Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best ir extender 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2020
Best ir extender of 2018
If you’re scouring the market for the best ir extender, you’d better have the right info before spending your money. So, what exactly would anyone want to know about ir extender? I know most of us don’t really care much about the history and the origin, all we want to know is which of them is the best. Of course, I will spare you the history and go straight on to the best ir extender. I review the three best ir extender on the market at the moment. I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this ir extender win the first place?
I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
Why did this ir extender come in second place?
The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this ir extender take third place?
A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
ir extender Buyer’s Guide
DTC-9.processor and it also, surprisingly, did not work in the remote supplied from my cable company to operate the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000HD high definition DVR. Fortunately for me, I can simply program that remote into my Harmony – and then use the system with the Logitech Harmony remote to control that particular device.
I walked the remote extender all over my home and it seemed to be unstoppable, successfully transmitting through walls, floors, etc in my 2200 square foot construction, you’re likely in a good position to get some great use out of this system.
The System and Potential Problems
All this stuff needs power to work, and this causes limitations in the number of targets and emitters you can use with a given rated power supply.
Pesky light waves stubbornly refuse to turn corners, lose their strength with distance, bounce all over the place causing interference patterns and are also emitted by room lighting, the sun and of course your display which “rather annoyingly” (ha ha) puts out lots of light itself.
IR code conflict is a bear. If a manufacturer of a device inadvertently uses an IR code that is used by another manufacturer then you get two devices responding in their own unique ways to a signal meant for only one device. By its nature, an IR distribution system sends all of the signals to all of the devices. So, if two devices use the same code for a function, both devices will receive that code and will perform the function. This type of thing is mainly caused by manufacturers who are not privy to the codes of the other manufacturers. In addition, different manufacturers of remote controls use different protocols and different carrier frequencies to transmit these different infrared signals.
Help & advice
This device simply repeats the Infrared (IR) signal from your remote through the IR probes attached to the receiver. Extend the range of your remote or bounce it around the corners. There is no complicated setting up, simply plug the unit into the mains socket, position the receiver where you can see it and feed the wires to your AV equipment.
Fantastic Piece Of Kit!
The basic functional setup consists of an RF transceiver, a RF-to-IR base station and a rechargeable 2/3-AAA size battery. Next Generation also supplies an extra 2/3-AAA battery, an AAA-to-AA battery conversion sleeve, a single-eye IR emitter and a wall wart power supply. First up is the RF transceiver module which you couple with one of the 2/3-AAA batteries, and then slap the combo inside your remote as a AA or AAA replacement. It turns out that each IR command issued by your remote also produces a small amount of RF leakage that “looks” just like the IR command. So the transceiver handles the task of sniffing out this wimpy RF signal and forwarding it to the base station, effectively making your IR remote into an RF remote.
From the base station, the received RF commands are translated back into IR and beamed out, both from the UFO-shaped blaster dome and the 3.5-mm plug on the unit.
Getting this up and running was trivial. First, slide one of the 2/3-AAA batteries into the sleeve of the transceiver. This combo is AAA-sized, so if your remote runs on AAA’s, just replace one of the batteries with this. If your remote uses AA’s, just put the combo in the included AA adapter. Then position the base station so that it can reach your components with either its blaster or your IR-emitter setup and plug in the wall wart. That’s it — enjoy your newly RF-ized remote.
In our tests, the extender worked well. We got about 50-feet of range with a wall between the base station and the remote, which was more than enough for our purposes. Most importantly for us, using the extender made it so the remote did not have to stay pointed at the equipment rack to work. Admittedly, this is a bit of a workaround solution, but it’s a pretty elegant workaround at that. Even the detail of what to do when the rechargeable 2/3-AAA battery in your remote dies has been covered: two are included with the set, and the base station has a charger that you can leave one in, so you’ll always have a charged one ready.
For complex setups and non-IR devices
More elaborate and a little harder to set up, the Harmony Companion doesn’t require line-of-sight to your gear, is able to control Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices, and can even run your smart home.
The Harmony Companion is able to integrate with several do-it-yourself home automation hubs and smart devices, such as lights, locks, thermostats, and motorized shades, which is something few other universal remote controls can do. Further, the Harmony mobile app on a smartphone or tablet provides remote control and access to your system and smart devices from anywhere via the internet. No other remote control we can find offers this much control, connectivity, and compatibility for the money.
However, the Companion is more difficult to setup and program; it is made for tech-savvy people.
