We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is an IR Controller?

M. McGee
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Infrared (IR) technology makes up the bulk of the remote device operation market. An IR controller sends coded infrared waves to an IR receiver, where they are translated into device commands. This technology is best known in the household remote control, the device that remotely operates nearly every home entertainment device from the mid-1980s on. In addition to televisions, an IR controller can operate nearly anything that accepts digital commands, ranging from home appliances to automobiles and computer systems.

The technology behind an IR controller is deceptively simple. When a button is pressed on the remote control, a panel on the device emits a short burst of infrared light. This light is invisible to humans; it is just outside of visible light. A receiver on the connected device will read the invisible flashes and translate them into a command. In many ways, this works like Morse code, a selection of long a short pulses that correspond to a command.

Since the technology functions via invisible light, it has some of the same properties as visible light. The burst emitted by the IR controller needs to be in place where the receiver can see it. If solid objects block either of the parts, the signal cannot pass and the command will not execute. On the other hand, properly positioned mirrors will allow the light to bend around walls and into other rooms.

When an IR controller is able to penetrate walls, or other solid objects, it is probably not solely IR. Since IR is only light, it can’t do anything that light can’t do. When a remote needs to have additional functions, it will usually include a radio transmitter. In this case, the system will recognize that the signal is not reaching the receiver and emit a short radio burst that mimics the IR signal. This signal will penetrate objects and travel much further than standard IR.

In order to keep an IR controller from interfering with other devices, manufacturers install different codes into different systems. This basically means that all of the remote-enabled devices speak different languages. When a receiver sees a command that it doesn’t recognize, it will simply ignore it. This opens the way to programmable remotes; essentially, they can learn the language spoken by other devices, allowing one IR controller to perform the job of several.

An IR controller only works on digital devices. If a system has an onboard computer system, it can use the technology; devices without digital systems can’t. Some manufacturers will put digital receivers within analog devices as an intermediary to allow IR communication. In these devices, the remote creates a digital response that activates an analog function — it does not directly interact with the analog system.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
M. McGee
By M. McGee
Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences. With a background in communication-related fields, he brings strong organizational and interpersonal skills to his writing, ensuring that his work is both informative and engaging.
Discussion Comments
M. McGee
M. McGee
Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences....
Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.