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).