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THOUGHT: Remote control Apple AirTunes and AirPort Express with Media Center RC
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 19.06.04 - 21:38:53 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 16005x
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As you might remember, I'm currently thinking of building a Windows XP Media Center Edition myself. Yes, I know, MCE as required operating system isn't available to buy but it's available through Microsoft's MSDN subscriber download page.

Well, anyway - while I still don't have the case I will use with my planned Media Center nor I have a compatible TV card today (the Radeon All-In-Wonder isn't working with MCE) a couple of days ago I got the IR remote control - designed for MCE:

Beside it is a nicely designed RC and works perfectly with MCE it also works in the standard Windows XP mode of MCE and best of all - it also controls standard media programs in XP mode! :-)

A couple of days ago, Apple released their AirPort Express which is - on one side a great mobile Wi-Fi Acess Point and on the other side it also features analog and digital audio output that can be connected to a stereo and in combination with Apples new AirTunes music networking software to wirelessly stream music from your PC to any room in the house.

For sure I've ordered AirPort Express the same day it was announced (unfortunately delivery is heavily delayed from previously expected 3 - 5 days to one month now...). There are two reasons why I've ordered it:

  1. Because it's a great mobile AP which can be easily used for traveling, for example if you want to build a wireless LAN in your Hotel room or at a customer (the same reason why my fellow MVP Helio was looking for an ultra portable AP when we was in Seattle).
  2. Because it allows you to stream music from your PC to powered speakers which I have spare and I'm currently using together with my Notebook on my balcony to listen some music on warm summer nights (not to ask yet where the summer is - still waiting for it).

So for example two, in future I will use AirPort Express instead of my Notebook but Apple missed one important thing: how to remote control AirTunes (which is iTunes in version 4.6)? Well, today there is no way to remote control it! 8O

In an interview with Macworld, Greg Joswiak, Apple's Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing, agreed that some sort of remote-control device would be a cool addition to AirPort Express which means (today) there is nothing available.

Nothing? Not true to come back to the beginning of the story! :-) The Windows Media Center Edition remote control works great, even with Apples iTunes and allows you to control the volume, play, pause and stop songs as well as skipping and replaying songs within your current play list or album you are listening:

However, unfortunately there is no way to change the album or play list which means you have to lift up to walk to your PC. :-( But anyway - the most important features like volume, next/previous song and start/stop can be remote controlled now which brings me to the next point:

Any developers out there which are using Pocket PCs and iTunes? This would be a great combination to remote control play lists and albums, right from your Pocket PC through the same Wi-Fi connection which is used to stream the music to the AirportExpress. :-D

Sven Rutten of RuttenSoft recently released RC2 of his Media Player Remote which is a remote control for Windows Media Player and uses Bluetooth enabled Smartphones to control Windows Media. It features everything you can expect from a remote control... ;-)

but "unfortunately" it's supporting Windows Media "only" (and hey, Windows Media Player  for PCs isn't that bad, don't get me wrong, but as always a Microsoft product isn't supporting a Apple technology and vice versa  like streaming through AirStream/AirPort Express).

But anyway - if the summer comes to Germany also (and I'm sure it's coming anytime sooner or later) I can use my Windows XP Media Center remote control from the balcony to control most of my player functionalities! :-)

Cheers ~ Arne


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