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Is it possible to control the Pi from my laptop, using the keyboard and mouse, over the network? I know I can access a remote control from my android phone or through the XBMC media centre's local IP, but what I'd really like is the functionality of the keyboard.

  • Please could you possibly link the controller you are using one Android, I really need one, I just drove mine down some stairs to my current dodgy setup... – Wilf Dec 23 '13 at 20:28
  • from Android there is an APP called XMBC, and another called YAST. But there are some problems right now because the guys from xbmc changed the API :( – javirs Feb 26 '14 at 7:37
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    what about a small wireless keyboard with a touch pad? It works the best for me, I have in on my sofa and y gracefully control XBMC without bothering about computers or laptops – javirs Feb 26 '14 at 7:41
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XBMC supports HDMI CEC which supports allot of CEC Enabled TV's (Usually called something else, like Panasonic VieraLink)

Just use the remote control of any device connected via HDMI. For example I can use my satellite box or my TV's remote to control XBMC.

enter image description here

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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it, but you could try out VNC. You won't get the greatest performance out of it, as most of the CPU/RAM will be going to XBMC, but if you look here and here there are a few places you can get instructions on how to do this.

I'm not totally sure that this will work or how to set it up, as I've never used XBMC on the Pi, but it seems to be a common enough request on the RPi forums, so I just figured I'd mention it. You can find other instructions, sites, etc. by just googling VNC Raspberry Pi XBMC. Should bring up plenty of sites.

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Another alternative is to use synergy,

Synergy lets you easily share your mouse and keyboard between multiple computers on your desk. Supported on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

It's pretty straightforward process, it acts both as a server and as a client, so you should install it on both computers. It's important to notice that version compatibility problems were reported by other people over a few forums, so remember to check if your computer and raspberry pi shares the same version number.

  • I'm using this method on my (amd64) HTPC. But I have one RPi with XBMC running Raspbmc. It seems Raspbmc (and probably all other XBMC distros for RPi), do not start X Server (seems to work on FB), probably because of memory limitation on RPi. So synergy is not a good option for RPi, since it requires X server. EDIT: Another option would be to start XBMC over X Server, but I guess this will eat more resources. – 0xAF Jun 15 '14 at 12:01
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For command-line access, ssh may be best for that - see here. I will embed the instructions later, but it looks like this (from a remote machine): enter image description here

This can be connected to by an Android device, using ConnectBot. This is rather good, but you cannot always use characters such as > or <, as there is a severe lack of things like arrow keys, as it uses the default keyboard. This can be improved by using Hacker's Keyboard, which you can install (also for free) as well, and may be one of the better android apps.

If you have connection issues, this can sometimes be resolved by running this on the Pi - echo "Compression no" >> ~/.ssh/config - to remove the default compression settings.

(If this results in the No such file or directory sort of error, run mkdir ~/.ssh to create the ~/.ssh directory first)


For a graphical view of the Pi, you may want to use VNC instead: enter image description here

There is a tutorial on that here

  • I think he wants to control the XBMC, if he is running xBian or openELEC none of this will work (Im not sure about xbmc runnin on raspbian but .. probably neither...) – javirs Feb 26 '14 at 7:40
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You can control XBMC from its web interface or any plugin you install.

enter image description here

A recommended one is AWX which has a remote control, media selecting, that you can control from any browser on any device.

enter image description here

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MIcrosoft Wireless 3000 series just works on the Raspberry Pi (Even the first ones because it uses very little power) The USB emualtes keyboard from boot and does not need software. I used this with XBMC and there is a mouse pointer (not very good though) that shows up when you move the mouse around.

enter image description here

You can also plug in a Bluetooth Adapter and use a Bluetooth Keyboard and mouse. But you need to configure Bluetooth in SSH (Or I think the latest XBMC has some kind of BLuetooth paring setting)

enter image description here

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I personnaly prefer using the android control : YATSE http://yatse.leetzone.org/redmine

It's a free app, always evolving and very well integrated to XBMC

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There are browser add-ons which will give you "remote keyboard" (or sort of). Here is for Firefox and here is for Chrome. This will give you arrows, enter/back, volume control/mute, and some more stuff. You can use your mouse to click on the buttons, or use your keyboard. Pretty much everything you need to remote control XBMC.

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I use a mini keyboard with mousepad named Rapoo. it works on 2,4 Ghz with a vey small usb connector , as do most new keyboards and it's working up to 10 meter distance. No setup needed. It costs around 30 Euro.

  • While this will work it does not address the question of control from a laptop over the network. – Steve Robillard Sep 21 '15 at 18:36

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