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Troubleshooting Media Center Remote Control (Windows 7 and Vista)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq Desktop PCs with Windows 7, and Vista.
Use this document when the remote control does not work correctly with the Media Center software.

Troubleshooting the remote control

Use the following items to troubleshoot when the remote control does not respond or when the remote control does not work properly. For example, when a remote key is pressed the selection moves all the way to the top or bottom of a list, or moves a selection many different places instead of the item you were trying to select.
Before attempting these steps, make sure that the computer has been updated with all of the latest Windows updates. Many updates for Media Center can be downloaded easily through Windows Update . For more information, refer to Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update .
  • Make sure that the batteries for the remote control are charged and installed correctly.
  • Make sure that the front of the remote sensor (IR receiver) is not blocked.
  • Point the remote control at the remote sensor within a 45-degree range, and less than 26 feet (8 meters) away.
  • Disconnect all devices that use a USB connection except the remote sensor, keyboard, and mouse. Restart the computer, and then try the remote again.
  • If a pressed button repeats itself (sticks), unplug the remote sensor from the USB connector, wait one minute, and plug the remote sensor back in.
    If the pressed buttons continue to repeat, try altering the lighting conditions in the room or moving the location of the remote sensor. Other remote controls and computers within range can also cause this issue.
  • Press the Enter button on the remote after changing a channel.
  • Point the remote control towards the remote sensor and press any button. A faint red light should appear on the remote sensor. If the light appears, then the problem is probably in the software that is using the remote control (most likely the configuration of the Media Center software). Close the software, restart the computer, and then open Windows Media Center again.
  • If the remote control works when using the media center software, but does not work when changing the television channels, re-configure the Media Center software settings for the cable set-top box or satellite receiver. For more information, refer to the HP support document Viewing TV in Media Center (Vista) (in English).

Troubleshooting the remote sensor (IR receiver)

The remote sensor is the small device that receives the signals sent by the remote control. Use the following steps to test and reset the remote sensor:
  1. If the receiver is an external type that plugs into the USB port, disconnect the remote sensor from its USB port on the computer, maximize the Media Center window if it is open, and then reconnect the remote sensor. Test again.
  2. Point the remote control towards the remote sensor and press a button. A faint red light should appear on the remote sensor. If the light appears, then the problem is probably in the software that is using the remote sensor (most likely the Media Center software). Close the software, restart the computer, and then re-open the software to solve this issue.
  3. Click Start , right-click Computer , and then select Properties .
  4. Click Device Manager .
    Device Manager opens.
  5. Double-click Human Interface Devices and Universal Serial Bus Controllers .
  6. If the eHome Infrared Receiver or Hauppauge Consumer Infrared Receiver is listed under Human Interface Devices or Universal Serial Bus controllers, Windows is properly detecting the remote sensor.
    If eHome Infrared Receiver or Hauppauge Consumer Infrared Receiver is not in the lists, or there is an exclamation mark or a question mark on the device, perform the following until eHome Infrared Receiver appears correctly in Device manager:
    Steps for an internal receiver:
    Turn off the computer and disconnect the power cord.
    Remove the side panel.
    Look at the connectors on the TV tuner card.
    Any matching cables that are not fully seated into the sockets on the TV tuner card should be seated.
    Replace the side panel, connect the power cord, and turn on the computer.
    If the issue persists, as a workaround, you can connect another receiver into the IR IN port at back of the computer.
    Steps for an external USB receiver:
    Unplug the end of the USB cable on the remote sensor from the computer and plug it back into the same USB port.
    Unplug the end of the USB cable on the remote sensor from the computer and plug it into a different USB port on the computer.
    Disconnect all other USB devices, leave the remote sensor plugged in, and then restart the computer.
    Plug in other USB devices after the remote sensor shows up in device manager.
    Figure 1: eHome Infrared Receiver listing in Device Manager

TV tuner installation information

Setting up a remote control requires 3 main components:
  • The handheld remote control - this is the handheld device that sends a code in infrared light when a button is pressed. The remote control you use needs to be compatible with Windows Media Center.
    Figure 2: Example of a Media Center Remote Control with Green button
    Media Center remote control
  • An IR controller - electronics that interpret the signal and communicate to Windows. The IR controller is usually part of the electronics on the receiver device, but might also be on the TV tuner or on a smaller internal extender board. If an IR Controller is installed and recognized by Windows, a receiver name will appear in Device Manager under Human Interface Devices or Universal Serial Bus Controllers. If you have replaced a TV tuner card with another type and cannot get the remote to work, the controller might have been on the tuner. If this is the case, you might need to obtain a new remote control and receiver to get the controller electronics.
  • An IR receiver - this is the device that reads the infrared light code from the remote control. It usually has a dark red plastic covering. A receiver device can be external and attached to a long cord or it can be built into the computer case or media card reader.
    Figure 3: Example of an external IR receiver
     External IR receiver
    Figure 4: Example of an IR receiver built into a media card reader
    IR receiver built into a media card reader
Your computer might have an extender board to connect an external IR receiver or an IR blaster cable (to send the remote control signal to another device, such as a cable TV set-top box).
Figure 5: IR extender board
 IR Extender board showing connections
1 - IR blaster cable connection (to extend the IR signal to another device, such as a cable TV set-top box)
2 - IR blaster cable connection
3 - IR receiver connection
If your computer has an IR extender board, you can use the IR OUT ports to connect one or two IR blaster cables. The ends of the blaster cables can be connected to IR receivers built into TV or satellite set-top boxes. When an IR Blaster cable is connected to a set-box, the code to change the channel up or down is sent to set-top box when the remote control is pointed at the PC (not the set-top box).
If your computer has an IR extender board, you can use the IR IN port to connect an externel IR receiver. An external IR receiver allows you to place the IR receiver next to your TV or monitor. To do this, the computer must also have an IR controller - either on the IR receiver itself, the TV Tuner card, or on the IR extender board.
To use an internal receiver or extender board they need to be connected as a system inside the computer.
Figure 6: Example of the back of an IR extender board that does not contain IR controller electronics
IR extender board
Figure 7: Example of the back of an IR extender board with IR controller electronics (note the extra cable)
IR extender board with IR controller electronics
Figure 8: Example of a TV tuner system with extender - controller on tuner
TV tuner system
1 - IR extender board with IR blaster and IR Extender cables attached
2 - TV tuner card with IR controller built-in
3 - Media card reader containing a passive IR receiver
Figure 9: Example of a TV tuner system with extender - controller on extender
TV tuner system
1 - IR extender board with IR controller electronics
2 - TV tuner card connected only to motherboard
3 - Media card reader containing a passive IR receiver

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