Remote Control Extender
Control equipment through walls and around corners

A wireless RF remote control extender is ideal if you want to hide your TV decoder or items of home theatre equipment away in another room or cupboard.

But perhaps you haven’t because the infrared remote won’t work through walls, around corners, or over extended distances.

An RF extender not only works through walls, it also works over much greater distances, such as in a large hall.

How does an infrared remote control extender work?

First, let's look at how a remote works… and its limitations.

How does an IR remote work?

An IR remote controller uses a beam of invisible InfraRed light to carry the ‘button press’ information to your TV decoder, DVD  or other IR remote controlled equipment.

Infrared is like visible light, it won’t penetrate opaque objects such as walls.

Even with something transparent, like glass, very little IR will pass through it. Most of the light beam is reflected back from its surface. Some is bent and absorbed within the glass. Only a small amount comes out the other side. Usually not enough to be useable.

An IR remote works best...

  • through air
  • over a short distance
  • when you aim it at the device you’re controlling

When does IR not work?

  • through solid objects such as walls
  • around corners (must be line-of-sight)
  • over large distances
  • if you don’t aim it

But instead of getting IR to carry the ‘button press’ commands, what if we get Radio Frequency energy (RF) to carry them?

Like IR, RF is also electromagnetic energy… it’s just in a different part of the continuous electromagnetic spectrum. It’s essentially the same thing, but...

RF acts differently to IR

  • It penetrates most solid objects (but not metals)
  • works over greater distances
  • spreads out more (radiates), so you may not have to aim it

 So a wireless RF remote control extender overcomes all the limitations of the IR remote.

An extender works like this

  • The remote transmits the ‘button press’ information on an RF carrier (radio waves)
  • The extender receiver receives some of the RF carrying this information
  • It removes the ‘button press’ information from the RF carrier
  • It now retransmits this same information but via the IR light beam
  • The decoder or DVD senses this as if it were directly from an IR remote

So the information always stays the same but we change our carrier from IR to RF to get the information over that part of the link where IR light can’t go.

What to look for

Here are some things to watch for if you are thinking of buying an infrared remote extender. It should…

  • work with most remotes
  • work through more than one wall
  • work with multiple devices
  • be easy to install and setup – good user instructions
  • have a power pack with line voltage suitable for your country
  • have good reviews
  • be reasonably priced

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