Use a smartphone to control your PC or media center

Need a wireless mouse, keyboard, and/or remote for your home-theater PC? Inexpensive smartphone apps can get the job done.

So I'm testing this super-cool Lenovo system that would make a perfect media center for the den. It's an all-in-one, meaning there's no bulky tower--just a screen, a base, and a wireless keyboard and mouse.

What it's missing, however, is a remote, which is shame given that it has a built-in TV tuner. How am I supposed to kick back on the couch without a clicker?

Smartphones to the rescue! Thanks to apps like HippoRemote (shown below), I can use my iPhone (or iPod Touch) to control my PC from across the room.

How does it work? Both my PC and iPhone are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. After installing a small (and free) Windows utility, the app is able to connect to the system and work its magic.

HippoRemote gives me not only a virtual touchpad and keyboard, but also a screen's worth of Windows Media Center controls that fully approximate an actual remote. Well worth the US$1.99 price tag.

Android users can get in on the PC-remote action with apps like Gmote, which is donationware.

Alas, I haven't found anything comparable for BlackBerry. If you know of a good PC-remote app for that platform, tell me about it in the comments.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to kick back for a little Windows Media Center-powered Netflix-on-demand.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesmedia centre pcshome entertainmentwindows media centreHTPCs

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?