HTPCs are going from a techie trend to becoming a part of mainstream computing as it becomes easier than ever to connect your television and your computer. One of the few issues that remains is controlling the computer—a wireless keyboard and mouse is still the best solution if you’re using it as a full PC and not just a media center, but that’s not always convenient.
In case you’re looking for a quick solution to that problem, then you should consider remote desktop applications. One of the most popular remote access tools today is TeamViewer, which is available for free on both Windows and the iPad for personal use.
With TeamViewer, you can turn your iPad into a keyboard and mouse to operate the computer whenever you like, and the process is really easy.
First, just download the free TeamViewer quickstart program—it’s free and it allows you to hand over remote control of your computer with no additional setup. This will show you a computer ID, and a password as soon as you run the program.
Next, you download the free TeamViewer app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, and enter the ID which you got on the computer. It starts the secure authentication, which is important because it prevents anyone else from seeing what’s happening on your computer. Once that’s done, it asks for the password which was generated earlier. Type that in and that’s it—you’ve got the full Windows desktop running on the iPad.
Now, you can use the tablet as a mouse, or press an on-screen button to call up the keyboard. It’s a really simple way to control the action on the big screen—look down and launch the browser, and key in a URL, for example, and the page is loaded on the big screen in front of you.
The same thing works for other programs as well—TeamViewer has full remote access—so you can launch your music, movies or even games right from the iPad if you wish.
Another aspect to this is that you can use it to get access to programs on the iPad which wouldn’t work otherwise—so as long as you’re connected to your PC for example, the desktop versions of Word or Outlook are also available at your fingertips, with the computer at home doing all the work.