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Author Topic: IR Rant (solutions please?)  (Read 956 times)

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Dal1980

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IR Rant (solutions please?)
« on: February 12, 2017, 09:02:37 am »
I originally posted this on a chat but got no feedback. Should have posted it here really the first time around but I guess it was more of a rant initially but a rant over a long term issue I'm having.

I couldn't find an applicable category to post this so mods feel free to move this if it fits somewhere.  :dunno

Is there anyway of converting stupid IR receivers into WiFi receivers. <- stupid question I know.

Here's the problem.

I have a fancy-pants tv distro system that takes input of 4 devices (Sky box, Blu Ray Player etc) and outputs them through a Cat5 signal (PoE receivers).

This is a great system but it all falls down when you consider that I have to place stupid sticky pads with IR transmitters over where I think each devices IR receiver is located. It's a technical bottle-neck as I have the problem of first finding out where the thing is located and secondly with the glue. I just feel like things haven't progressed in technology with stuff like this.

I picked up a cheap android box and it came with a WiFi remote. This was an amazing solution and I can't understand why this isn't a mainstream way of handling remote communication especially when all these devices require a cat5e/wifi connection anyway.

Take Sky for instance, their brand new Q box apparently uses the power of BlueTooth! WOW! A range of a whole 10 meters on technology that probably is harder to work with than just using the WiFi. It's not just that, when you tell them you need their setup details so you can connect your own system they freak out and tell you that it isn't compatible, they don't support that and I could potentially be black-listed if a foreign device is found by their system.  :banghead:

Do other people have problems like this I wonder?


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BadMouth

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Howard_Casto

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 05:10:54 pm »
I would also recommend the Logitech harmony remotes.  They are easy to use and the higher end models have all kinds of options besides ir.  I bought one over a decade ago and I've used it until the buttons are literally starting to fall off and it still works great. 

Dal1980

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 06:05:06 pm »
Thanks guys,

BadMouth - thanks for the google link. I have a problem with the setup and you suggest a completely new setup. wd!  :laugh2:

Thank you Howard_Casto - Good suggestion, thought you were onto a semi-winner there but seems even the new Q box from Sky isn't fully supportive of the Harmony Remotes/software. I'm also not sure but seems it may be an IR thing rather than a bluetooth thing anyway.

The problem is IR is not going to work full stop since IR does not travel through wooden doors and my cabinet is where all my tech sits. The post was about $hitty tech supplied by companies that don't want to use anything but nor will they let you swap out their equipment for superior solutions. They wonder why people are streaming!  :angry:

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pbj

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 08:02:55 pm »
So build an IR repeater and get on with life?


Mike A

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 08:05:26 am »
Thanks guys,

BadMouth - thanks for the google link. I have a problem with the setup and you suggest a completely new setup. wd!  :laugh2:



Maybe insulting people who are trying to help you is not the best way to go about things.

Dal1980

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2017, 09:24:06 am »
Apologies if any offence was caused. Just frustrating to get lumbered with bad kit and be told that there isn't any other to use it hence the title of my post.

Secondly, i would have thought that a google link without an explanation is kind of bad manners hence my sarcasm. It was still tongue in cheek but cheek non-the-less 🤐 so I apologies.

Pbj life would continue if a repeater worked. Like i say, its problems with first locating IR receiver as most boxes hide this and secondly the concept of gluing something to the front of a non-smooth surface is problematic and just plain primitive. If  people on here had work around like that then they wouldn't be producing the superior standards i see in most posts.

In fear of getting into a debate​ over attitude vs problem solving im going to try and find a solution with a different line of question.

Has anyone managed to swap out their Sky equipment for their own digibox and still continue to use Sky?







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« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 09:41:11 am by Dal1980 »
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BadMouth

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 10:48:46 am »
Thanks guys,

BadMouth - thanks for the google link. I have a problem with the setup and you suggest a completely new setup. wd!  :laugh2:



Maybe insulting people who are trying to help you is not the best way to go about things.

No, I was being an unhelpful ass.  LOL.

Personally I like radio remotes, but hate Bluetooth ones.
The fireTV stick and Roku remotes seem to lag and then queue multiple presses.

My Tivo remotes are awesome.  They aren't on Wifi, but do use 2.4Ghz IIRC.

Before all these newfangled Bluetooth devices came out, I had all my devices in the living room and the audio/video distributed to my bedroom and basement.
Everything was controlled by a learning Radio to IR remote (one for each room).
Each room had it's own remote and everything worked great. 
I was able to avoid using those little stick on IR emitters by putting the main signal receiver (which contained around 10 big emitters) on an end table instead of in the media cabinet.

