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Input Devices Upgrades Wireless Networking Entertainment

Long-Range Wireless Keyboard/Mouse? 229

Posted by timothy
from the he-thanks-you-in-advance dept.
tambo writes with the sort of problem more people wish they had: "I've just bought myself an excellent LCD TV. I'd love to be able to access my home server from it for many reasons (music, video, surfing, MAME, etc.) — but my home server is in another room, 30 feet away from the TV and 50 feet away from the couch. I've acquired some gear to send PC audio and video wirelessly (over the 5.8GHz range), so that's all good. My challenge now is trying to send input wirelessly to my PC from fifty feet away. I've thought about getting a wireless USB hub, but that would introduce an additional wireless hop that would probably add to the input latency (and might interfere with all the other wireless gear in my pad.) My best bet now is to get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that have an unusually good range, and some of the Logitechs seem to qualify, but it's a gamble. Advice?"
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Long-Range Wireless Keyboard/Mouse?

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  • Bluetooth? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The right bluetooth equipment can have a range of up to 100m. That enough?
    • Re:Bluetooth? (Score:4, Informative)

      by jdcaron (1133483) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @06:29PM (#23795081)
      Personally I own a wireless keyboard (Adesso WKB-4000US [adesso.com]) which I am very satisfied of. I never had to charge the batteries (AAA) since I got it (6 months). And it works either on Windows XP or Linux without any drivers to install. The range of the keyboard is good and that's fine for my usage. Also, the manufacturer says that it works up to 100 feet. But obviously it's not 100 feet through any walls or floors. So, I guess that could work for you but I don't know much what you really mean by "...in an other room..."

      Otherwise, I found that my laptop is a very good alternative. I just hop on my server through VNC and I control it with my laptop. And this works from a further distance since my wireless network has a very good range.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Otherwise, I found that my laptop is a very good alternative. I just hop on my server through VNC and I control it with my laptop.

        I'd just use another laptop and something like PC Anywhere / Go To My PC / Remote Desktop, etc.

        Something I have used to control multiple PCs from a single keyboard and mouse is http://sourceforge.net/projects/synergy2/ [sourceforge.net]

        I have found it very useful and responsive. Besides controlling, it also enables you to copy and paste text between PCs, even running different OSs.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I am dubious of Bluetooth. Have the security issues really been resolved and the fixes correctly implemented? Also, while wireless keyboards are fine, wireless mice can be a pain to retrieve when dropped. I'd like to see a wireless keyboard with the mouse wired to it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ozmanjusri (601766)
        I just hop on my server through VNC and I control it with my laptop.

        That's a good approach, though I'd use SSH tunnelling rather than VNC.

        The one that works best for me though, is using my Nokia N800 as a MythTV remote with Mythetomer [packratstudios.com].

        It all works over WiFi/ethernet, so you don't have to worry about LIRC or Bluetooth.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by roeles (623736)
      Even better. With properly set-up intermedia bluetooth devices, you can have it create a multihop network. A bluetooth client can join multiple piconet. It's all automatic though, I'm not sure how well it will actually work. Might be worth a try though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:34PM (#23794635)
    i think this is what they mean by possessions owning the person rather than the other way around.
    • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @10:17AM (#23800053)
      "i think this is what they mean by possessions owning the person rather than the other way around."

      Nonsense.
      I conferred with all my consumer electronic devices and our collective opinion is that you are mistaken.

      And what is this "walk" of which you speak?
    • Hmm, I know I'm probably wasting my time by replying to an AC but can you clarify?
      In what way are his LCD TV and PC "owning" him? Because he has to spend some more money and effort to get them to work together the way he likes?

      I'm all for criticizing our way of life (if only for keeping us somewhat awake) but your statement doesn't make sense.
  • by bmo (77928) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:34PM (#23794643)
    If 5 watts isn't enough, just hook it up to a 1KW linear amp. Oh wait, there's a van out front that says FCC on it. BRB. Door.

    --
    BMO
  • by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:36PM (#23794655) Journal

    I realise you've just spent a fair bit on sending video and audio from the server, and probably don't want to waste that investment, but wouldn't the easiest approach be to have a networked PC under the screen, and use that to connect mouse and keyboard to? You could SSH into your server, or similar?

