Since my computer was used as a media hub for my two roommates and I my Sophmore year at UMR, I figured being able to use my A/V receiver's remote control to control the computer would be nice. After doing some quick research, (Win)LIRC seemed to be the best solution. Many people either buy a pre-made receiver, or build their own receiver that fits on the end of a serial cable.
- A suitable IR receiver module (Vishay 1738 is popular)
- 1N4148 diode
- 4.7 uF capacitor
- 4.7 kOhm resistor
- 7805 5V voltage regulator
Construction is fairly easy. I personally used a Vishay TSOP2238 IR receiver module and a instructions found freely on the web. Below is the circuit diagram that I used. In the schematic, the - pin (GND) on the IR receiver goes to the serial GND, the +/Vs pin receives the +5V from the voltage regulator, and the Data pin is connected to the DCD on the serial port. Beware that many IR receivers have different pinouts! More details on what does what can be found at the LIRC guide. Once the receiver is complete, the easiest way to position it is to connect it to a serial extension cable and mount it somewhere. Schematic:
Since I primarily used Windows for day-to-day tasks back then, I used WinLIRC to handle the receiver. It's configuration files are identical to LIRC. Pre-made configuration files are available for a wide range of remotes, but your remote can be programmed manually if it needs to be.
My two main media players were Winamp and Media Player Classic, which both have some sort of support for LIRC. Media Player Classic has it built-in (configuration in the Keys options), but Winamp requires a plugin. Luckily, there is one available on the WinLIRC website.