Remote control suggestions? (1 Viewer)

Gcarr

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    My problem: ever since I've been using mediaportal I've been using CEC remote. It wasn't a popular solution so it didn't get too much love but it was functional and has served me well for several years. Now, I have one of the newer Samsung Q70s and while CEC works, it has been severely crippled compared to my former setup. There are a total of about 17 buttons on this "one" remote so you can probably imagine the problems. Anyway, I want to move on to another remote solution but I have no idea which way to go. Does anyone have any information they can share about what would make a good functional remote setup? Thanks in advance! I just dumped about $60 on a Logitech 665 thinking that I could program a more functional remote that would work but it looks like I thought wrong lol. It's less functional than the Samsung remote.
     

    CyberSimian

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    I just dumped about $60 on a Logitech 665 thinking that I could program a more functional remote that would work but it looks like I thought wrong lol. It's less functional than the Samsung remote.
    I use a Logitech 650 (virtually identical to the 665), and I don't find it "less functional". What problems are you having with it?

    The Logitech is not perfect. In particular I would cite the following:

    (1) The buttons are too "squidgy" for my tastes (personal preference).

    (2) The processor in the 650 is too slow. It is easy to (say) repeatedly press the UP or DOWN button to move through a list, and have some of the button-presses ignored. Pressing the button at a slower rate works OK.

    (3) The 650 powers down after a user-defined interval. If you press a button before the remote powers down, or after the remote has powered down, the button works OK. But if you press the button as the remote is powering down, the button press is ignored. Quite annoying.

    On the other hand, the "activities" concept is wonderful. The problem with most remotes is that they do not remember device power status (i.e. whether the device is on or off). So remotes such as those made by One-for-All claim support for activities, but it is a simple-minded implementation (because those remotes do not remember device power status).

    In contrast, the Logitech remotes do remember device power status. This is important when switching between activities, if you have some devices that support only a power-toggle command and don't support separate power-on and power-off commands.

    One-for-All remotes are the obvious alternative, and there is an open-source tool called RMIR for programming the remote via software. These are known as "JP1" remotes. A handful have standard USB connections for programming, but most require you to purchase an appropriate serial cable to connect to a socket that is usually found in the battery compartment of the remote. I have half a dozen different One-for-All remotes, with various characteristics, but none supports true activities.

    Finally, for users in the USA there is "Universal Remote Control". They produce various models, but the highly-capable ones that can be programmed via software cannot be programmed by users, as URC do not make the software available to end users; the software is restricted to professional installers who charge high prices to program the remote for you. I have one of their older 850 remotes, which I purchased from Ebay with the assurance that the seller would provide the software (which he did). I don't use it any more, as several of the buttons are worn out.

    There are other remote solutions, such as apps that run on mobile phones, but I don't have any experience of those. There are also simple WMC-compatible remote controls, that will control your HTPC (WMC or MP), but they don't control anything else (i.e. they are not universal remote controls).

    -- from CyberSimian in the UK
     

    Gcarr

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    I use a Logitech 650 (virtually identical to the 665), and I don't find it "less functional". What problems are you having with it?
    I should have clarified that I was still using the remote while in CEC mode when I wrote that. But I've since made more progress in that regard. I had the hardest time getting the programming software to sync with the remote but, , I think I've got it working almost as good as my old setup now. The record button does not work for some reason but I can still use the menus for that. The worst thing about the new Samsung remote was that since it had no number pad, you had to select from a 0-9 number menu but, it would only let me select 1 number which it immediately sent without waiting for additional button presses. So trying to enter a channel index number greater than 1 digit was impossible. The Logitech remote fixed that issue for me so, now I don't have to scroll through hundreds of channels in the guide just to change channels lol.

    Can you briefly explain how your setup with the 660 works? Would I need to have an IR receiver installed on my PC? (please excuse my ignorance, I've never had mine set up any other way than with CEC). I think I'd like to experiment without going through CEC to see what all I'm missing.

    Thanks for the thorough write up. That was extremely helpful.
     

    CyberSimian

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    Would I need to have an IR receiver installed on my PC?
    Yes, you do need to have a remote-control receiver connected to the HTPC. Most receivers are infra-red (IR) receivers, but there are (or were) a small number that worked with radio frequency (RF). The most compatible are the IR receivers, since most universal remote controls send IR signals; only a few also send RF signals. The receivers are usually plugged into a USB socket.

