If you’re trying to treat your XBMC install like a settop box there is no doubt that you’ll want to get a remote control working with it. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases it’s not as simple as just plugging in a USB IR receiver and using a remote that was made for the computer. There is a rather extensive wiki page that lists many of the remotes that have been tested and found working, but I wanted to focus on the two that I use.
Tip: Don’t Test Over Remote Desktop
One thing I wanted to point out right away is that you don’t want to test whether a remote control is working through a Remote Desktop (RDP) session. That may be tempting if you are trying to remotely configure a box, but the output of the remote won’t be reflected on the screen when using RDP.
This makes sense if you think about it. With RDP, any locally attached input devices (keyboard, mouse, etc…) are all rendered useless. A remote control is just considered another input device, and trying to troubleshoot through RDP may leave you frustrated and wondering why it’s not working.
I’m not going to go too in-depth about the receiver since I already covered it in my hardware guide, but the important thing is for you to have an RC6-compatible IR receiver to have the best chance of getting a remote control working in Windows. You can take a look at the HP IR Receiver I chose back in my hardware guide.
Quickly Get Remotes Working in XBMC:
Generally getting your remote to work can take quite a bit of time, but one developer has really tried to streamline the whole process. Jump on over to the XBMCCustomregis page to see what I’m talking about. From there you can grab the setup file which will make a specific change to the Registry, and will then copy over a lengthy pre-configured Keyboard.xml file to your XBMC profile.
If you don’t trust what the script is doing you can go ahead and run through the settings manually as well. It’s not that hard, but the setup utility is just there to try and eliminate any potential errors.
After you’ve run through the setup you’ll have to switch to XBMC and go to Settings -> System -> Input Devices and turn on the Remote Control Sends Keyboard Presses option.
Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote:
Since I previously used my Xbox 360 as a Windows Media Center Extender I already had one of the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remotes. It is a pretty nice remote, and since I was trying to save some money I wanted to get by with that. There is just a couple of minor Registry changes that need to be made that aren’t covered by running the XBMCCustomregis mentioned above.
In the Windows Registry navigate to the following section:
And then make these changes:
- Change the value of CodeSetNum0 to 8
- Delete the CodeSetNum1, CodeSetNum2, and CodeSetNum3 values.
Just reboot your computer and you should be ready to go. Everything should work on the remote now, but the volume button will still be tied to the TV due to the way Microsoft designed the remote. Lucky for me that’s what I wanted anyway.
Logitech Harmony Remote:
Thanks to the XBMCCustomregis script, getting your Logitech Harmony Remote working with XBMC is pretty painless. All you have to do is add a new device from the Harmony Remote Software and select Computer for the type of device, Microsoft for the manufacturer, and type Media Center SE for the model.
From there you should be able to set this up and configure your activities to control the XBMC. You’ll be able to control all aspects of XBMC as well as sleeping/waking the PC.
Want to dig a little deeper? You can customize what happens when any keyboard shortcut is executed. The file you need to edit is the Keyboard.xml which is located in %appdata%\XBMC\userdata\keymaps\. If the file doesn’t exist you’ll want to create it, but if you ran through the XBMCCustomregis script that should have already added a very extensive keyboard configuration file.
CyberNet’s XBMC Guides:
- XBMC: Introduction to Our Upcoming Guides
Our introduction provides some of the deciding factors for switching from Windows Media Center to XBMC.
- XBMC: Build Your Own HTPC
Our extensive guide on the hardware we chose for our home theater PCs (HTPCs), the cost, and some tips on choosing the hardware for your own HTPC.
- XBMC: Prepare and Optimize Windows 7
A helpful list of tips to optimize the performance of Windows 7 so that the system is able to offer as many resources to XBMC as it can.
- XBMC: IR Receiver and Remote (Harmony, Xbox 360, and More)
If you want your HTPC to operate like a set-top box you’ll definitely want to get a remote control configured, and for me this was a critical step so that I wouldn’t have to be concerned about less tech-savvy users trying to use my TV.
- XBMC: Share and Sync Media/Settings Between Multiple XBMC Installs
Configuring XBMC to share settings between multiple instances means you’ll be able to stop a show in one room, and seamlessly pick up where you left off in another room.
- XBMC: Fit the Picture to Your TV with Overscan
If XBMC doesn’t fit your TV screen perfectly there are a couple of steps you can take to get it just right.
- XBMC: Installing Skins
How to tweak the appearance of XBMC so that it looks the way you want it to.
- XBMC: Custom Home Screen Menu Backgrounds
Make the backgrounds of your chosen skin/theme a little more interesting by having it flip through artwork from your favorite TV shows and movies.
- XBMC: Dynamic Weather Backgrounds
If you’re using the Aeon MQ 3 theme you can have it use dynamic wallpapers that change based on the time of day and current weather conditions.
- XBMC: SMB on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
I use a Mac to serve up files to my XBMC instances running on Windows, and so my preferred protocol for sharing files is SMB. This guide explains how you can get a XBMC-compatible version of SMB running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.
- XBMC: Adding Media Sources
Learn how to add your media to XBMC and turn on the appropriate content scrapers.
- XBMC: Troubleshoot Buffering Issues
Trying to troubleshoot buffer issues in XBMC can be quite a pain, and so I lay out some of the most common culprits.
- XBMC: Test Your HTPC with High Bitrate Sample Videos
Want to see how well your HTPC performs? Throw some of these high bitrate 1080p sample videos at it.
- XBMC: More Advanced Settings
Configure some of the settings that you won’t find anywhere in the GUI.
- XBMC: Stream Hulu, Food Network, and More
Thanks to add-ons you can stream videos from some of your favorite sources including Hulu, Food Network, HGTV, TWiT, and more.
- XBMC: AirPlay on Windows
Send videos from your iOS device to any XBMC instance with very little configuration.
- XBMC: Web Interface and Chrome Extension
As long as you are on the same network as your XBMC box you can control it from any browser using the built-in web interface, or you can install a Chrome extension to make it even easier.
- XBMC: iPhone and iPad Remote
If you own an iPhone or iPad you can enjoy one of the best XBMC remote control experiences I’ve seen, and it will only cost you a few bucks.
- XBMC: A List of Our Guides, Plus Helpful Wiki and Forum Posts
A recap of all the guides we’ve written as well as useful wiki and forum post from the official XBMC.org site.
- XBMC: Free and Official iOS Remote for XBMC Released
This is the free and official XBMC remote control iOS app (optimized for both the iPhone and iPad). It will let you easily control all of the XBMC instances in your house as long as they are all on the same network.
- XBMC: Running XBMC on Startup in Windows 8
Learn how you can make XBMC start automatically when Windows 8 boots.
- XBMC: Send YouTube Videos From Chrome to XBMC
Send YouTube videos from your PC to any XBMC instance in a single click.
- XBMC: Aeon MQ 4 Skin
If you’re looking for one of the best and most popular XBMC skins the Aeon MQ 4 is a great choice.
- XBMC: Android Widget Remote Control
Control multiple instances of XBMC without ever having to open an app on your Android device!