Recommend me an HTPC remote with RF and IR - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 02-06-2013, 03:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for a RF remote control to use with my HTPC. It also needs to be able to power on my TV and adjust the volume. I have been using Nyxboard, i love the design but i HATE it because it is full of bugs. It never gets detected by the computer. Dozens of other users have the same problem (just look at Pulse-Eight forum) and the manufactured isn't doing nothing to fix it. I need a more reliable alternative.

- Power on/off TV through IR learning
- IR volume control for TV

Needs the following RF buttons:
play/stop/volume/back/info of course with arrows and "ok" button"
Those buttons should be RF since i will control my HTPC from a different room.

It would be awesome if the remote had programmable RF buttons so i could also control my lights with my insteon system, but i know it's too much to ask so let's say this is optional

1) I DON'T WANT A KEYBOARD, i want a REMOTE
2) Harmonys are too expensive.

Remote will be used for XBMC

Thanks !
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post #2 of 34 Old 02-06-2013, 04:02 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/URC-RFS200-PowerPak-MasterControl-PowerBlaster/dp/B000FL9E6U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360151977&sr=8-2&keywords=rf20

This combined wih an IR htpc remote.

I don't know of any universal RF htpc remotes. They probably don't exist.

I've owned the above option for years and it is a great remote. There are a couple downsides though so if you want to go this path let me know and I'll post a couple things that you need to be careful with.
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post #3 of 34 Old 02-06-2013, 04:22 AM
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You cannot learn RF with any universal remote. It has something to do with FCC approval for the frequencies the device emits and the universal remote manufacturer would have to get approval covering a huge spectrum.

What you need is a standard RF remote with an RF to IR base station that would control your HTPC. The PC would need a IR USB receiver. Since RF remotes emit IR as well you would use the same remote to control your TV directly without the extender.

Using Harmony remotes as an example would lead you to the 900 and 1100.

Another option would be IP control.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1318737/remote-control-faq-buyers-guide-and-programming-thread

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post #4 of 34 Old 02-07-2013, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

http://www.amazon.com/URC-RFS200-PowerPak-MasterControl-PowerBlaster/dp/B000FL9E6U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360151977&sr=8-2&keywords=rf20

This combined wih an IR htpc remote.

I don't know of any universal RF htpc remotes. They probably don't exist.

I've owned the above option for years and it is a great remote. There are a couple downsides though so if you want to go this path let me know and I'll post a couple things that you need to be careful with.

Looks interessing, especially with the powerblaster and simplesound functions.

What are those downsides you are talking about ?

I would prefer a remote that has an USB RF receiver for the computer functions (i don't really have a place to put the RF to IR converter) but if i can't find a solution i'll go with the RFS200. If i understand correctly i'd control my computer through RF and the powerblaster would convert it to IR.
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post #5 of 34 Old 02-07-2013, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchoi View Post

Looks interessing, especially with the powerblaster and simplesound functions.

What are those downsides you are talking about ?

I would prefer a remote that has an USB RF receiver for the computer functions (i don't really have a place to put the RF to IR converter) but if i can't find a solution i'll go with the RFS200. If i understand correctly i'd control my computer through RF and the powerblaster would convert it to IR.

The powerblaster is really small. The RF20 sends out an RF signal that the powerblaster converts into IR so you need an IR receiver on your computer, just use the included remote to program the RF20. This works from across the house for me.

The main problem I ran into is that the powerblaster needs to be plugged directly into the wall and you need to keep other cables from touching the IR leads and the power cord. With good wire management it works great.

I'm of the opinion that the RF20 is solid enough of a remote that I could beat a zombie to death with it and then change the channel. The buttons have a great feel to them. The normal IR function works from about 30 feet away(amazing). As the remote has aged I sometimes have to put in new codes twice but I can get a replacement for $40 bucks when I start caring. My remote has taken the abuse of 2 kids over 3 years though. Most remotes would be dead by now.

The other downside is that you quite often have to program the remote button by button facing the RF20 and component remote at each other. I prefer this to the Harmony method and don't consider it a con. I can program in a new remote faster this way than with Harmony and I know everything is mapped how I like.
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post #6 of 34 Old 02-07-2013, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchoi View Post

I'm looking for a RF remote control to use with my HTPC. It also needs to be able to power on my TV and adjust the volume. I have been using Nyxboard, i love the design but i HATE it because it is full of bugs. It never gets detected by the computer. Dozens of other users have the same problem (just look at Pulse-Eight forum) and the manufactured isn't doing nothing to fix it. I need a more reliable alternative.

- Power on/off TV through IR learning
- IR volume control for TV

Needs the following RF buttons:
play/stop/volume/back/info of course with arrows and "ok" button"
Those buttons should be RF since i will control my HTPC from a different room.