....and then all these Bluetooth devices came out.


So I feel your pain, but do not have a solution for you.
I can control most of the devices through an app on my phone, but it's a different app for each device.

Dal1980

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 12:01:15 pm »
That helps a lot BadMouth thank you 😊, you've already lifted my spirit telling me that you understand. I thought it was just me with this problem.

I did figure out how to use local web api to call the distro box so i could change the input select. This worked out quite nice and i actually host that on a live external domain. http://hdmi.zombiesbyte.com (i can post this publicly since it uses internal IPS so doesn't actually do anything when accessed externally from my home network).

Ill have another scout about tonight but may have more Questions here so ill come back to this thread. Bluetooth seems like a nice solution but is there such a thing as a Bluetooth repeater i wonder. Im on my mobile right now so not in a position to search but ill have a look tonight.

Many thanks
 



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dkersten

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2017, 07:35:39 pm »
I scrapped my IR repeaters in favor of a Harmony Elite with Harmony Hub.  Not cheap, but well worth it.

The blasters are massive and have insane range.  I have mine mounted at the bottom of the rack facing away from all the equipment, and it still bounces off various walls and triggers even the devices at the top of the rack that are recessed.  On top of this I can control bluetooth devices (firetv box and the new Shield).  And then I added the Harmony Hub extender and connected it to my Vera Plus and I can control anything through that with the Harmony remote as well.  So now I have control over IR, IP, bluetooth, zwave, zigbee, insteon, Hue, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  In the case of the shield, some apps didn't like the standard bluetooth Android TV commands that come from Logitech, so I was able to add a bluetooth keyboard as a device and switch some commands to that (it is paired to the devices in question as both a remote and a keyboard), and now I can send keyboard commands to it as if I had a bluetooth keyboard attached.

So even if it isn't directly supported, you may be able to rig it up to work.  I like that I can turn on my projector (in the room with IR), turn on and work all my IR devices in another room with no line of sight, control bluetooth devices, and adjust my lights, all with one remote and without having to use a tablet or smartphone as the remote. 

If that is out of the budget or you just don't want to go that way (or even with some tinkering you can't get it to control your device properly), try a different IR blaster (might have to just try a whole different repeater).  My Niles IR repeaters was old but awesome on the equipment side, but the IR receiver eye only had a 12 foot range (I was 13 feet away, so I had to lean forward to make it work).  The cheap repeater I bought on Amazon had excellent receiver reception (about 35 feet), but the blasters have about a 2 inch range at best, so for some devices this was a pain finding the exact spot on the eye to make it work, and I even had to double up some blasters to make it work.  Really good IR repeating systems will allow you to attenuate the output and use different blasters to tune it in to work.

One thing for sure though, it isn't just "plug and play", sometimes devices are a pain in the butt to get to work right.  Even after $500 dropped on a Logitech remote I had to spend 3 hours getting the hybrid remote/keyboard bluetooth setup to work right with the Shield.  Huge pain in the arse, but in the end it was worth it for me.

pbj

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2017, 07:37:09 pm »
I mean, couldn't you just set up a string or two of super bright infrared LEDs inside your cabinet, and wire them to a repeater? 

I really don't see the need to tape emitters over each individual receiver.  Bathe those components in invisible light....




Dal1980

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 08:30:59 pm »
Thanks dkersten and pbj for input. I appreciate it.

The investment in a quality remote sounds like an option to a point. The problem being is that i tend to need two remotes due to my Mrs liking to watch in bed while i wait for her to nod off i continue watching downstairs. Sometimes Im not down until she nods off and she's a light sleeper so don't like to go in and fish around in the dark for a remote that's usually ended up between the sheets or on the floor, chair or on the en-suite (zombie walk to the bathroom haha). So the investment on something decent goes from expensive to ultra expensive which is a shame.

As for the saturation idea. That may be possible but only if I could accomplish this by indirect saturation. What i mean is that my cabinet is quite shallow and there's two levels. The fronts of the units are pretty close to the doors when they are closed.


Here's some photos of my cabinet





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« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 08:33:01 pm by Dal1980 »
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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 09:22:05 pm »
Not really.  I get the feeling you aren't researching this enough.  If you have a harmony hub you can use smartphones as remotes as well.  Even if you don't like the idea of using your actual cell phone you can grab a cheap tracfone or something for 10 bucks and use that. 

