Introducing Touchpad Media Server

Summary: Touchpad Media Server lets you control any media player using any web browser on any device, or using Touchpad Pro v3. Windows users: try first. Mac users read on. [Store currently down]

Touchpad Media Server enables you to send various special media keys using Touchpad, or through a limited web-interface. Currently, Touchpad Media Server only supports Windows -- Mac support will begin soon. The media players supported include:
  • iTunes
  • Windows Media Player
  • Windows Media Center Edition
  • Vista Media Center
  • WinAmp
  • Media Player Classic
  • Any media player that accepts media keys (almost all media players!)
Here's what Touchpad Media Server looks like via Touchpad Pro:

And here's what it looks like through Safari:

Admittedly, it's a lot more minimalist. You can also scroll to reveal other buttons that you can use to present PowerPoint among other things.

Touchpad Media Server Installation:
  1. Download the trial edition of Touchpad Media Server and run it.

  2. Once you've got everything installed, go to the Start Menu, then click on Programs > Touchpad Pro > Touchpad Media Server Trial. You should now see this (although you'll currently be running the trial version):

  3. There's one final option you'll need to set -- choose the player your want to control: iTunes, Generic and Windows Media Player.

    • iTunes: This will give you the best user experience for the time being. This option supports all the 9 buttons on the media remote, as well as graphical updates of the currently playing song, and you can even drag the knob to skip around in a song. Even if iTunes isn't currently open, it will automatically be launched -- and even if it isn't the currently highlighted window, it will still respond to the media remote. Note that the volume buttons will only set the volume in iTunes.

    • Generic: Use this setting to control ANY media player (such as Media Center, Winamp, etc.). This will make the media remote buttons act like the media buttons on your regular keyboard / laptop. Play/pause, next track, previous track, stop, and the volume buttons will all control whatever media player is currently in focus. Fast forward and rewind will trigger the left and right arrow keys, while the rest of the buttons act as regular media buttons. There is no visual feedback on your device's screen, which makes the media remote act purely as an input device. Depending on your media player, the volume buttons will either control the global volume on your computer or the volume of the media player.

    • Windows Media Player: With this option selected, your media remote will control Windows Media Player -- if it hasn't currently started, it will be automatically launched, and if it's not the currently focused window, it will still respond to the media remote. However, I haven't gotten it working to the point where you can seek around in a song, or even get the current track name or volume setting. Because of this, there is no visual feedback on your screen -- the media remote will act purely as an input device. You can use the Play/Pause, Stop, Next/Previous Track buttons as well as the volume buttons -- note that the volume will only be set in Windows Media Player.

  4. You now have two options to connect: you can either use Touchpad Pro, or you can use any web browser.
    • Using Touchpad Pro

      To connect with Touchpad Pro, follow these instructions. If you've already set up a server, go to the server settings page by clicking on the blue arrow next to your computer name (e.g., mediapc), and enable Media Server (this is the default value). When you connect, you'll have the extra media functionality enabled. Tap the remote button to get access to the media controls.

    • Using a Web Browser

      This is useful if you don't want to jailbreak your device, or if you have a different smartphone with a web browser. The web location is indicated by "Touchpad Web Access" on the screen. In the example shown above, you would point your device's (iPhone / iTouch / smartphone) browser to
Whichever way you connect to Touchpad Media Server, once you're connected, your media remote will control whatever player you've selected. Since this is a trial, the Media Server stops after a minute and will need to be manually restarted -- click "Show Options" and then "Start Server" to do this.

If you have connection issues, go through the steps in the Windows Connection Troubleshooter.

Once you are sure that Touchpad Media Server works on your computer, and if you want to remove the one minute limit on server connections, you can buy the full version. Please make sure that you've tried the trial version, and have successfully connected to the server before buying. Understand that there is absolutely no difference between the trial and the full version beyond the one minute server-stopping limit -- if the trial does not work for you, neither will the full version!

Once you've bought it, you'll be emailed a download link -- check your spam folder if you think you haven't gotten it. Buying the full version will give you access to all the incremental updates -- which means any and all bug fixes, as well as any improvements to the controls to the settings for Windows Media Player and Generic. If there's substantially new functionality (like customizable buttons), that probably won't be covered.

If you have any questions, please post and read the comments.