It would be awesome if the remote had programmable RF buttons so i could also control my lights with my insteon system, but i know it's too much to ask so let's say this is optional

1) I DON'T WANT A KEYBOARD, i want a REMOTE
2) Harmonys are too expensive.

Remote will be used for XBMC

Thanks !

I gave tried pretty much every remote in existence, and spent a lot of money doing so :-/

I am now very very happy using Tivo Slide remote. You can get them new for 60 bucks. It uses bluetooth and has a good range, so RF may not be your only option. It will shoot out an IR for volume and tv power (programmable). Then you just program the rest of the keys with an app service like lmkeymapper. Its quite great because you can send custom key strokes for buttons and you have a lot of flexibility. I dont use xbmc but I think it would work very well. And it has a slide out keyboard which windows recognizes on its own as an input device.

Here is a helpful link.
http://thedigitalmediazone.com/2012/04/27/using-a-tivo-slide-remote-with-windows-media-center/
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post #7 of 34 Old 02-07-2013, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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So i thought about it and i would prefer a remote with a RF USB receiver (or bluetooth) so i don't need to use a powerblaster. I wouldn't have any place to put the powerblaster in front of my HTPC.

After checking hundreds of remote control online, there seems to be only a few of them that has both RF and IR

TiVo would be an alternative, i almost bought it a couple of months ago but i didn't like the design and it has too many useless buttons meant for TiVo

So far the best choice would be this Gyration Remote:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5608195&CatId=358

But it seems to be discountinued. Can't find it anywhere, it's out of stock everywhere -_-


This one could also be a good choice if it had a "back" and "info" button
http://www.amazon.com/Rechargeable-Wireless-Keyboard-Trackball-Controller/dp/B008295Q9Q/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_22
http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Control-Wireless-keyboard-set-top/dp/B00829452U
However, i'm not sure if the remote side is IR or RF... Maybe only the keyboard is RF


Edit:
Not sure if the Gyraton could control HTPC through RF. Looks like it was rebranded by DELL:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Gyration-Air-Mouse-Music-Remote-fits-GYR4101US-/360349298941
and it needs an USB IR receiver but it is advertised as RF remote. I wonder what part of it is RF
http://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Microsoft-Premium-Receiver-OVU412002/dp/B0041EATS4


SMK-Link Blu-Link could be a potential alternative, but according to google a lot of peoples had trouble to get it working with XBMC and Windows
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post #8 of 34 Old 02-08-2013, 04:41 AM
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What I posted you don't have to put in front of the htpc, just somewhere within 10 feet of it so you can run an ir lead to it.
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post #9 of 34 Old 02-08-2013, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchoi View Post


Edit:
Not sure if the Gyraton could control HTPC through RF. Looks like it was rebranded by DELL:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Gyration-Air-Mouse-Music-Remote-fits-GYR4101US-/360349298941
and it needs an USB IR receiver but it is advertised as RF remote. I wonder what part of it is RF
http://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Microsoft-Premium-Receiver-OVU412002/dp/B0041EATS4


SMK-Link Blu-Link could be a potential alternative, but according to google a lot of peoples had trouble to get it working with XBMC and Windows

Actually, that eBay link states that it is for the remote only. The missing dongle is the USB RF dongle that allows the remote to communicate with the PC. Avoid that auction.

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post #10 of 34 Old 02-08-2013, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchoi View Post

I'm looking for a RF remote control to use with my HTPC. It also needs to be able to power on my TV and adjust the volume. I have been using Nyxboard, i love the design but i HATE it because it is full of bugs. It never gets detected by the computer. Dozens of other users have the same problem (just look at Pulse-Eight forum) and the manufactured isn't doing nothing to fix it. I need a more reliable alternative.

- Power on/off TV through IR learning
- IR volume control for TV

Needs the following RF buttons:
play/stop/volume/back/info of course with arrows and "ok" button"
Those buttons should be RF since i will control my HTPC from a different room.

It would be awesome if the remote had programmable RF buttons so i could also control my lights with my insteon system, but i know it's too much to ask so let's say this is optional

1) I DON'T WANT A KEYBOARD, i want a REMOTE
2) Harmonys are too expensive.

Remote will be used for XBMC

Thanks !

How are you getting the video from the HTPC in one room to another? If it is just an HDMI/VGA cable to another room, can't you just run a USB cable in similar fashion and use an IR dongle under/over/near the TV?

$12 Hamony 200 or $14 Hamorny 300 can hardly be called expensive.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #11 of 34 Old 02-10-2013, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Actually, that eBay link states that it is for the remote only. The missing dongle is the USB RF dongle that allows the remote to communicate with the PC. Avoid that auction.