If you need the Companion’s level of control, ease of programming, vast control database and smart activity-based systems but still want a touchscreen or want to add even more devices to better integrate your smarthome into your system, the Harmony Elite is your remote. Another Hub-based Harmony, it adds a touchscreen and support for up to 1devices to the Companion’s specifications, giving home theater enthusiasts and smart home experimenters maximum flexibility.
If a color LCD screen doesn’t impress you, and you want to save about two plain pizza’s worth of money, the Logitech Harmony 350 is your remote. It can control all the same devices with the same amount of skill as the 650, but it’s not backlit, and it lacks the handy help feature built into the 650. If it weren’t for the lack of a backlight, this would make an economical remote for bedroom TVs (where you are almost certainly in the dark).
Sixty-five years after Zenith introduced the first TV remote control, it seems we’re still waiting for someone to perfect one, but the 650 and Companion are as close as you can get today without spending several hundred dollars.
These days, selecting the best universal remote is largely a matter of selecting the best Logitech Harmony device.
And then there’s Logitech. These days, selecting the best universal remote is largely a matter of selecting the best Logitech Harmony device.
A few new options have emerged, some of which we’ll discuss in the What to look forward to section below. And if you don’t mind using your smartphone or tablet as a remote, here are several app-based remote systems. Usually these system require some separate hardware that take a Bluetooth signal from your phone or tablet and send out an IR signal to your AV components. Logitech, of course, offers a system like this, as does Peel. We tried out both of those to see if an app alone can be good substitute for a handheld remote.
The Logitech Harmony 650 is the best universal remote for most people because it can coordinate the functions of up to eight components, is relatively simple to program with its MyHarmony software, and uses a smart, activity-based interface that simplifies control of your whole home theater. It can only control IR (infrared) devices—that’s most audio, video, and home theater gear—but it can’t communicate over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so it isn’t compatible with some recent devices (Logitech’s Hub-based devices, which we’ll discuss below, are a better option if you need more than IR control).
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The most egregious design flaw in the Harmony Companion is that the buttons on the handheld remote are not backlit. While it’s true that the raised buttons and intuitively organized layout makes it easy to use by feel only, that only applies if you know what each button is supposed to do. For example, if you can never remember which is the DVR button and which is the Guide button, you’ll struggle to operate the remote in the dark.
The Harmony Companion doesn’t have a display like the Harmony 650 does. That means many of the less-often used functions, such as changing the surround mode or subwoofer level, won’t be accessible through the Companion’s remote. Nor is the Help function available from the handheld remote, since there’s no way for the remote to interact with the user. The Harmony App offers a “FIX” feature that allows the user to directly access incorrect settings (power and input for components, for example). It’s faster but less intuitive to use than the Harmony 650’s Help function, since it doesn’t provide visual prompts.
If the relative ease of programming, vast control database and smart activities of the Companion just isn’t enough for you, and what you really want is a cool touchscreen to let you tap your home theater into action, and you’d like to integrate even more of your smarthome devices into your system, then you’ll want to investigate the Harmony Elite, the top dog remote in the Logitech lineup.
The Elite is Harmony’s flagship remote, replacing the Ultimate Home. The standout feature of the Elite is the color touchscreen built into the remote. Instead of pressing hard buttons for Movie, TV, or Music, for instance, you scroll up and down on the screen for your activity and tap that. The screen then switches to pages customized for that activity, and the control options can go satisfyingly deep. All the activity names can be customized, or you can create your own. This is also the remote if you have a lot of gear—it can control up to 1devices (up from the Companion’s eight-device limit) so it potentially replaces up to 1other remotes (or lets you add control for more smart home gear, as we’ll discuss below).
Like the Harmony Companion, the Elite also allows you to hide your home theater gear in a cabinet or gear closet. It comes with two IR blasters you can position in front of the cabinet doors that keep your gear out of sight.
Like all the other Hub-based Harmony remotes, the Elite also allows you to use the Harmony app in addition to the actual remote.
The app option
What if you don’t want another handheld device but the idea of universal remote control does appeal to you? An app may well do the job. We’re particularly fond of the Logitech Harmony app, which as noted, comes with any of the Hub-based remotes. You can also purchase the Harmony Home Hub as a standalone unit (it’s available without a remote) and just use the app. But that’s still around a hundred dollars—more than you’d spend for our top pick, the Harmony 650, and not so much a savings over the Companion that we’d recommend you give up the option of having a hardware remote altogether.
The Pronto Peel is a good app remote for people who don’t have overly complicated systems. The product is in two parts: a hardware module that connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and beams out IR commands to your home theater gear, and an iOS or Android app for you to poke at. It also comes with a corded IR blaster for getting the command signals to hard-to-reach devices. Like the Harmony, it can control components in a cabinet or closet as long as the Pronto module isn’t outside of Bluetooth range from your mobile devices.
