How to control audio visual equipment that is in a different room

If you have your audio-visual equipment connected so that you can watch it from a different room, then you are going to be faced with the dilemma of how to control it. After all, you probably don’t want to have to get up to go to the room that the equipment is actually in, simply to pause, rewind, change channel or set a program to record.

If you have this dilemma, we can suggest three options…

  • Use the facilty built-in to whatever method you have chosen to send the audio-visual signal between rooms to send a remote control signal in the opposite direction.
  • Use your equipment’s existing remote controls (or a universal remote control) with a remote control extender
  • Use a smartphone or tablet as a remote control (rather than your equipment’s existing remote controls or a universal remote control)

Is the solution staring you in the face?

The first thing you should check is whether the method you have chosen to send audio-visual signals between rooms is capable of sending an infra-red control signal in the opposite direction. Many audio and video sender solutions have this facility. If yours does then you can probably stop reading this article now and reach for your audio-video sender’s instruction manual!

Using a remote control extender to control audio visual equipment that is in a different room

Remote control extenders are devices which are capable of receiving an infra-red signal from a remote control and re-transmitting that signal somewhere else. These devices are sometimes referred to as infra-red extenders.

The anatomy of a remote control extender

Remote control extenders generally consist of three main elements:

  • An infra-red receiver – which receives the signal from your remote control.
  • One or more infra-red emitters – which re-transmit the signal from your remote control to the device(s) you want to control.
  • Some electronics – which process the signal received by infra-red receiver and transmit it to the infra-red emitter(s).

How these three elements are packaged varies between different products – largely depending on the application for which they were primarily designed.

Obviously you can’t point your remote control at your audio-visual equipment (because it is in a different room!) so you should look at remote control extenders which allow for separation of the infra-red receiver from the other elements. This separation can be achieved either by installing a cable between your rooms or by using a ‘wireless’ solution.

A word of caution about remote control extenders

One of the beauties of remote control extenders is their simplicity. There is no programming to do, so they are pretty much as close to ‘plug-and-play’ as electronic devices get. All they do is receive an infra-red signal and then recreate it somewhere else. However, this simplicity can cause problems in some situations. For example, if you have two identical devices (such as two Sky boxes) in a stack of audio-visual equipment where both can ‘see’ the output of a single remote control extender’s IR emitters then there is no way of controlling them independently. If you send a signal via your remote control extender that one of the devices recognises then they will both recognise it and respond accordingly, just as they would if you pointed your remote control directly at your stack of equipment.

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