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How To Setup IR Remote Control Access In Ubuntu Linux

What HTPC setup would be complete without a remote control to command your rig from across the room? For the VCR, I chose the SIIG Vista MCE Remote for its compatibility and range of functions. It also happened to be reasonably-priced at Micro Center when I bought it.

To get started, plug in your IR receiver USB dongle and install LIRC from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install lirc

During installation, you will be presented with a dialog asking you to select the specific remote control you have.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.49.35 PM

For the SIIG Vista MCE remote, choose “Windows Media Center Transceivers/Remotes (all)”

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.49.51 PM

Then, choose your brand of IR blaster (if applicable). In this example, I do not have one installed, so I chose “None”.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.50.02 PM

Allow the installation to finish, then install LIRC X Utilities from the terminal with the following command:

sudo apt-get install lirc-x

Test your remote’s communication with the irw terminal command.

Point the remote at the receiver and press a few buttons, you should get some coded output on the screen. If so, congratulations! Press C to quit IRW.

If there is no output, verify that the dongle is working (there’s usually a red light that accompanies keypresses) and that the correct remote was selected in setup. You may need to reboot for the computer to recognise the new hardware.

For more on remote control setup, click here.

5 thoughts on “How To Setup IR Remote Control Access In Ubuntu Linux”

  1. Installing lirc-x installs lirc + other parts.
    Ubuntu 16.04 LTS lirc does not seem to work for the “Vista MCE” USB receiver that the OP had anymore, since it is supported by the kernel now.

    1. lirc-x installs LIRC and all the utilities to support LIRC in an X environment, which is where we’re using it in this project.

      Thanks for the heads-up on the new kernel version; I’ll have to revisit this sometime!

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