Well it says "the dongle that comes with the CX071" and i have found the CX071 on amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Microsoft-Premium-Receiver-OVU412002/dp/B0041EATS4

I could probably find the remote from another seller but first i need to confirm if only the keyboard is RF or if i can also use the remote functions as RF (using arrows and play/pause buttons through RF)
Quote:
How are you getting the video from the HTPC in one room to another? If it is just an HDMI/VGA cable to another room, can't you just run a USB cable in similar fashion and use an IR dongle under/over/near the TV?
Wireless HDMI
Quote:
$12 Hamony 200 or $14 Hamorny 300 can hardly be called expensive.
RF enabled Harmonies (890, 900, 1000 and 1100 models, if i recall correctly) are at least $300
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post #12 of 34 Old 02-10-2013, 05:54 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/Next-Generation-Remote-Control-Extender/dp/B000C1Z0HA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360502864&sr=8-2&keywords=ir+extender

Another option. The gyration just looks like a cheap remote and the fact that Dell made it makes this likely. I would even suggest a Harmony over these and I think Harmony is trash(except the Harmony One).
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post #13 of 34 Old 02-10-2013, 06:21 AM
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If you want a true remote, I'd spend the money for RF. Done correctly, you don't have to point the remote at anything. I have RF remotes for my upstairs system and downstairs system, and I can't go back to a regular remote.

Bob
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post #14 of 34 Old 02-10-2013, 06:46 AM
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Agree.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #15 of 34 Old 02-25-2013, 01:53 PM
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I have one of those gyration remotes, I am currently thinking about going to IR though because I want to get a remote that I can use to turn on 4 devices with one press of a button. The only device that I have that is RF is the htpc. I will sell you my remote if I come up with a new plan.
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post #16 of 34 Old 02-25-2013, 03:12 PM
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That's not what RF means when you're talking about universal remotes. A universal RF remote controls all your IR devices by sending RF from the remote to a base that then blasts IR to all your devices. Universal RF remotes don't actually work with other RF devices besides their own bases.

I never could get the hang of a gyration and quickly sold mine on ebay. I use an RF remote 99% of the time to control everything in my home theater, including the HTPC. All my devices are IR of course. My RF remote was about $40 plus about $20 for the base and blasters. If you watch ebay, there's no need to spend anywhere near $300 for an RF system. Even a brand new URC RFS200 is only $70. If you have line of sight with all your devices and don't mind aiming, then you don't even need RF. I only use it because my coffee table blocks my IR remotes sometimes and my xbox is off axis. The few occasions I need a keyboard/mouse, I just use an iPhone app or, worst case, pull out my Logitech K400r.

Unless you have some hidden devices, it sounds like you don't even need RF. You just need an IR dongle for your HTPC and a very basic universal IR remote. You can do all of that for under $30 if you want.
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post #17 of 34 Old 02-25-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

That's not what RF means when you're talking about universal remotes. A universal RF remote controls all your IR devices by sending RF from the remote to a base that then blasts IR to all your devices. Universal RF remotes don't actually work with other RF devices besides their own bases.

I never could get the hang of a gyration and quickly sold mine on ebay. I use an RF remote 99% of the time to control everything in my home theater, including the HTPC. All my devices are IR of course. My RF remote was about $40 plus about $20 for the base and blasters. If you watch ebay, there's no need to spend anywhere near $300 for an RF system. Even a brand new URC RFS200 is only $70. If you have line of sight with all your devices and don't mind aiming, then you don't even need RF. I only use it because my coffee table blocks my IR remotes sometimes and my xbox is off axis. The few occasions I need a keyboard/mouse, I just use an iPhone app or, worst case, pull out my Logitech K400r.

Unless you have some hidden devices, it sounds like you don't even need RF. You just need an IR dongle for your HTPC and a very basic universal IR remote. You can do all of that for under $30 if you want.

What system do you use so we can look it up?
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post #18 of 34 Old 02-26-2013, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanly2 View Post

