Hands On: Next Generation Remote Control Extender
The Remote Control Extender is an inexpensive way to turn your infrared remote signal to a longer-range radio frequency signal.
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Next Generation’s Remote Control Extender kit
July 30, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger

Thinking about moving your A/V equipment rack, or maybe picking up a new cabinet to place your components inside?

If you’re worried about not being able to control your gear because you don’t have the latest RF (radio frequency) remote control, don’t fret. You can make your line-of-sight infrared (IR) remote work like an RF—you know, commanding components through cabinet doors, from other rooms and more—and there’s no magic involved.

All you need is a $55 piece of equipment that looks like a flying saucer. It’s the Next Generation Home Products’ Remote Control Extender, and it’ll give your remote more power and greater range of use.

The package consists of an RF receiver with built-in charger, a battery transmitter, two rechargeable batteries, and a single-eye emitter.

I don’t have my A/V gear in cabinets by my living room TV—they’re on a shelf out in the open—but my home’s living room and dining room set up were ideal for testing the Remote Control Extender’s application anyway. They are adjacent rooms, and because our plasma TV is on an OmniMount Power 55 motorized cantilever mount that can tilt, we tend to tilt it toward our dining room for viewing.

But we can’t really change the channels on the cable box, or turn it on/off while we’re in the dining room because there’s no line of sight to the cable box, which is on the far shelf and obstructed by the TV and TV wall from that angle.

That’s where the Remote Extender comes in handy. The hardest part, or most tedious, of setup is charging the batteries. Before you can get the product working, you have to dock the batteries into the receiver, and then plug in the receiver to charge them for a suggested 24 to 36 hours. After charging it for that long and then using the unit for a little while, I had to go charge some more—so I actually found a more consistent working level at closer to 48 hours.

Getting back to the rest of the setup, after the batteries were charged, I slipped one into an AA sleeve and popped it in my cable/TV IR remote. Then I plugged the receiver in near my equipment, and plugged the single-eye emitter into the receiver and attached it to my cable box via the adhesive bottom.

Simple enough. Now to test it out.

First I used the clicker in the living room itself, pointed toward the TV and cable box per usual. No problems there working as a regular remote, but I did want to keep in mind that the TV and cable box each make a click when I turn them on or off so I’d be able to hear them from another room.

Next I turned my back to the A/V to point the remote in the opposite direction. Worked again—so far, so good. I moved into the dining room, where I ordinarily would not be able to turn things on and off. With the Remote Extender, however, I heard the click as I pressed the cable on, and heard and saw the TV respond when I pressed that on. So the device passed my home’s application test.

I went a little further and moved into the kitchen, and sure enough it worked in there as well. Next Generation says you could use the long cable to run up to 30 meters without signal loss. Now that would be $55 (well, $54.95 MSRP) well spent.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.

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