Will a spare receiver work with a different remote?
May 24, 2010 12:40 PM   Subscribe

HTPC aficionados, I have a question about infrared remotes. Can a USB receiver be used by any other remote or is it "locked" to the one that came with it?

I'm looking to replace my old Xbox running XBMC; it died several months ago. I currently have a WDTV Live but it lacks a lot of features that XBMC has (specifically, media libraries and downloading of movie info). I've already got a plan for a new one, but with one sticking point: the remote.
I have a Logitech Harmony and would prefer to use that. I also found an old USB infrared receiver at work that originally went with an old Toshiba media center laptop that was excessed years ago. Would I be able to plug this receiver into the system and have it work with the Harmony? If so, how?
I'd *really* prefer not to have to spend money on yet another remote for my living room.
posted by ChrisLSU to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Merely a data point: I have a Firefly remote and an old ATI Remote Wonder, and they can use each other's receivers. But those are both RF based remotes.
posted by gjc at 12:50 PM on May 24, 2010

I would guess that it will just work. My own experience with remotes and XBMC was pretty simple: I bought a Windows Media Center remove/receiver, plugged the receiver into my HTPC (running XBMC on Ubuntu), installed LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control) and everything worked immediately. The receiver itself does not seem to be locked to the remote it came with; it flashes a little red light whenever one of my IR remotes sends a signal. I have no experience with the Harmony remotes, but I imagine you could either set it as a Media Center remote or put in the effort to map particular remote codes to particular functions.
posted by sinfony at 1:07 PM on May 24, 2010

In my experience, IR is IR and it's worth a try. I have a Logitech Harmony, too, and am using it happily with an USB IR receiver that I just found in a box somewhere (I think it came with Beyond TV).
posted by bryanjbusch at 1:44 PM on May 24, 2010

Yes you should be able to use it, provided you can work out all the IR codes it supports and get them into the Harmony.

To be honest, I bit the bullet and bought both a remote and receiver for my HTPC rather than cross my fingers with just a receiver. Although it cost me more money than I would have liked, it did give me at least two advantages:

1. If the codes needed to operate the receiver (and the HTPC) aren't in the Logitech database then at least I have the remote available to train it.

2. If the batteries on my Harmony die (which they often do) then I can use the remote as a backup whilst the batteries recharge.

Give it a shot, if it doesn't work then buy a MCE remote control and receiver. Mine cost me £30 from Amazon.
posted by mr_silver at 6:57 AM on May 25, 2010

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