Controlling your TiVo without a Line of Sight

The vast majority of remote-controlled consumer electronics devices these days, including all TiVos, are controlled using infrared (IR) technology. While useful and convenient for most uses, IR suffers from one primary drawback: It requires a line of sight from the remote control to the unit that is being controlled.

Increasingly, though, many of our customers are looking for radio frequency (RF) remote controls for their TiVos and other equipment. If you are not using RF now, or if you have not thought about moving from infrared to RF, here are some reasons to do so:

1) Using an RF remote, you can put your TiVo in a closet, drawer or other cabinet (which is often quieter than on top of or next the TV), and run wires from there to the TV. If your TiVo is in your bedroom and are bothered by the drive or fan noise, this can be a marriage-saver!

2) With RF, you can control your TiVo, radio, etc., from any room in your house (presuming it’s not the White House or some other monstrosity—RF does have a limited range). This will help if you want to watch a TiVo on multiple TVs, if you have audio playing throughout your house from a central location, etc.

3) You can use RF to drive people in the house crazy…sitting safely in your bedroom while the person in the living room is trying to watch TV

…and the list goes on.

If you have a device that has an infrared remote (such as a TiVo), but prefer RF, you have a couple of options. One of the easiest and least expensive is this device, the RF Remote Extender, which replaces a battery in the remote with a smaller battery (same voltage) and a special transmitter that sends the remote’s keypresses via RF to a receiver that sits near the TiVo (or other device(s)) that you are controlling. It’s range is up to 150 ft, depending on the type of material the signal has to penetrate.


Alternatively, a number of RF universal remotes will convert IR into RF, although they can be quite expensive, and we are still searching for one that we are happy enough with to stock.

As RF becomes more popular, more consumer-electronics devices have the functionality built-in. DIRECTV is incorporating RF functionality into its more of its higher-end receivers and remotes. The H20 high definition receiver (which is not a DVR, not a TiVo) includes an RF remote control.

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