If I were to buy this IR extender, how would I wire it up? From my understanding, I'd just snip the ends off the network cable, pick four wires and hook them up to the distribution block, then join the same four wires and four wires from the IR receiver on a binding block from any hardware store. Am I way off here?
I don't own one but it looks just like any other emitter that would be capable of flashing more than one device. It appears to me that the HDMI cable is just a means of delivering the signal from point A to point B. As long as the component that it's plugged into is powered on why wouldn't it be able to transmit IR from any remote to it's respective component? And couldn't you use any multi-eye emitter cable with a 3.5mm plug?
If I am understanding you correctly, you want the IR receiveer to be next to the TV. You will indeed have to snip the ends off of the RJ 45 network cable. You will also have to cut the IR Receiver in half. The IR receiver half gets spliced into 2 wires of the cat 5 cable next to the TV. The other half of the IR receiver cable that you cut gets spliced into the same 2 wires of the cat 5 cable, but at the other end in the basement. Then just plug the 2.5mm or 3.5mm plug into the IR block.
I am having a similar issue, we just bought a house and based on your description it seems like this is the setup that they had but obviously they took it with them. I am having difficulty understanding how to actually implement it .. would you have any links or pictures that would illustrate this that I can refer to? Thanks!
At the risk of throwing you off your plan, may I suggest an alternative to the IR blaster setup you are proposing to use? Not that the Sewell system would not work for you (it appears to be well reviewed by those who use it), but I had a similar problem as you (TV above fireplace, components in media closet in another room) and I found an all in one solution that works extremely well.
I opted to upgrade from a NextGen remote extender and recently installed a "Harmony Smart Control" system.
I ran a 50' 3.5mm audio patch cable through the junction box behind the TV, using an existing fish line that I left in the wall from the last cable run. You could do something similar and save your RJ45 to hardwire your TV for internet (instead of relying on wifi)
Here's my setup:
Items in top red circle have all been replaced by the harmony remote and hub (small red circle)
Back of the Harmony smart hub. This is the signal blaster that converts the remotes RF commands to IR (and Bluetooth for your gaming consoles) and blasts it all over the media closet. It does not appear to require line of sight for the IR signals. Signal is so strong its able to blast off walls to reach devices. Can't explain it actually. Just works extremely well.
Had to run a 50' 3.5mm audio cable through the wall, into the attic and down into the media closet in the first pic above. Connecting one of my old NextGen emitters to the cable's female end. Vizio TV's IR window is on the bottom left corner of the TV (the power indicator light)
The Harmony remote that makes it all possible. Blasts RF to the hub. It has no IR transmitter, which is why you need the IR cable run to the TV. Each button has short and long press action making this "simple" remote pretty sophisticated. Button's give nice "click" response, are tactile with memory contours for blind control and don't have that unsatisfying rubbery/mushy feeling like some Harmony remotes, particularly those in the 500 series.
IR Block: http://cl.ly/image/2K2H341x1C2T - Green is GND, Blue is +12V, Orange is Signal.
On the TV side, I don't have a picture because it's already mounted, but basically I cut the 3.5mm jack off the IR receiver which gives you Red (GND), White (Signal), and Black (+12V). I bought a Terminal Block from Home Depot and joined the corresponding wires from the Cat 5 cable to the IR receiver cables.
And that's it. Works perfectly. Actually, the IR receiver is so good we mounted it on top of the TV, pointing towards the ceiling. It's completely hidden and still picks up everything.
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