TVs are no longer dumb receivers sitting in the corner of the lounge, displaying whatever trash the networks have decided to cram down our throats. Nowadays, a TV is just as likely to be hooked up to a home theater PC (HTPC) for playing games, accessing media content stored on a hard disk, or surfing the Internet. For more complex tasks like that, the humble remote starts to look a little underdone. That's where remote controls on steroids, such as the GlideTV Navigator, come in. It combines the functionality of a keyboard, mouse and AV remote control in one distinctive-looking unit that fits in the palm of your hand.
The Navigator features a clickable touchpad that is mapped to your TV screen, providing precise cursor control, one-thumb scrolling, and single and double-click selection. Around the outside of the touchpad are directional buttons for two-axis navigation, and backlit AV buttons to control volume and playback. Dedicated Esc, Enter, Back, and Function keys round out the complement of buttons, which are found on the topside of the unit. Through the Windows-only GlideTV software, masochists can also make use of an on-screen keyboard, while an integrated search menu contains links to Google, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube, to name a few.
The device plugs into a HTPC with a USB receiver, and is powered by a rechargeable battery designed to last at least two weeks under normal conditions. Recharging is as simple as placing the Navigator in its charging station - just be sure no one mistakes the empty charging station for an ashtray, though.
Although the GlideTV Navigator software is Windows only, the device is also compatible with Windows Media Center, Mac OS X, iTunes, Boxee, Hulu Desktop, SageTV and PS3. It is available now for US$149.