How to use my laptop as a TV remote?
October 8, 2008 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Is there an easy way to use my laptop's IR port to control my TV?

I'm using a Fujitsu T4215 laptop running Windows Vista Business Edition, which has an infrared port on the back of it. I would like to be able to use this to remotely control my TV and my DVD player, but I can't find anything that isn't horribly complicated looking.

I know they made similar software for Palm Pilots (e.g. OmniRemote) where you could have the Palm "learn" the signals from your remote control. Surely someone's made the PC equivalent?

(Searches of previous threads indiate that there wasn't much around 3 years ago. Responding to a potential reply right off the bat: The IR signal is strong enough to reach the TV from my couch, as it will occasionally turn on the stereo next to the TV, seemingly at random.)
posted by JDHarper to Technology (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I did find this after some searching. I will keep looking after some sleep.
posted by Samizdata at 4:06 AM on October 9, 2008

I'd say it's definitely possible because before I disabled it, my wife's infrared port would randomly switch settings on my stereo receiver.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:38 AM on October 9, 2008

I looked into this a few years ago with mixed success.

It's possible, but you need special software -- possibly even software designed for the specific IR chip used in your laptop. The normal driver just doesn't give you enough control over the signal. Also, depending on your laptop, the range might suck.
posted by meta_eli at 8:54 AM on October 9, 2008

The problem is this: you're IR port on your laptop is most likely for IRDA, meaning sending data, at high speeds, over small distances. In contrast, the typical remote control has a really bright, cheap IR bulb or LED that is much more like a flashlight. It doesn't send data, but something more akin to morse code, and doesn't expect to get any sort of response back from the DVD player.

The LED in your laptop probably isn't bright enough to change the channel unless you are sitting right next to the tv, as the typical IRDA range is several inches, as opposed to feet.
posted by Freen at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2008

Response by poster: Freen: The IR port will randomly change settings on my stereo, which is right next to the TV, so I'm sure it has the range for it. Although, if that's generally true, it may explain why the sort of software I'm looking for is so hard to find.
posted by JDHarper at 11:00 AM on October 9, 2008

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