Remote control your music collection in MCE

I have played around with another PDA Remote solution as well here.

I have been using NetRemote for a long time. NetRemote is a little application that runs as a server on the box with your music. You can then connect from a client running on another PC or a PDA. From the client you can control what is playing on the box running the server.

This works very well towards J. River Media Center and Meedio that I have been using before. Of course, I could install J River on my new MCE box, but it would be much more interesting to directly control the same media library that I have in MCE.

There are some dedicated remote solutions for MCE out there. I had to test them…

I tried:

Niveus remote
The Niveus solution was extremely slow on my HP Jornada. The music
collection control was not close to useless, but completely useless.

This is what I saw most of the time running the Niveus solution. Waiting…

Edit: See the comments below and please note that my experience should not make you skip the Niveus solution if you want to test the options. It might work better on your system.

Rudeo control.
The Rudeo solution was somewhat better when it comes to performance, but it did not show cover art and had a very unfamiliar way of controling my music collection.

In adition to this the Rudeo trial was so limited that it was difficult to test it seriously.

None of the mentioned solutions have clients for both PDA and PC.

So, I am back to NetRemote. And, know what? NetRemote can control Windows Media Player. Windows Media Center Edition is built on basis of Windows Media Player.

So, what happens if you install the Windows Media Player version of NetRemote on an MCE box?

It plays very well! Some times the "Now Playing" info on my MCE screen does not update in sync with my NetRemote clients. That is not a big issue, because the reason I use NetRemote is that I do not turn on the MCE screen.
I use NetRemote when I want to control my music without turning on the screen in my living room.

Edit: And, NetRemote comes with clients for both PDA and PC.

Edit2: I had an issue with problems when trying to open a playlist in NetRemote. This has been fixed in the latest beta version of the server software and I guess it will be released in an official version soon.

Related post:
How to remote control your music collection from your PDA, laptop, meedio etc…

Remote control your music collection in MCE

14 thoughts on “Remote control your music collection in MCE

  1. Eirik,

    We were dissapointed to hear of your experience with the Niveus Pocket Remote. I’m not sure if you’ve contacted us before for support on our product, but we would be happy to work with you and try to resolve and identify what is causing the slow responsiveness and lack of control with our product. We have many customers that are not experiencing the troubles you did, so we’d like to understand more of what might be causing you trouble.

    I’d be happy to speak directly with you on this issue.


    Tim Cutting

  2. First: please note that this is not a big and serious test. It is my experience when trying to decide on what software to use.

    I was also very dissapointed when the Niveus solution did not work properly. It looked very promising. I have quite a bit of patience, so this is what I did:

    Installed the Niveus server
    Installed the Niveus client on my HP Jornada 560, 64 MB RAM, PPC2002

    Result: in general very slow performance. The music module would not start.

    So for the patience. After a complete and clean reinstall of my whole MCE box, and a hard reset of my PDA I test again. I REALLY want this to work.

    I install the server and install the client on both my old Jornada, and my top of the line Toshiba e805. The same result.

    So, when NetRemote does the job so well, I just sit back and use that one instead.

    Maybe I should have had the patience to contact support. The Niveus solution looks great. It seems like you have understood important issues like the fact that the user does not want to pick up his stylus while navigating. Buttons should be big enough to push with your finger on the touch screen. With the Niveus solution they are.

    I do not know if my problem is a server or a client issue, but I can contact support with more details on my system. We don’t have to take all the details here…

  3. Michael V. says:

    I am very interested in using my Dell Axim X3i to control my MCE 2005 system. Can you tell me which NetRemote package will I need to purchase? I too was almost ready to buy the Niveus package, but after looking at the NetRemote site I may hold off.

  4. It all depends on what you want to do. With the NetRemote Music Suite you can control your music collection nice and easy. With NetRemote IR you can also control your TV, amplifier and other IR controlled equipment. With NetRemote PRO you can do all sorts of advanced stuff through Girder, ZoomPlayer and other packages.

    NetRemote does not natively support navigation in the MCE GUI, like the Niveus and Rudeo solutions. Personally I don’t need that.

    Pushing “buttons” on the touch screen of my PDA to control something that happens on another screen is not user friendly. The “buttons” on the touch screen does not have any texture, and you will find yourself constantly switching your sight between the MCE screen and the PDA. For that kind of navigation a proper remote with real buttons is still the best.

    Out of the box you can control your music collection and see what’s playing now on your PDA or PC.

    NetRemote is extremely powerful and configurable. You can use the Pronto design tool to edit the templates and make new ones. I guess it will be just a question of time before someone makes a custom template for MCE control.

    If you are experienced with computers I would really take a look at the PRO version of NetRemote. Together with Girder this makes a solution where you can customise and control all aspects of your HTPC. Be prepared for stuff that is more advanced than tuning channels in MCE, but huge amounts of fun and at times a very high WOW-factor.

    As mentioned in the edit of my original post:
    Downolad trials for all the packages and test them out! As you can see from the comments here Niveus Support seems very responsive, and I would recommend the NetRemote forum over at Promixis. Any questions there tends to be answered very fast!

    NB! I have also inserted a extra comment on a version issue with NetRemote.

  5. I made a comment over at HTPCNews after they linked to this little post, and I think it fits in here as well:

    …and by the way. Yes it is a quick review. Mostly because it is not really a review, it’s more like some notes I made while trying the available solutions. But, as you say “it should get you started into PDA controlling your HTPC” indeed!

    As I mention in the comments I encourage you to test all the solutions. It all depends on your needs, your hardware and your level of experience with computers and software.

    The reviews at HTPCNews are of very high quality and are always proper reviews. My site is mainly my own notes and experiences, limited to the stuff that I play with.

    Fortunately I am educated as a television engeneer and my daily work is in the development department of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. So, for some of the stuff I write about I am highly competent…

    Still, as always when reading independent and private stuff like mine, double check and make up your opinion based on several information sources.

    Have fun browsing my site, the fact that HTPCNews, Thomas Hawk, eHomeUpgrade and others find it interesting motivates me. There is more to come!

    Keep up the good work at HTPCNews, and thank you for your interest in my site.

    Best regards,

  6. Greg Stuart says:

    I was recently also looking for a solution, but wanted an improved mousing that my Belkin Media Pilot currently gives me and stumbled accross this from Germany.

    Seems comparitively priced and has a tremendous ammount of features including turning your touch screen into a touchpad mouse.

    I haven’t downloaded the trial yet and a brief Google looking for reviews hasn’t turned up anything but maybe you can give it a try and post the results.

    BTW, I am in now way affiliated with this organization.



  7. This looks extremely interesting. I’ll try it out as soon as I get a chance. Please post a comment here with your experience if you try it out.

  8. […] To make it easier for Dagbladet’s readers I will give you a quick roundup of some media center links and advice: – The complete list of software solutions – A quick roundup of some of the systems I have tried – An update with links to other articles as well – Converting DVR-MS files from your media center – Placeshifting, your media everywhere! – Remote control your music collection in MCE – Everything in the HTPC category […]

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