What to do for an IR Blaster

Hi I’m a First time poster and long-time visitor to the site.
I mainly like coming to find and give answers to the BAZILIION different computer and entertainment issues that can come from having access to anything and everything electronic.

I have been asked by a friend to build and put together an HTPC that will allow him to watch TV on his PC, record what is being passed through WINDOWS 7 MEDIA CENTER (MC) and then after its recorded be able to watch that recording from two other locations inside his house.

The man is filthy rich, respectively of course.

First I thought that Id start with the HTPC and get that built (specs below). Then I had to find a way to capture the satellite feed from his Bell ExpressVU Receiver (STB).

For this I decided that I would use the Happauge HD PVR. I would use the "video out" on the STB and pass it through the HD-PVR, which is USB connected to the HTPC, then into the Denon Receiver that is pushing audio to Denon Surround Sound speaker set up and Video to overhead Sony projector.

That way, I am able to capture the image and play it through Media Center(MC) and he’s still able to use his denon receiver to view the STB feed without using the HTPC if he so chooses.

I was able to get the HD-PVR to work with Media Center(MC). This is something that happauge does not provide support for but with the help of a piece of software that allows Media Center to pick up the HD-PVR USB feed I was able to get it displayed on the Media Center(MC). Also I was able to get MC media guide to grab the corresponding feed for his Bell Satellite Subscription.

So the idea is that he uses media center to browse the Satellite guide to pick and watch shows that he likes. If he really wants to watch those shows again, all he has to do is to click record on the MC guide and he’s then saving the files. Once they are done recording he should be able to then, go to his room and load up his media extender and stream the files from his HTPC or even a NAS.

Basically this works.

The only issue I have is that MC does not change the channels on his STB. What this means is that if the MC is set to record channel 400 and the STB is set to channel 650, then what he sees is not what he gets. What I mean is that MC has a description for the series Hell’s Kitchen and his actual video is American idol, since the channel that MC was tuned too (Hell’s Kitchen) was not the same channel that the STB (American idol) was tuned to.

What I need.....is to have media center force the STB to change to the same channel that’s displayed on the MC. That way, I get a proper description and the proper video to go along with it.

I know I could just set both devices to tune to the correct channel and then use the MC to record. But to me that’s not simple enough.

I have seen IR blasters around and I believe this is the device that I will need. But I did get one with my HD-PVR but since have read that it will not work with MC only that it will work with the Total Media Extreme software that came with the HDPVR. Not what I want.

Any and all comments will be warmly received. A direct link to what will work would be great.

Please comment and help me, I have been at this project for just about 6 months now.

HTPC Specs and other equipment.

Thermaltake DH101 Thermaltake DH101 Black ATX PC Case

P55A-UD3P ATX Gigabyte P55A-UD3P ATX LGA1158 P55 DDR3 2PCI-E

Intel Core 15 Intel Core 15 3.33G

Thermaltake 600W Thermaltake

LG Blu-ray LG Bh10LS30 Black 10X Blu-Ray 16X DVD-RW Burner,

DDR3 2GB Kingston 2GB DDR3

Gigabyte Radeon Gigabyte Radeon Ud HD 5770 850MHZ 1 GB 4.8GHZ
GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI Display Port DX11

2 Western digital 15E... Western Digital WD15EARS CAviar Green 1.5TB SATA

Windows 7 MS Windows7 PRO 32BIT

Vista View Saber Vista View Saber DA-1N1-PCI TV Tuner Combo NT

Happauge HD-PVR

2 WDTV LIVE Media Extenders.
7 answers Last reply
More about what blaster
  1. Wireless HDMI repeaters are now available (but are still expensive) ...
    ... They should get really cheap ... really fast.

    = Al =
  2. Oh, Man !!
    You really are "in the thick of it", eh?
    The prospect of "working that whole mess out", seems very dubious and rather unappealing, to my mind.

    The following statement is contrary to your current "thrust", so I doubt you will take this, my best advice, to heart, but I feel (somehow), morally obligated to opine and to advise. This is as much an issue of personal values and philosophy but, around here, we like to point out all relevent "inefficiencies", with regard to the lifetime cost/performance (and justification) of the platforms we spec ... here.

    .. with that caveat ... here goes ...

    Being a "first", first-adopter generally and consistently "BLOWS CHUNKS ! ".

    Doing such (pushing the features envelope) costs exponentially more, as you ascend the "pro-sumer ramp". More Time (like, right this moment), trying to suss out crap that will be transparent to any user, within a year.

    For the sake of cost/efficiency and YOUR SANITY .... Please (I beseech Thee) ...
    Just take one big step back and think of how much easier and cheaper ALL of this will be, six or 8 months from now ? ? Seriously ... imagine it is February 23rd, 2011 and you are trying to do the exact same thing !

    I'm just saying that, by the time you iron out all the kinks and and kludge a bunch of convergent "blocks" together ... Wal-Mart will be selling it "all", for one third the price, with an all-in-one auto-remote tie-in to MC ... all with turnkey wirelss .. serious !

    Told Ya, you weren't gonna like it .. But I've said my piece and you know the score.



  3. Wow,

    Well to take some of the weight off of you I understand the complexities of my endevour and am somewhat aware of my fate as it's coming to me.

    So far, I've noted that the blu ray burner I bought for the build has dropped in price. He and I both understand the risks involved with trying to build something like this in a short time frame.

    It is unfortunate that the "Wal Marts" may soon release a device that does all that I am trying to do, at a fraction of the price but its my belief that home grown is the way to go.


    Don't worry man, I appreciate you're help on the matter and the time it had taken you to type the post and find the links.

    HOWEVER imo all thats missing from this build is a decent and capable IR blaster.


    i am aware that this computer may just sit and collect dust, and believe me it makes my starcraft and crysis craving ass sick to death.


  4. Stuckless - I feel your pain. Unfortunately, I think you are just as stuck as I am. When I had a standard cable box connected to my HTPC (AVerMedia AVerTV card), the IR blaster worked fine. I could set the recording up in MC and it would automatically change the STB channel when the recording was due to start. Since that time, I upgraded to a new Digital STB and my IR blaster stopped worked the moment I connected it. I never could get the STB to change channels (either for a recording or just channel surfing) using my Media Center remote control.

    The only work-around that I've found (and again, you're not going to like it), is to set up the recording twice. Once in your STB and once in your HTPC. There *should* be a function/setting on the STB that forces it to change channels when the recording is scheduled to start.

    -Wolf sends
  5. NEVER!!

    I mean, with the Happauge HD PVR IR blaster and software I was for a moment able to get the software to "learn" key presses.

    It just seems that I am so close that it would be a shame for it NOT to work.

    WoW. Looks like I might have to BUY this PC from him haha
  6. YOU WROTE :

    "It just seems that I am so close that it would be a shame for it NOT to work."

    MY REPLY :

    Dauntless !!! Oh, ME, of little faith ! ... I have seen faith and perseverence "WIN OUT", too many times to DARE to "poo-poo" your dream ... er ... destiny !

    = G'luck ! = (PS: "USE THE *FORCE*, Luke !! ... And ... The Manual(s) ! " )
  7. I would recommend checking KVMSwitchTech. They offer a wide range of HDMI Extender and HDMI Splitter solutions.
    You can chk out at- http://www.kvmswitchtech.com/cat5-hdmi-extender-c11633.htm
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