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Boxee Box Remote Control integration thread

post #1 of 339
Thread Starter 
The purpose of this thread is to post about USB IR remote operability with Boxee Box.

The Boxee team has said that "MCE2 remotes should work" but that leaves a lot of gray area.

Please post the specific model of USB/IR MCE or MCE2 remote you have tested and what functions are supported. I will collate these into a table once there are a few here.

Here's the remote I have tried (Ortek VRC-1100)

http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Contro...0011658&sr=8-1

And here's what works;

d-pad
enter key
back/menu key
number keys
play/pause
large skip (5 minutes at a time if you click the channel up/down buttons)

here's what doesn't work

fast forward and rewind
stop
chapter skip
"info button"
alpha-numeric keys
power off and power on
post #2 of 339
Thread Starter 
Thanks to GhostExtreme for this information;

For those with extra IR remotes, you can telnet into the boxee box and type irw and test by pressing button to see if it works:

Code:

Code:
lirc_dev: lirc_register_driver: sample_rate: 0
lirc_mceusb2[5]: SMK eHome Infrared Transceiver on usb1:5
# irw 
000000037ff07be0 00 Down mceusb
000000037ff07be1 00 Up mceusb
000000037ff07be1 01 Up mceusb
000000037ff07bd9 00 Guide mceusb
000000037ff07bd9 01 Guide mceusb
post #3 of 339
I believe our results will depend on what software we're running... for example, some hotkeys/IR codes from 0.9 are not supported on 1.0.

I have an old (5 years+?) IR receiver, don't know the brand, and it works fine. I'm using a Harmony 550 with it and it works fine.

One key that works for me that you didn't list is Stop.

Page up/Page down worked for me with 0.9, but I don't remember if this works in 1.0.
post #4 of 339
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flynn337 View Post

I believe our results will depend on what software we're running... for example, some hotkeys/IR codes from 0.9 are not supported on 1.0.

I have an old (5 years+?) IR receiver, don't know the brand, and it works fine. I'm using a Harmony 550 with it and it works fine.

One key that works for me that you didn't list is Stop.

Page up/Page down worked for me with 0.9, but I don't remember if this works in 1.0.

For the purposes of this thread I am going to assume 'latest' Boxee version as it will be too difficult to track what keys work or don't work on different versions.

If there is a code on your USB IR receiver it will help others looking to get functionality, without any model number information people don't know what to go out and buy.
post #5 of 339
I kind of mentioned this in the Owner's thread before I realized this was here, but with GhostExtreme's revelation it looks like they're using LIRC. It's no wonder they're unsure which remotes will work, since the IR handling is not their own. This can be a good thing.

LIRC supports a massive array of devices. I haven't played around with Telnet yet, but if you can achieve write access to the system partition, you could likely add support for pretty much any USB IR remote you can find using the config files on the LIRC site. The database is that extensive.

I am a little upset that MCE1 remotes were left out, since I had one of those laying around. Primarily because LIRC has supported that remote forever, and the Boxee folks had to make the concious decision to only include the MCE2 driver from the LIRC project. In fact, if they'd chosen a newer LIRC version, the MCE1/MCE2 remotes are actually controlled using the *same* driver.

post #6 of 339
Thread Starter 
If LIRC can be modified then I agree that we should more or less be able to program the remotes to do anything and everything we want short of power management.

However, I am suspicious that Boxee software might not implement all of the same functions as XBMC for playback control... I don't know of anyone who has gotten an MCE remote to do chapter skip, etc, for Boxee even though XBMC supports all of these functions.

Hopefully some brave soul will start playing with this and eventually we can add a tutorial on how to customize Boxee to handle all of the IR controls you can throw at it.
post #7 of 339
post #8 of 339
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Unfortunately there is no sub-topic for the Boxee Box as of yet.
post #9 of 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

Unfortunately there is no sub-topic for the Boxee Box as of yet.

Linux one should apply for boxee box ...
post #10 of 339
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostXtreme View Post

Linux one should apply for boxee box ...

I guess we will know as soon as you find a way to make the system partition writeable and start messing with it!
post #11 of 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

I guess we will know as soon as you find a way to make the system partition writeable and start messing with it!

Since it device specific, you can submit your changes to boxee for them to add it ..
post #12 of 339
I've been doing some research. There is going to be a fair amount of effort involved to get any modifications to LIRC pushed.

The Box is missing lsusb, modprobe, gcc, etc., so installing a new version is basically impossible. It also means users adding support for an MCE1 remote is very difficult or impossible, since they only insert lircd and lirc_mceusb2 into the kernel.

The Boxee Box is running LIRC version 0.8.5, which is one version shy of what I needed .

