[mythtv-users] Advice on IR blasters

Dan Wilga mythtv-users2 at dwilga-linux1.amherst.edu
Tue May 11 15:26:28 UTC 2010

On 5/11/10 9:57 AM, Michael Tiller wrote:
> I've seen mention of USB-UIRT devices they seem a bit pricey and don't
> even seem to come with an emitter (just a port for it) and I've not
> clear how good the support for them is.

I've been using one for several years. LIRC supports it just fine, 
though I have had trouble getting it to blast to one TV. But, for my 
equipment which does work, it's great.

Given that I'm about to have one MBE and several FEs, I've decided to go 
a completely different route. I've got one of these:


and have started to buy an additional remote (without the base) per FE. 
These remotes communicate very quickly with the base, which then blasts 
the IR signal to the receiver on my HDHomeRun. LIRC is running on the 
MBE, which decodes the signal. Each FE connects to LIRC on the MBE.

This has several big advantages over using IR receivers on each FE:

- It's much faster. I've had to add delays to keep my main FE from 
repeating too quickly. My old 2006 MacBook Pro now has a real remote, 
without any additional hardware, which is faster and has many more 
buttons than the Apple Remote.

- I no longer have to point the remote directly at an IR receiver to 
control Myth.

- I'm using a single remote configuration which is cloned to all of the 
others. This allows me to use any remote in any room, just by choosing a 
different "device" on the remote.

- In the future, I plan to have the MBE power the appropriate FE on via 
wake-on-LAN when a TV Power On signal is received from the remote. WOL 
seems to be much more bullet-proof than worrying about whether or not 
your FE-attached IR receiver will work correctly when the FE is asleep.

- I have macros set up to switch the TV and amp (via IR) to the correct 
mode, when choosing between different video sources in the same room.

- I also plan to integrate home automation using these same remotes, 
since the MBE also controls the house.

The only down sides I can see are:

- If a neighbor or something else in my house happens to use the same 
radio frequency as the remote, there could be signal loss or unexpected 

- While initial testing is promising, I'm concerned that four people all 
using their own remotes at once might cause problems for the one base 
station. Only time will tell.

One of these days, I'll try find the time to write up a wiki article 
describing the whole setup, if anyone is interested. The lircd.conf is 
pretty massive, since each FE is essentially treated as a different 
device in LIRC.
Dan Wilga                                                        "Ook."

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