As for the two levels... you do know that an IR repeater just blinks a led right?  Just get a y-cable and put an emitter on each shelf. 

pbj

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 11:35:05 pm »
I am about to change your life...


https://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Green-Glow-Dark-Paint/dp/B00BD63C8W

There's your missing remote problem sorted, mate.


Dal1980

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 03:33:26 am »
Oh, good point Howard_Casto, I walked past the whole cell phone App. Yep, it's back in the game as a very promising option.

I did guess that IR is not sophisticated tech but find that it is not reliable tech. For instance, why do the patches need to be placed exactly over the box receiver? I've tried dangling them off the front but its as if the IR bulb has only a very narrow beam. We also seem to struggle with angles, pressing and pressing and waving arms around pressing. 😌

The first time i experienced my IP remote it blew my mind.

😂 thanks pbj. That's stuff is awesome! So, paint the room with it and the bed sheets then i should have enough light in there to find the remote right 😋😉😵

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 10:38:32 am »
I did guess that IR is not sophisticated tech but find that it is not reliable tech. For instance, why do the patches need to be placed exactly over the box receiver? I've tried dangling them off the front but its as if the IR bulb has only a very narrow beam. We also seem to struggle with angles, pressing and pressing and waving arms around pressing. 😌
My point is that what you are experiencing is based on the hardware you are using, not the tech.  Most IR repeaters use the mini-blasters so you can control where the IR is going.  Let's say you had 3 cable boxes in one rack that are each for different rooms.  If you used one blaster, sending a "channel up" signal would switch all three boxes, which would be a problem.  So mini-blasters that only have a few inches of range allow you to control a single device without sending IR to other devices.  But most situations have only the equipment in the remote location for one system, not for other rooms.  In that case, larger blasters are usually better, if the device supports them.

The Logitech blasters are very powerful and don't need to be placed precisely at all.  In your case you could take the 2 blasters that come with the hub and mount one on each level and be fine.  The IR light will bounce off surfaces and still work, so just having the blaster somewhere in the cabinet will likely be enough.  And you can add blasters if you need to control other equipment.  You can extend them easily so wherever you can run a wire from the hub, you can control IR devices.

As Howard said, you can use an app to control the hub, but if you want the app to also control devices not in the same cabinet as the hub, you would need to place a blaster so it can control those devices (i.e. the tv in your room).  If you use the Harmony remote, you can program it to use the built in IR eye to control the tv, and the hub to control the rest, but you can't control the remote itself with the app, just the hub. 

Before investing a ton of money, try wiring up a regular blaster and see if it works with your repeater unit.  Here is one I found after a single search, I am sure there are hundreds you could try.  https://www.amazon.com/Infrared-Resources-repeater-multiple-emitters/dp/B0039BYJ4A.  They are all basically the same.

Of course, if the problem is you now have bluetooth devices to control, harmony hub is the way to go.



Dal1980

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 11:53:02 am »
If everything came with a com port and a standard protocol for communicating then it would be much easier.

Just to make it clear, the unit you see above is the only place in the house where all of my equipment is. Blueray can be playing upstairs, digi box could be playing in kitchen, android could be playing in study and DVD could be playing in lounge. Each one repeats the blink via a device which converts signal from HDMI to LAN. This box also carries signal for the IR to a repeater which is then stuck on the front of the unit. Heres a link to one of the PoE devices that sit next to each TV
https://www.google.co.uk/aclk?sa=l&ai=DChcSEwjHrOOOypfSAhXFvO0KHQ7rDXQYABATGgJkZw&sig=AOD64_25QYZQCK92A5gCemtH2O2EmlXCYg&ctype=5&q=&ved=0ahUKEwidtOGOypfSAhXFB8AKHWDcDckQqCsIqAE&adurl=

Heres my system https://goo.gl/images/fuJ6XT

Android box is great as it already has a IP remote.

Sky box (currently talk talk) is IR operated but if i move back to sky ill have Bluetooth (need to find a blue tooth repeater).

DVD player (going to replace this for an amp anyway so only need local operation in the room it is in for 5:1 s.sound.

BlueRay operates solely on IR.

In the setup i have i would need a 3.5mm mono jack to IR repeater and a harmony remote by the sounds of it.


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Mike A

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 12:53:24 pm »
Did that really cost almost 2000 USD? You should have just bought peripherals for each room. You probably would have come out ahead. :P

Dal1980

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Re: IR Rant (solutions please?)
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2017, 03:00:43 pm »
Yeah it was some price but this was quite a while ago now. Since then solutions have gotten a bit better on the price tag.

I wouldn't particularly recommend HD anywhere to anyone since everything is so expensive and within 18 months one of the units packed up.



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