Idea #2: Transmit remote signals through barriers using wireless technology

Most families I know keep their Blu-ray and DVD players on some sort of stand. It can be a cabinet, a free-standing structure, a shelf, or something else. In a few cases, I’ve even seen people convert unused dressers and armoires into TV cabinets, with the TV sitting on top and other equipment tucked into whatever drawers and compartments it will fit in.
The problem I’d like to address applies to the people who have this setup. The player is trapped behind a door of some sort, so the infrared signals from a remote can’t get through. I’ve never asked, but I imagine that this is inconvenient when navigating through a disc’s menu or trying to fast-forward.

The concept:
Though not identical, this situation’s dilemma is similar to that last-mile problem with many forms of transportation and communication. The remote’s IR signals take it most of the way, but there is a wall between the signal and its destination. To help consumers get around (or through) that wall, simply create a two-piece system of a receiver and a transmitter. They can stick on the barrier wall using magnets (one on each component, sticking together like two magnets with a sheet of paper between them), or the signal receiver can be clipped onto the remote, covering its LED.

To review what’s above, there are two components at play. First in line is the “receiver,” which receives the remote’s IR signals, then converts them to a wireless signal (i.e. Bluetooth). The “transmitter” receives the wireless signal, converts it into the IR rays that the Blu-ray or other player is used to, and sends them. It is positioned along with the player behind the barrier and aimed at the player, allowing the barrier to stay closed and the user to send commands as if the player was in an open space.

The Pros:

  • This keeps unsightly wires less visible.
  • For people with complex theater setups like a TV and player on two different walls, a long-range set of transmitters can be very convenient. The user can point the remote in any direction and it will still be read by the transmitter, then the receiving end (the player).
  • These components should be relatively inexpensive, so the price is lower than the alternative of buying a new stand for the player is. Additionally, this is more space-efficient.
  • By using magnets to connect the two parts if they are on the same barrier, the surface of the drawer or cabinet is unharmed. This also means that the pieces are easy to adjust.

The Cons:

  • This technology may be irrelevant when compared to the Bluetooth remotes that are entering the market.
  • These transmitters and receivers will likely be small, so it could be difficult to find a power source. However, it may be possible to power the receiver component with light, getting rid of the need for a battery for the receiver.
  • The fact that they can be so small also means that the components are easy to lose track of.

If you still don’t understand, here are a few articles to help clarify how remotes work right now.

  1. eHowVideo with Bill Lesko
  2. HowStuffWorks Article by Julia Layton
  3. EarthSky Article from their FAQ

One Comment on “Idea #2: Transmit remote signals through barriers using wireless technology”

  1. […] This post refers to Idea #2 […]

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