GlideTV Intros Palm-Sized Navigator Remote for HTPCs
GladTV Navigator Remote
Minimalist design offers just enough buttons to navigate Windows Media Center, Apple Front Row and similar entertainment platforms. But is it too simple?
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.”
He should know. Cosson was the original sales & marketing exec at Vudu, which followed a similar path. While OEMing its streaming media platform was Vudu’s ultimate goal, the company first launched hardware and software at retail.
GlideTV says Navigator is available worldwide from “select retailers” and directly from the manufacturer in the U.S. and Europe. There is no indication of who those retailers are. Presumably, they will be listed online when GlideTV.com goes live today. (Update: None listed on glidetv.com)
Suggested retail for the device, including base station and software, is $149.
Best Approach to HTPC Control?
The GlideTV Navigator and Hillcrest Loop are nice and simple, but are they the most effective devices for navigating home theater PCs?
For operating my own S1Digital Windows Media Center, I prefer more full-featured HID-enabled controllers such as the Gyration Air Remote and Logitech DiNovo.
These products add keyboards, numbers, A/V control, and other functions to the PC navigation features, so you don’t need multiple remote controls.
I use all of these functions. The Gyration remote is my go-to controller for Windows Media Center. The DiNovo is my supplemental remote especially for the keyboard and some advanced Internet-oriented functionality. I use it every couple of weeks.
A minimalist remote will almost always require a secondary remote, so what’s the point?
We’ll see where Navigator takes us. As Cosson says, “[You] have a hint of where we’re going.”
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