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skst

Windows Media Center (WMC) Remote: Not All Keys Can Map

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First of all, I blame myself for not researching this receiver more. I bought another receiver a while back and it "just worked" with my WMC remotes, so I expected Flirc would, too. I didn't realize that it merely mapped IR signals to keystrokes.

 

I have a WMC remote that, I think, came with one of my Hauppauge tuners. (It's been years.) The keys are the same as the Rosewill RHRC-11002, but its shape is more like the Adesso ARC-100 remote (but it's black).

 

Keys

http://amazon.com/gp/product/B005ZAK50K

 

Shape

http://www.amazon.com/Adesso-Media-Center-remote-control/dp/B000XVNJRM

 

It was nice to get an e-mail about the product before I had even received it. It gave me the feeling that Flirc was truly interested in providing a good customer experience.

 

I like the simple setup and driver installation that automatically updates the firmware (if necessary). The key-mapping portion is very easy to use as well. I suggest improving the method of selecting the configuration though because it's not obvious at startup that the user should do that first. Maybe a panel could be added on the side that lists the available configurations and highlights the selected one.

 

Unfortunately, after installing and configuring my Flirc, there are a few problems with the way I want to use it.

 

1. Using the WMC configuration, there are a number of missing (and important) buttons:

  • Windows button ("The Green Button")
  • Record
  • Standby
  • Go to TV recordings
  • Go to Guide
  • Go to Live TV
  • Go to DVD Player

I don't know if there are equivalent keystrokes, so I'm not sure if it's possible to map these, but it'd sure be nice.

 

The Green Button is weird, because it seems to work sometimes. That might be related to point #2 below, but I haven't had a lot of time to experiment yet. I'll update this post with more info if I have any.

 

2. I must press a button on my remote twice in order for WMC to respond.

 

This is , pretty obviously, a deal-breaker, and I think, regardless of its support for WMC remotes, this is something Flirc needs to fix (or tell me what I'm doing wrong, which is certainly probable). :-)

Edited by skst

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First of all, I blame myself for not researching this receiver more. I bought another receiver a while back and it "just worked" with my WMC remotes, so I expected Flirc would, too. I didn't realize that it merely mapped IR signals to keystrokes.

 

I have a WMC remote that, I think, came with one of my Hauppauge tuners. (It's been years.) The keys are the same as the Rosewill RHRC-11002, but its shape is more like the Adesso ARC-100 remote (but it's black).

 

Keys

http://amazon.com/gp/product/B005ZAK50K

 

Shape

http://www.amazon.com/Adesso-Media-Center-remote-control/dp/B000XVNJRM

 

It was nice to get an e-mail about the product before I had even received it. It gave me the feeling that Flirc was truly interested in providing a good customer experience.

 

I like the simple setup and driver installation that automatically updates the firmware (if necessary). The key-mapping portion is very easy to use as well. I suggest improving the method of selecting the configuration though because it's not obvious at startup that the user should do that first. Maybe a panel could be added on the side that lists the available configurations and highlights the selected one.

 

Unfortunately, after installing and configuring my Flirc, there are a few problems with the way I want to use it.

 

1. Using the WMC configuration, there are a number of missing (and important) buttons:

  • Windows button ("The Green Button")
  • Record
  • Standby
  • Go to TV recordings
  • Go to Guide
  • Go to Live TV
  • Go to DVD Player

I don't know if there are equivalent keystrokes, so I'm not sure if it's possible to map these, but it'd sure be nice.

 

The Green Button is weird, because it seems to work sometimes. That might be related to point #2 below, but I haven't had a lot of time to experiment yet. I'll update this post with more info if I have any.

 

2. I must press a button on my remote twice in order for WMC to respond.

 

This is , pretty obviously, a deal-breaker, and I think, regardless of its support for WMC remotes, this is something Flirc needs to fix (or tell me what I'm doing wrong, which is certainly probable). :-)

I'm constantly improving my software, and I have an unreleased version that fixes windows media center issues. You can grab it here: 

 

It has a new windows media center controller. Also, the controller is just a bunch of keyboard shortcuts, so if I'm missing a shortcut, just find it here; http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/media-center-keyboard-shortcuts#1TC=windows-7

 

Then use  the keyboard controller to manually record those keys.

You have a remote that uses a funky protocol, the solution is pretty easy, record each button twice. 

Thanks for the feedback, I really do appreciate it.

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Thanks for the rapid response! The link to the WMC mappings will be very helpful, but of course, it can't help if the key isn't in the WMC configuration to begin with. :-) I'll install the RC and let you know.

 

I have a second remote for my other WMC HTPC, and I'll try that with the Flirc, too. If it doesn't require double-presses, that'll lend credence to the theory that I have an oddball remote (which is probable if it came with my Hauppauge tuner). I'll try the double-record solution, too.

 

I'll respond again in about five hours (after work). As a fellow software developer, I can appreciate how difficult it is to support different systems. Feel free to let me know if you want logs, Registry settings, etc.

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I'm trying the 1.3.7 RC1 on my second HTPC. It reports firmware 3.6.

