Switches & Repeaters

How To Control Your AV Gear in Another Room

Most AV gear assumes that you’ll be controlling it from the same room. Heck, it assumes that you’ll have line-of-sight between you and the gear. That’s how IR remotes work! You press the button, the IR signal comes out the front, and the AV gear (at the front of the room) receives the command. But not everyone has their gear in the same room. Many times, even if it is in the same room, it is off to the side or maybe blocked in some way. The IR commands can be inconsistent or even completely unresponsive. How do you control your AV gear without putting it at the front of your room? Let’s discuss!

The Clunky (But Easy) Solution

If you literally want to do nothing and spend no money, there might be a solution for you. This will be highly dependent on your gear, but you may be able to control most or all of it via their apps. Many newer AV gear come with some sort of app control. Are these apps great? Generally…no. But it will allow you to control all of your AV gear from another room.

The Better Solution

If you are hiding your gear in any way, you likely need a way to get the IR signals from your remote to your AV gear. The better solution is to install some sort of IR repeater. An IR repeater accepts the IR signal from any remote and repeats it out of a different device. There are wired as well as wireless solutions. These are very easy to set up as they don’t require any programming at all. They don’t actually do anything with the IR signal other than recreate it from their receiving device. This way you can use any of your existing remotes exactly as you always have. Except now they’ll work.

The Best Solution

Unfortunately, the best solution is now much harder to implement. A universal remote with a hub-based solution was intended to solve exactly this issue. Hub-based universal remotes basically include their own IR repeater functions with wires receivers and transmitters. They can receive commands from the handheld remote via IR and often WiFi. This makes them extremely powerful and flexible.

Again, the bad news is that the best solution has been abandoned by its creator. The only other solution (the Sofabaton X1) has its own issues. Some people have been happy with it, but others hate it. Our reviewer has had good luck with the Sofabaton but he’s more tech-savvy than most. If you can find aftermarket Logitech remotes, they are still viable. But we can’t say for how long.

The Expensive Option

The last option will actually work and will be the easiest to implement and will look and work exactly the way you want. The problem is that it is very expensive. Since Logitech has removed themselves from the market, your only real option for a fully featured universal remote is through a custom installer. They’ll have access to options like Universal Remote (that’s the name of a company), Control4, and Crestron. These options are not cheap and they are (generally) not available to home enthusiasts. This means you have to get them through an installeral.

How much will something like that run you? We don’t exactly know but you can expect solutions to start at $1000 and go way up from there. It will depend on your installer, what brands they can install, and your system. Remember, because this is a custom solution, you won’t be able to make any changes yourself. Any time you add gear or decide you want something to work slightly differently, you’ll need to call your installer to make that change. That means more money out of pocket.

Like we said, it’ll work but it’ll be expensive.

Wrap Up

If you need to control your AV gear from another room, you have options. What works best for you will be determined by how you use your gear and how much time and money you want to spend. A great universal remote is a joy for a home theater but is much harder to come by these days. Custom remotes will work well but come at a high cost. An IR repeater solution will allow you to continue to use your multiple remotes as you always have. Using the included apps will work but will require much more time and often more frustration. Let us know in the comments what you choose.

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