AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Can I use a standard universal remote, like the one from my cable box or receiver, for an HTPC? If so, do HTPC cases commonly have IR sensors for this or do I need a USB IR sensor? Can I power the HTPC on and off with the remote?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,203 Posts
Sure. Might be a lot of work and require special software, but it can be done. I do it, and it works fine.


AFAIK, cases don't typically include the proper IR sensor, so you usually need a USB IR sensor. Alternately you can use IP control from an iOS or Droid via something like Remote Potato. Some cable tuners have an integrated IR sensor and come with a remote, like the WinTV DCR2650.


Typically you'll just use the remote for sleep/wake. On/off is tough because when the PC is off, so is the USB IR sensor. You'll need to confirm your PC will wake upon USB activity. This may be a setting in your BIOS.


I recommend getting something like THIS and a learning or other universal remote besides your cable remote. If you want to use your cable remote, you'll need a JP1 cable and software because many HTPC remotes use unusual protocols that often aren't found in cable remotes. Those that use the MCE protocol should work without learning, but my require a few extra codes to get all the commands you typically need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
IMO, the best option is just to get a usb receiver (the HP media center receivers on ebay apparently work very well) and then a logitech harmony remote. When you look up your device in the Logitech Harmony software, use Microsoft Media Center SE. Hopefully you motherboard supports wake over usb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,603 Posts
I've had great luck using a Harmony 300i (refurbished for $16) along with the Rosewill MCE Remote control kit (for the IR receiver). YES, I also bought the HP IR receiver from an eBay-er and it also works fine. Getting the remote to send the sleep/wake function to the IR receiver is simple... how your PC utilizes it is based on your BIOS, driver(s), and settings... but it's all doable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,714 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarevok1  /t/1419644/remote-question/0_50#post_22206263


Can I use a standard universal remote, like the one from my cable box or receiver, for an HTPC? If so, do HTPC cases commonly have IR sensors for this or do I need a USB IR sensor? Can I power the HTPC on and off with the remote?

Lots of posts here on why you shouldn't turn the power off, but use sleep mode instead
http://www.avsforum.com/t/154666/ever-turn-the-power-off/0_50
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1354791/remote-doesnt-power-on-new-htpc-help/0_50
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1361715/new-htpc-build-help-with-ir-receiver-cold-power-on/0_50


Everybody seems to love Logitech, and I've used their DiNovo keyboard long enough to know they make outstanding products.


That being said, for my usage the hands down winner in this category is flirc


You can use this dongle to map any keyboard shortcut to any button on any ir remote. I personally favor it with the blu-link for a cheaper version of the harmony. The blu-link or any other "learning" remote can simply learn the power and volume commands from your pre-programmed came-in-the-box device remotes. HDMI-CEC will typically allow you to control an A/V receiver's power and volume through the TV, which is helpful when you need to point the remote at the TV rather than an obscure receiver cabinet. Logitechs appear to have some trouble with HDMI-CEC, but that's only from what I read on these forums since I've never owned one.


The Flirc dongle will let you map all the commands you would like to your existing Cable remote if that's what your after. It's $25, and most of the time you already have a usable remote
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,264 Posts
Why are some USB IR receivers recommended over others? From reading several comments in other threads I'm left with the impression that some IR receivers just don't work with an MCE remote. Is that true or am I misinterpreting the comments?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,714 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99  /t/1419644/remote-question/0_50#post_22207188


Why are some USB IR receivers recommended over others? From reading several comments in other threads I'm left with the impression that some IR receivers just don't work with an MCE remote. Is that true or am I misinterpreting the comments?

I might be wrong, but I always thought most people recommend the cheapest LIRC compatible usb receiver for maximum customization
http://www.lirc.org/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,264 Posts
I've seen Windows 7 MCE remotes with IR receivers on ebay for $7.50 and on Amazon for $15.00. It was puzzling me why some suggestions were for IR receivers that cost at least these amounts when you can buy both the remote & receiver for that price. IOW maybe there was something special about some IR receivers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I'd prefer to use my cable box remote since it has some functions specific to my cable box and and I'd prefer to only have one remote. I'm only going to use my HTPC for streaming movies from my desktop and netflix, so I don't see why I'd need more from the remote than 4 way directional buttons, play/pause and an on/off button to put it to sleep. If I get a USB IR receiver, should this work fine?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,203 Posts
As I said before, the risk is that the codes for the receiver aren't in your cable remote. And since most cable remotes can't learn, there may be no way to add them. If your cable remote happens to be a JP1 remote, then of course you can use a JP1 cable and software to add the codes (which is what I do).


Just about any universal remote can duplicate the functions of your current cable remote as well as control your PC and other devices.


The idea behind getting a WMC remote that comes with a dongle is that you can learn the codes if necessary, minimizing your risk of buying something that may not work with your remote. After learning the commands, there's no need to ever use the WMC remote again unless you want to. Getting something like a harmony and just a dongle is the easiest and lowest risk solution. The harmony will replace all remotes, including your cable remote.


If you're interested in pursuing the JP1 solution, post the exact model of your cable remote and I'll try to tell you how to proceed. I can also tell you what MCE codes may be built in to your remote.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
It's a Rogers cable remote that came with my Cisco HD cable box which I just purchased. The remote is made by Universal electronics and the model is 1056B03 Atlas. The URL www.urcsupport.com is printed on the back for help finding codes.


It has a favorites button that goes directly to my favorites tv guide, which only has the channels I get and that I care about. It has A, B, C, and D buttons which are used to navigate through some of the menus. It also has day +/- and page +/- buttons to help navigate the TV Guide. Lastly there's an On Demand button which goes directly to the On Demand menu.


