USB UIRT? or USB-CEC? Where to start?

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simonsullivan Offline
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I want to be able to control my HTPC with my TV remote control via the use of EventGhost and I've come here because I'm a huge fan of xbmc and know this forum to be a wealth of knowledge - which I'm counting on. please guys!!

My reasons for this are that I have a much better chance of passing the girlfriend test if she only has to use the one remote, and I find EventGhost as flexible as I need it to be.

My setup is just a Zotac ZBOX and a 32" LCD at the moment but I would like the flexibility to add an amp into this in the future.

I've looked at both USB-UIRT and USB-CEC and really don't know which to go for as I am still trying to understand their full possibilities.

From my understanding the USB-UIRT allows EventGhost (through the use of a plugin) to isolate each button press, which can then be assigned to a macro allowing the control of the PC. The USB-CEC is a little more unknown to me, as far as I can find out there is no EventGhost support as yet but there is something in the pipeline, but I don't know when. Would the USB-CEC allow the remote commands to reach the PC via the IR receiver in the TV.

From what I think I know above the USB-UIRB it would allow the integration of other equipment more easily than USB-CEC, and
The USB-CEC may have compatibility issues as it relies on the CEC commands of the individual manufacturers.

Can anyone with experience of either of these bits of experience offer their opinions and guidance. Also, I'm in the UK so if anyone knows of stockists of products for the UK that would be a huge help, so far I found ebay, redrat and pulse-eight.

Thanks in advance everyone.
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sialivi Offline
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Post: #2
The CEC adapter uses your TV remote and the TV's IR sensor, and the keypresses are passed on to your HTPC over HDMI.

Note that your TV needs to support CEC and you have to use HDMI.

Also note that the CEC adapter currently doesn't work with the official builds, you either have to use a build from pulse-eight, or wait for the fixes to be merged, which will most likelly happen at the start of next month.
(This post was last modified: 2012-06-21 21:27 by sialivi.)
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simonsullivan Offline
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Does that mean that the use of the USB-CEC is limited to within XBMC itself, and cannot be integrated into EventGhost ever?
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sialivi Offline
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I haven't used EventGhost so I don't know
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simonsullivan Offline
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Okay sialivi, thanks for your help. In terms of xbmc, does the pulse eight have the HD Audio codes built into it also?
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Chris! Offline
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Post: #6
Look into flirc - can use any remote and it appears to the device as a usb keyboard.
Though anything you press on remote would act of the tv and flirc at the same time.


Flirc now has a forum: forum.flirc.tv
(This post was last modified: 2012-06-21 21:49 by Chris!.)
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sialivi Offline
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(2012-06-21 21:47)simonsullivan Wrote:  Okay sialivi, thanks for your help. In terms of xbmc, does the pulse eight have the HD Audio codes built into it also?

I think the current pulse eight builds are Eden final, so no. But there's only 2 weeks left until the next batch of updates will be merged, so hopfully the updated CEC support will make it into the official builds then.
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simonsullivan Offline
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Thanks sialivi, that would be of huge benefit as I have other xbmc builds and use a mysql database to connect them, but they all have to be the same build for the database to work - so hopefully I can have HD audio and USB-CEC.

@Chris - Flirc looks like a good solution thank you. Is it something you use yourself?

Does anyone have any experience with USB-UIRT at all. I'm just trying to get as much input as possible.

Cheers
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sialivi Offline
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While waiting for the fixes to be merged I've been using this little tray application, https://sites.google.com/site/chir21/home/CEC-Tray

It works with the monthly/nightly builds, though not all keys seem to work. I'm not sure if it's a limitation of the tray application or something else.
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simonsullivan Offline
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Thank you sialvi that looks like a great little help.
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Livin Offline
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The answer really depends on your exact/specific goals.

Since I wanted something completely flexible and usable with any Windows app and any hardware device I use EventGhost... with a USB-UIRT and Harmony remote. Nothing can beat using a good all-around IR receiver with EG from a flexibility and customizability standpoint... period. You can do anything with this setup.

If you want strictly an XBMC solution, other devices/solutions are fine but they all have limitations... EG has no limitations, and it can even work with CEC devices if you decide later you want one. I have not found any need for CEC... harmony remote with EG controls everything perfectly, and simply.

