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Streamzap PC Remote Control Review
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On either side of the number [0] are small grey [Channel] and [Volume] up/down buttons. Moving further down is a large 5-way menu cluster, accompanied by [Menu] and [Exit] buttons. Continuing lower are 8 transport controls, including [Record] and [Chapter +/-], while at the very bottom of the remote are four unlabeled buttons colored red, green, yellow and blue.

Streamzap PC Remote Control
Click to enlarge. (31kb)
Although unfamiliar to North Americans, those four colored keys are actually arranged in an identical manner to functions normally associated with the European TeleText service. However, in this case, they have nothing to do with that – they’re what the manufacturer calls “Macro Buttons”.

At the very top of the remote is an unshielded single infrared emitter, promised by the company’s website to deliver over 40 feet of range.

Simple Installation
In addition to complete electronic instructions included on the driver CD, the Streamzap comes with a tiny booklet containing a single page of instructions – and that’s honestly all that’s needed. The booklet asks you to install the driver CD and, only when prompted, to plug the infrared receiver into a free USB port. At this point the software will recognize the receiver and begin a short animated tutorial that lets you use the remote and get a feel for all of the major features and functions.

Streamzap PC Remote Driver
Customizing Remote Behavior
In literally minutes installation is complete and the Streamzap is ready to roll. The driver launches automatically whenever Windows is started and resides as a small icon in the system tray (at the bottom, next to the system clock). Double-clicking on the icon brings up the “Streamzap Remote Settings” page, where all remote configuration is completed.

Here is where it becomes apparent that calling those four colored keys at the bottom of the remote “macro” buttons is a bit of a misnomer, since they really have nothing to do with remote-style macros. A more accurate description would be “customizable activity buttons”, and even then only three of them are usable to launch specific programs, music playlists or websites (basically anything that can be double-clicked on your computer). Indeed, the red button on the left side of the remote can only be configured to a single system function such as “toggle mouse mode on/off”, “cycle between open windows”, “toggle full-screen” and “show the Start menu”. I would like to have enough keys on which to assign more of these special functions – not just one.

The second screen of settings provides adjustments for how long of a delay will occur before buttons will repeat, how quickly they will repeat, and how fast the volume will change. Set the driver to respond too quickly and some presses will be sensed two or three times. Other options available here will turn off an active screen saver and automatically bring supported program windows to the foreground for easier use.

Streamzap PC Remote Control
Click to enlarge. (53kb)
Customizing?
The design goal of the Streamzap was to include just enough buttons to control the basic elements of popular home theater applications, such as television, DVD and MP3 playback. However, none of those function buttons are customizable. The remote’s driver “recognizes” a wide range of supported programs and, if you attempt to use it on an unsupported application, warns that results may not be quite as expected – but nothing is available to customize how those keys behave.

Conspicuously absent on the Streamzap remote are traditional device-switching keys. True, there are those three assignable buttons at the bottom, but they are really not enough for all the functions a typical computer can have and are not labelled.

But if you’re concerned that there just isn’t enough customization possible, take heart! The Streamzap offers an acceptable alternative: full mouse cursor control.

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