Setting up the Pronto Peel started off easy. The app walks the user through a few simple steps to add a TV (projectors too), receiver, DVD/Blu-ray player, streaming media player, cable/satellite set-top-box, HTiB or soundbar. After that it guides you through creating activities based around your source components. It all was working well for us until time came to create an activity for watching streaming video. The IR codeset Peel found for one AV receiver didn’t include all the receiver’s video inputs, so to make the Roku work, we had to move some of the HDMI cables around until we found ones that corresponded to the five HDMI inputs the Peel said the receiver had (our receiver actually has HDMI inputs). Another work-around was to teach the correct input code to the Pronto Peel, but the learned input couldn’t be added in the activity creation step, so that solution wasn’t perfect.
The Peel app is also more limited in what kinds of devices it can control. For instance, it can’t control any game system, while the Harmony will control most game systems as well as several smart home devices.
The Peel app is not quite as intuitive as the Harmony app, but we were able to get it to do everything we needed with a little finagling. If your AV system doesn’t go beyond the basic components and you want to be able to hide your gear and control it all cheaply, the Pronto Peel will have you covered. However, if you’re not committed to the idea of an app for your home theater, we still think you’ll be happier with the Harmony 650 handheld remote.
We also tried out the Nevo Portal from Universal Electronics. Like the Pronto Peel, the Nevo system includes an app and a Bluetooth module. One difference is that the Bluetooth module with the Nevo includes some fixed buttons itself, such as power and volume, so you can keep it on your coffee table to reach out and tap the volume up without opening the app. That’s a great feature, but the greatness ends there. The activity macros are difficult to set up and don’t always work, and the fixed buttons on the module were about as unreliable. Since it’s almost the same price as the Pronto Peel, you’re better off with the Peel.
About the only competition a Harmony remote has is another Harmony remote. There’s not a lot of competition in good universal remote controls.
The Wayne-Dalton WDHC-20 HomeSettings Controls Teleport Universal A/V Remote is unusual among the universal remotes available today in that it’s a combination of a universal IR remote and a Z-Wave controller. Compared with the more capable Home Control, though, the WDHC-20 is limited: it can control only four IR devices, has a much smaller database of IR codes, does not include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or USB connectivity, and only controls Z-Wave smart home devices—so unless you own some Z-Wave devices, this probably isn’t for you.
RCA offers an eight-device capable “universal” replacement remote, along with two-, three-, four-, and six-device versions. The bigger RC remotes even have programmable macros that let you power up several devices with one button press, but they aren’t capable of the kind of switching or complex control the Harmony devices can accomplish.
Like RCA, One for All has several universal remotes in their lineup (at least those for sale in the United States), including the Simple 4; these have similarly limited programmability and only support three or four devices.
What to look forward to
Another newcomer, the Ray Super Remote, looks like a smartphone, but it’s a dedicated touchscreen remote. Currently the Super Remote can only be used in systems with a cable subscription, but as soon as that changes, we’ll add it to this guide.
Wrapping it up
The Harmony Companion and the Harmony 650 both offer control of up to eight devices, but that’s where the similarities end. The Companion’s separate Hub uses a combination of IR, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi to extend its control capabilities beyond that of the IR-only 650. Not only can it control Sonos speakers, the Companion integrates with a variety of smart home systems, and the Harmony mobile app gives you the options of using a smartphone or tablet as a remote as well as control of your home from anywhere you have internet access.
The 650 is still our favorite for systems with components using only IR remotes. The Companion, on the other hand, is the best value for the money you can find in a remote that can let you integrate control of your AV and home automation systems.
These are single networking hardware units that are suitable for homes of around 2,500 square feet or less, though you can always extend Wi-Fi via additional access points (recommended for best performance) or extenders (easier, but slow in speed.) Setups like these are ideal for those who want to get the most out of their home network, including the best security, most features, total control and fastest speed.
Despite the unassuming design, the Synology RT2600ac is one of the best routers on the market.
Wi-Fi systems, also known as home mesh systems, are sets of multiple hardware units that works together wirelessly to increase Wi-Fi coverage over a wide area. Wi-Fi systems generally can cover some 4000 square feet or more and are typically very easy to use. They are great for novice users who just want to get online quickly and conveniently. In return, they have limited features/settings and are expensive. I don’t use a Wi-Fi system in my home, but these two are my favorite nonetheless.
