(Radio Frequency remote control) A handheld, wireless device used to operate audio, video and other electronic equipment using radio frequency (RF) transmission. Unlike the more common infrared (IR) remotes, RF remotes do not require line of sight and do not have to be aimed at the equipment. In fact, RF remotes can be operated from another room.|
RF Receivers (Base Stations) Are Required
Since most equipment is IR based and comes with an IR sensor located on the front panel, the RF must wind up as IR. This is accomplished with an RF receiver, which is a base station and antenna, that accepts RF signals and converts them to IR. For use inside equipment cabinets, the receiver typically has an "IR blaster" that showers IR signals to all components by reflecting off the closed cabinet door. The RF receiver also has sockets for several IR emitters (IR flashers) that are wired to, and pasted directly over, the IR sensors in the equipment for precise aiming. See IR remote control and RF.
The MX-980 from Universal Remote Control (www.universalremote.com) can operate every piece of A/V equipment in a home theater. Programmed on screen (bottom) and downloaded via USB, this versatile unit transmits RF and IR signals simultaneously, and the user can even be in the next room.
An IR emitter (left) is pasted onto the IR sensor on this DVD/VHS player. The wire traces back to a Home Theater Master RF base station that picks up the RF and converts it to infrared (IR). No matter whether the remote control is RF or IR, the signal winds up as IR at the equipment.