    With this approach you could dedicate the "set-top box" to recording video (handy for the antenna connection or cable box...) and use the server for storing recordings long-term.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hostyle (773991)
      If it has to be wireless I can't help, but have you considered USB over Ethernet http://www.google.com/search?q=usb+over+ethernet [google.com] ? Or networking over mains power?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by HipToday (883113)
      My modded Xbox with Xbox Media Center basically satisfies these requirements (minus the video recording and SSH). I can play all my video, MP3s, etc. from the server via SMB shares, and you can easily get emulators for all of your favorite gaming classics. If you really want wireless, you can get an Ethernet-WiFi bridge. Plus there's no bulky keyboard and mouse on my coffee table, just an Xbox controller.
      • by JediLow (831100) *
        Even easier - tversity; I'm running a 802.11n network in my place and the streaming between my 360 and desktop works great.
      • I've got the same thing, I've used my xbox as a DVD player ever since I lost my DVD remote. The fan does tend to be a bit loud though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lumpy (12016)
        Minus video recording, SSH, HD playback, actually HD anything.

        I so wish it would do 720p but the xbox chokes hard on it. In fact most peoples HTPC's choke on HD content.
        • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @09:49PM (#23796467) Homepage Journal
          It's not the HD *content* that's the problem - it's all the lock-down crap on every HD content delivery system these days, and all the restrictions on the hardware (at least what's available in the US).

          My own experimentation with an HTPC has been quite and adventure. I started out with the goal to get rid of Comcast, install FiOS for internet, then deal with just the OTA digital stations. They broadcast plenty of HD. A few of my problems were, well... "social", but most were technical.

          Of course the first thing that happened was we decided that while only having local channels was not so bad, being without the convenience of the DVR was just a no-starter. So I built one. AMD 690G motherboard (from GigaByte), HDHomeRun dual networked tuner, 500GB storage. Worked pretty good. Then:

          • The MPEG2 codec from M$ is buggy as hell. Lots of issues there, but mostly niggling stuff
          • After going through 4 antennas of varying sizes and power, I realized none would pick up all the channels I wanted. Well, I can get all of them on Verizon FiOS for $13 a month. Not bad, simple solution.
          • Getting the guide to list everything properly was a nightmare. Verizon gives you a couple of channels for each local broacast - figuring out which is in HD and which is downgraded for analog is not easy. Inevitably what I record is either SD, or an erroneously listed main channel program that turned out to be the local station's secondary channel with 24 hour weather. Then they provide you like 122 channels of music. Gotta clear that off the guide, all those "unknown" listings are really annoying. The local PBS station actually broadcasts 3 signals, but I only get 2 from Verizon. Grrr.
          • Oh - those government converter boxes will *not* tune anything on cable (qam). They are strictly vbs8 (OTA). $5 more dollars a month to Verizon for a STB.
          • And after working through all that, my wife and teenager are bellyaching so much about never having stuff to watch it's driving me crazy. They both were on board with it before I started. "But I thought there would be more than this..." etc.
          • I call Verizon. I want 6 channels: SciFi, HGTV, FX, Comedy, Animal Planet, Science. Guess how they responded to that request. My Verizon bill just took a big jump.
          • Apparently, there is an FCC regulation that requires cable companies to transmit at least the local broadcast stations "in the clear" (no scrambling). Guess how many others they don't scramble. Don't count all those music channels. The answer is "1", and it's in spanish. Ok, I'll need another STB.
          • Yea, I can get analog from the box to the HTPC no problem. I gave up on HD. HDMI is no-go. No HDMI input (won't work anyway since it won't do HDCP). Firewire will transmit the HD signal! But... only if your input is 5c compliant. WTF?? Yep, it's the "broadcast flag" implementation. If your firewire input don't talk 5c, the cable box won't give it anything. I haven't figured out a way around that, yet... but I'm still trying

          But at least I don't have Comcast anymore. Oh, and I'm saving a whopping $8 a month, so my hardware investment will be paid back in ... only 7 years!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      wouldn't the easiest approach be to have a networked PC under the screen, and use that to connect mouse and keyboard to

      That's how we've done the setup where I live. Bought a couple of secondhand PC's, which were shifted into media PC cases, add a PCI wireless card and S-Video capable graphics card and you're set.

