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Keyspan Digital Media Remote Control review:

Keyspan Digital Media Remote Control

  • 1

Keyspan Digital Media Remote Control

(Part #: URM15A)
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The Good Excellent range; completely customizable; receiver acts as a dock for the remote.

The Bad Expensive; caused a few crashes on a Mac; USB cable for receiver could be longer.

The Bottom Line This remote makes it a breeze to use digital media applications from the couch.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.0 Overall

As more and more people connect their PCs to their stereos, the computer is becoming an integral part of the home theatre. There's nothing's quite like opening your favorite digital audio player, putting your entire list of MP3s on shuffle play, and listening to whatever comes up. But when you're trying to relax, it can be a pain to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and pause if you have to go to your computer to do it. Keyspan has solved this problem with its Digial Media Remote, a small, USB remote control that lets you command any digital media application (or any other program, for that matter) on your computer from up to 35 feet away. As more and more people connect their PCs to their stereos, the computer is becoming an integral part of the home theatre. There's nothing's quite like opening your favorite digital audio player, putting your entire list of MP3s on shuffle play, and listening to whatever comes up. But when you're trying to relax, it can be a pain to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and pause if you have to go to your computer to do it. Keyspan has solved this problem with its Digial Media Remote, a small, USB remote control that lets you command any digital media application (or any other program, for that matter) on your computer from up to 35 feet away.

A remote for all seasons
Keyspan's receiver is a small USB device designed to hold the remote when it's not in use--a convenient feature that's sure to cut down on time spent searching for the gadget. It comes with software for Windows and the Mac OS that lets the remote direct most digital media applications as soon as you install the software. When you find an app that doesn't respond well to the remote's commands, it's simple to program the buttons to correspond to the right keystrokes for that app.

Because you can customize the buttons for any application, the Keyspan is useful for more than just music and video players. You can use it with a Web browser or with Adobe Acrobat to thumb through PDF files, or you can switch among active applications. We even tried using it as a game controller, although the inability to use two Keyspan buttons in concert pretty much nipped that experiment in the bud.

Minimal design issues
We encountered almost no problems with the remote. The range was a reasonable 35 feet. It caused our Mac to freeze once or twice but not in a manner we could reliably reconstruct. The short length of the USB cable that connects the receiver to your computer might be a bit troublesome if you have your computer below a desk, but it's not so short as to make it impossible to use in such a situation. The remote is powered by a couple of camera batteries that shouldn't need replacing any time soon, but a rechargeable unit would have been nice.

At $50, the Keyspan Digital Media Remote is a bit expensive if you don't plan to use it a lot. But for the digital media enthusiast--those folks who have their computer's DVD player hooked up to the TV and have more than 1,000 MP3s, for example--it's a handy little device that's sure to make life easier.

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