Lazy HTPC/gaming on HDTV setup - possible?

Here’s the setup: our family room has our couch in the middle, facing our nice Panasonic plasma on one wall; behind it, against the back wall, is my cozy Legare desk with my PC.

Is it possible to output the display from my PC to the TV, and control the PC with, say, a wireless mouse and keyboard, from the couch, without moving my PC? If so, what tech would I need to get? Hopefully that’s not budget-busting (ie under $100 or so).

Now sure I could get a 25-50’ HDMI cable to get the video output from the PC to the TV; not sure how I’d do the input, though. Is there such a thing as a wireless USB repeater or something? USB over LAN? (both sides of the room are on the house LAN).

Yes, there are wireless USB solutions. Search for “Wireless USB extender,” since “wireless USB” will get you wireless networking dongles. There are similar products for USB over LAN.

However, these tend to be pretty iffy. I have no idea how well they’d work for keyboard and mouse. I wouldn’t be surprised if you suffered from lag or dropouts, because the USB standard doesn’t work so well if you’re chopping up the information into packets which might be dropped.

I know that I experimented with these devices for things that really needed USB 2.0 (i.e. cameras), and the results were so awful I gave up on it.

Yes, because I do it. Right now I’m running a couple of 25 foot PS/2 extension cables to a wired mouse and keyboard because my Microsoft Bluetooth receiver got haunted and started behaving very oddly and I haven’t gotten around to hooking up the Logitech replacement. The Logitechs, in particular, have a standard USB interface (with a wired extender) that you can stretch out with a USB extension cord if you end up out of range. I’ve only ever had a problem with any of these situations when the hardware itself decided to wig out.

Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. 30+ foot range. I find it quite acceptable for gaming, but I don’t play competitive multiplayer so your mileage might vary.

I also recently bought two different brands of HDBaseT adapters that both work fairly well but I don’t know of any yet that support USB (though they should eventually). Think one Cat5e cable that carries the full HDMI signal, IR/USB, and 100BaseT. Very stable so far, though for now they are pretty expensive at ~$370 and up.

Yeah it’s been a long time since I messed around with bluetooth stuff, it was always flaky for me, but I could check out a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Is there a way to share the video output wirelessly or over LAN so I don’t need to run a 25’ cord across the living room?

They exist, but you’re going to be going outside of your price range for them. Here at the office we use yet another variety of Bluetooth device that works okay, but it’s not entirely immune from interference. I don’t think you’re going to find a superior option to running an actual cable, but I’m apparently strangely predisposed to running cables if my brother is to be believed. If the television isn’t planted in the middle of an open room, you could always run under the carpet or around the baseboard (with some special thresholds for door crossings), or even go through the walls if you want to get really creative about it.

V1 bluetooth of Logitech was pretty flakey, as was the original microsoft bluetooth solution. I stayed away from them for the longest time but I just bought the newest Logitech and it’s been working flawlessly. Didn’t have to sync anything or install any software, works just like the standard RF wireless solutions with a much longer range.

A bit pricey (~$150) but it was certainly simple to get working.