      The PC's sit quite nicely with the other equipment around the TV, and it's easy enough to control using the IR remotes (we use the Microsoft MCE ones).

      Load MythTV on all these machines, convert all the DVD's to ISO's / CD's to MP3 / etc and throw them on your workhorse PC (Myth Server) and you're set

    • If you've got a long enough cable to reach from the computer to the TV, can you run another cable next to it for your keyboard? If that doesn't reach all the way to your couch, either do something wireless, or run a USB cable and use an infrared USB frob for the keyboard/mouse or something if you don't trust ethernet or bluetooth latency.


      Or take that P200 laptop with the cracked screen that's been lying around and use it as a X server for the keyboard and mouse.

      • If you've got a long enough cable to reach from the computer to the TV, can you run another cable next to it for your keyboard?

        The second sentence of the freakin' *summary* says:

        I've acquired some gear to send PC audio and video wirelessly (over the 5.8GHz range), so that's all good.

        He's got no wires, and he wants to keep it no wires. Personally, I tend to prefer sticking to wired connections when possible (such as with two fixed points in the same home) but it's his stuff and if he wants to do it wireless

        • by hawk (1151)
          >The second sentence of the freakin' *summary* says:

          Hey, there was no FA for him to RT, so he was obliged to skip even the slashdot summary! :)

          hawk
    • by owlstead (636356)
      They've got great, fan-less mini-itx PVR kits available for not too much money. In case you hate fans as much as I do (and don't want to spend too much $$$).

      VIA has hardware acceleration for high def video in the chipsets. It'll take some time for atom to catch up, but you could wait for the eee-Desktop PC to do the same thing.
    • My first questions:
      What OS?
      If Linux, why not SSH/Xwindow via XDMCP?
      If Windows, why not rdesktop?
  • Extension cable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:37PM (#23794659)

    Use a USB extension cable, plug it into the server, and plug the wireless receiver into that. Run it along the wall as far as is necessary to bring it into range of wherever you use the keyboard.

    And on a side note: the couch? Really? I can never quite believe that people are actually comfortable using a computer when they are sat on a couch. That goes double for non-laptops.

    • Re: the couch. Sure, it's not the ideal location for hours of hacking, but it's ideal for quickly logging into a server to check something, or firing up a web-browser or mail client.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Swizec (978239)
      When I'm writing I like nothing better than to sit on a couch or just about anywhere but my desk. The desk is just way too indoctrinated to really let my imagination flow.

      Hell, even when I'm coding I do most of the thinking away from the desk and even the computer itself.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Sonnekki (978779)
      Unfortunately, USB cables can only be about 16 feet (5 meters) [wikipedia.org] long before the connection times out..and that doesn't really help a great deal, especially since the couch is 50 feet away from the server.
      • by corsec67 (627446) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @07:56PM (#23795627) Homepage Journal
        So you get a USB cable [newegg.com] that has a repeater in it.

        I think the repeater is a one-port USB hub, so they could be daisy chained for a while, as long as they get enough power from the original port. Maybe have a powered USB hub that the wireless receiver plugs into.

        Or you use a USB-Ethernet Extender [newegg.com], which sends the USB signals over an Ethernet cable. I don't think that is USB over IP, so you probably can't plug that into an ethernet switch at all.
        • by crossmr (957846)
          No, but HP and other companies sell USB over ethernet switches. All the KVMs for server racks are these now. You plug a USB module in to the server, plug an ethernet cable in to that and run it to the switch kind of box. You can also by X port extenders for it if you have more than 8 servers in a rack.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by WCLPeter (202497)

      I can never quite believe that people are actually comfortable using a computer when they are sat on a couch.

      I had my G4 Mac Mini hooked up to my Toshiba 51HX83 for about six months. It would still be hooked up, despite me having a 21 inch 1600 x 1200 LCD monitor in the computer room and only being able to run the TV at 720P (the writing was too small at 1080i), if it weren't for the fact that the Apple Menu bar starting burning into my screen.