Who it’s good for: Anyone who wants to have an easy Wi-Fi network without compromising the local coverage range and fast broadband speed.
Terminology and Limitations
Before we get started it’s important to define a few key terms and run over some hard limits of the Harmony Ultimate system.
IR – Infrared is an ageing but reliable method of device control using light which requires direct line of sight. Unknown IR commands can be learned by the Harmony system, which enables you to control pretty much anything that has a traditional remote – check out the video below where I demo some cheap RGB LEDs integrated into Harmony activities.
Read More, in which you’ll examine the signals sent out by your TV remote.
Harmony Ultimate Hub is the brain center of the Harmony system. It broadcasts IR, Bluetooth (for devices like the Xbox 360), and connects to your network for IP device control (like the Philips Hue and Nest). It includes two IR blaster ports, useful for repeating IR signals into hard to reach areas such as covered AV cabinets.
Harmony Ultimate Remote is a touchscreen remote control which pairs with a hub. It has a IR emitter, for line of sight device control, though this must be manually activated in the device settings.
Number of devices. Regardless of how many rooms you’re trying to throw signals out to, there’s a 1device arbitrary limit. You can overcome this by creating a custom device and teaching the codes for two or more devices in one, but it’ll take time. Use this tactic as a last resort for simple items like lighting or blinds, rather than complex home entertainment components.
30ft. range between hub and remote. The Ultimate remote needs to stay within range of the hub to be functional. 30 feet is the stated range. In practical terms this means the room immediately above, below, or next to your hub should be reachable, but any significant amount of concrete is going to put a stop to this. Parts of my house are quite old, and the walls are over a metre thick of solid stone – unsurprisingly, even the room next door was unreachable. Since it’s a proprietary RF signal, there’s no way to extend or repeat this.
Same wifi network. If your hub is going to going to be more than 30ft away from your secondary room, all is not lost. Put the remote down – you can still use the Harmony smartphone app along with the techniques listed below to get some degree of multi-room control.
The only limitation in this case is that the same Wi-Fi network name must be used. I ran into issues where I had multiple Wi-Fi networks to cover the whole house, and had previously named them differently so I could tell which was best for upstairs or downstairs. Despite being on the same subnet, the Harmony app refused to connect from the upstairs Wi-Fi network to downstairs, until I gave both networks the same name. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a different access point, as long as it’s the same network name and all connected to one central point somewhere (your main router).
Game systems. Here’s where it gets really complicated. Harmony can control Xbox 360, Playstation and Wii/Wii U by Bluetooth – so they need to be in range of the hub regardless of where you push the infrared signals to. It controls the Xbox One via infrared, but requires very precise placement of an IR blaster, so while this could be located in another room, it may require more IR repeating.
The Harmony system cannot control the Playstation at all. That said, unless you’re using your game system as a media player, you’re still going to need the controller anyway, so perhaps it doesn’t matter so much that the Harmony remote is limited in that respect. Have the Harmony turn everything else on, while you grab the controller.
If in doubt, use the compatibility checker to determine how your system is controlled.
With those hard limits in mind, let’s look at solutions to extend the infrared signal from the Harmony to elsewhere in your home.
Extending IR signal is only half of the problem. At Sewell we have designed multiple IR extenders for a variety of different set-ups. All of our IR Extenders are dual band and should work for most devices. Here are some questions you should be asking and a few recommendations for those key factors in setups.
When using the remote to control the Spectrum Receiver, point the remote at the receiver.
Contact Us to schedule an appointment to have a new Spectrum Receiver delivered to your home.
IR extenders are available for purchase in many electronics stores.
An Infrared (IR) Extender provides you with the freedom to put your digital cable box virtually anywhere up to 1feet from your television. With Scientific-Atlanta/Cisco’s IR Extender, you can simply plug the USB into the digital cable box and then place the receiver on or near your television. All that you’ll see is a tiny receiver by the television.
The IR Extender offers a solution if you would like to hide your digital cable box in a cabinet, entertainment center or other area where the cable box is out of sight. This small device connects to the USB port of the following Scientific Atlanta digital cable boxes: 4200, 4200HD, 4250, 4250HD, 8300, 8300HD and Samsung HD.
Note: The IR Extender must be placed where the remote control has a line of sight to the eye of the IR Extender. The IR transmitter must also be placed in front of the IR sensor on the digital cable box.
Wired or wireless
One distinction that’s commonly made between types of remote controller is whether they’re wireless, or connect to the camera via a cable. All controllers apart from the Canon RC-6, whether wired or wireless, have a cable that connects to the camera’s remote control terminal.
