What you need
- J. River Media Center software
- An IR (or RF) "transceiver" device installed on your computer. Examples are the one that comes with the Hauppage 2250 TV kit, or the Microsoft MC remote. These have a USB connector and they usually include:
- IR transmitters ("blasters") that plug into the transceiver itself via 1/8" phone jacks. Place these blasters in front of the equipment you want to control, such as a cable set top box, a receiver, or a TV.
- The remote you want to use for controlling all entertainment functions. We'll call this the "Universal Remote" here.
- The remotes for other equipment you want to control from Media Center. For example, a TV, cable set top box, or amplifier.
How to do it
- In Media Center, choose Tools / Options / Remote control dialog. Make sure the transceiver device you are using is activated -- check it in the list of devices. The "MCE Remote" device is selected by default and will handle Microsoft and most compatible MCE transceiver devices.
- The command list has commonly used commands in Media Center, such as music listening, and TV and video viewing.
- You can add new commands, or you can delete or rename existing ones to make the list suit your needs.
- Each command in the list may be assigned to a single button on your Master Remote.
- To do this, click the "Start Learning" button in the dialog. The text on this button will change to "Stop Learning" and the top command in the list will show "Learning..." in the right-hand column.
- Press the button on the remote that corresponds to the command. The word "Learning" text be replaced by the learned code, and the next command will be ready to learn.
- If you don't want to learn a command, click on the next command in the list that you'd like to learn.
- When you're done, click the "Stop Learning" button.
You can modify the actions performed by a command. By default, most commands will execute a single "MCC" command within Media Center such as "Play", "Pause", "Mute", or "Fast forward".
- If you want to control external equipment, such as TV's, cable boxes, and audio amplifiers, you'll need to add that functionality. The following example shows how to modify commands to control the volume on an external audio amplifier. This is useful if you output digital sound from your computer to your amp, since, in this case the volume control within Media Center does not affect the final volume on the amplifier.
- From the command list, select the "Volume Up" command.
- Click the "Edit Command" button.
- A dialog will show that there is a single action associated with the "Volume Up" command, a Media Center command to increase the volume slider. Leave this action in the list, since you may decide to output analog audio from time to time.
- Add a "blast" action to raise the volume on the amplifier. This means that when you press the "Volume Up" key on your Master Remote, an IR signal will be output to your amplifier through the blaster you placed in front of the amplifier in an earlier step. That IR signal will increase the amp's volume just as if you pressed the Volume-Up button on the amplifier's own remote control.
- Click the "Add Blast" button in the dialog. A pop-up message will appear saying it's ready to record an IR signal from a remote control.
- Point the amplifier's remote control (not the Master Remote!) at the transceiver and press the Volume-Up button. When the recording is complete, the pop-up will go away and the action list will show the newly created blaster command.
- Click "Done" on the dialog.
- From now on, pressing the Volume-Up button on the Master Remote will simultaneously raise the volume slider in Media Center and increase the volume on the external audio amplifier.
- Continue fine-tuning commands as needed. When complete, click the Ok button and start using your remote.