How To Choose An Infrared Distribution System

by Jeff Fisher

Just bought a new flat-screen TV? Have all of your equipment behind cabinet doors or even in the next room? You need an Infrared Distribution system.

Infrared (IR) Distribution, sometimes call IR Repeaters, have become one of HomeTech's largest growing categories thanks, in large part, to flat screen televisions. We have been providing IR solutions for many years and thoroughly understand the ins and outs of IR control.

The first thing to be aware of, before purchasing an IR system, is that Plasmas, LCD, and LED TVs can emit large amounts of invisible noise that interferes with the IR signals. This noise "floods" the IR receiver and renders the IR system weak or useless. Many of the IR receivers and emitters have blinking lights/LED's that are used to verify that the system is working properly. If your emitter lights are blinking even when the system is not in use, you are most likely receiving interference from your TV or your IR system is wired incorrectly.

For more IR troubleshooting tips, please see Troubleshooting Infrared Repeater Systems.

Xantech and Channel Vision have had a couple of cases where there have been interference problems with a few of the popular, well known LCD and Plasma TVs, that include:
  • Sony Bravia LCDs
  • Panasonic Plasma TVs (both professional and consumer lines)
  • Sharp Aquos LCDs (all sizes from 15" to 65")

Other issues

Some A/V companies, including Motorola and Scientific Atlanta, two of the most predominate brands of cable boxes and DVRs in the U.S., have gone outside of the normal range (typically 30 to 100Mhz). In some cases, they have started using a pulse modulation scheme to differentiate their IR signals from others because the IR spectrum is getting crowded by all of the new cable boxes and DVRs on the market.

The Xantech IR receiver we have the overall best luck with is the DL85 Dinky Link. This series of receiver has special circuitry to help keep out interference, while attempting to pass through the necessary IR codes. In particularly noisy or long-range situations, Xantech's '95 series receivers are the best we carry.

The IR ready kit (IRDY4KIT) is recommended if you need to control multiple pieces of equipment. It includes a four-output connecting block, one power supply and four emitters. The only thing to add to the kit is your choice of Xantech receivers, based on which TV you purchase. You may also add dual-head emitters in the future if you want to expand your IR system to multiple applications/equipment.

Although HomeTech recognizes Xantech as being the pioneers of IR technology, the newest member of the IR family, Channel Vision, offers a good cost-effective substitute.

Channel Vision's most popular IR kit is the IR5000. It offers a four-output connecting block, one power supply and two dual-head emitters. The Plasma proof remote head receiver, that is included in the kit, can be attached directly to the TV or used with the accessories to create a tube-style or table-top form factor. The only downside in using this kit is the receiver is pre-attached to the connecting block and only offers a three foot extension. This kit would be used best if the equipment is close to where the receiver is to be mounted (i.e. directly below the TV).

If the equipment is further then the provided three-foot length, you may purchase the items separately:

  • IR1205 - Connecting Block and Power Supply
  • IR2400 - Remote Head Receiver
  • IR3002 - Dual Head emitter (one for every TWO items being controlled)

If you are trying to operate just one or two applications, you may go with a "simple IR hub" (IR1200) in place of the P1205. Although cost effective, the IR1200 does not allow you to control anymore then two items off of one connecting block (we DO NOT recommend using the generic triple-head emitter with the simple IR hub).

In the end, there are many ways to personalize your IR system. After some researching, we are confident that you will create a setup that works best for you and your new home entertainment system.


Register (under "Log In" above) to leave a comment.



Newest Blog Posts

  1. A new home.
    2014-10-30 22:44