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Wireless Wonders

The needs of the living room PC user are very different from the desktop or notebook user - the most obvious difference being that there's no flat surface to place anything on. OK, so you may have a coffee table in front of your sofa, but if you're going to be perched on the edge of the couch and bent over the coffee table you may as well be sitting at your desk. No, the key to using your living room PC is being able to do everything while comfortably slouched on your sofa, surrounded by soft cushions and, in my case at least, a couple of Bengal cats.

Microsofts Media Center 2005 Keyboard was one of the first truly usable options for the living room PC user.

Unsurprisingly, the first truly living room friendly keyboard for a Media Center PC came from Microsoft in 2005, and even less surprisingly, it was called the Media Center 2005 Keyboard. This keyboard was designed to sit on your lap and communicate with your Media Center PC wirelessly, but because it mimicked all the functionality of the Media Center remote control, it used infrared, rather than RF or Bluetooth to connect. Despite the somewhat dubious wireless connection, the Media Center 2005 Keyboard offered consumers full keyboard functionality, along with dedicated media buttons for controlling all the entertainment features of their Media Center PC. The built-in trackpoint-like nipple in the corner of the keyboard meant that you could, at a push, do general Windows work as well as play with Media Center.
Logitech's diNovo Edge is a beautifully stylish wireless keyboard designed for the sofa bound user.

Last year Logitech took the concept of a living room friendly PC keyboard to the next level with the launch of the diNovo Edge. For the image conscious, the diNovo Edge was a dream come true, offering wireless keyboard functionality wrapped up in a super svelte and stylish package, that wouldn't look out of place in the most minimalist, designer living room. Finished in glossy black, with touch sensitive controls and an integrated, round touchpad, the diNovo Edge isn't a victim of style over content, while the Bluetooth connectivity makes it a better wireless companion. If there's one major downside to the diNovo Edge it's the price - at around £100, you'll have to really want those stylish looks.

With Bluetooth becoming something of a ubiquitous standard for wireless PC peripherals, connecting up to your living room PC is becoming easier, while manufacturers have realised that wireless keyboards can be used in both desktop and living room environments. Take for instance the Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000, which comprises a wireless media-centric keyboard and rechargeable wireless laser mouse. The idea being that you use this setup on your desktop, then if you fancy kicking back and using your Media Center PC in your living room, you just grab the keyboard off your desk and take it with you.
{centre}Microsoft's Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 is a hybrid package that's at home both on the desktop, and in the living room.{centre}
With dedicated Media Center controls and a host of media and productivity hot keys, the Wireless Entertainment Desktop doesn't skimp on features, while the slim and curved design make it comfortable to work on, whether at your desk or on your lap. Also the integrated touchpad cements its credentials as a living room friendly keyboard and makes this an attractive proposition for anyone looking for a hybrid desktop/living room keyboard and mouse combo.

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