I did manage to find the following useful tidbits out:

Boxee runs the following to start lirc:
/opt/local/sbin/lircd --device=/dev/lirc0 /opt/local/etc/lircd.conf

The contents of lircd.conf, which configures the remotes:
Note that here I've removed the actual hex codes and only included the headers for each supported remote. The hex codes probably wouldn't be much help for anyone anyway. I see Dan's name in there (dconti), so he had a hand in the IR support.
Code:
# cat /opt/local/etc/lircd.conf 
#
# brand:                        HP 
# model no. of remote control:  TSGH-IR01
# devices being controlled by this remote: HP Slimline S3100y
#
# Derived from MCEUSB2 lircd.conf file (lircd.conf.mceusb) found at:
# https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Install_Lirc_Feisty

#
# RC-6 config file
#
# source: http://home.hccnet.nl/m.majoor/projects__remote_control.htm
#         http://home.hccnet.nl/m.majoor/pronto.pdf
#
# used by: Philips
#
#########
#
# Philips Media Center Edition remote control
# For use with the USB MCE ir receiver
#
# Dan Conti  dconti|acm.wwu.edu
#
# Updated with codes for MCE 2005 Remote additional buttons
# *, #, Teletext, Red, Green, Yellow & Blue Buttons
# Note: TV power button transmits no code until programmed.
# Updated 12th September 2005
# Graham Auld - mce|graham.auld.me.uk
#
# Radio, Print, RecTV are only available on the HP Media Center remote control
#
#
# Updated with codes for MCE 2007 Remote additional buttons
# Visualization, Aspect, SlideShow, Eject
# Note: 
# Renamed some buttons: DVD->DVDMenu, More->MoreInfo, Star->Asterisk, Hash->Pound
# Note: 
# Blue, Yellow, Green, Red, and Teletext buttons do not exist on the HP remote

#
# this config file was automatically generated
# using lirc-0.8.4a(default) on Mon Feb 23 23:55:04 2009
#
# contributed by 
#
# brand:                       Hauppauge
# model no. of remote control: 
# devices being controlled by this remote: PVR-150 Remote (MCE kit)
# SMK dongle 0609:031d
#

#
# this config file was automatically generated
# using lirc-0.8.4a(default) on Tue Mar 10 19:27:09 2009
#
# contributed by 
#
# brand:  SIIG Vista MCE remote
# model no. of remote control: 
# devices being controlled by this remote:
#
Key mappings from Remote to Boxee:
Of interest here, note that the My Pictures/Videos/TV buttons should take you right to the correct category in the Boxee software. My MCE2 remote doesn't arrive until tomorrow, so I can't test this, but it looks like it should work fine. It also looks like an XBox remote may work (assuming you have an XBox->USB adaptor).
Code:
# cat /opt/boxee/system/Lircmap.xml 











        
                Pause
                Stop
                Forward
                Rewind
                Left
                Right
                Up
                Down
                
                ChanUp
                ChanDown
                Back
                
PreviousMenu

Play

                More
                Skip
                Replay
                Teletext
                Home
                Record
                VolUp
                VolDown
                Mute
                Power
                Videos
                Music
                Pictures
                TV
                One
                Two
                Three
                Four
                Five
                Six
                Seven
                Eight
                Nine
                Zero
                Red
                Green
                Yellow
                Blue
        
        
        
                PLAY
                PAUSE
                STOP
                FORWARD
                REVERSE
                LEFT
                RIGHT
                UP
                DOWN
                
                BACK
                
MENU

TITLE

                INFO
                SKIP+
                SKIP-
                DISPLAY
                1
                2
                3
                4
                5
                6
                7
                8
                9
                0
        

        
                PLAY
                PAUSE
                STOP
                FORWARD
                REVERSE
                LEFT
                RIGHT
                UP
                DOWN
                
                BACK
                
MENU

TITLE

                INFO
                SKIP+
                SKIP-
                DISPLAY
                1
                2
                3
                4
                5
                6
                7
                8
                9
                0
        

        
                Play
                pause
                Stop
                FForward
                Rewind
                Vol-Rew
                Vol+FF
                Chan+Play
                Chan-Stop
                channel+
                channel-
                
                undo
                
Menu

L

                Info
                next
                Fullscreen
                Record
                vol+
                vol-
                Mute
                Power
                1
                2
                3
                4
                5
                6
                7
                8
                9
                0
        

        
                pause
                stop
                f1
                f2
                left
                right
                chan-up
                chan-down
                
                exit
                
menu

play

                info
                jump-fwd
                jump-back
                size
                star
                rec
                
                
                mute
                power
                1
                2
                3
                4
                5
                6
                7
                8
                9
                0
                red
                green
                yellow
                blue
        
        
        
                Pause
                Stop
                Forward
                Rewind
                Left
                Right
                Up
                Down
                
                ChanUp
                ChanDown
                Back
                
PreviousMenu

Play

                More
                Skip
                Replay
                Teletext
                Home
                Record
                VolUp
                VolDown
                Mute
                Power
                Videos
                Music
                Pictures
                TV
                One
                Two
                Three
                Four
                Five
                Six
                Seven
                Eight
                Nine
                Zero
                Red
                Green
                Yellow
                Blue
               
post #13 of 339
Thread Starter 
I saw your similar/same post in the boxee forums. The problem I have is that most of my remote key presses from the VRC-1100 do not work, so I'm still waiting to find out what $10-$15 USB IR receiver will work with ALL of the codes, including skip forward, skip backward, forward/rewind, play/stop, etc.
post #14 of 339
I'm not an expert, but judging from the key mappings you're not going to find one.

