Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gear: Project -- Home Electronics IRA-3

This Gear post falls under the category of project. First a little background. My HTPC is connected to my HDTV and is used for 3 things these days:
At one point, it also recorded TV shows, but that job has been moved to my "office" computer due to its vastly larger storage space. As of right now, I interface with my HTPC with the standard Windows XP desktop using a Gyration wireless keyboard and mouse (mostly just the mouse). I tried using Windows XP Media Center Edition for a while, but it's really not integrated well with the software that I use on the HTPC and bagged it after just a week or so. Standard XP may not be pretty, but it works just fine for me and my relatively young eyes.

However, for the purposes of watching TV shows and HD-DVDs, a remote control would be a much better control tool than the mouse (it may work well with Yahoo! Music too....we'll have to see in the future). There are several kits you can buy with a USB infrared (IR) receiver and remote, the Snapstream Firefly being perhaps the most popular. However, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive that I got to play HD-DVDs through my HTPC also came with a remote (see below). The problem is that the remote is intended to be used with an Xbox 360 console, which I don't have. Without an IR sensor, it's useless.

I was thinking I'd try to buy a basic USB IR receiver when I came across the IRA-3 by Home Electronics. This is an IR receiver that connects to a standard serial port and, with the use of a software package like Girder, provides you with pretty powerful control over any piece of software that can be controlled by a mouse (i.e. everything).

My plan is to get the OEM version of the IRA-3 (above) along with Girder and then attach the IRA-3 board to the inside of the unused 3.5" drive bay cover on my HTPC case. I'll have to drill a couple holes through the cover and I may try to get a piece of red/brown plastic to cover everything and make it look like a standard IR port you'd find on a TV or DVD player. If I do it well, it should look pretty nice in the end. At some point, I'll let you know how everything turns out!

1 comment:

total12 said...

A week or so. Standard XP may not be pretty, but it works just fine for me and my relatively young eyes.home safe reviews