What system do you use so we can look it up?
My Xsight/Nevo system not a good option anymore since availability has dried up and prices have risen dramatically. The URC I posted is a good, cheap option though, as is any cheap universal plus a Next Generation RF system. A refurbished Harmony 900 is only $170. Have you determined that you really need RF, or simply a universal remote?
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post #19 of 34 Old 02-27-2013, 02:34 PM
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I need to make a better set up then I currently have. I have devices on all 4 walls of my room and I have to use too many remotes. I am about to make some more holes in the walls and ceiling and start running some IR repeaters. I need a suggestion as to what set up and what remote I should get. It needs to be able to control WMC on my htpc and power on/off my epson, and my yamaha receiver. I could run a IR repeater to the screen or just use the switch that is built into the epson. Let me know what you think.
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post #20 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 08:03 AM
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That's a tough situation. One simple thing that might work pretty well would be to get a Next Generation RF system, and mount the base on the ceiling near your projector so it can blast 360 degrees and reach everything in your room. A similar thing could be done with other RF systems. That wouldn't reach inside closed cabinets with opaque doors of course, so you'd have to start running wires at that point. Multiple RF bases could be used though to minimize wiring, especially in the Next Gen system.
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post #21 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 01:04 PM
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That ufo shaped thing? That blasts 360 degrees? That might work but not sure. Its not like the devices will all be perpendicular to the blaster. But I do have a extra outlet where the projector is mounted and I could just run a short emitter to the sensor on the pj. But what remote do you suggest, that will be able to control my pc and the other devices. It also has to have a feature so that I can press one button and have it do everything.
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post #22 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 01:42 PM
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Just about any universal remote can do what you ask, from a $15 RCA RCRP05B or $20 URC WR7 to a $2500 RTI or Crestron and everything in between. Unfortunately, Harmony doesn't work well with Next Gen. So if you went with a Harmony, it would have to be an RF model like the 900 or 1100, which are around $250. Many RF URC models will work fine. Those run from about $70 to several hundred. You have to decide on all your requirement and budget. One of my JP1 remotes cost me $3 (it's just a cable TV remote), and it controls everything in my house using several one button macros (sometimes 2 buttons). Some people use a smartphone or iPad as a universal remote. That's a good option as well.

You'll have to experiment with the base and other blasters for the optimum placement. IR works like visible light, so imagine if you shine a flashlight from wherever you mount the base or blasters, would the light reach your devices.
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post #23 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 03:11 PM
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On some of the reviews it says certain harmony remotes are working with the device. The thing is though do I need to buy a media center remote to use to learn the codes or can I just program a code into the harmony and it will do all the functions? I am not sure what the range is on that blaster or those emitter that come with it. I might just have to buy it and see if I put that 3 emitter plug in it and point them in the directions of the devices and see if it works.
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post #24 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanly2 View Post

On some of the reviews it says certain harmony remotes are working with the device. The thing is though do I need to buy a media center remote to use to learn the codes or can I just program a code into the harmony and it will do all the functions? I am not sure what the range is on that blaster or those emitter that come with it. I might just have to buy it and see if I put that 3 emitter plug in it and point them in the directions of the devices and see if it works.

The media center codes are in the Harmony database. PC programmable remotes usually have most codes in the database so there will be little to no learning required. You just need the USB IR receiver. If a receiver and remote combo is a better deal then go ahead and get that instead of just the remote.

Be aware that Logitech is selling off their Harmony remote division, whatever that means.

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post #25 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 05:19 PM
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Hopefully it means that I can get a good deal on a remote! I have to do some research on the urc and harmony remotes and see what is the best remote for my situation. I don't need one of those real fancy ones for what I use it for, just need one that I can get to do the one button thing. I went ahead and ordered one of those extenders and the 3 eye wire. I will test the range and see how it works.
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post #26 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 07:38 PM
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They have the Harmony 600 refurbs for $37 shipped. I just can't seem to find anyone confirming that it will work with the extender.
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post #27 of 34 Old 02-28-2013, 07:55 PM
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I have a 600 somewhere, but no longer have any Next Gens, so I can't confirm. Most of the evidence suggests it won't work. If you can find any confirmation anywhere that it works with a 600, 650 or 700, then it's worth a try.
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post #28 of 34 Old 03-01-2013, 12:54 PM
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There is a ton of people that confirm it works with the 700, but not the 650. smile.gif So how much better is the 700, I mean the 700 is $63 I might have to buy that instead.
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post #29 of 34 Old 03-01-2013, 01:32 PM
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I think that's only because most people buy a 700. The electronics in all of them (600/650/700) are the same. So if it works with a 700, it will work with a 600 and 650. I hadn't run across any convincing success stories myself, but if you have, then I'd say try the 600 or 650. The only difference is the 700 has 1 to 3 additional devices depending on what software you use, plus it has rechargeable batteries and a charger. If that's worth the extra $$ to you, then go for it. I really liked my 650's and 700's the short time I had them. But some 650's have battery connection issues.

It's threads like THIS that make me wonder. The first post says it works great, then the very same poster says later that it doesn't work at all. I have yet to find a definitive answer. Maybe you can settle this question once and for all.
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post #30 of 34 Old 03-01-2013, 04:14 PM
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Actually I did see quite a bit of reviews saying that the 600 and the 650 did not work but the 700 did can't explain though. Being the remote expert that you are. What IR receiver would you recommend for my pc? I saw somewhere on SD or AVS someone recommended the HP one. I need a nice big one that will hopefully catch the signal from the next gen. nice and easy. What do you think?
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