Sunday, May 25, 2008

RF Remote vs. IR Remote

The most common type of remote control receiver is the IR remote. It works very well, but it does have limitations. With an ir vs rf remote control, you typically must have a very clear line of site from the remote to the device that you are trying to control. Virtually every consumer electronics device is equipped with this type of remote. A great option for a full featured IR remote is the Logitech Harmony One (affiliate link).

There is another technology, however, that offers a far better range in terms of distance. RF remotes use radio frequencies that travel far and can easily pass through walls and floors. You can put a piece of equipment in the basement or top level and control it from the main floor. The advantage of this type of remote is the ability to hide your equipment for a better presentation. You could keep all of your equipment in a closet that is easily hidden from view but still have full control over your devices.

Most consumer electronic devices do not come equipped with this technology. Directv HD receivers do have this option built in, but most equipment does not.

There is a way to add this feature with an RF remote that comes with an RF wireless extender. The Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote with Color Touch Screen and the Logitech® Harmony® RF Wireless Extender are a great combination of touchscreen remote and wireless extender. The remote can be programmed via your computer to control all of your devices. You can set up tasks like watch tv or play dvd. When you press the button, the remote automatically turns on the proper equipment the selects the proper inputs and sources. It can even control lighting in a home theater.

The extender works with the remote by taking the RF signals and translating them into IR signals that will communicate with all of your components. You can keep all of your devices in a cabinet up to 100 feet away from your television. This can be critical if you are trying to install a flat panel tv on a wall while hiding all of the wires and components in another room.

When comparing IR remotes vs. RF remotes, they each have distinct advantages. IR remote devices are nearly universal and work with nearly every relevant consumer electronics device. However, RF remotes offer great advantages when controlling a device from a large distance or a device that is tucked away in a cabinet.  

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