Through those two files you can follow that the keys on the remote are mapped to the correct commands. For example, skip forward has the correct hex code, and the button is mapped to the Skip command.

However, Boxee just isn't interpreting those commands as you'd like. It isn't a problem with the remote, it's a problem with the Boxee software. I don't think even the PC Boxee versions had fast forward or rewind, so there is precedent for them ignoring valid commands.

I'll do some more testing when I get my remote tomorrow, but it looks like the best we'll be able to do is file a bug report and hope that someone at Boxee implements proper handlers for those keys. Unfortunately, I suspect that means you're not going to get support for those keys you're looking for any time soon.

We should be able to tell for sure one way or the other by running irw and watching the console output for the skip command. If it picks it up and shows it being interpreted as Skip, there's not much we can do without changes to the Boxee code.
post #15 of 339
Thread Starter 
That's kind of what I was worried about. Still waiting on some specifics for remotes that support all common key presses.
post #16 of 339
Also look at boxee debug log ( You need to enable debugging ), it should contain the information when you press a remote button as well.

Quote:


Boxee runs the following to start lirc:
/opt/local/sbin/lircd --device=/dev/lirc0 /opt/local/etc/lircd.conf

Kill lircd and map the conf file to somewhere local to make changes to it if you remote isn't supported yet. Then start it again pointing to the local file.
post #17 of 339
This would be an interesting remote for Boxee.. not that its doable..

http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/18/g...#disqus_thread
post #18 of 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slates View Post

This would be an interesting remote for Boxee.. not that its doable..

http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/18/g...#disqus_thread

Details are pretty limited, but if it's treated as a regular USB keyboard there's a good chance it'll just work. Boxee supports USB keyboards.

The mouse functionality would likely be lost, though, unless Boxee supports a USB mouse in the web browser (which I haven't tested).
post #19 of 339
It seems the mouse functionality would be the killer too. It would sure make the browser experience much better!
post #20 of 339
Boxee supports mouse in the browser and everywhere else today.

Sean
post #21 of 339
Thread Starter 
Still interested in anyone who has a USB IR remote that has nearly full control over the Boxee including the stop button, FF/REW, etc, working.

I know that the VRC-1100 I've been testing with has rather limited functionality.
post #22 of 339
I looked into it some more last night...

The following buttons are received at the box correctly from the VRC-1100, but are not interpreted/interpreted incorrectly by the Boxee software as of 1.0:

My TV
My Music
My Videos
Fast Forward
Fast Reverse
Skip Forward
Skip Reverse
Stop
Information

There are a couple others as well, but I don't think they'd apply to the Box ("Live TV" for example).

It's not the remote's fault, it's definitely in software. Boxee gets the Skip Forward commands and just drops it on the ground (or reinterprets it as a character entry, to be more specific). There were reports of My Videos/Information working in the owner's thread, so I have a strong suspicion that these were things that were working in 0.9 and then lost when moving to 1.0. I'm trying to confirm this.

In particular, I found that part of this behavior is because of the new remote's behavior: if you type any letter from the remote's keyboard, it instantly goes to the search menu. Many of the IR keys above simply enter a character in the search box. I believe this is because, for example, the traditional keyboard shortcut for My Videos is Ctrl+E. The Ctrl must get ignored by Boxee, so all it sees is an E. The software is programmed to send character entry directly to the search box, so that's where the E goes when you press My Videos. DVD Menu is Ctrl+Shift+M, so you get a capital M in the search box, etc.

If I get a chance tonight, I'm going to file it as a bug report or email Avner directly. I'd like to test on 0.9, but I don't want to wipe out all my settings. If anyone on 0.9 is interested in helping out, let me know.
post #23 of 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post

Boxee supports mouse in the browser and everywhere else today.

Sean

Do you know if it supports Bluetooth remote devices (mice, keyboards, etc...)?

Philip
post #24 of 339
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

Do you know if it supports Bluetooth remote devices (mice, keyboards, etc...)?

Philip

Boxee posted specifically about this in their Boxee Box forums in response to a similar question from another customer.

In a nutshell, if the Bluetooth device simply emulates USB, then it will work with the Boxee no problem.

