Laptop as remote to control AV equipment


New Member
Okay, my question is this:

due to a disability and physically not being able to use a standard universal remote control, I want to be able to control my home theater system using only my laptop (Panasonic 42PHD8UK, Sony DVD player NC85H, dish network DVR VIP 622, and HK 240 receiver). Because I live in an apartment I don't have any need nor the ability to hardwire the whole space for home automation (though this would certainly be useful) -- I don't think a landlord would appreciate me ripping up the walls. Given this, I'd love to be able to do all this wirelessly.
What exactly would I need to do this -- hardware, software, accessories, etc.. I'm guessing that somehow my laptop has to be able to transmit IR signals to all the components. Is this correct? Or would this be done using WiFi? Like I said, my needs are simple, I just want to be able to control all aspects of my AV equipment using my laptop. Is there a step-by-step tutorial out there? If so, can somebody point me in this direction?
We can walk you through the basics. Do you have all the equipment located in one place? Do you have any other PCs in the house?

You could use an IR blaster like the USB-UIRT, connected to a PC [could be your laptop] via a USB connection. This would then send IR commands to your equipment.

If you don't need a pretty front-end [i.e., you don't need to use a menu to select on/off] and can live with some instability and don't need to install on multiple computers, then i'd recommend using Girder combined with xLobby as a front-end.

Girder can send IR commands via the USB-UIRT based on a keystroke that you enter. xLobby is basically just a menu'ing program that *i think* can trigger a Girder command [see below]

You'd do the following in Girder:
1) Create a new command for what you want to do [i.e., turn on TV]
2) Choose the keystroke you want to trigger that command [an event in Girder parlance]
3) Teach Girder the IR code that it should send on that command.

I don't actually use xLobby, but I *think* you:
1) Create a new button in xLobby.
2) Tell it what Girder command [named in #1 above] you want to execute.

That's about it.

If you decide that you want something more bullet-proof, then you have a few options. I personally use CQC, but that might be more powerful than what you're looking for.