    There are two types with regard to the signalling protocol:
    • WMC-compatible RC6 remote controls (e.g. Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett Packard).
    • WMC-compatible keyboard-compatible remote controls (e.g. Ortek VRC-1100 and its clones).
    The Logitech and the One-for-All universal remotes can be set up to work with either type of signalling protocol, and there exist pre-defined code sets for both manufacturers. I use my Logitech 650 programmed with the code set for the Ortek, signalling to the Ortek receiver.

    With the end of WMC, the number of WMC-compatible remotes available new is steadily decreasing (and indeed the Ortek was recently discontinued). Note that it is not the remote control that is becoming the scarce resource (since universal remotes can be programmed with the appropriate code set), it is the IR receiver that is becoming the scarce resource. However, whereas I would never buy a used remote control from Ebay (the buttons last only a few years, so you might be buying a remote that is already worn out), I would buy a used IR receiver from Ebay (since they don't wear out).

    For a specific suggestion, you might consider the Inteset remote control, or the sold-separately Inteset IR receiver. I believe that the Inteset is actually made by One-for-All, and so it has the socket necessary to program it using RMIR. Of course, both Amazon and Ebay can be consulted to see what else is available.

    Finally, my system is setup like this:

    HTPC --> (HDMI) --> TV --> (analogue audio) --> audio amplifier --> loudspeakers

    When I am using the "HTPC" activity on my Logitech 650:
    • Most buttons control the HTPC
    • Volume up/down buttons control the audio amplifier
    • Mute button controls mute on the TV (the audio amplifier does not have a mute capability)
    -- from CyberSimian in the UK
     

    TBacker

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    I might add that if you're concerned about USB IR RC interfaces like the Inteset or MCE going extinct (as we should be), you could buy up one or two now in addition to a Harmony or other remote capable of learning codes. Then teach the Harmony the USB RC codes, and put the computer remotes in ziplock bags and store them away in a cool place in case you ever need them again to re-teach a different remote.
     

    joecrow

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    With the end of WMC, the number of WMC-compatible remotes available new is steadily decreasing (and indeed the Ortek was recently discontinued). Note that it is not the remote control that is becoming the scarce resource (since universal remotes can be programmed with the appropriate code set), it is the IR receiver that is becoming the scarce resource. However, whereas I would never buy a used remote control from Ebay (the buttons last only a few years, so you might be buying a remote that is already worn out), I would buy a used IR receiver from Ebay (since they don't wear out).
    BTW new Ortek VRC-1100s are still for sale on Amazon Germany under the Hama label. I bought one recently as a reserve for the future. I use the Ortek in conjunction with the @CyberSimian excellent AutoHotkey script, in MP 1, see here and here also in tandem with CEC Remote plugin for controlling AVR volume and HTPC/AVR/TV standby over HDMI. The Ortek can also be set up to be completely compatible with recent versions of MP 2 using the "Input Devices" utility in settings.
     

    joecrow

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    The record button does not work for some reason but I can still use the menus for that.
    If you are using Madvr please note that it will by default intercept Ctrl +R which is commonly used KB shortcut used by some remotes as the Record button/code. To correct go into Madvr settings/user interface/keyboard shortcuts and change to Ctrl +B.
     

    Gcarr

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    If you are using Madvr please note that it will by default intercept Ctrl +R which is commonly used KB shortcut used by some remotes as the Record button/code. To correct go into Madvr settings/user interface/keyboard shortcuts and change to Ctrl +B.
    I haven't started using MadVR yet so I think it's not that. I was thinking that the Samsung TV itself just doesn't pass it along for some reason. Although, usually when that happens I get a "Not available" message on the screen. I don't get that message when I press the record button though so maybe it's something like you suggested.
     

    Gcarr

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    For a specific suggestion, you might consider the Inteset remote control, or the sold-separately Inteset IR receiver.
    @CyberSimian Is this the receiver I would need? Inteset IReTV USB IR Receiver The product description simultaneously makes me think it will work and it won't work. :confused: Someone did ask a question if the receiver would work with the JRiver Media Center. The seller said " If it uses the same IR signals for key presses as MCE or Kodi it will work." So, I'm thinking probably so?
     

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