I have two Panasonic DVR's, a DMR-E85H and a DMR-EH55S, but have been successful with only the DMR-E85H in setting it up to control a digital converter using the IR blaster. I bought the DMR-E85H in October 2004 and initially had it connected via an Onkyo A/V receiver/amplifier to a Panasonic analog TV. In March of 2006, I replaced the analog TV with a Panasonic plasma digital HDTV and discoverd that there were more digital channels available than were analog channels. This prompted me to purchase a digital Stream HD3150PLUS digital converter box which I connected to the "L1" input of the DMR-E85H DVR so that I could record the additional digital channels. At that time, all recording of the digital channels via the digital converter was initiated manually on the DVR with all "timer" programmed recording being done from the antenna input. In January of 2007, I purchased a second DVR, a Panasonic DMR-EH55S, which was integrated into the home entertainment system and, since there was no digital converter connected to it, was used to record only the OTA analog programs. When the "switch over" and conversion from analog to digital OTA broadcasts became imminent, I purchased an Insignia NS-DXA1-APT converter to connect to the DMR-EH55S. Now that the "shut down" of the OTA analog broadcasts has started, I began thinking about ways to have the two DVR's control the channel selection on the respective digital converters using the IR blasters connected to each of them. I started with the DMR-E85H by reconfiguring the TV Guide setup from "antenna" input to "cable box" input. When it came to the point in the process to "detect" the IR code for the Digital Stream digital converter, a series of discreet IR codes was displayed for testing in an interative process until one of them successfully communicated with the digital converter. In the case of my Digital Stream box, the code was "006". Although this solved the IR code problem, I still had to find a way to program the DVR timers and ended up with a somewhat awkward but "do-able" way for it. The problem involved having the digital converter set to the correct channel while at the same time having the DVR set to it's correct input, in this case input "L1". In order to do this, I had to set up two consecutive timers for each channel that I wanted to record from the digital converter. The first was to program a minimum length timer (1 minute) which would send out the IR blaster command for selecting the desired channel on the digital converter. Since this timer not only sends the channel number command to the digital converter, it also changes the input on the DVR to the same channel number as was sent to the digital converter. This then necessitates a second timer immediately following the first which will then set the DVR input to "L1" (or whichever input the digital receiver is connected to) and lasting for the duration of the program to be recorded. Since the digital converter does not recognize the "L1" IR blaster command, it's channel will not change as a result of the second timer. This "two timer" process must be repeated any time that subsequent programs "air" on a channel other than the one to which the digital converter is currently set and/or the DVR input is set to one other than the input to which the digital converter is connected. If the digital converter channel is already set to the desired channel then only one DVR timer needs to be programmed to set the date, "start/end" times and the input to which the digital converter is connected. Although this is an awkward way of doing this, it is the only way which I have found to reliably work. Since most of the timers which we set up are recorded on a daily or weekly basis, it usually only has to be done once. About the only continuing "downside" is that each time the "two timer" program executes, it creates a one minute recording/thumbnail preceding the desired recording and later has to be erased. The only alternative to this is to remember when each recording is to occur and manually ensure that the digital converter is set to the correct channel. This approach did not work for me because there are times when I am not present when the recording is about to occur or, in many cases, I just do not remember to manually change the channel on the digital converter.
The setup process is different on the DMR-EH55S in that, rather than presenting you with a list of discreet IR codes from which to try, it presents you with a list of many "set top box" manufacturers ordered alphabetically. Once a given manufacturer is selected, it then takes you through an iterative sequence of IR codes for the selected manufacturer until, presumably, you find one which will communicate with your "device". After many attempts over many hours, I was not successful in finding a manufacturer's code which would work with my Insignia NS-DXA1-APT digital converter box. Without a working" code, even the "awkward" programming process as described above for my DMR-E85H will not work. Choosing a digital converter whose IR code is compatible with any of those listed in the TV Guide setup of the DMR-EH55S would seem to be an impossible task. I don't understand why the manufacturers of most home entertainment electronics seem to be so "secretive" or protective and do not include the IR code(s) for each of their devices in the "user" documentation, either provided with the equipment, on-line or through their "customer support".