As I have mentioned in the past, I rely on Windows XP for my television needs. I have cable coming into the PC, which acts as a Tivo-like digital video recorder and then feeding the source back out to my TV. It’s cheaper than Tivo (I don’t pay anything per month to record), and I can play downloaded media, etc. on it. The only downfall is that I’m tethered by a corded mouse and keyboard. In fact, I have to be right in front of it to do anything. With a 52 inch TV, that’s a bit of an eye (and back) strain. Those days are over. Keep reading and watch the video to see what I mean.
A week or two ago, I came across something called the Air Mouse. It’s an iPhone app that communicates with a server instance to become a wireless air mouse for whatever computer the server instance is running on. It’s a great idea, but I’m always busy and quickly pushed it aside for another time, thinking the install would take forever and it wouldn’t work that well anyway. Boy was I wrong.
Installing Air Mouse
What’s worse than having to go through a long, tedious install? Doing so on a computer with a barely-working input system. This was part of my hesitation. I bit the $6 bullet and installed the iPhone application. This was the easy part. Then, I downloaded the server application to my laptop and then moved it over to my TV PC. I then ran it and the install took about 90 seconds total, which was a nice surprise. An even nicer surprise was that the they communicated right away and just started working. Awesome! Well, not totally… Keep reading.
Using Air Mouse
Using this thing took a little fumbling around, but that’s because I missed the link to their Air Mouse help page. This page is refreshingly complete, full of all the information you could want about how the app works, unlike some apps I’ve installed.
With the application, you can use your iPhone like an actual air mouse, waving your mouse around to move the cursor, or like a laptop’s touch pad, moving your thumb across the surface to move the cursor. The touchpad option is much easier to jump right into, giving you more control right away, but the air mouse option would be ideal in terms of flexibility with the learning curve trade-off. Whichever you choose, it’s simple and it just works well. On top of all the mouse goodness, it comes with a built-in keyboard that they promise we’ll be able to hide when we’re not using it. I no longer have to get off the couch to type in a web address on the TV.
Because I am the only one who really does anything other than watch TV on my TV PC, the fact that MY iPhone must be used for it to work is fine. In the 1/2 hour I’ve had it installed, I’ve already done a few things on that machine that I had been putting off due to the mobility constraints posed by my previous mouse/keyboard solution.
This is probably the best money I’ve spent in the iPhone Apps store. Here’s that video of the Air Mouse in use.