With the increase in popularity of home theater PCs and internet capabilities being built into HDTVs, browsing the Web sitting on the couch is becoming a popular pastime. But with the web being a “lean forward” technology that requires more complicated input controls than the “lean back” consumption of traditional television, the ol’ remote control just doesn’t cut it anymore. While there’s been some outside-the-box designs, such as the GlideTV Navigator, the all conquering keyboard is already launching an offensive on the lounge room. The latest unit to join the fight is the GKM571R-581R 2.4 GHz wireless on-lap keyboard from IOGEAR.

On show at CES 2011, the GKM571R-581R is designed to provide wireless connectivity between a game console, HTPC or laptop and your HDTV. It has a contoured back that is designed to rest comfortably on your lap and features an inbuilt optical trackball with 1000 DPI, a conveniently located left-click button for single-handed navigation, left and right mouse buttons and an inbuilt scroll-wheel.

The keyboard also offers 13 multimedia hotkeys so the user can access programs quickly and includes a USB 2.4 GHz RF receiver that boasts a range of 33 ft (10 m). The slip-resistant design with rubber grip ensures that you don’t lose the keyboard during an energetic game and there’s a USB port for the rechargeable NiMH batteries which are included with the product. It is compatible with any Windows OS newer than and including XP, as well as OS X 10.5.9 or later.

The product pack contains the multimedia keyboard, a USB RF receiver, USB charging cable and two rechargeable AA NiMH batteries. It has a three-year warranty, retails for US$74.95 and is available online from IOGEAR's website.

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