With wired remotes the controller plugs into the terminal, giving you an operating range of about 60-80cm (extension cables are available to boost the range).
Wireless remotes have separate transmitter and receiver units, the latter of which connect to the camera’s remote control terminal via its own cable.
There are two types of wireless system. The Canon LC-uses an infrared beam, similar to that of the Canon RC-controller, but much more powerful. The maximum operating range is 100m, compared with just 5m for the RC-All other wireless remotes here use an RF (Radio Frequency) link.
The only real advantage of an infrared system is that you can use it in countries and situations where the use of RF equipment is forbidden.
However, just like TV remote controllers that use a similar infrared link, you need a line of sight between the transmitter and receiver. This means that if someone or something blocks the controller’s path of light between you and the camera, you won’t be able to take your shot. RF links have no such constraints.
Most remotes have this type of two-stage shutter button. However, the Canon RC-instead has a one-stage button that needs to be fully pressed to activate autofocus and metering, after which the shot is taken either immediately or after a short delay.
Some cameras require software to access a camera’s output and only computers that have this software installed can view the feed. Other cameras, like D-Link Wi-Fi Cameras, offer more flexibility and are viewable using a web browser so you can check your cameras locally or remotely from any connected computer.
For truly mobile viewing, you need a camera that allows you to see a live feed from your smartphone or tablet. D-Link’s mobile interface is a free app called mydlink™ Lite and is available for iPhone, Android and Windows devices. The app works with all mydlink-enabled cameras and is completely free to use. With mydlink Lite, you can view your home or office and keep an eye on your kids, pets and possessions from anywhere with a Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G connection.
If you choose to record footage only when motion is detected, you’ll save space and know exactly what footage you need to view. If you plan to record footage, select a camera that makes it easy to set motion triggers as well as specify recording schedules so you can record exactly what you want directly to a local microSD card.
Enhanced Motion Detection
For more reliable motion detection day and night, certain cameras feature passive infrared (PIR) sensors that use changes in heat to detect movement, rather than visual cues. This is great for monitoring at night when a standard camera would not be able to detect motion due to low light conditions.
Some Wi-Fi cameras can illuminate a low-light or no-light area with infrared lighting so you can clearly see what is happening day or night. Infrared lighting is invisible to the human eye but allows the camera a clear view, even in total darkness.
For those looking to keep an eye on their loved ones or their homes while on vacation, sound detection is the perfect addition to the standard motion detection feature. With automatic email alerts and the ability to configure sound detection for a specific area, cameras with this feature allow you to stay one step ahead.
You want to keep a watchful eye on those in your care and monitor their daily activities. With a 180-Degree lens you can capture an entire room with one Wi-Fi camera, making it perfect for your larger, open spaces. You need a discreet camera with sound and motion detection and the clarity of 1080p HD so you can check in on your loved ones for peace of mind, anytime.
The Pan & Tilt
No matter how many shoes they chew up or how many rolls of toilet paper they shred, you love your pets. You need a camera with pan/tilt functionality and night vision, so you can get a clear view of your cherished companion no matter where they wander.
What Owners Are Saying
Easy DIY setup – does not damage your expensive audio visual equipment in any way.
Your infrared (IR) remote control signal is received by the Powermid Transmitter.
The IR signal is then wirelessly sent to the Powermid Receiver.
The original infrared (IR) signal is then sent out to your remote controllable equipment.
Featuring exclusive eIR2x (pronounced Irex) technology that guarantees a high level of immunity from infrared noise caused by direct sunlight, CFL lighting and flat panel TVs (including plasma, LCD and LED).
Wide-band (30-60kHz) infrared compatibility means devices that use higher IR frequencies are supported, including Foxtel/Austar and high-end audio visual equipment.
Wireless technology to the rescue!
Often, passing AV cables through walls, ceilings, under floorboards, etc., is a project that is not only difficult to implement especially when not carried out as part of a whole-house renovation project, but also expensive and often calls for professional help. In these instances, the convenience of a wireless HDMI solution would often more than outweigh the added expense of a wireless solution.
If you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase you can return any unused products within 36days.
If you have problems with a new purchase, our support team will work with you to resolve. And if you still can’t get it working then you can return it within 1days for replacement or refund.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your ir extender wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of ir extender
- №1 — J-Tech Digital Hdmi Extender By Single Cat 5E/6/7 up to 200ft with IR support
- №2 — Vastar IR Repeater Infrared Remote Control Extender Repeater Hidden IR Repeater System
- №3 — BAFX Products IR Repeater – Remote control extender Kit