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What Is an IR Remote Control?

See how that TV friend can work in your favor

Infrared (IR) remote controls use light signals sent from a transmitter on one end of the remote control to a receiver on another electronic device.

These devices include TVs, stereos, DVD players, game consoles, and more. The basic operation of an IR remote is a light or group of lights on the end of the remote that uses invisible (infrared) light to send commands to remote electronics.

There are different types of IR remotes, from cheap ones with a single IR transmitter to high-end devices with multiple IR transmitters. Electronic devices compatible with IR remotes have sensors on the front that detect infrared light and decode commands.

Fake photos of Rob Lewine

How the infrared remote control works

A transmitter at the end of the remote emits an electromagnetic signal with a wavelength slightly longer than visible light. Infrared remotes pulse this “invisible” light in a binary code.

Each “command” has a specific code. These command codes can be:

  • enable
  • Volume up or down
  • Channel up or down
  • Access and navigate on-screen menus

The electronics that receive the signal have sensors that detect infrared light. These sensors transmit the code to the microprocessor in the electronic device. The microprocessor then interprets the code and translates it into the appropriate instructions for execution.

Limitations of IR Remote Controls

While IR remotes allow you to control electronics without leaving your chair, there are some limitations.

Since the infrared signal is very light, the signal is easily blocked. Any object, such as a chair or closet door, can easily interrupt the operation of the remote. The signal needs an open path to travel properly between the transmitter on the remote and the sensor on the electronics. The total range of these remotes is about 30 feet.

IR remote control manufacturers have developed several ways to work around this limitation.

More expensive remotes contain multiple transmitters, usually between two and four. This allows the remote to send infrared signals at multiple angles, so you don’t need to point the remote directly at the electronics to work. This will fill more space, but won’t completely solve the site line problem.

Other solutions to field problems include:

  • Standalone IR receiverNote: You can purchase an IR receiver that can be placed outside the cabinet so that internal devices can receive IR remote commands even when stored in the cabinet. The IR receiver retransmits the same IR signal from the cabinet to the device.
  • RF remote control: A radio frequency (RF) remote control sends commands in the form of radio waves to a base unit in an electronic device. The base station converts it into an IR signal and passes it on to the device. RF remotes can send signals to other rooms because radio waves are not limited by location issues.

Programmable infrared remote control

Another common problem with remotes (not just IR remotes) is that they often get lost. To replace them, you can buy a programmable universal infrared remote. You can download the correct IR code set for your electronic device from the device manufacturer’s website and upload it to the remote.

Some of these remotes also come with pre-programmed codes. All you need to do is enter the code for the make and model of the electronics and the remote will be programmed with the appropriate IR code.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an infrared transmitter?

    An IR transmitter is a small device that works like an IR remote, sending IR signals and commands directly to other devices. For example, the Logitech Harmony Hub can use Alexa to control many other devices, such as TVs, sound bars, and game consoles.

  • What is an infrared extension cord?

    An IR extension cable is a jumper cable that plugs into an IR device at one end and uses an IR transmitter at the other end to extend the IR signal to another device. IR extension cables are included or compatible with Xbox consoles and streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Content

What Is an IR Remote Control?

Learn how that TV buddy works to your advantage

An infrared (IR) remote control uses light signals sent from a transmitter located at one end of the remote to a receiver in another electronic device.

These devices include televisions, stereos, DVD players, game consoles, and more. The basic operation of an IR remote control is a bulb or set of bulbs at the end of the remote that sends instructions to remote electronic devices using an invisible (infrared) light.

There are different types of IR remotes, from the least expensive with only one IR transmitter to higher-end units that feature several IR transmitters. Electronic devices compatible with IR remotes feature sensors on the front that can detect infrared light and decode the instructions.

Rob Lewine\Getty Images
How IR Remote Controls Work

The transmitter at the end of the remote transmits an electromagnetic signal with a wavelength that’s somewhat longer than visible light. The IR remote control pulses this “invisible” light in binary code.

Each “command” has a specific code. These command codes might include:

Power on
Volume up or down
Channel up or down
Opening and navigating on-screen menus

The electronic devices receiving the signal have sensors to detect the IR light. These sensors transmit the code to the microprocessor inside the electronic device. The microprocessor then interprets the code and translates it into the appropriate instructions to perform.

Limitations of IR Remote Controls

While IR remote controls do let you control electronics without having to get up from your chair, there are a few limitations.

Since infrared signals are light, the signals are easily blocked. Any object, like a chair or cabinet door, can easily interrupt the remote control from working. The signal requires an open path to transmit properly between the remote control transmitter and the sensor on the electronic device. The overall range of these remotes is about 30 feet.

There are a few ways IR remote control manufacturers have developed to get around this limitation.

More expensive remotes include more than one transmitter, usually between two to four. This allows the remote to send the IR signals at multiple angles so you don’t have to point the remote directly at the electronic device for it to work. This will fill more of the room, but it doesn’t entirely overcome the line-of-site problems.

Other solutions for the line-of-site issues include:

Separate IR Receivers: You can buy an IR receiver that you can place outside of cabinets so devices inside can receive the IR remote control commands even while stored inside the cabinet. The IR receiver recasts the same IR signal inside the cabinet to the device.
RF Remote Controls: Radio-frequency (RF) remote controls transmit the commands as a radio wave to a base unit at the electronic device. The base unit converts this to an IR signal and transmits this to the device. RF remotes can transmit signals into other rooms since radio waves are not limited by line-of-site issues.
Programmable IR Remotes

Another common problem with remote controls (not only IR remotes) is they’re often misplaced. To replace these, you can purchase a programmable universal IR remote control. You can download the appropriate set of IR codes for the electronic device from the device manufacturer’s website, and upload these to the remote.

Some of these remotes also come with preprogrammed code sets. All you have to do is enter a code for the make and model of your electronic device and the remote will program itself with the appropriate IR codes.

FAQ

What is an IR blaster?
An IR blaster is a small device that works like an IR remote to send IR signals and commands directly to other gadgets. For example, the Logitech Harmony Hub can use Alexa to control numerous other devices like TVs, soundbars, and gaming consoles.

What is an IR extender cable?
IR extender cables are connecting cords that attach to an IR device on one end and use an IR transmitter on the other end to help extend the IR signal to another device. Xbox gaming consoles and streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Cube come with or are compatible with IR extender cables.

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Tài Chính Kinh Doanh

Business Finance - Synthesize economic and financial news, market price news, insurance news.... Start-up investment opportunities, business cooperation and loan guidance. #taichinhbusiness #taichinh #tintuctaichinh #tintucbaohiem Contact Info: Website: https://taichinhquangdoanh.info/ Mail: Address: 63-47 To Hien Thanh Ward, Le Dai Hanh, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi, Vietnam

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