0 Replies Latest reply: Jan 19, 2011 10:22 AM by elvisimprsntr RSS

    Whole home IR control and distribution opportunity

    elvisimprsntr

      BACKGROUND

       

      As many of you are aware, cable provider are switching to all digital broadcasts so anyone with a old analog TV or even a QAM TV you will need wither a STB or Digital Transport Adapter (DTA) attached to your TV to view ANY channels on your analog TV or any encrypted QAM channels (anything other then local channels).    You also may be aware that your can receive up to 3 DTAs free of charge.  Additional units cost between $3 to $4 per month.  If you are like me, I have a bunch of older analog TVs connected up around the house, primarily in the bedrooms, which are used for infrequent viewing, but I do not want to pay for an extra STB or DTA for each of these TVs.

       

      SOLUTION

       

      So I decided to connect up one of my free DTAs in my cable junction box to distribute the CH3 signal to my old analog TVs.  NOTE: I tried to use two DTAs, one on CH3 the other on CH4 which would allow viewing different channels on old analog TVs, but unfortunately the cheap DTAs bleed over on CH3 even when CH4 is selected for transmission.

       

      PROBLEM

       

      The now is how to control the DTAs located in my garage far from the actual viewing location, which there are several options:

       

      1. IR to RF bridge - still required a separate IR receiver in each room and i wold have to leave the RF receiver outside of the electrical panel containing all my telco, coax, LAN distribution wires.

      2. IR over coax - still required a separate IR receiver in each room and required DC blockers, IR injectors, IR couplers, etc.

      3. IP based IR controller - I have looked at some of these, some are cheap (redeye) and some are really expensive (bitwise).  The fundamental common problem to any of any IP IR solution is the IR code database robustness.    The other basic problem I have is this requires me to manage and configure another embedded controller just for IR control.  I already have an Insteon controller, an alarm panel, and the now the Slingbox Pro HD box.

      4. Running IR distribution cables in a home with finished walls is not an option.

       

      SLINGBOX ADVANTGES

       

      1. The slingbox already has an IR blaster to send command to your video equipment.

      2 The slingbox also has a nice integrated guide that you can navigate and select a listing which will automatically change the channel.

      3. The slingbox is already an IP device your home network.

      4. The slingbox already seems to have a fairly robust IR code database at least for STBs, DTAs, and other video sources, not to mention apps that run on every mobile platform know to man.

      5. The slingbox already has an embedded controller with quite a bit of processing power.

       

      OPPORTUNITY

       

      If you are like me, I have AV equipment located all over my house.  I have wifi and LAN connection almost everywhere in my home.  Certainly where I have AV equipment located.

       

      1. The question, if not already inquired about before, is what would it take for the slingbox to act as my central IR control and distribution point?    Simple passive IP to IR receivers/transmitters already exist.   Provided they can be made inexpensive enough, would have no problem connecting one of these in every location.  This would then allow me to use my slingbox to control ALL my AV equipment all over the house regardless of where it is located and where I am viewing.    Currently for me to control all of my AV equipment from my iPhone, I have to use an app provided by the manufacturer if it has IP capability, or I have to use a the remote that came with the device, or I have to use a harmony IR remote programed for all the devices.    Unfortunately I have not found a single homogeneous solution to allow me to control ALL my AV equipment from anywhere in my home, that is affordable and easy to install.

       

       

      UPDATE 2011-01-15

       

      Global Cache has some excellent IP to IR adapters.  The problem is they don't store codes like the extremely expensive Bitwise unit, which is fine if my SB could function as the central IP to IR controller.  GC also has WIFI to IR adapters as well.    Each units outputs can be configured to send IR signals out a specific port or as an IR blaster.  It is a farily simple protocol once you know the message format.   The device also has a built in IR receiver which will automatically build the coded message traffic for you.  It seems like the SB could support this faily simple protocol and leverage their extensive IR database and remote GUIs to allow one to control ones whole home IR devices, either from the web plug-in, native app, or mobile app.     GC seems to be one of the dominate players in the market that manufacturers IP to IR adapters.