When I was offered the chance to review a remote control for my Mac, I jumped at the chance. Lazy is my middle name, and any gadget that means I don’t have to move has to be a good thing.
I’ll get the techie bit out of the way first. The Keyspan Digital Media Remote (DMR) is a USB device, so, as the manual helpfully points out, you need a free USB port to use it. You will also need Mac OS 8.5.1 or later, and Mac OS USB driver version 1.1, or later. The receiver for the remote is powered through the USB port; the remote itself needs batteries.
Now I can get down to the nitty gritty. The software for the remote is easy to install, and the keypad is self-explanatory – if a little ugly. The receiver is white, so it matches your iMac, blue-&-white G3, or – if you’re lucky enough – your G4. It also has a handy slot in which to store your remote.
The DMR supports AppleCD Audio Player, Apple DVD Player, SoundJam MP, RealPlayer, and Microsoft PowerPoint. It also supports QuickTime player, which for your average user, is pointless – I’ve yet to download a QT movie that is watchable from more than two inches away. For professional users, though, the DMR could be good.
In addition, you can also program the remote to support other applications – as long as they support keyboard commands, or shortcuts. I used the remote with SoundJam, and it did everything it said it would. All the standard remote functions – play, skip, and so on – are supported, and there is no time delay between you pressing the button, and the computer responding.
Despite its flexibility, the price of the DMR is off-putting. At £59, it’s really only of use to those who use their Mac as a home entertainment system, or for presentations for work. If you’re a home-user, and watch a lot of DVD movies, or listen regularly to MP3 or audio CDs , then the remote is a must. But if, like me, you rely on your stereo and TV, then £59 is hard to justify for what you get.