If a Logitech Harmony can do all these things I'd consider it, but I don't see the benefit if I can by a cheap IR receiver and use my Rogers remote.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,714 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej  /t/1419644/remote-question/0_50#post_22207847


Just about any universal remote can duplicate the functions of your current cable remote as well as control your PC and other devices.

I thought this as well until finding that the default Comcast remotes use custom ir that isn't found in standard universal remote codes. This is why I recommend Flirc in the first place. Also, most AVRs nowadays will let you do the two important things (Power/Volume) with TV controls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,203 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarevok1  /t/1419644/remote-question#post_22207978


It's a Rogers cable remote that came with my Cisco HD cable box which I just purchased. The remote is made by Universal electronics and the model is 1056B03 Atlas. The URL www.urcsupport.com is printed on the back for help finding codes.

It has a favorites button that goes directly to my favorites tv guide, which only has the channels I get and that I care about. It has A, B, C, and D buttons which are used to navigate through some of the menus. It also has day +/- and page +/- buttons to help navigate the TV Guide. Lastly there's an On Demand button which goes directly to the On Demand menu.

If a Logitech Harmony can do all these things I'd consider it, but I don't see the benefit if I can by a cheap IR receiver and use my Rogers remote.
These are the most likely candidates for the HP dongle (assuming it uses the MCE protocol). If anyone can post any pronto hex command that works on the HP, I can tell you exactly. Unfortunately the B03 is a newer JP2 model that has very limited programming capabilities compared to older models. So you'll most likely need a JP1.x cable and software to get it working 100%. I can't predict exactly what built-in functions will work without seeing the pronto hex. Check the links in my signature for an explanation of JP1.


AUD 1785

TV 1264

TV 1494

TV 1502

TV 1525

DVD 1708

DVD 1972


Most of the functions you listed are a problem on a universal remote. However, the On Demand is probably a macro that goes to a specific channel. Again, not a problem on most universals. But harmony has trouble with simple macros like that. If you go that route, you'll probably have to treat On Demand as a Favorite channel macro.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer  /t/1419644/remote-question#post_22208077


I thought this as well until finding that the default Comcast remotes use custom ir that isn't found in standard universal remote codes. This is why I recommend Flirc in the first place. Also, most AVRs nowadays will let you do the two important things (Power/Volume) with TV controls.
The only un-learnable protocol I've come across related to cable boxes is the XMP protocol used by a few newer motorola boxes. Most use the G.I. Cable protocol which is easy to learn. Both protocols are built in to Comcast remotes, so with a little help, you probably could have gotten it to do just about anything you wanted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,264 Posts
If you aim your IR remote at your digital camera's lens you can see the flashing IR beam in the LCD viewfinder. While you may not be able to interpret the flashing code you can at least verify that the remote is putting out a signal. When I tried a Comcast remote I noticed it had two flashing LEDs instead of just one.


On a side note, you can test your electric garage door opener's IR safety electric eye system. IOW if it stopped working & your not sure if it needs an IR transmitter or receiver, you can use your digital camera in similar manner to test the transmitter. And use any (or most any) remote & aim it into the receiver & watch if the receiver's LED indicator flashes, presuming it has an LED. At least you'll know which part to replace, but you'll probably have to buy them in pairs anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I'm already using the remote to control the TV and 5.1 receiver, so the only free buttons are DVD and VCR. Can the remote only use DVD and VCR codes for these buttons? If I wanted to buy an IR receiver and just take the chance that my remote doesn't have the code for it, what would be the best one to buy?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,203 Posts
Possibly. Check your manual. On the old versions of the 1056 (B01) you could change any device button to any device type, not sure about the B03. DVD and VCR are both the DVD device type internally. The codes I posted are still just guesses anyway until I can confirm by seeing some pronto hex. If you or anyone else manages to find any, please post it. As a last resort I can capture and analyse codes from a harmony.


Which one is best is an open question. There are literally thousands of models that would work. Since you are in Canada, I'm not sure what's available there. In the US, my favorites include the RCA RCRP05B. It would be the cheapest at $15. It's most similar to your cable remote, is made by the same company and uses the same codes. But it adds more devices and learning. Next, consider the $30 Xsight 12G. Decent Harmony models (one's that can do macros) start at $50 and go up from there. Those include the 600, 650 and 700. The One is around $150 and the 900 around $250. The Harmony 200 and 300 are $20-$40 and will technically work, but have less macro capability than your cable remote. The URC WR7 is another popular cheap learning remote that would work well. I think it's around $20.


You can also get a few MCE remotes that are somewhat universal, but I wouldn't recommend that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I meant which USB IR receiver is best for my cable remote. You can buy just the receivers without a remote, correct?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,203 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarevok1  /t/1419644/remote-question#post_22208939


I meant which USB IR receiver is best for my cable remote. You can buy just the receivers without a remote, correct?
That's what I can't confirm without seeing some pronto hex commands that work with the HP receiver posted here. If you or anyone else can post some, I can tell you.


I can tell you for sure that none of the cheap $7 Chinese receivers like THIS or the VRC-1100 will work without learning. The Rosewill remote that's a popular choice here should work with DVD 1972, but I'm not 100% certain. Can anyone here confirm if the Rosewill remote works with an HP receiver?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
How can I get the pronto hex commands?


Again what I would strongly prefer is not to buy a remote at all, and just buy a USB IR sensor (preferable with no cable so I can plug it into a front USB port) and use my cable box remote with that. Flirc seems to do exactly what I want, though $25 plus $13 to ship to Canada is a little expensive.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top