Limitation examples using CEC device...
1) control your system when you don't have the TV on? NOPE
2) control any app, not just ones that directly talk to the CEC device? NOPE
3) create multiple actions based on a specific button press or a set of button presses? NOPE
4) control usage (parental controls) or actions based on day/time/etc, what other apps are open, etc? NOPE
5) ... about 1000 more things, at least? NOPE

my point is CEC is a very specific solution with a limited set of functionality. If that is exactly what you want, I'm sure it works fine. If you want to be able to have ultimate control... use EG.

I'm not an expert but I play one at work.
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jhsrennie Offline
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Post: #12
http://flirc.tv/

The XBMC team got sent a few for testing, and they're absolutely brilliant :-)
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simonsullivan Offline
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@ Livin

Well that's a pretty comprehensive argument for going with USB-UIRT and EG!! :0)
I have a couple of questions about your set-up if you don't mind answering?
1) I have read that there may be compatibility issues with some remotes depending on the frequency they use. Have you experienced any such issues.
2) I have a harmony one remote and for some reason I sometimes get my HTPC reacting as if though I was pressing the button multiple times. Do you use your Harmony with the USB-UIRT directly and have you had any experience with the issue I mentioned above.

Thanks for your help on this Livin, much appreciated
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Livin Offline
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(2012-06-22 21:05)simonsullivan Wrote:  1) I have read that there may be compatibility issues with some remotes depending on the frequency they use. Have you experienced any such issues.
My unit is one of the early revisions and I've had zero issues.
I've never heard of any compatibility problems. My USB-UIRT sits on a shelf 6 foot up, and 6" from a sliding glass door so it gets direct Arizona sunlight and it works perfectly.
I suspect any "problems" are user error or environmental (interference or bad remote). Many people buy $5 ebay remotes expect everything to be perfect - surprise!?

The developer, Jon Rhees, has been supporting the device non-stop and there has not been a need for a firmware update for years. The component quality is much higher than most IR receivers and it does much more , and has better compatibility across the IR range than almost any IR receiver on the market - see http://www.usbuirt.com/overview.htm

(2012-06-22 21:05)simonsullivan Wrote:  2) I have a harmony one remote and for some reason I sometimes get my HTPC reacting as if though I was pressing the button multiple times. Do you use your Harmony with the USB-UIRT directly and have you had any experience with the issue I mentioned above.
I've had 5 different Harmony remotes (we are rough on them) in the 8 years I've owned the USB-UIRT and they have all worked 100% perfectly. People having 'problems' either have defective Harmony remotes or some interference (plasma tv, etc) OR, my first guess, a low-end IR receiver.


... in all, you are talking about two of the most user tested and time tested devices in their respective markets.

... if you want, go buy an MCE compatible IR receiver remote combo... it will also work with EG and/or XBMC and WMC. And it should work with your Harmony (I don't have any experience with Harmony and low-priced IR receivers).

... my decision was easy... I and my friends and family use the remote and IR receiver several times a day... I wanted it to work, and work perfectly. I was willing to spend a bit more and get the Harmony remote since any way my setup changed I could still use it. At the time, there were VERY few 3rd party MCE compatible remotes and prices were actually higher so getting the UIRT was about the same cost.

I'm not an expert but I play one at work.
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simonsullivan Offline
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Post: #15
Well I think you've pretty much sold it to me. Sounds like the exact functionality and reliability that I'd want. Your point about the low end IR receiver has made me think too, as the one I have is built into my Zalman HD503 case - I'm thinking that disabling it and using a USB-UIRT would result it the "multiple pressing behaviour" stopping - lets hope!

Lastly, can I assume correctly that the frequencies used in US remotes are the same as the EU remotes (I live in the UK). I would have thought they would be as they are all made in the same places and then shipped around the world - the only thing that would cause them to be different is different regulations around the world. Do you think I'd have any issues in area? I have struggled to find suppliers in the UK so may be getting one shipped from the above mentioned website.

Thanks for all your help Livin, I'd looked online for a week but still wasn't sure, you've put my mind at ease and made the decision so much easier for me!
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