If you’ve hidden your audio-visual equipment away somewhere out of sight (in a tasteful cabinet, for example, or even in a completely different room) then the chances are you’re going to have a problem controlling it. This article tells you what your options are.
If you’ve hidden your audio-visual equipment away somewhere out of sight (in a tasteful cabinet, for example, or even in a completely different room) then the chances are you’re going to have a problem controlling it. This problem is caused by the fact that most audio-visual equipment uses infra-red light to receive instructions from 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. Obviously you can’t do that if there is a cabinet door, or a wall, or a ceiling in the way!
For the purposes of this article I’m going to assume that you don’t want to ditch your existing remote control(s) and use your smartphone or tablet instead. In which case, the solution to your problem is a bit of kit which I generally refer to as a remote control extender but which you may sometimes find referred to as an infra-red extender.
What is a remote control extender?
A remote control extender is a relatively simple device. It receives an infra-red signal from a remote control and then transmits that signal somewhere else. It generally has three main elements:
- An infra-red receiver – which receives the signal from your remote control.
- An infra-red emitter – which transmits the signal received by the infra-red receiver to the audio-visual equipment you want to control.
- An electronics module – which processes the signal received by infra-red receiver and transmits it to the infra-red emitter.
How to set up a remote control extender
A remote control extender is more-or-less ‘plug-and-play’. The basic installation and setup steps for a basic remote control extender are typically as follows:
- Place the infra-red receiver somewhere where you can point your remote control remote control at it.
- Place the infra-red emitter in front of the audio-visual device you want to control.
- Connect the infra-red receiver and the infra-red transmitter to the electronics module.
- Provide electrical power.
- Operate your remote control whilst pointed at the infra-red receiver. (The infra-red emitter will relay the control signal to your equipment.)