      Now I could see your point with a small TV, but with a 50+ inch it's simply amazing. No monkeying around with media servers or wireless networks, everything was in one sp

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by K8Fan (37875)

        I build home theater systems. One was in a home with two toddlers with the destructive capacity of a cement mixer. So all speakers were installed in-wall. The LCD screen was also installed in a wall, and a model was chosen with controls on the top. And all the items with buttons and knobs were installed in a room in the basement. DVD playback is via a Mac Mini. The actual DVD unit is a USB DVD drive that can be disconnected and hidden away when not in use. Everything else is via an RF remote control.

        The po

  • by unne (450755) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:37PM (#23794661) Homepage
    Gyration GO PRO 2.4GHz Optical Air Mouse and Compact Keyboard Suite. Needs only an empty USB port and gives you a 100' range.

    http://www.gyration.com/p-18-go-pro-24ghz-optical-air-mouse-and-compact-keyboard-suite.aspx
    • I'll second that (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      I haven't used their keyboards but we use their Gyromouse products in various rooms for presentations. In addition to being a real cool motion control device (works like a Wiimote, but better, doesn't need IR) it has a really long range. They claim 100 feet and I'd believe it. I haven't done accurate range tests, but it'll go all over a fairly large room.

      Seems to be very solid technology.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by simcop2387 (703011)
        i've got one of their mice, through several walls i'd say i easily get at least 35-40 feet, i tried it once with line of site and got at least 80, though i don't know how well apparant battery life is at those distances (e.g. how long before the rf power drops to where it can't talk)
      • by ADRA (37398)
        Not to sound pessimistic, but make sure to do some serious research into the technology you're getting before reading the spec sheet. I've had 3 mice, and 3 wireless keyboards, and 2 remotes over the years that had ratings of > 10 ft. which couldn't even hold a consistent signal over 5 ft Line of sight! Maybe my apartment has an unusually high amount of RF interference, I can't say. All I know is that my cruddly little nmediapc keyboard/trackmouse combo are the only devices that have ever come close to b
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I second that. I use their mouse + the Apple Bluetooth keyboard (which is nice because it's small) with my Mac mini which acts as my media center. Couldn't be happier.
    • And I'll third that! (Score:4, Informative)

      by epp_b (944299) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @06:45PM (#23795171)
      We have a Gyration keyboard and mouse set at our church. The range is awesome: The receiver and PC are at the back while the keyboard and mouse are controlled from the pulpit, well over 100 feet away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I have both keyboard and mouse for my home theater. Both work great from upstairs about 30 feet away and through walls. Highly recommended for this type of application.
  • synergy (Score:2, Informative)

    by kitejumping (953022)
    Laptop keyboard + mouse shared to the desktop over wifi with synergy. http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
  • Wireless (Score:2, Informative)

    by kawabago (551139)
    I built a little homebrew ir receiver that runs on the serial port. There are only 5 components that are easy to get and easy to solder together. Plans are linked on the homepage www.lirc.org
  • It might be worth looking into getting a cheap EEE ($300) and just SSHing into your PC to control it.
    • by Dare nMc (468959)
      instead of ssh, synergy2.sourceforge.net [slashdot.org] I use this plus a EEE pc + DPG-1200 (dlink wireless video device)

      zvbox [amazon.com] would have been better, since my Tivo could then cache Netflix movies, and turn off the pc. it's definitly more costly.
  • Advice? (Score:4, Funny)

    by digitalderbs (718388) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:44PM (#23794729)
    [Your] best bet now is to get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that have an unusually good range, and some of the Logitechs seem to qualify, but it's a gamble.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      My advice would be to seek advice from anyone with experience of using Bluetooth over long distances - does it do what it says on the tin? The OP could perhaps ask on a tech site like, say, Slashdot. However they'll probably get a load of flippant answers from people who haven't tried it... ;-)

