Using an Android phone as an XBMC remote control

I’ve been a little quiet on the RPi for a week while enjoying XBMC working pretty well. However one thing has been bothering me: a lack of a decent remote control. My current setup uses a wireless keyboard (without numeric keypad to keep the size down), but it feels like a pretty clunky remote control. Last night I did some research and found a usable alternative:

android-xbmcremote to give it its official title is a pretty decent remote control application that connects to XBMC on the RPi via the phone’s WiFi LAN connection, supporting both button and gesture input. And of course it runs on my Nexus S phone, which is pretty much remote control sized. Superb :)

The remote control application works well but is clearly still in development as it has a couple of glitches. For example, when the RPi is under heavy load, such as when starting to play a movie, the remote software briefly loses the connection and pops up a warning on-screen on the phone which has to be cleared. The connection is restored almost instantly, hence this warning could definitely be suppressed.

Also, I found that while it is possible to start playing a movie or trailer by clicking on the film record on the phone, depending on where one is in the XBMC menus on the RPis this can cause the software to go into a loop: play - refresh screen and show XBMC GUI - no PLAY I tell you - no I won’t - yes you will - no I won’t... clicking on Stop on the remote exits this loop. The workaround at present appears to be to navigate the XBMC menus on the RPi remote and select to play a movie when prompted. All works fine with this method.

So, some work still to be done, but this is an excellent work in progress and really is better (even with current limitations) than using my keyboard as a remote control.

XBMC continues to impress.
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