not officially, of course, but because it is amazingly flexible, powerful, and dependable. The multitouch screen gives you excellent 10-foot interface cursor control (even gamepad functions), any programming that you’ll have to do is nearly painless even for non-techies, and it’s got the backlit thing covered, of course. With a built-in Internet browser, you can even load up IMDB (or anywhere else) to inform your entertainment experience.
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Although I managed to find remotes that stood head and shoulders above the pack, I was surprised at just how small the pack really is. Many of the Windows Media Center remotes are discontinued, including Microsoft’s own remote and the peerless Gyration Remote – you can still find one if you look hard enough, but I wouldn’t bother with a used Gyration unless you absolutely know that it hasn’t been abused over the years.
Part of the reason for fewer alternatives is the fact that several newer universal remotes (like the Harmony One mentioned above) have perfectly good WMC feature compatibility, although you may need to budget for an IR adapter or dongle to get it connected. Don’t be afraid to look for models not mentioned here, but make sure that they can do all the Media Center functions – the “green button” is a very good indication. And as always, if I’ve left your favorite off the list of best remote for windows media center, please let me know in the comments. Happy clicking!