    • I picked up one of these [logitech.com] about 1 year ago because it claimed to have a long range (60' as I recall.. I can't seem to find mention of it now...). It was to be used in our small conference room, so the range only had to be about 15' feet. It wouldn't even work reliably at 10'. In fact, at 10' there were tremendous delays and "skipping" with both the mouse and the keyboard. Horrible product. This was not going through walls or in an area with a lot of interference.
    • I bought a Logitech set that did just that, I thikn with a better third party USB Bluetooth reciever. I managed to scroll the screen using a scroll wheel that's on a mouse 20m away and behind three walls. I was pretty impressed, though I really didn't think there was a good use for such a range other than to ensure a solid signal in a highly interfering environment.
    • by DrYak (748999) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @05:41AM (#23798803) Homepage
      Had the same situation some time back.
      If one use a Class I bluetooth/usb dongle instead of the basic cradle that comes with the Logitech gear (class II) the range is increased.

      class I has a nominal range of 100m
      class II has a nominal range of 10m and most bluetooth gear use this
      class III has a nominal range of 1m and the only gadget using it I've seen is a bluetooth GPS receiver.

      Using a class I receiver with class II gadgets, in my experience, increases the range over an all-class-II setup.

      Bluetooth 2.0 EDR dongle are supposed to have 100m range too, but I haven't had the occasion to see if there's a significant increase in range.
    • Read their support forums... you'll find quite a few people have problems with connectivity of some of their products (if not all... I've mostly only checked mice)... and that Logitech has never fixed these problems, and they appear in new products too.

      My personal experience of problems has been with the V270 bluetooth mouse, and the exact same problem is reported with the newer V470. I also have a DiNovo MediaPad (bluetooth numpad, with a small LCD display)... it doen't get used much, but I don't think I'v
  • use a usb bluetooth adapter on a long extender cable so it's closer to your couch!
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:48PM (#23794777) Homepage Journal
    with the crazy setup you are trying to do, your best bet is getting a small carpet, some wood, and sending smoke signals to your server.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nfk (570056)
      That's silly, the server is in a different room. Drums might work.
  • by SScorpio (595836) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:49PM (#23794793)
    http://reviews.cnet.com/keyboards/logitech-cordless-mediaboard-for/4505-3134_7-32319140.html [cnet.com]

    My friend is using one for just this purpose. And he's about 30' or so away, and he's going through from the first room of his house to his basement and it's working great.

    As for the wireless video? Are you using so type of VGA wireless solution? With an LCD TV you should be able to receive 720p or even 1080p connect. This would require either a component or HDMI/DVI connect. There are actually DVI over ethernet adapters which will send your single over the long distance without losing quality which the wireless solution I used to use has issues with. You could also just hit up http://www.monoprice.com/ [monoprice.com] and pick up a 40" HDMI cable for about $40 or so shipped. If you didn't know you can get adapters that convert DVI->HDMI and some even support sound as well.
    • I have an Adesso model that I'm really happy with.it's a 2.4GHz model with a trasmitter about the size of a USB thumb drive. I've had it close to 30' way with no problems, although it's rated at 100 feet.

      Adesso's done a really nice job of integrating a nice keyboard and trackball that works nice in my lap, with mouse buttons in several places that work well with various ways of holding it.

      I think I paid about $60.

      http://www.adesso.com/products_detail.asp?productid=336 [adesso.com]

    • by zoid.com (311775)
      I have this keyboard/trackpad and use it for my HTMac. Great setup and range is great. On e note: this isn't bluetooth. It is RF but not bluetooth. It comes with a RF receiver.
  • At least on the Mac, there are a variety of remotes implemented as web apps running on small web servers on the host computer, e.g. Remote Buddy. Then all you need is an iPod Touch or iPhone, or other handheld capable of running a browser connected via Wi-Fi.
  • My Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:50PM (#23794809) Homepage Journal
    Storage server* in a back room, Mac Mini hooked up to the TV. Added a bluetooth keyboard and Mighty Mouse and I'm set. It's even a DVD player smaller than most! (Can't wait 'till they come out with a Blu-ray model.)

    You're making the split at the I/O level. Makes much more sense to me to split at the storage level. Storage is still noisy, processing has gotten pretty quiet. Why fling all those signals around when you can just have one Ethernet backhaul, and keep all the I/O in the same room?

    -Peter

    *Actually just a Newertech drive plugged into the USB port on my Airport Extreme. I hope to upgrade to a Drobo soon.
    • by plover (150551) *
      Processing can still be noisy if you have to get rid of a lot of heat, and a lot of heat is likely when you're slinging pixels at a 1080p screen. Of course there are watercooling options, and Zalman is all about making silenced cases these days, so you're right that it doesn't have to be noisy.

