IR Hell (1 Viewer)




Right, I'll admit I’m not familiar with IR devices at all and it's stressing me out a bit. I've got a laptop I’m trying to use as a slim solution with mediaportal. Machine is setup perfect for resources and such but I'm having a bit trouble with getting a remote working. The laptop itself has an IR port but I have no idea if it's up to the job or not.

I understand that there is a few different types or IR ports and the frequencies supported but I cant find (sorry if it's just me) any documentation specifying what the requirements are. I've attempted to use apps like WINLIRC and other IR apps but with no such luck. If I have to purchase a UIR then so be it, however I’d just like some friendly advice. :(

Oh, and the remote is not a problem because I have a Logitech Harmony H655 that can emulate a MCE 2005 remote or any other if needs be. :?


Stressed Paul


Portal Member
June 27, 2005
London, UK
Hi Paul,

Laptop IR ports are only IRDA compliant. This is primarily designed for data transfer and cannot handle remote control signals effectively. What you need is a consumer IR compliant device. As far as I know there are very few (if any) laptops with consumer IR so i'm afraid you will be stuck with an external receiver.

realistically you have 2 choices - The easiest method is to get yourself an MCE 2005 Remote and receiver. They are relatively inexpensive, v.nice to use and will work 'out of the box' with MCE, Media Portal and GBPVR. I've also used a Harmony 688 with this setup very effectively (Although the configuration nightmares involved with the harmony remotes caused me to switch to the Phillips Pronto and i've never looked back!)

The other option is to go for a 3rd party reciever of which there are lots including IRMan, IRMon, USBUIRT and numerous others that I can't remember (I'm sure other people can reccomend more). These usually come with some form of software used to set them up to emulate keypresses and other system functions -(Girder is the software of choice here) The advantage of this method is that it gives you ultimate configurability but can by complex and time consuming to set up.

I've been down both routes several times and for me the only solution which works long term without any problems is the MCE receiver. My HTPC is a dedicated media portal machine and since MP now natively supports the MCE remote then I don't need the overwhelming options that Girder can provide.

Although I'm sure others will disagree on this one though ....

Hope this Helps


Portal Member
June 21, 2005
I very briefly had an IrDA port working with WinICE but uninstalled as I mistakenly thought I'd found a better software solution. If you have the right software, the right remote, a bit of luck and a lot of time you may get the IrDA port working (LIRC the linux version of WinLIRC) supports some IrDA devices so WinLIRC may eventualy.

I never found the right settings on WinICE again so bought a MCE 2005 remote +reciever off Ebay and haven't looked back.

There is also software which will let you use the MCE remote for things such as system power off (called HIP I think).


Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • February 16, 2005
    I'm also thowing my weight behind the "Buy an MCE" bandwagon.

    For an MS product, it is easy to use, reliable, cheap and works very well with MP. You should be able to get the whole package for not much more than just getting an IR reciever. You'll also be able to control other items using the blaster and I think it should also work with your existing remote so you can have to remotes for your laptop :) You can never have too many remotes, even for a laptop...

    For the IR port on the laptop, some may work if you can get the software configured correctly, but the IRDA spec is for a different frequency than the 40kHz carrier that most IR remotes use, so if your laptop conforms to the standards too strictly, then nothing you can do will work as the hardware just isn't picking up the signals. If you were determined, you could google to see if anyone else with your model has had any luck but I really don't think it's worth it.


    Portal Member
    June 27, 2005
    London, UK
    Yup, MCE is the way to go - inexpensive, easy to set up and IR blaster to boot! Even if you get IRDA working then it's next to useless as it's just not designed for this sort of transfer so you constantly get dirty signals and the range is rediculously short - couple of feet at the most.

    This will slowly change as laptop manufacurers become more switched on to the possiblity of portable media centres and incorporate consumer IR but for now it's your only option.

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