• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Part II: Home Entertainment > Control Your Home Theater

Chapter 6. Control Your Home Theater

What You Need
  • PC running Microsoft

  • Windows with available serial port

  • UIRT2 kit

  • 40-watt soldering iron with pencil tip

  • 60/40 resin core solder

  • 3-stranded conductor shielded cable for receiver

  • 2-stranded conductor shielded cable for transmitters

  • Shrink tubing

  • 5V DC power supply

  • Panel-mounted DC power jack

  • Girder with UIRT plug-in

  • Infrared remote with all the buttons you want to use

  • Rotary tool (like a Dremel)

For a list of specific parts used in this project, refer to Exhibit A at the end of this chapter.

In my home theater (and very likely in yours), the simple act of watching TV requires controlling several separate devices. I need to turn on the TV, the cable box, and the receiver individually, and ensure that the correct sources are selected. It was a pain, so I got a programmable universal remote and mapped all the functions to it. Unfortunately, certain members of my household couldn't figure out how to switch modes with the remote. They seem to have the idea that the Power button should turn everything on at once, and they get frustrated when they try to change the channel on the cable box but the TV changes its channel instead because the remote was set to TV mode. And believe it or not, they can't imagine that they're doing something wrong!

To help these hapless individuals, I tried a remote with the ability to learn macros. This way I could program the Power button to turn on all the necessary devices. Sadly, this failed as well, because the remote had to be held in such a way that all the signals could reach the devices as it chugged through the macro. My family would prefer to press the button, and then immediately toss the remote on the couch next to them.

I then considered using a reasonably priced remote that transmits RF signals to a base station, which in turn retransmits IR signals to my home theater components. This allowed me to press a button to start a macro with no line-of-sight requirement. The problem was that RF signals get mysteriously lost in my house. And the device was limited to four macros.

For information on RF remotes, refer to Chapter 9, Create Time-Shifted FM Radio.

Salvation finally came in the form of the Universal Infrared Transceiver (UIRT2). This device receives IR signals, processes them via a PC, and performs any of an impressive array of tasks. I'm using it with Girder to retransmit IR signals. You might remember Girder from the IR PC control project. Now the "Power" button turns on all three devices. My family finds the new system intuitive to use—they just point the remote at the TV, which is where the receiver is, and press one button to turn everything on or off. And that's not all—they can also switch to various modes such as TV, PVR, or DVD, and both the receiver and the TV switch to the correct sources. Back in the dark ages, they would be constantly tracking me down to switch modes for them, and they never did learn how to do it themselves. But they can understand a button on the remote labeled "DVD," and now everybody's happy—especially me. Figure 6-1 shows the components of this project.

Figure 6-1. The components of IR (infrared) control.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint