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Terminology and remote functions

HTPC Frontend. Applications like for ex: VMC (Vista Media Center).

Control Software. Middleman between your remote and the applications you want to control. List below.

STB. A box that you connect to your TV to receive TV-channels from sattelite, cable, iptv etc.

IR. Infra-red communication.

RF. Uses radio communication instead of infra-red which leads to improved range and should also be able to go through walls. Note that a RF remote can’t be replaced by a multiremote.

IR Receiver. Device connected to the computer that receives IR commands. All the remotes on the list below comes with one except for the ones using RF which comes with a RF receiver.

Blaster. An IR sending device that’s connected to the IR receiver and not the remote. It lets you control other devices without using the remote like for example automatically changing channel on an STB  before recording. Most blasters are a small IR sender connected to a wire and you place the sender close to the IR receiver of the device you want to control.

Serial Control. Has nothing to do with remotes but it’s an alternative to using a blaster. Many STBs, TVs and Amps have a serial port that you can connect to using a serial cable and Girder mentioned below.

Multiremote. A remote that’s capable of replacing the remotes for your TV, Amp etc. either by learning their IR codes or using predefined presets.

Macros. Some multiremotes can send several IR commands with just one button press.

Sideshow. A Windows feature that let’s a remote have a small screen showing additional info like for example a music play list. This lets you browse your music, check your email etc. without having to turn on your screen/TV.

Mouse/Keyboard Control. Let’s you control the mouse and keyboard with the remote.

Gyro. Navigation and control by tilting and moving the remote instead of pushing buttons.

PC Power On/Off. Shuts down and Starts PC only from power saving mode and not complete off unless otherwise noted. How well this functions also depends on motherboard/OS settings.

 VFD/LCD. Some remotes comes with a receiver that installs in either a 3,5″ or 5,25″ bay that contains a LCD or VFD that can be used to display various information using supplied software.

Control Software

Most of the remotes below work out of the box in VMC and there’s also native support for many of the remotes in other frontends. If your remote isn’t supported in your desired frontend/application or if you want to customize what the buttons do one can use one of the control software listed here. You might for ex. set the green start button to start the frontend GBPVR instead of starting VMC.

Ir Server Suite (Free. Windows) Helpful documentation and not to difficult to use.
HIP (Free. Windows) Some functions are a little difficult but otherwise it’s OK.
EventGhost (Free. Windows) Good software. Use the latest beta.
Winlirc (Free. Windows) Primarily used for DIY serial IR receivers.
LM Remote Keymap (Free/DonationWare 15$. Windows). Easy to use. Free version is very limited.
Intelliremote (Payware 25$. Windows) Looks nice and easy to use but I’ve no experience with it.
Girder (Payware50$. Windows) Very powerful. Very complicated.

Two scripting software that are very useful accessories to the software above.

AutoIt (Free. Windows)
AutoHotKey (Free. Windows)

Linux: Lirc, MythTV wiki, LinuxMCE wiki

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