If you're one of the burgeoning group of people with a Mac or PC hooked up to your TV, you're not alone in your frustration. All you want to do is stream a little Hulu to your HD set, or watch streaming Netflix without one of these. But there's a problem: you can't practically control the thing from your couch.
That's what this thing is for. It's called the Loop, and it's an intuitive mouse-like device that you use to control your PC when it's doing TV duty. Of all the extraneous peripherals on the market today, this is one that actually solves a problem that a lot of people have—it's not a luxury, or add-on, or stocking stuffer. This thing is crucial if you want to stream content from your PC and you want to be lazy about it. After 24 hours with this thing, I have no idea how I summoned the initiative to watch Hulu without it.
The Loop runs on two AA batteries and offers dead-simple setup: plug in the little USB transmitter, and your PC or Mac recognizes it automatically as a "mouse." Beyond that, there are just a few buttons: a left mouse button, for clicking stuff, and a right mouse button that serves as a "back" button in a browser. There's also a scroll wheel (clicking it evokes Expose on Macs) and a little "hide" button that takes the cursor off the screen. And because its signal is RF-transmitted, you don't even have to be sitting upright to move the cursor correctly—you don't even have to be in sight of the TV.
The Loop is made by Hillcrest Labs, and you may have unwittingly used their technology before; they designed the air-mouse guts of the Logitech MX Air mouse and the Kodak Theatre HD player. The Loop is their first branded product, and it's available now via Amazon.com and the Hillcrest Labs website.