This Handy App Turns Your iPhone Into A Remote Control For Your Living-Room PC

It's great to plug your PC into your TV, but it can be tough to interface with the damn thing once you move it to your living room. After all, the ubiquitous mouse & keyboard setup is designed for the desktop, not the coffee table.

You know the deal: your sweet PC, plugged right into your sweet TV, running all your best video games and movies in full HD, right there in your living room. And yet… something is holding you back. You have a wireless mouse plugged in, but you keep it on the coffee table and have to lean forward to use it, shaking the mouse when it gets out of range and stops responding. Ugh.

Enter Hippo Remote, a fantastic app that has turned my iPhone into a flexible, reliable remote for my PC. I've been using it for the past few weeks, and it's great. It's not the only iPhone remote app on the market, but it's certainly one I can wholeheartedly recommend.

You can see a short demo of the app in action to the side here. Basically, after a pretty simple setup where you download some software and pair your PC up with your phone, it allows you to turn your iPhone into a trackpad for your PC or, with the paid version, use any of a huge number of control templates for various applications. There's a VLC template if you watch lots of videos that way, as well WMC, Hulu Desktop, and just about every other media player, browser, or other popular program. With those templates, your phone really does become like a remote, covered with navigation controls, volume controls, and more. You can also save your logins with a login manager for easy access and create custom macros to perform just about any key combination with the touch of a button.

It's got all sorts of features that I haven't even begun to try—for a five dollar app, it's amazing, frankly. There's even a gamepad, if you want to turn your PC into a touch-screen gaming device, which I'm sure lots of folks here are just dying to do.

Hippo Remote works with Mac and Linux as well as Windows. I haven't tested it extensively with my Mac, but given how well it works with my PC, I have no reason to think it wouldn't work. As far as I know, it doesn't yet have a Windows 8 profile, so if you're on the new OS, you might want to try out the free version of the app to see if it works at all. I've been using it with Windows 7 and it's been smooth sailing.

The Pro Version costs $5 and comes with a bunch of pre-loaded templates, while the Lite Version gives you the basic trackpad and keyboard features.

After a few weeks using this thing, I've only scratched the surface of what it can do, but I have zero complaints. One more hurdle between me and a do-everything living-room PC just got taken down.