Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/09/review_gadgets_keene_iranywhere_infrared_extender/

Keene IRAnywhere

IR over IP – for those remote remotes

By Shaun Dormon

Posted in Broadband, 9th January 2010 10:02 GMT

Review Infrared remotes are easily taken for granted for controlling the TV from the couch, but with the Keene IRAnywhere system, you can take channel hopping to the next level. Ever wanted to change the channel from across international borders? For long-distance disciplinarian dads, the possibilities for family fun are endless.

Keene IRAnywhere

Couch potatoes go global with Keene's IRAnywhere

OK, so that’s not really what it’s for, but the Keene IRAnywhere system (KIRA) will relay IR signals over any local network and, with the use of a service such as No-IP.com or DynDNS.com, this functionality can be extended using the Internet.

The KIRA package includes two 60 x 60 x 28mm receiver/emitter modules with a power supply each and just one IR ‘wand’. The modules feature an Ethernet port, a built in IR receiver, an input for an external IR receiver, various status LEDs, a reset button and an output for an external IR emiiter, such as the wand.

In standard operation mode, the target (emitter) and receiver units are hooked up to a network using their Ethernet ports. Each KIRA can be configured from a web browser to operate as a receiver, a target or as a standalone device.

With a typical a pairing, the receiver simply relays the signals it receives to the target module, which then broadcasts the signal out to any present IR equipment. It is possible to operate multiple receivers and targets on the same network, and, providing they are configured correctly, multiple receivers can transmit to a single target.

Keene IRAnywhere

Module set-up options
Click for a larger image

KIRA comes preconfigured to use DHCP and searches for other devices on the network. Each module is already preset to form a target and receiver pair, so it’s literally plug in and hit play – on your remote. Still, if this is not what you had in mind, the modules can easily be tweaked to your liking using the browser’s simple, yet powerful configuration interface.

KIRA doesn’t require any additional setup for specific devices other than positioning of the wand to give optimum coverage for your environment. Within five minutes we were busily changing the channels on the lounge TV from the upstairs office; something our unwitting subjects were not entirely pleased with. Perhaps we should have told them first – but where’s the fun in that?

Keene IRAnywhere

Learn and store external remote control features with the IR management software
Click for a larger image

Operation is smooth and straightforward with consistent transmission of signals to the desired device. The included IR wand has a decent range of about four metres which, covers most reasonably sized rooms.

Once you get into standalone mode – which only requires one module – the device can take advantage of a couple of specific applications. Using Keene’s management software, the user can capture IR input as raw data, save IR codes, upload IR codes to the module and create code sequences. When paired with Melloware’s Intelliremote, the KIRA module can be used to control any number of applications using any IR remote. Our old VHS remote was very soon repurposed to control both VLC Player and iTunes, how’s that for recycling?

Similar functionality is available with EventGhost, which allows users to automate their operating systems to a far greater depth. This makes KIRA an ideal solution for those looking to add expandable remote functionality to the Home Theatre PC (HTPC) setup without buying new remotes.

Verdict

While a bit pricey, KIRA appears to be an excellent idea. The system offers a wide range of options from controlling your HTPC, relaying IR signals in a lecture theatre, capturing IR codes to program other remotes or just confusing your family when the TV ‘randomly’ switches channels. If you need a versatile IR relay system, then you may well be charmed by KIRA. ®

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