More and more we’re connecting a laptop to the TV to watch video with VLC Media Player. The lack of a remote control was a nuisance. There are some USB-based remote controls with trackballs and keyboards for 30 or 40 bucks, but I found a remote control app called VLC Remote.
To use the app, run the setup software on any computer you want to be able to control. VLC Remote autodetects computers on the network running VLC and the helper program.
The app runs on Android, iOS and WebOS. I’m using the iOS version and it works great. I’m using the free version, which has volume control and basic controls for start, stop, pause, fast forward and rewind. The only small hassle is having to use the laptop to open the video file. Since I connect the laptop every time I want to watch video it’s no big deal. If I had a dedicated computer connected to the entertainment center I’d buy the the paid version, which has file browsing and some other geegaws like a graphic equalizer.