It sometimes happens that you need to operate audio-visual source equipment which you can’t actually see. This may be because:
- You have hidden your audio-visual source equipment away in a tasteful cabinet.
- You have put your audio-visual source equipment in a central location.
- You have set up a way of watching and/or listening to one or more audio-visual sources from more than one place.
For the purpose of this article I’m going to assume that you don’t want to dump your existing remote controls, and use a smart phone or tablet as your controller instead, and that you intend to use your equipment’s existing remote controls (or a universal remote control).
The main problem you are going to have comes from the fact that most audio-visual equipment uses infra-red light to communicate with its remote control. If you think of your remote control as a torch then you need to be able to shine the torch at your audio-visual equipment in order to get it to work. That simply isn’t going to happen in any of the above situations, so we need to find a way of getting the infra-red signal from your remote control to the equipment you want to operate.
The solution: Use a remote control extender
The solution to your problem is a relatively simple device which we generally refer to on the ReallyCleverHomes website as a remote control extender though you may find other sites which refer to them as infra-red extenders.
Remote control extenders are devices which are capable of receiving an infra-red signal from a remote control and re-transmitting that signal somewhere else. They generally consist of three main elements:
- One or more infra-red receivers – which receive the signal from your remote control.
- One or more infra-red emitters – which re-transmit the signal from your remote control to the device(s) you want to control.
- Some electronics – which process the signal received by infra-red receiver and transmits it to the infra-red emitter(s).
Remote control extenders are generally simple to setup. There is no programming to do, so they are pretty much as close to ‘plug-and-play’ as electronic devices get. The key installation and setup steps are typically as follows:
- Place the IR receiver in sight of your remote control
- Place an IR emitter in front of the IR receiver on the front panel of each audio-visual device you want to control.
- Connect the main elements of your remote control extender set together, and provide power.
- Operate your remote control whilst pointed at the remote control extender’s IR receiver (and the IR emitters will relay the control signal to your equipment).
- How to choose a remote control extender - Remote control extenders come in a range of different types and it can be confusing trying to decide which is best for your specific application. In this article we look at the main points you need to consider in order to choose the best one for you.
- The best remote control extenders for controlling audio-visual equipment from a different room
- The best remote control extenders for controlling audio-visual equipment from more than one place
- The best remote control extenders for controlling audio-visual equipment in a cupboard
- The best remote control extenders for controlling audio-visual equipment in a cupboard which is hidden from sight