Given the fact that more people are plugging their PCs and laptops into televisions these days, many of us want something that comes with just about every television set – a remote control to handle media player playback, such as with Windows Media Player or VLC.

Finding a proper remote control isn’t the easiest thing in the world because you have to know the specific terms to search for. Once you do, you’ll find some good options that won’t break the bank.

Option 1. "MCE" remote control

On NewEgg, I personally had the best success searching for the term mce remote. "MCE" is for "Media Center Edition". You will find remotes listed that work both in Windows and Linux. They are simple in nature but get the job done.

If you’re looking for a remote that has MCE and universal capability, that’s not cheap. You could very easily spend $300+ on a remote that has all that capability – but at least the option exists.

If you can go without the universal capability, the cost of an MCE remote is usually under 30 dollars, like this one. And yes it does come with the USB IR receiver needed for the PC to receive infrared commands successfully.

Option 2. Wireless keyboard

If you can deal with the fact your "remote" will in fact be a keyboard, this does make for a good cost-effective solution. Most if not all wireless keyboard have media center functions on them and will readily work with the media player software of your choice.

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The wireless keyboard may not be as convenient as the remote, but they available everywhere and require minimal setup.

Option 3. Hack it yourself.

If you’re good with electronics, tutorials exist like this one for enabling infrared signals to be received via USB with almost any standard remote control. When I say "good at electronics", you do have to have an above-average knowledge of how infrared works. Fortunately the linked tutorial goes into very deep detail on how to go about it.