      Regarding the drobo, I hear they're pretty slow. I don't know if they're fast enough to keep up with a compressed HD movie or not, as I don't have one myself.

  • by sakusha (441986) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @05:51PM (#23794811)
    Oh it's too bad they don't make the old PCjr infrared keyboards anymore. They had an upgraded model that improved on the notorious "chiclet" keyboard, I used to have one, it worked decently. The reason I say it would be perfect for you is that you can now buy "IR extenders" that are designed to carry IR remote control signals into AV equipment inside cabinets. The IR hits a receiver via line of sight, it's converted and sent down a wire, and is retransmitted by an IR LED at the other end of the wire. You could run the extender's wire as far as you like, and still have a wireless keyboard.
    Maybe there are other IR keyboards around, but I'm not aware of any. They had a few bugs. For example, if I struck a BIC cigarette lighter near my PCjr, the spark would emit a little IR and the CPU would beep, indicating an unknown IR transmission error.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)

      On a related IR story: A co-worker of mine who lives a little ways north in San Francisco with three roommates. One of them obtained a rabbit (for goodness only knows what reason). Rabbits, if you were not aware, are very good at chewing wires, and at some point the rabbit managed to chew through the cables to the infrared bar on their Wii.

      His immediate solution was to burn two candles on either side of the TV. It apparently worked just fine.

    • by Lumpy (12016)
      They do. it's called the Windows XP Media Center Edition keyboard. they are available on newegg and work with the MCE remote and reciever.
      • by sakusha (441986)
        Ah, well that figures. Only Microsoft could take one of the most notoriously bad designs in computer history, and try to "improve" on it.
  • A better antenna (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Most Part 15 devices intentionally have bad antennas, or bad matching to the antenna. If you don't care about the letter of the law, the easiest mod to improve range is to put a proper antenna on each end. This can be as simple as a correct length of wire soldered to the right spot.
    • I actually tried this with a wireless keyboard/mouse I have that has dismal range (5 feet or so - beyond that it's unreliable). I was actually quite surprised that it made no perceptible difference. Maybe what I did just wasn't enough, or caused some weird impedance mismatch or something. The frequency was low - 49 MHz - so I figured an extra couple of feet of wire soldered to the pathetic excuse for an antenna inside the USB receiver would help. I guess that's what I get when I pay $25 for a wireless keybo
  • there are any number of different wireless modules you can use to build your own hookup, includingthese [radiometrix.com]. If you are up for some homebrew and have a bit of time, this is an excellent way to ensure it will be made right. Chances are also, you could take your keyboard out to your car and still have enough range if you go with one of the 433mhz type.

    Nothing like rolling your own.

  • http://www.fentek-ind.com/kbmrfotb45ub.htm [fentek-ind.com]

    Built-in trackball and 45ft range may work for you.
  • by ettlz (639203) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @06:35PM (#23795113) Journal
    Cheap notebook, 802.11, SSH and X.
  • Asus EEE PC + VNC over Wi-Fi should solve everything.
  • There are Ethernet-based PS/2 extension cables. Probably not really that cheap, but it would mean you would have a cable long enough too reach your TV set, and use any standard PS/2 based wireless desktop set (keyboard+mouse). I suppose that it relies on your server having PS/2 inputs though.

    These extensions are commonly used in e.g. schools where the actual computers are hidden in a cupboard (i.e. to prevent theft) with only monitors, keyboards and mice on the desks.
  • Wal Mart sells a keyboard mouse combo with the tag on the front that says "2.4 ghz wireless" it is from like micro innovation's or some off brand. Works perfectly, slimline, and very cheap. I tried like 10 other keyboards and this one works the best of them and was by far the cheapest!

  • by SamP2 (1097897) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @06:58PM (#23795257)
    "What do I need to remotely administer my server?"
    "Wireless keyboard and mouse."
    "But it's really far away!"
    "Binoculars too, then."
  • by Amphetam1ne (1042020) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @07:21PM (#23795413)
    To my knowledge there is no wireless DVI/HDMI, which means you're probably getting the signal via a composit TV out on the back of your server, which will already be lossy as hell by it's very nature, then sending it over a lossy radio connection. The difference between a PC's TV out and an HDMI connection is very large and you are not getting the benefit of your shiny new screen if you're going to use a non-digital source.

