Last year I purchased a new gaming PC to replace the 2 1/2 year old one I currently had. My old PC wasn’t bad – AMD Athlon 64 6000+, 4 GB RAM, and a Radeon 4850. But I setup a TV in another room and I wanted DVR capabilities on it. I have been very happy with TiVo, but I did not want to purchase another one, especially since they cannot record HD from a satellite feed. So I was going to try using Windows Media Center that came with Windows 7. I swapped out my Radeon 4850 for an old ATI AIW x800 and went to work.
I hooked up the PC to the TV through the VGA port just to use the PC on the TV, but I soon found out Windows Media Center didn’t work with satellite even though I had the PC in between the satellite receiver and the TV through the AIW. I ended up moving a TiVo to the TV for my DVR needs. But I still had a PC with an Internet connection hooked up to the TV, and I already had a Kensington wireless keyboard and mouse that I had been using before with this TV and another PC. When I thought I could use Media Center I purchased a Windows Media Center compatible remote and receiver from buy.com. It was fairly inexpensive and it sounded okay, and I have since found it very useful for moving around the PC without a mouse.
Since a DVR was out for my PC, I setup Netflix instantly through Firefox so I could watch programs; later I also signed up for a Hulu Plus account (which I think is another great service). So now I leave Firefox open with Hulu on one tab and Netflix on another. With the Windows remote I bought I can usually watch programs without even using the keyboard. The remote has a nice circular thumb pad that you can use to move the mouse pointer and a button for left and a button for right mouse clicking. Setup was easy: I plugged in the receiver which Windows recognized and I was ready to go. So while I don’t have DVR functionality on this TV through Windows, and while accessing Hulu or Netflix is not as easy as doing it through my Sony Blu-Ray player, I can easily navigate Hulu and Netflix and watch programs using only this remote. I am impressed with this remote because it was inexpensive and it just plain works.