However, if the Bluetooth device relies on a software driver or software control of the bluetooth stack, then it will not work with Boxee Box.

Sadly there is often no easy way to differentiate between these devices, however the USB emulator ones often point out that they even work in BIOS, etc.
post #25 of 339
I can confirm the Nyko Blu-Wave Remote does not work. In fact, the USB dongle locks up my Boxee Box.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16879213018

Any idea if these cheap PC remotes from meritline will work?

http://www.meritline.com/pc-remote-c...--p-30294.aspx

I just want the USB receiver so I can use my Harmony remote.
post #26 of 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgantert View Post

I can confirm the Nyko Blu-Wave Remote does not work. In fact, the USB dongle locks up my Boxee Box.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16879213018

Any idea if these cheap PC remotes from meritline will work?

http://www.meritline.com/pc-remote-c...--p-30294.aspx

I just want the USB receiver so I can use my Harmony remote.

That's weird. I tried the Blu Wave as well. It didn't work, but it didn't lock up my Box, either.

I don't think that will work. You need MCE2 compatibility for lirc to recognize it. That remote doesn't have the My Videos, My TV, Start, etc. buttons required by Microsoft to be present on MCE remotes.

It *may* work simply because lirc is pretty robust, but there's no guarantee. It's double the cost, but that Amazon remote is the cheapest one we know of that works at this time. If you do try the Meritline one, let us know how it goes.
post #27 of 339
Thread Starter 
I have ordered some generic Yancoo MCE USB IR sensor from Hong Kong that will be here in a couple of weeks. It is supposed to have full version 6 compatibility so I should arguably get full functions from it.

It was like $11 shipped so I will report on if it does everything that a full remote kit can do via my Harmony remote.
post #28 of 339
I just purchased a Boxee Box and getting it to work with my Harmony is a necessity. I picked up this I/R remote pack from Amazon:
Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver for Home, Premium and Ultimate Edition

I haven't had a chance to reconfigure my Harmony but the MCE remote included with the receiver is working fine with the Boxee.
post #29 of 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by legobuddha View Post

I just purchased a Boxee Box and getting it to work with my Harmony is a necessity. I picked up this I/R remote pack from Amazon:
Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver for Home, Premium and Ultimate Edition

This looks like the one you're referring to:

http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Contro...1243854&sr=8-1

I snagged that one a couple of days after purchasing the Boxee Box (and after seeing jmpage2's post) and set it up with my Harmony One. None of the advanced buttons work due to the current Boxee limitations mentioned above, but at least my Harmony can now do the main remote functions of that crappy little Boxee remote (which is now buried in a drawer).

When you setup your Harmony to work with that IR receiver, choose the Media Center PC option, "Ortek" as the manufacturer, and VRC-1100 as the model.
post #30 of 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmotoy View Post

I looked into it some more last night...

The following buttons are received at the box correctly from the VRC-1100, but are not interpreted/interpreted incorrectly by the Boxee software as of 1.0:

My TV
My Music
My Videos
Fast Forward
Fast Reverse
Skip Forward
Skip Reverse
Stop
Information

There are a couple others as well, but I don't think they'd apply to the Box ("Live TV" for example).

It's not the remote's fault, it's definitely in software. Boxee gets the Skip Forward commands and just drops it on the ground (or reinterprets it as a character entry, to be more specific). There were reports of My Videos/Information working in the owner's thread, so I have a strong suspicion that these were things that were working in 0.9 and then lost when moving to 1.0. I'm trying to confirm this.

In particular, I found that part of this behavior is because of the new remote's behavior: if you type any letter from the remote's keyboard, it instantly goes to the search menu. Many of the IR keys above simply enter a character in the search box. I believe this is because, for example, the traditional keyboard shortcut for My Videos is Ctrl+E. The Ctrl must get ignored by Boxee, so all it sees is an E. The software is programmed to send character entry directly to the search box, so that's where the E goes when you press My Videos. DVD Menu is Ctrl+Shift+M, so you get a capital M in the search box, etc.

If I get a chance tonight, I'm going to file it as a bug report or email Avner directly. I'd like to test on 0.9, but I don't want to wipe out all my settings. If anyone on 0.9 is interested in helping out, let me know.

Hi guys -

I know some of you would like better IR support. The best way for this to happen is to try and roll it all up into one change that i can make. I haven't followed this thread too closely because i guessed it would naturally evolve to that point

So to the extent that you can get me all of the keys on a given remote that don't work/dont work like you'd expect right now, i can try to sweep through and get them fixed up.

It has been a looooong time since i worked with lirc but iirc remotes like the harmony just emulate the codes from existing remotes, right? And most everyone is either using a mceusb2 remote or a mceusb2 receiver with a harmony?

If a bug was filed for this already, awesome - please feel free to pm me the info.

Thanks,
-Dan
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