Can anyone direct me to where to find a reasonably priced IR remote that can be programmed to transmit any manner of standard Windows keyboard keystroke-combinations, I mean such standard combinations as as Ctrl-W to close a tab or window (as opposed to the global Alt-F4 command that closes the entire program), or Ctrl-+/- to increase/decrease the displayed font size in a window, or Alt-Tab to simply switch open windows?
I have three identically programmed venerable Sony RM VM-700 IR learning remotes that am fairly in love with, situated in various corners of my abode for convenience, and want to program the above signals onto their buttons to be picked up by a standard USB IR receiver. Have found some cheap-enough remotes on Amazon that provide basic functionality such as mouse navigation and closing/opening windows (e.g., "PC Remote Controller", "Vista Remote Control"), but none have provided the needed versatility documented above. (They typically offer four colored "hot buttons" that allow for programmable launching of programs via a shortcut-"shortcut", but not programmable keystroke combinations.)
Am running a non-WMP-oriented Windows 7 HTPC on a large monitor, and routinely do things like browse google-news from a distance using the handheld Sony universal remotes to open/close/switch windows in a mobile manner from various locations without being chained to a keyboard & mouse. My need is to increase the Sony remotes' functionality to transmit whatever manner of keyboard-shortcut keystroke-combinations that may be desired.
Can anyone recommend a lower-end IR remote that provides such programmable functionality? The intent is to get said keysoke-combos programmed into that, then relay them onto the Sony learning remotes for daily use. Is a $100+ Logitech Harmony unit my only option? If so, which of their several models provides such Windows-keyboard programmability?
Surely I can't be the only one with such needs these days, but am having a hard time finding a forum of similarly minded folk. Any informed answers are duly appreciated; thanks much.
Thank you Dave; did not know about WinLIRC, interesting program. But that's the software end, what I need is the hardware unit to generate and IR-transmit the desired keystroke-combinations so that I can capture that on my universal learning remotes. But the compatible hardware listed on their webpage looks fruitful.
As for Mobile Mouse on a smartphone, yes, that would be a ready solution if 1) you already own a smartphone and 2) are the type who always carries your mobile phone on your person. I am decidedly neither, so in addition to whopping new Verizon or t-Mobile monthly fees, I'd need to buy 3 phones to provide the same at-hand convenience that my 3 venerable Sony remotes currently do; not a cheaper solution for me by a long shot :-). Plus unknown if the program can simultaneously control other IR-operated home theatre hardware -- cable box, receiver, etc.? -- essential for my setup.
But in typing all this up, came to realize that perhaps all I really need to generate the desired codes is simply an IR Windows keyboard, and capture the transmited signals onto the Sony remotes. A check on Amazon found this little unit, which looks like it could do that and serve good function on its own as well; I'll be considering that, but meanwhile am open to more suggestions; thanks folks.
I'm no LIRC expert, but I thought the idea was that it could take any remote signal and perform any action. So just pick any device on any existing remote and associate the signals of your choice with the actions of your choice. You don't have to generate or capture any codes. You use existing ones and define them to mean whatever you like. Doesn't matter what they are.
As for the smartphone solution. It works perfectly fine with an old, cheap iPod touch on your local LAN with no phone service whatsoever.
I've tried to do it all on a single remote, and while it works ok, it's much easier to pull out a second device for PC control that actually works well. I don't use the phone for my IR remote.
The device you linked reminds me of Jemaine's camera phone on Flight of the Concords (he duct taped a camera to a phone). I've used similar devices, and can tell you that they suck. The range is typically abysmal and the remote can't do macros or very many devices. And the keyboard part of that remote is RF, not IR, so it's impossible to learn. If you manage to find an IR keyboard, it will speak IRDA, not consumer IR and will also be unlearnable.
Cheers Dave. I've obviously got a learning curve on this, mixing terms like codes when I mean signals. Was not aware of consumer IR vs. IRDA, thanks for that tip.
If I can get LIRC to execute the keyboard-combo keystrokes I want by pressing any key on my remote that I define, that's seemingly great; was not comprehending that. Downside is the LIRC program presumably has to be running all the time to do that, meaning more program bloat however small it may be, and more important, opportunity for malfunctions with program interactivity. Plus presumably a lot of time-consuming messy programming to set it up correctly. But I'll definitely look into it.
The amazon page of that mini-keyboard I linked says "Quick Learning IR Remote; easily program to control other electronics and appliances with ease" -- are you reading from that that its functionality is to learn incoming IR signals, but transmit them in RF? I'd interpreted it to mean the opposite, that it could transmit in IR -- how else could it control those IR-only "other electronics and appliances"? Or does it IR transmit only those codes it's been 'learned', and transmit all its keyboard functions in RF only? Unfortunately, their coarse Chinese-translated manual doesn't discuss this feature, and there's not enough user reviews to tell.
I'm quite sure the iphone solution isn't for me: I don't have a home LAN set up nor wish to, and as said would need to purchase three of them to provide the convenience I currently have, and the ergonomic comfort of any smartphone is a nightmare compared to the Sony VL700 -- no way am I hanging on to a rectangular pad comfortably for extended periods and reaching its core 'buttons' with total easy like I do with the Sonys... and if I drop it like I have the Sonys many times with no ill effect whatsoever -- dang, broken screen! It's still unclear if the Mobile Mouse solution also controls the IR-enabled TV, cable box, and receiver?
Am not about to give up the VL700s, their ergonomic superiority and programmable versatility is just too darned good. I'm already almost there, if I can just find a device to IR-transmit those few particular keyboard combos I'm seeking (and perhaps others as things evolve), that's all I need... no third-party programs to install, program, and run in perpetuity, no phone purchases and home LAN setups... pure & simple!
Standard cheapy WMC-oriented IR remotes seemingly easily transmit basic Windows keyboard and mouse commands like Close Window, Enter, Left Arrow, mouse movement etc. I simply want one that provides more keystroke versatility than they provide -- basically the whole 102-keyboard suite of keystrokes. Does anyone know if higher-end ones do?
Well, found a very simple albeit limited solution to my quest in the freeware AutoHotkey, thanks to an amazon reviewer's comment about the $3.90 'PC remote control' [Link: amazon.com]: very easy to write little ~15-character scripts in Notepad txt files that execute whatever keystroke combos are desired (among many other more advanced functions). Assign the scripts to the four "hotkey buttons' on the remote, which execute Ctrl+Alt+1/A/F1 through 4/A/F4, and immediate problem solved. The program is very small (2mb download) and minimalist in the OS, minimizing chances for prob interfacing with other programs, and (probably most importantly) the clear tutorial documentation gets you running basic scripts in a hurry.
Amazingly, that cheapest of PC remotes also happens to provide the most Windows keyboard/commands I've seen among all others in its 36 native buttons: page up/down, backspace, tab, enter, open folder, escape, switch window, desktop, etc., along w/mouse control and basic player start/stop function.
WinLIRC and EventGhost await further exploration after experimenting with their capability to interface with my USB IR receivers and delving into their daunting documentation, but for now AHK has quickly provided my four most sought-after browser signals, with existing hardware and no additional purchases.
Oh, man, this is sweet! Instantaneously zoom in/out on web pages, switch/close tabs, all on the same single remote that controls every other HTPC function.
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