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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 5, 2007 at 4:19 PM

Finally: The first Vista Sideshow remote

Seven months later than expected, Philips will start selling Vista SideShow-powered remote controls in October for $199.

The company showed the SRM7500 remote at CES in January, saying it would be available in the first quarter. Then it got quiet until today, when Philips announced at the CEDIA home entertainment systems show in Denver that the gadget goes on sale in October.

SideShow is a neat feature in Vista that lets computer and device makers build secondary displays, but so far not many have taken advantage of the technology.

Philips used SideShow to build a remote that lets you browse and select music stored on a Vista Premium or Ultimate system, using a menu similar to an early iPod, without turning on the PC.

From its announcement:

The Philips SRM7500 remote control also supports “basic” Windows SideShow functionality, allowing users to browse and play music, pictures, TV show and programming guides. It also provides convenient access to information including newsfeeds, stock quotes and emails on the remote’s LCD display.

The remote can control a Media Center PC and up to five other entertainment devices, such as TVs, DVD players and set-top boxes, “providing complete power over multimedia PC features from the comfort of the couch,” Philips said.

It also uses RF signals so it doesn’t require line-of-sight. In other words, you can control a PC stored elsewhere in the house.

Sounds like a good challenge to Logitech’s Harmony remotes, the current king of the coffee table.

But both companies may be trumped by Apple, if someone figures out a great way to turn the new Wi-Fi iPods into super remote controls.

Comments | Topics: Digital media, Gadgets & products, Microsoft

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