NmediaPC HTPC Keyboard and Remote Combo - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-10-10, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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NmediaPC HTPC Keyboard and Remote Combo

I purchased these a week ago and they immediately found a home on our coffee table, easily replacing our humongous Logitech MX 3100 keyboard, mouse and ATI remote wonder.

http://www.nmediapc.com/RFKB3.htm

The combo consists of an MCE compatible remote control and a notebook sized keyboard and trackball. Both are 2.4 GHz RF wireless devices linking to a small USB reciever. I plugged it into both my Vista 64 MCE and my WinXP MCE and they worked right out of the box. No software installation or drivers. This let me uninstall the Logitech and ATI software and drivers. I didn't even have to sync the devices with the receiver. So far I haven't had any of the reception problems that recently plagued my Logitech devices.

The keyboard has sensual sculpted curves. It looks good and when you pick it up It just feels natural and familiar. You can cradle it like a giant XBOX controller with shoulder buttons for the left-click and scroll wheel/middle-click mouse buttons. The optical trackball is under your right thumb and the left and right mouse buttons are under your the left. I found this to be a perfect position for point and click Web browsing.

The same sculpted shape fits it comfortably on your lap for serious typing. Or if you prefer, 4 soft rubber feet hold it tenaciously to any flat surface with the keyboard angled slightly up. The keys are arranged in the standard notebook layout. The keys are a little mushy and don't have the clikity-clack of a full-sized keyboard. I find that throws off my touch typing.

In addition to F1-F12 functions key there are dedicated Internet hot keys: Backward, Forward, Browser, Email and My Computer. For me, these are exactly the functions I routinely use without Logitech's cumbersome configuration files and programming. The multimedia hot keys control: Skip, Stop, Play/Pause, Mute and Volume. Again, the bare necessities.

The optical trackball is a competent replacement for a laser mouse. I no longer have to scrounge for a flat space on the coffee table or futon. The default mouse sensitivity is good but precise control can be difficult when trying to hit a small Windows control from across the room. Still, I do miss my mouse's tilt wheel for horizontal scrolling and the extra buttons for zooming in Firefox. On a 10' interface this could easily be used as a full-function remote for your HTPC.

But, if that isn't enough, they throw in a pretty good MCE compatible remote control. Although the buttons are a little small, there seems to be one for every imaginable MCE function: My TV, Music, Photos, Video, Live and Recorded TV, DVD and Guide. You may find the small buttons and labels a problem in dim light. I found the layout intuitive to memorize. The number pad does not support triple-press text entry in MCE dialog boxes. And, I miss having a dedicated aspect ratio button but I can still right-click and zoom using the integrated trackball.

Both devices feel sturdy and well constructed, but the manual didn't fully survive translation into English, which never inspires confidence in off brand electronics.

Other Reviews and Detailed Product Photos.
Michael DeAbreu is offline  
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-10-10, 07:49 PM
rpr
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brampton, ON
Posts: 484
Any chance you tried it with Linux? I assume it just presents as a HID keyboard for the remote, which would most likely work.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-11-03, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Xubuntu

Both the keyboard and remote control worked with Xubuntu 7.10
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-11-03, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
 
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After using thes for a few weeks I have two things to report.

Reception can be blocked by your own lap if the reciever is too low.

Oddly, the num lock state of the remote is opposite to that of the keyboard. The keypad on the remote moves the cursor. If I toggle it off to enter numbers, it enables the embedded keypad on the keyboard. I'm still trying to get them in sync.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-11-30, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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A few more notes.

Because the remote control has a trackball at the center of the navigation rosette, the OK (Enter) button is located above the navigation buttons. I'm quite used to that, but occasionally my thumb bushes the trackball causing me to accidentally move the selection just as I hit the OK button.

The trackballs on both the remote and keyboard go to sleep after a few seconds of inactivity. However, until that happens, jogging the remote will move the mouse and cause the MCE Window to reappear. I just hit the info key twice to return to full-screen.

One of the rubber feet came off.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-17, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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It also works with the Xbox 360.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 2009-04-28, 04:06 PM
 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
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I've used a few of their keyboards over the years. My first was this one http://www.nmediapc.com/RFKB.htm which works, but not that great. It had a lot of range issues.

This was their previous version http://www.nmediapc.com/RFKB1.htm I found it worked fairly well, as long as you had decent line of sight. Maybe not as pretty as their one, but the last one I bought cost me less than $40.

Too bad it got liquid spilled on it, and now some of the keys don't work.

I'll probably have to pick one of the new models up, but I'm not thrilled that it is going to cost me almost $30 more. I'm not really sure why all these types of keyboards cost so much more than their previous versions either. I noticed this model also uses 4 batteries as opposed to the 2 of the previous models.

I did notice a company called Adesso sells what looks like the exact same keyboard, except it costs even more!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 2009-06-08, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Remote Control <prev track> does not work in Windows 7 Media Center

The remote control's previous track button does not work consistently in Windows 7 (64-bit) Media Center. NOTE: the media controls on the keyboard work perfectly.
  • Live TV - does not skip backwards
  • Recorded TV - does not skip backwards
  • Video - does not skip backwards
  • DVD - skips backwards 10 sec (if configured)
  • Guide - skips backwards 12 hr.
  • Music - previous track
The response from Nmedia Technical Support was:

Quote:
The hot key in Windows sometimes the command might be in different definition. Our RD will check it because Window 7 is the latest version. But, please kindly understand that basically our remote control is compatible with Windows XP MCE and Vista.
It definitely works properly in Windows XP MCE and I recall that it work in Vista MC. Hopefully, Nmedia or Microsoft will resolve the problem.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 2009-09-02, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Windows 7MC Cool Tip and Workaround

I just learned these great tricks.
  • You can skip directly to any part of a video by typing in the number of minutes/seconds and pressing the fast forward/reverse button. Use the remote's numeric keypad and type in a four digit number. The first two digits are minutes and the second two digits are seconds. Then press the fast forward or reverse button and you will skip that number of minutes and seconds. For example, [1][5][0][0][fast forward] will skip 15 minutes.
  • Rather than pressing the skip button repeatedly, you can specify exactly how many skips you want. Use the numeric keypad to enter a number then press the skip forward/backward (next/previous track) button. For example, if you set the skip forward interval to 30 seconds, you can immediately skip over three minutes of commercials by pressing [6] [skip forward].

This gives me a workaround for the skip back (previous track) button on the Nmedia remote. Pressing [skip back] doesn't work, but pressing [1][skip back] does.
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