    The best advice I can offer you is to grab one of the new barebone pc's with HDMI out and build a small unobtusive looking Media PC, which can then run MythTV, Media Portal, LinuxMCE, XBMC Linux/Windows, GeexBox, or any of the other great Mediacenter solutions that are out there. I'd also ditch the idea of the KB/M after initial setup and just grab yourself an MCE remote as your main input device (they're cheap, good quality and are well supported on both Windows and Linux).

    For what it's worth, I've got a 3.2TB media server based on FreeNAS with 8x 500GB drives in RAID-5. I've got a media box under every TV in the house. The HD capable screens have the Asus P2-M2A690G barebones case with X2 4800+ CPU running Media Portal (Will be XBMC for Windows/Linux when a more stable build of either is out), while the SD TV's each have a modified Xbox running XBMC (unfortunately the otherwise rubust Xbox just isn't capable of decoding H.264 on it's 733Mhz cpu).

    The Asus Barebones is whisper quiet, smaller than a PS3 and wouldn't look out of place next to a DVD or VCR.

    Anyway, I wish you good luck with whatever solution you choose to go with.
  • I've used a Samsung Q1 Ultra before through "remote assistance" (just set up an invitation that is valid for like 60 days) and connect to the main machine over wifi. The sweet thing is you are able to browse the net on the primary monitor or put the video controls on the primary screen and not interfere with the video playing on the TV.
  • Air Mouse (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zarf (5735) on Saturday June 14, 2008 @08:14PM (#23795735) Journal
    Mine works great for this... I have the older model but I've used this product from 100 feet away from a laptop in a presentation.

    http://www.gyration.com/ [gyration.com]
    http://www.gyration.com/p-56-m2000-travel-air-mouse.aspx [gyration.com] ... I think mine might be a very early version.
  • Granted, I've only ever owned 2 wireless keyboard/mouse combos, but both of them would work under those conditions without any problems. Went from one corner of my house clear across to the opposite. One was a dell branded Logitech, the other was Micro Innovations. Clearly not the best brands. :)
  • Disclaimer: I'm biased, I'm a hardware nut and a sales person.

    I say build (or buy) a nice quiet media PC to stick in your living room. Leave the "home server" as a server, and let a dedicated Myth box do the heavy lifting.

    I've seen some crazies build fantastic media centers around those funky AMD 780G boards with the onboard ATI HD2400 and HDMI output. There's an NVidia equivalent as well, if you're religious like me.
  • Although not entirely what you are looking for...

    I use a Wiimote. Modded a sensor bar to a wallwart. A good USB Bluetooth adapter will provide a reliable range up to 60-70 feet (the ones that are rated at 100M, anyways)

    I only use it with my media center software (faultBox -- still under development - but making progress!)... Surfing is for the computer. Not the TV. Maybe I just have a bad taste in my mouth from Sasktel's MAX setup. *shutters*
  • Don't do it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rowan_u (859287) on Sunday June 15, 2008 @08:39AM (#23799491)
    Save yourself the pain and suffering of input lag, dropped connections, battery swapping, and start up time (as the wireless device pops out of standby), and just get yourself a good ole usb extension cable and repeater. This goes double or triple if you intend to play any games at all on the TV. For just clicking on an mkv file, a wireless device will do you. But it will do you poorly.
  • http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/keyboards/keyboard/devices/3848&cl=us,en [logitech.com]

    I was demonstrating this to a friend a week ago and he asked about the range, I said I wasn't sure, so I walked outside, across the road and down two doors and I could still type and use the built in mousepad thing. Well over 40 meters. Works out of the box with Ubuntu. Battery lasts for a month without recharging. I combine this with a Logitech Harmony 785 and MythTV, very happy with the results.
  • We use RF-based keyboards and mice from Interlink Electronics in our board room and large auditoriums. They work great for us and do not require line-of-site. You can see the model we use here:

    http://www.smklink.com/index.php?id=NDA0 [smklink.com]

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