Start-up GlideTV is introducing Navigator, a minimalist handheld remote control for operating home theater PCs (HTPCs) such as Windows Media Center, Boxee and Apple Front Row.
The device, which fits in the palm of the hand, employs the standard Bluetooth Human Interface Device (HID) and works with virtually any system that supports standard mouse and keyboard HID commands. Just plug the USB wireless receiver into a compatible device.
The Navigator contains a clickable touchpad mouse and buttons for volume, playback, up/down/left/right, esc, enter, back and function.
In addition to the remote, GlideTV has created some basic software including an on-screen keyboard and a search menu with links to Google, Amazon VoD, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and others.
Clicking on the links, however, simply takes you to non-TV-friendly Web pages.
“Right now, it’s just a TV-friendly search but you have a hint of where we’re going,” says Patrick Cosson, VP sales and marketing for GlideTV.
Proving the Concept
Beyond the form factor, the GlideTV Navigator is not unique in the category of HTPC controllers. The Loop from Hillcrest Labs, for example, is similarly minimalistic, but it employs motion sensing in lieu of a touchpad mouse.
GlideTV Home Screen
Unlike Hillcrest, however, GlideTV is making and selling real product before going the OEM route. On the other hand, Hillcrest tried (unsuccessfully) to launch its solution before enjoying any critical mass in the marketplace. Years after introducing its OEM suite, Hillcrest began manufacturing and selling the Loop to consumers.
“Proof of concept is critical,” says Cosson. “It makes it possible for companies to stay close to their customers during the early development phase.”
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Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.