I've wrangled with the same question. I'd love to use my iMac + SlingPlayer from 15 feet away without a keyboard. Short of acquiring a SlingCatcher, I haven't found any killer solutions yet. But these suggestions might get to started on cooking up something that works for you.
I've been keeping my eye on this tiny keyboard from Logitech. It's still a keyboard workaround for a real remote, but the size makes it a possibility. There's certainly no sacrifice on buttons. It should control SlingPlayer just like your normal keyboard, and work with both Mac and Windows.
I'm also very keen on how the BoxeeBox remote will shake out. Boxee has publically mentioned that they plan to sell the remote by itself.
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Finally, this little thing looks promising, but I doubt it'll see the light of day in the US. Not holding my breath.
Other things I've tried on the Mac side...
You've probably run into this, but the most promising (and functional from the get-go) Apple Remote add-on is Remote Buddy. It works well, but has limited control of SlingPlayer. It does offer Front Row-like control and integration, so that's a plus.
I've been playing around with AppleScript to let me run things from my Sony Ericsson phone over bluetooth. I got a HID remote to kinda work using Sony Ericsson's builder tool, but it's in ugly shape right now. Worst part is I have no way to launch/end the Player app.
SlingPlayer doesn't have an AppleScript library, so I'm working on figuring out a way to use System Events to pass keyboard commands to the app with a script. My AppleScript chops are weak, so no luck yet. If I figure it out though, Salling Clicker might get it done.
My best advice is to have a look at the various Keyspan presentation remote models, see where that leads you.
Hope this helps !
Thanks for the suggestions, it's good to know that I am not the only one losing my marbles over this problem
I have tried remotebuddy so far, but I wasn't quite happy with it, too few buttons as you noted as well. Since I am trying to use it in my bedroom, I am looking mostly at remote options, and I did find a very cheap windows media center compatible remote on ebay from Hong Kong. From what I read it seems to basically emulate keyboard events, so it might just do it. It was like $7 delivered, so if it doesn't work no loss, but I'll let you know when I get it wheter it is an option.
The Boxee remote sure looks cool too!
From what I read it seems to basically emulate keyboard events, so it might just do it. It was like $7 delivered, so if it doesn't work no loss, but I'll let you know when I get it wheter it is an option.
Cool. I'll look forward to reading your followup.
If that MCE remote emulates a keyboard it sounds promising. It'll be even better if certain buttons can be set to trigger system events (like launch/close an application). On the Mac side, you're going to need a separate USB IR receiver. The one built into your Mini is useless beyond the Apple Remote.
Have fun !
I just wanted to give you an update, as promised. The remote I got does work, but far better under XP than under MacOS. The one I got doesn't allow you to redefine the buttons on the remote, so I am looking for a way to see if it is possible to redefine the keybindings within SlingPlayer. If someone knows how to do this for either MacOS or XP I would love to hear about it.
The remote does indeed behave like a keyboard, plus it also has a mouse pointer, which makes it possible to use it, it's just a bit slow having to do a lot of navigation with the pointer for certain buttons.
So all in all, it's ok, but not wonderful.
Will do more testing when I have time.
Look for an older iPod touch and use a remote desktop app. Your computer screen will be mirrored in the iPod screen and it will work like a touch pad. You can zoom in to read anything small. You can do everything including type using one hand. Works in the dark. You can also control the PC.
You can see people using a remote desktop app with itouches and iPhones on you tube.