 

I do not see any of the missing keys that I mentioned in the WMC configuration: Record, Standby, Guide, Live TV, Recorded TV, etc. Should I? (Standby is really important because there's no alternative, since it's safer to exit WMC and then put the HTPC to sleep. Plus, it's how one wakes up the HTPC.)

 

For this test, I'm using the Rosewill RHRC-11002 remote, hoping that it's less weird than the one from Hauppauge.

 

The keys act a bit flaky. I've mapped the arrows, Enter, and Back in the Flirc setup. When I press them in WMC, they often work, but sometimes, they act as if I pressed them twice, or WMC beeps instead of performing the action (especially true for Enter), or they do nothing on the first press and the second press causes them to do their action twice.

 

I thought if might help if I erased the programming for the right key (for example), so I exited WMC and went back to Flirc's setup. (BTW, is it relevant that Flirc does not remember that I selected the WMC configuration? It always starts in Basic Configuration.)

 

1. I click the "erase" button in the Flirc setup.

2. It prompts me to press which remote key is to be erased.

3. I press the right-arrow key.

4. It says it's erased.

5. I click the right-key in the Flirc's WMC configuration.

6. It prompts me to press the button to be paired with 'right'

7. I press the remote's right button.

8. It displays a dialog saying, "Button already exists."

9. I click "Redo."

10. It says "Recorded successfully." (Sometimes it goes back to step 8 instead.)

 

#8 seems weird if I've already erased the programming for that key.

 

But, for the most part, it works with this remote, except for the missing buttons that it doesn't present for configuration.

Edited by skst

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There are a few points to take into consideration:

 

1. All Flirc can do is emulate USB keyboard, so it is able to only send keys (including modifiers) and multimedia keys. This means that the application you want to control using Flirc must have some way to be controlled purely by the keyboard and shortcuts. If there is some function you want to use but it doesn't have any keyboard shortcut assigned then Flirc can't do anything about this (at least not Flirc alone).

2. All MCE remotes are using RC6 protocol which alternates some bits in the Infrared signal sent on consecutive key presses on the remote. Flirc recognizes both signals as separate ones, that's why you need to record each button twice.

3. Some MCE remotes send signals with base frequency outside the range of what Flirc is capable of receiving. Most consumer equipment remotes are operating at 38kHz base frequency and IR receiver built into Flirc is tuned so it works best with frequencies around 38kHz. Some MCE remotes are using 50 something kHz if I remember correctly. Such remotes will have poor performance with Flirc or even won't work at all.

4. Flirc GUI doesn't remember which controller was recently used because there is no need to. Flirc doesn't store such information. All Flirc can store is a mapping between IR signal hash and what keyboard keys have to be pressed. Media Center controller in the GUI (and most of the other controllers like XBMC/Kodi) is just a panel where most popular keys for the application are grouped together. So if there is no key for some specific function in the WMC controller in the GUI but you know the keyboard shortcut that can be used to invoke the function then just switch to keyboard controller and record the key combination there.

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Thank you. I believe I understand those points now. However, almost every one of those unsupported buttons does have a keyboard equivalent, so Flirc could support those buttons in the WMC configuration if it wanted to.

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/media-center-keyboard-shortcuts#1TC=windows-7

 

Record a TV show = Ctrl+R

Open Media Center or return to the Media Center start screenWindows logo key 0d8a4985-b5e2-41a6-a1b6-e4bafb517937_92.+Alt+Enter

Go to Recorded TV = Ctrl+O
Go to the Guide = Ctrl+G
Go to live TV = Ctrl+T
Go to the DVD menu = Ctrl+Shift+M
 
The only one that doesn't have an explicit shortcut is Standby, and that can be simulated with a series of keystrokes (WIN, right-arrow, S -- or something like that).
 
What it can't do is wake the HTPC from sleep, which is unfortunate, but survivable.  :)

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Thank you. I believe I understand those points now. However, almost every one of those unsupported buttons does have a keyboard equivalent, so Flirc could support those buttons in the WMC configuration if it wanted to.

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/media-center-keyboard-shortcuts#1TC=windows-7

 

Record a TV show = Ctrl+R

Open Media Center or return to the Media Center start screenWindows logo key 0d8a4985-b5e2-41a6-a1b6-e4bafb517937_92.+Alt+Enter

Go to Recorded TV = Ctrl+O
Go to the Guide = Ctrl+G
Go to live TV = Ctrl+T
Go to the DVD menu = Ctrl+Shift+M
 
The only one that doesn't have an explicit shortcut is Standby, and that can be simulated with a series of keystrokes (WIN, right-arrow, S -- or something like that).
 
What it can't do is wake the HTPC from sleep, which is unfortunate, but survivable.  :)

 

 

Noted those keys, I'll get them in the GUI. 

 

You can wake the machine from sleep. In the controllers->media keys, record the suspend key. It both wakes and suspends the machine.

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Thanks for the tip. I believe I understand how the layouts work now.

I've successfully mapped the remote's Standby key to the Media Controller layout's Power button. Oddly, even though it wouldn't wake the computer, it put it to sleep when I pressed the button to record it. Fortunately, it was then able to wake up the PC.

I look forward to the next release with those other keys in the WMC layout.

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