There are many ways to control your HTPC. Some methods or tools are free, some cost money. I’ll outline how I control mine, as well as give some recommendations on what might work for you.
For my ‘main’ HTPC, I use a Rosewill RRC-126 remote. Pairing this with Openelec was completely plug and play. I didn’t have to configure anything for it to work correctly. Overall I really like the remote. It’s light, sturdy and the battery life has been great. I changed the batteries (stock ones) after about 16 months of daily use. I now have some similarly cheap batteries in it. It’d be nice if it were backlit but that just adds to the price and lowers the battery life considerably.
On my secondary HTPC I use the Pulse-Eight HDMI CEC USB adapter. I’ve raved about how amazing this little box is, but it truly is amazing. Again it’s plug and play with Openelec and it works 100% out of the box. I enjoy using my tv remote, it works great. The TV remote has all the buttons I need to navigate, and all the media buttons like play pause stop etc. I will eventually need to map some custom buttons like disabling subtitles as there is no way to simply disable them as it stands.
Lastly (but not the least) I use Yatse to control both HTPCs. They’re both configured and work amazingly. I have the paid version of the app (unlocker) so I can stream and do other premium things. I think it is well worth the money. The app is updated quite frequently, the developer(s) listen to feedback and any bug reports. A huge amount of people use the app as well so if you need any help its quite simple and quick to look up how to do something online.
First off, I suggest everything I’ve outlined here. I have and will continue to recommend the Rosewill remote, the pulse-eight adapter, and Yatse. Some people might have other requirements though. I for one do not need a keyboard and trackpad.
If you’re looking for a keyboard/trackpad I’ve been told (and have seen) that the Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 is an excellent HTPC friendly keyboard.
It’s got amazing reviews on the Amazon page, as well as a recent Reddit post here.
I would definitely recommend the K400, if you’re going on the cheap. It’s what I have and I can’t complain.
I have a K400 and a K400r. They are both amazing. I will buy them for any HTPC build until something at a similar price point, size and function arrives.