IF Remote Technology

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by JayBru, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. JayBru

    JayBru Auditioning

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    This is my first posting so I'm learning a number of things today. I am in the planning phase of my HT project. I'm currently pulling speaker wire, projector power and component cables. I plan to place all components behind the seating. Could someone give me some ideas on systems for using a single remote. What sort of sensors exist, control units, how do they connect to the components? Obviously I want to get all my wiring in place before I insulate for sound and sheet rock.

    Is there a primer on this technology? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. Andrew Stoakley

    Andrew Stoakley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Jay,

    The remote system you want for your home theatre really depends on what your budget is and what it is you want the remote to do. You can control a basic home theatre with a $29 universal controller to spending $5000 and up on a complex system from Crestron.

    For example, I have a pretty simple home theatre, only one zone with several components and a series of lights hooked up to an IR Lutron space system. I own the Home Theatre Master MX-800 which includes an RF system and it can control every function of my home theatre, including turning the lights on and off from the comfort of my couches. The MX-800 includes IR repeters which you attach to the IR sensors on your gear, which in turn attach to the MX-800 reciever base. The software editor you use on the computer to program your remote is very simple and RemoteCentral.com has tonnes of files to help you out when you are beginning.

    Anyway, the best way to determine what it is you need to pre-plan with is to figure out how complex a system you are going to have.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Wayne
    Jay,

    There is probably one thing that determines more than anything else how complex of a remote system you need, and that is if your equipment is in an open rack, or fully enclosed and hidden in a cabinet (i.e., behind solid, not glass doors).

    If the rack is open, something as simple as one of those Rabbit or pyramid IR/RF systems is all it takes to get the job done. At the front of the room, you point the remote at an IR receiver, and it converts the IR signal into a RF (radio frequency) signal. The RF signal is transmitted to an RF receiver at the back of the room that’s situated about 6ft. in front of the equipment (it could sit on a small table behind the seats, for instance). The signal is then converted back to IR, and your equipment responds to the command.

    These things work really well, and they’re pretty cheap – usually under $50.

    If you have your gear in an enclosed rack, things get more complicated. You would still need the IR/RF system, but there would have to be another IR receiver positioned on the front of the rack to pick up the signal. The IR signal would then be distributed via hard-wire to the various components, terminating to so-called IR blasters that would be situated (i.e., glued) directly over the IR receiver of each component.

    These systems are much more expensive, not to mention much more cumbersome. Needless to say, it would simplify things greatly if your equipment rack is open.

    All of this is merely what’s needed to get the action from the remote control to your equipment. In front of that is the issue of the actual remote controller. If your system is simple, you will probably be fine with the home theater receiver’s remote, as it can probably be programmed to operated the various components in the system.

    However, if your system is more complex, controlling lighting and so forth, a more powerful programmable universal remote like the one Andrew mentioned is probably what you’ll be needing. The MX-700 Andrew mentioned would be a good choice if you havd a fully-enclosed rack, as you can get it with the necessary accessories to accommodate a hard-wired IR system. For an open rack the same remote, or any universal, would work well with the IR/RF converter I mentioned above, so long as the controlling units for the lighting etc. are in the same rack with the other gear.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Andrew Stoakley

    Andrew Stoakley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Jay...

    Wayne is right. As I mentioned in my email to you, your first step is to determine how complex your system will be and where your components are going to be. I forgot to mention that all of my gear is located behind me in a rack I built into the wall. Check out my pics in the members gallery to see what that looks like.

    I'm really happy with the Home Theater Master MX-700 (MX-800 when you add the RF system). It's easy to use, fits in your hand well, the backlight is excellent and most importantly my wife can use it without yelling at me everytime she wants to watch a movie [​IMG] She just aims the remote at the tv or wherever, presses the DVD button and bingo... perfect happines [​IMG]

    The software that comes with the systems is really easy to program and if you buy a system from a custom installer and are having trouble with the software, they will program your remote for you for a fee. I bought mine from Howell & Associates in Burlington, Ontario and they were great. Clinton who owns the company was excellent to work with and responded to questions whenever I had them.. as long as they weren't programming questions - then he would have had to charge me[​IMG]

    Anyway, hope that helps.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     

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