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Monday, March 14, 2011

Control your home theater from anywhere in the world - Hack a Day

Control your home theater from anywhere in the world

posted Mar 14th 2011 5:03am by Mike Nathan
filed under: home entertainment hacks, home hacks


Using IR repeaters for larger home theater setups is not uncommon, but they usually are quite simple. A series of IR receivers are placed throughout a home, all wired to repeat the signals in a central closet where all of the AV equipment is located. [Bill] constructed a solution that works much like a standard IR repeater setup, however his requires no receivers, and it can be used anywhere in the world, provided you have Internet access.

His project, called Ether IR, is an Internet-enabled IR repeater. It consists of an Ethernet-connected module with an IR LED mounted on it, capable of controlling your AV equipment. The board is hooked up to your LAN, and relays commands to your home theater via a simple web page. The equipment can then be controlled from any Internet-connected device, such as a mobile phone or tablet PC.

The entire project is open-source, so [Bill] has included schematics, instructions, and a bill of materials so that you can construct your own. The only issue at this point is the software portion of the project. The software is free, but the distribution method is in question – once things are sorted out, he will ensure that you can obtain the software for your Either-IR from him or directly from the Ethernet chip’s manufacturer.

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MerMar Designs
Open Source Electronics

What We Do

MerMar Designs is committed to developing Open Source Electronic products, without any limitation to the targeted application or audience of those products. At its core, MerMar is a creative design outlet for its engineers.


To Come!


To Come!

Ether IR

MerMar Design's first completed project, the Ether IR, is an Ethernet enabled universal remote for controlling televisions, cable boxes, DVD players, etc. This allows placement of the board with audio / video equipment out of sight, such as in a closet behind closed doors where typical infrared remotes can not reach (assuming you also have a router in the closet or can run an Ethernet cable to the closet).

Control is provided to this equipment through any device with a connection to the local network through a small web page that provides a typical remote control interface. The interface page is designed to display properly on common cell phone screen resolutions, meaning that when used in combination with a WiFi network, WiFi enabled cell phones or MP3 players can be conveniently used as a remote control.

In addition, laptops, tablet PCs and anything else sharing network access with the Ether IR can act as a remote control. The Ether IR board contains an IR LED and also provides the capability of running two remote IR LEDs for equipment located in separate locations. Refer to the documentation below for more information.

If your interested in the Ether IR, Promote it at SeeedStudio's Wish page. Assuming there is some interest in it, I'll order a production run.


Ether IR Instruction Manual (PDF)

Ether IR Design Documentation (PDF)

Example Remote Interface Page

Schematic Image Ver 1.1

PCB Image Ver 1.1

Schematic and PCB Eage Design Files (Zip)

Bill of Materials (Open Office Calc file)

Software: Coming Soon.

The software runs on the Microchip Ethernet stack which is free to use on Microchip products, but may not be distributable from the website due to licensing issues. If not, we will have to provide a tutorial on how to get the Ether IR specific software working with the Microchip stack, which would have to be downloaded separately from their website. Right now we're waiting to hear back from Microchip on permission to (or not to) distribute the stack.

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Looks like you could use this one even if you never leave the house. Just set your recordings from any Computer or Phone and get them to playing the same way...



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